Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Godox DE300 Monolight Review

I’ve been using my Strobeam DL4 for the last 3 years on location now.  Recently I needed a small portable studio lights with modelling lamp when I have access to power.  Step forward the Godox DE300 which I bought from an eBay seller from Hong Kong.  It was delivered within a week.  Interestingly, the brand name in Chinese means “Magic Ox” or “God Ox”, hence the name Godox.

First impression when I received it was good.  Quality is decent and felt reasonably put together.  It comes with one modelling lamp, power lead, sync cable, reflector, spare fuses and cover to protect the flash tube when not being used.  The version I got is for Bowens S Mount which is the mount for all my light modifiers.  The optical trigger has two modes, one will first with the first flash and the second mode will ignore the first flash and trigger on the second flash.  This may be handy if you use it in conjunction with speedlite.

The modelling lamp intensity is adjustable.  The instruction manual recommends the lamp should not be used continuously for too long.  I had it on at about half power for almost a whole day during a shoot without any problem.  In future I may turn it off when it is not essential.  The moonlight is not fan cooled so it is silent when in use.  Again the instruction recommends a cooling down period of 30s after 10 full power flash.  Again it is hard to think of this during a shoot and I am sure I exceeded this during its first shoot.

Recharge time at full power was about 1.5s which is OK for studio use and I had no problem.  I used it as a multi light setup and it performed well without any problem at all.  It is a 300Ws moonlight, so it is not going light a large room by itself or overpower the sun on a bright day.  It is a low cost unit and does not auto self discharge when reducing power setting.  Not a problem, just remember to press the test button after each power adjustment.

The first use of this moonlight was an all day shoot in the studio.  It was one of four lights in the shoot and it performed very well during the whole day  I did not find any problem at all.  In summary, the Godox DE300 is a low cost 300Ws moonlight of decent quality and good performance.  What I can not comment on is the long term durability.  For photographers who are after a low cost monolight it may be a worthwhile purchase.  Below is a photo of the light on a boom arm during a studio shoot.

Follow this link to see more photo taken from this shoot.

Update:  I also used this light as the main light for the Jessica Xavier collection shoot.  Click on the link to see the results.  It was the main light and I did not encounter a problem for the whole day.

Update 23 April 2015: I was shooting beauty London this weekend and I was surprised to see four Godox DE300 in the studio we were using.  When I spoke to the studio owner he told me he is very happy with them and did not encounter any problem.  I shot with them all day and did not have any problem.

Update 6th August 2015: I had a message from a reader of this page asking me if I experienced static shock from this unit.  I've to say yes after using it for the whole day.  I happened when I tried to disconnect the sync cable.  At that time I thought nothing of it.  I would like to hear from anyone that had this experience.  That was the only time it happened to be though.

Update 17th November 2015: I was shooting in the studio using the DE300 with a beauty dish with modeling lamp.  After shooting for 4 hours, an error message kept comping up which stops the flash firing.  I thought it was a heat issue and swapped to another unit but the same thing happened again after 5 minutes!  I can not understand how the second unit can develop the same fault in such a short time.  I was using not shooting at an excessive rate but I was using near full power.  Switching off the unit and wait 10s did fix the problem for a short time.  Maybe it is not a good idea to shoot at near full power all day?  I do not know what the problem was and I finished my shoot and got what I needed.