Following the principle of „I buy new equipment as women buy shoes,” I recently got two H200R round heads for Godox AD200. I plan to use them in my minimalist home studio and in a portable setup when I need to carry a minimum of equipment. It’s also a good opportunity to review them, with good points and not-so-good good points for these flash heads.
At home, I do mainly food photography, both for the blog and for microstock. I also take family pictures. Therefore, my set of equipment is optimized for these photographic genres, and this review focuses mainly on how I use the equipment.
I should mention first that the hype with these round flash heads had started from Profoto with their A1 flash. Then came the Profoto A10, and later other flash manufacturers began copying this system. Obviously, Godox did that too. There are currently flashes in the V1 range, followed by the AD100 and then the round head for the AD200.
For all these flashes, there is a system of accessories with a magnetic grip called AK-R1. This set includes a set of correction gels, a grid, a diffuser, a bounce card, barn doors, and a snoot.
Regarding the quality of light provided by these round heads, there are tests performed by other people. The results show that the H200R is somewhere in-between the Fresnel head and the head with the bare flash bulb, both provided with the AD200. As such, I will not repeat such tests; just take a look at the article mentioned above.
What I like about the H200R flash head
It seems to me that the round head provides better coverage of the surface of umbrellas, and the light is a little softer as compared with the Fresnel head. However, it cannot match the performance of the head with the bare flash bulb.
Beyond the light quality, however, other aspects make purchasing a Godox H200R round head attractive. First of all, the modeling lamp really works at these ends. With the Fresnel head the modeling lamp is a bad joke. The bare bulb head doesn’t have a modeling lamp at all. Well, the H200R has a really usable modeling lamp with 3 levels of lighting. The only one that outperforms the modeling lamp of the H200R is the AD-B2 mount for two flashes. But the AS-B2 is large and bulky, exactly what I don’t want in a portable setup.
Another advantage of the H200R round head is that it is more robust than the bare bulb head, which is important when carrying flashes in your backpack. The bare bulb head is much more fragile, even with the AD-S15 protective cap installed. The H200R takes only a bit more space in the backpack as compared to the Fresnel head.
Then we have the set of accessories AK-R1 dedicated to round heads that includes almost everything needed for field use and comes at a very competitive price.
As a nice thing, Rogue round flash gels fit on this system. The only issue is that these gels are designed for speedlites and don’t handle well the flash’s discharge at high power. I managed to release smoke from the dark blue filter after a full power discharge of the flash. The gel was curled a little after a few uses. But so far, the gels have not melted or faded.
What I don’t like about the H200R flash head
There is no perfect product, so there are also disadvantages. However, what bothers me the most are the following aspects:
The lack of a dedicated carrying case for this system. I would have liked to have a bag to fit an AD200 with H200R installed, plus the AK-R1 accessory set. Currently, I use my old photo backpack in which I manage to fit the camera, lenses, trigger, two AD200 with H200R on them, and only the essentials from AK-R1. Not bad, but it could have been better.
Then some accessories need to be bought separately. There is no option to purchase the AD200 with the H200R round head only.
It should also be noted here that many of the original accessories for the AD200 are not compatible with the H200R round head, and new ones will have to be purchased. In particular, a Godox S2 mount will be required if used with Bowens mount light modifiers.
If I had to choose again, would I buy them again?
Probably yes. I have come to like working with them more than with the heads supplied with the AD200.
On the other hand, I must admit that the advantages of the H200R are marginal and are more related to convenience than to light quality. You can live just as well without them. Therefore, I would not include them on the list of essential equipment I could not work without.