For the purposes of this post I am going to compare the affordable branded flash equipment to the top end professional grade Canon equipment. I shoot Canon, and have done so for many years and whilst I do not currently own the top end Canon branded flash equipment I have owned some of it in the past, I have rented other items in the past and I have been fortunate enough to have had the chance to use those items I have never owned or rented.
By comparing the affordable and “budget” flash equipment below, all of which I currently own and use, to the premium branded flash equipment you will see there is little difference between them, apart from in the price. The intention of this post is to demonstrate that there is no need to go and splash out mega money on the branded flash photography gear (unless you want to of course) when the budget flash equipment does exactly the same job.
High spec all purpose speed light
When it comes to the powerful and all round speed lights I am going to compare the Godox V860, which I have used for several years now, to the Canon branded equivalent which is the 600EX.
If you compare the specs of the Godox 860 and the Canon 600EX it is pretty easy to see that they are very similar however it is worth noting that the Godox does have a better recycling time, which is quite surprising.
The biggest difference between the Godox and Canon flashes is the build quality, and whilst the Godox is tough, robust and well made the build quality of the Canon 600 is clearly superior. Canon are renowned for making top quality products and the 600EX is no different, and I can only describe it as bombproof.
The other big difference between the Godox and Canon flashes is the price. The Godox is a fraction of the cost of the Canon, and it is pretty easy to tell which one gives the best value for money, and which one is the cheapest per guide number of power.
Travel friendly speed light or a speed light for smaller CSC or mirrorless cameras
The Godox V860 is an excellent speed light but I find it too big and heavy for travel photography, and too big for my Canon camera. The V860 does work with the Canon M but it isn’t nicely balanced on the camera, and it makes it unwieldy to use.
The speed light I use for my Canon M is a smaller Godox branded flash the Godox TT350. This relatively new flash is the smallest in the Godox range but it is packed full of features found in speed lights costing several times more. The Canon equivalent is the 270EX,, and this is what I have compared the Godox TT350 to.
The Godox TT350 doesn’t have the ability to trip the camera’s shutter like the Canon 270EX does but it does have many other top end features the Canon branded flash doesn’t.
Once again, the build quality of the Canon 270EX is superior to the Godox TT350, but the Godox is still a strong and robust product. The Godox TT350 is a fraction of the cost of the Canon 270EX so, once again, it is pretty clear cut which of the above gives the biggest bang for the buck.
It never ceases to amaze me how Godox can make and sell such great speed lights for such little money, however they manage it some how.
Macro twin light set up
I first used the Canon MT24 a few years back on a macro photography workshop and I have lusted after one ever since. The MT24 is an exceptional macro flash, however it comes with a hefty price tag and I don’t have the budget available to purchase one.
When I saw Yongnuo was releasing their version to say I was excited was an understatement and with a price tag of just £145 (compared to the £899 price tag of the Canon MT24) I took a punt and ordered one.
The Yongnuo YN24 was an excellent purchase and has to be the bargain of the year. The specs are virtually identical to the Canon MT24, which given for the price is very surprising.
I knew there would be a difference in build quality between the Yongnuo YN24 and the Canon MT24, and the Canon would be better made but when I took delivery of the Yongnuo YN24 I was very surprised at how strong, robust and sturdy it was. I have no complaints over the build quality at all.
The Yongnuo YN24 is one of the most versatile macro flash units available and I have no hesitations in recommending it.
Macro ring flash
Before I bought the Yongnuo YN24 my macro flash comprised the Yongnuo YN14 ring flash, and I have compared this to the Canon branded equivalent, which is the Canon MR14.
Once again the two units are almost identical, however the Yongnuo YN14 does recycle quicker than the Canon MR14 at higher power outputs which is surprising.
The Canon is the overall winner in the build quality stakes, as is expected, but the Yongnuo is not far behind. I have had my Yongnuo YN14 for a few years now and during my ownership I have given it quite a bit of abuse. Despite my rough treatment of the Yongnuo YN14 it is still going strong and works exactly the same today as the day I took delivery.
The Yongnuo is a fraction of the cost of the Canon, which seems to be a recurring theme, and is the best value for money.
Flash triggers are crucial if you want to take your flash off camera, and the budget ones I use are the Yongnuo 622s. The Yongnuo 622 flash triggers are packed full of features and the top end equivalent is the Pocket Wizard flash triggers and here’s a comparison between the two.
The Pocket Wizard flash triggers are exceptionally good and built to a very high standard but they are damn expensive. And when I say expensive, I mean expensive. If you want some Pocket Wizard flash triggers you are going to have to dig real deep, and whilst the build quality of the Pocket Wizards is better than that of the Yongnuo 622 flash triggers it is not several times better.
The Yongnuo 622 flash triggers are sturdy, reliable and also cheap – scratch that, make that very cheap. If I were to recommend a set of flash triggers it would be the Yongnuo 622s without hesitation.
Keen photographer addicted to cameras, lenses and everything photography related. Feel free to follow me in my photography ramblings, and if you have any thoughts, comments, queries or anything else to add I would love to hear from you.