In my quest to continue growing as a photographer, I recently decided that the next step I needed to take was learning to use artificial light proficiently. I wanted something extraordinarily versatile for my first flash or strobe unit. It had to be something I could use for everything from portraits to products. I had decided that this unit would absolutely need to be battery powered and portable in order to inspire new ideas and unlock new venues for my photography. Enter the Flashpoint eVolv 200 (aka the Godox AD200).
eVolv 200 Specs and Accessories
The Flashpoint eVolv 200 is a strobe unit that seemed to meet all of the above qualifications on paper. The eVolv 200 is a powerful 200Ws strobe unit packaged into the size of a standard on-camera flash or speedlight. It features an incredibly long lasting battery that allows for the strobe to be used practically anywhere. The body of the strobe has multiple 1/4x20 sockets on it that allow for easy mounting to tripods and light stands, a huge plus when you are hiking your gear somewhere and don't want to be lugging multiple stands around with you. According to the Adorama spec sheet, the strobe with a battery installed weighs in at around 2 pounds. That's pretty impressive for such a powerful lighting package.
The Flashpoint eVolve 200 is also highly configurable. Adorama offers several purchasing options that include a varying array of accessories for the flash. There are kit options that include light modifiers, different flash heads, various mounting accessories and more. The ecosystem built around this line of strobes is still growing as well. Also, due to the Fresnel head being included as standard on this strobe, most MagMod accessories will work with it. The kit that I purchased included:
Using the Flashpoint eVolv 200
Now that we know the specs and accessories seem like a great deal, how does it work? Well, it works extremely well. Paired with the Flashpoint R2 triggers, this strobe unit performs every time. I have used it with the original R2 trigger on my previous Panasonic camera system, and I am currently using it with my Pentax cameras and the R2 Pro trigger pictured above.
The R2 Pro trigger has upgraded some of the weaknesses I found with my older style R2 trigger. The buttons are very accessible and easy to manipulate. The original trigger controls were easy enough to use, but with light gloves on during the winter they became extremely fussy to operate. The R2 Pro configuration has mostly alleviated these concerns.
The screen is large and bright, making it easy to quickly check and adjust your settings. The screen also features a zoom option allowing you to focus the settings on a particular channel and strobe, very handy when working with a single light.
While the older R2 trigger felt a little cheap at times, the R2 Pro very much feels like it has earned its moniker. The housing is plastic, but feels well made and solid. It never feels in danger of breaking when mounting it to a hotshoe.
The body of the eVolv 200 is quite well designed. On the rear of the unit, there is a nicely functioning screen and control set. There is a button for the modeling lamp, a flash test button, a scroll wheel to navigate with, and the menu and select buttons. However, I must confess that I have rarely used any of the controls or the in-body screen as I do the majority of the work with the R2 Pro trigger. The rear of the body also houses the window for detecting other flashes if used in slave-firing mode. On the side of the body are two levers, one for releasing the battery, and the other for releasing the flash heads. These are easy enough to manipulate and seem to be built solidly.
The flash unit itself is everything I was looking for. My kit came with the Fresnel head as well as a bare bulb head, making it an extremely versatile piece of kit. Modifying the light coming from the flash is as simple as selecting the head you want, installing whichever modifier you like, and then shooting. I have found that the bare bulb head combined with a softbox makes for excellent portrait and headshot lighting.
The Flashpoint eVolv 200 also features enough power to allow for dramatically lit daytime scenes as well. I found that using the Fresnel head with no light modifiers allowed me to drastically reduce the ambient light in outdoor scenes and provided me with a dramatic and appealing quality of light. The only downside I have found to using the flash in the full-power setting is that the recycle time does take a hit. At lower power, the flash will fire almost as fast as you can push the shutter. At full power, my copy of the eVolv 200 will fire roughly once every 2 seconds.
To sum up my experience with the Flashpoint eVolv 200 is fairly simple: I love it. The flash offers big power in a small package. I leave it in my camera bag at all times knowing that I can mount it to my tripod if I'm suddenly wishing I had a strobe. I have taken hundreds of photos with this unit so far, and I have only charged the battery once as a precaution before a newborn shoot. The battery life has been phenomenal so far. I honestly struggle to find much bad to say about the eVolv 200. As mentioned above, the full power recycle time is a little slow, and that is about the only bad thing I can call this strobe on.
If you'd prefer to watch the video review I did on this flash and hear me ramble on about it, here you are! The video includes a few more diverse sample images as well. Also, please follow me on my social media outlets!