First Impressions Godox Ving 860c
You asked for first impressions and first impressions are mixed. I love the feel of this thing right out of the box. It is heavy. Feels great in the hands like its Canon counterpart. The battery door opens and closes like it’s meant to last. The battery release is like a Canon DSLR, and the head pivots firmly – not too tough – and not too loose. That’s just feel. How about performance? The hot-shoe locking mechanism is not the fancy Canon-style, but that’s okay by me – I’m not a huge fan of the new-style, I like the old screw type. To me, it’s one less thing to break – like rolling up your windows in a 25 year old truck.
Initial Use Very Confusing
Don’t buy this flash yet. The E-TTL is way quirky. I started testing with Canon 24-105mm f/4.0 – If you are planning to use the flash on camera it works fine when you are aiming it straight forward, but that’s not very nice light. Where it really stinks (for now) is when you bounce it off the wall or ceiling at a longer focal length. The metering is way off. I’m looking for a firmware update and have contacted GODOX regarding this problem. When I bounce the flash off a plain white wall at 24mm the metering is okay. Using the Canon 24-105mm. When I zoom in to 105mm and bounce the flash off the plain white wall – my subject is about 2-4 stops under exposed. Nearly complete darkness. Makes no sense. If I shoot with FEC at +2 or +3 it is corrected, but that’s crazy talk. When the lens is toward the long end, it’s clueless; shooting at 105mm and bouncing resulted in a grossly, almost dark image. But at the 24mm end, all was well. More testing is needed. Maybe I’m missing something. All these initial tests were on Canon 6D and the 24-105mm f/4.0_ In a chaotic troubleshoot I switched cameras to double check my findings. I went to my 5D Mark II and the 70-200mm f/2.8 IS II – and all was well. Bounced and worked correctly. E-TTL worked just fine. So, I put it back on the Canon 6D with an 85mm thinking that was close in length to the long end of the 24-105mm where the flash was failing. The 6D and the 85mm in E-TTL worked just fine. Now I’m simply confused. Does it not like my 24-105mm, or is there a camera setting I am not aware of. I’ve been shooting for a long time and have never seen something like this. What started as a review has just become a complete mess. I apologize for that. Had I started my initial testing with the 5D and a 50mm lens I would probably be falling in love with this flash. But, I started with the 6D and the 24-105mm and I don’t know what to make of things.
Additionally strange is that the 70-200mm f/2.8 has the same dark underexposed problem when on the 6D. That said, it seems like a 6D issue, but when I put the 24-105mm on the 5D Mark II, it is also underexposed by about 1.5 stops on the long 105mm end. Not underexposed by 3-4 stops the way the 6D is, but still off none the less. I’m lost. Below you can see how far off the flash is in evaluative mode. When I put the a Yongnuo flash on this shot works fine in both modes. All that said, I could just go about using the flash in ‘Average Mode’ all the time. In fact, that’s probably what I will do. I’d rather do that than ride the FEC constantly.
I am hoping a firmware update fixes all this because I want to love this flash. Getting rid of AA batteries in my workflow sounds fantastic and I love the build quality. For now however, I am of no use. The E-TTL is not yet fully functional. If I wanted a Manual flash I’d get the 850; but I love using E-TTL when I’m shooting the bride getting ready in a small, dimly lit hotel room. Using manual flash in these situations is difficult as the lighting and perspective is constantly changing. Hopefully I will have an update soon.