A good speedlight is a core component of a photographer’s kit. As one of the more versatile and most heavily used tools in a photographer’s kitbag, it’s essential that you have a quality, reliable and easy to use on-camera flash that you can trust.
In recent years Godox have started making a name for themselves as a provider of top quality and dependable photography lighting that users don't have to break the bank to own. In terms of speedlights, the Godox V1 is their top-priced model on-camera flash featuring a round head that provides soft natural lighting effects. In addition to this, Godox are on their third iteration of the exceptionally popular VING series with the V860III - effectively a Godox V1 but fitted with a fresnel head. At first glance the new TT685II could easily be mistaken for the V860III, however there are a number of differences that we’ll cover in this blog that will help you decide which of these is better suited to you.
Out with the old, and in with the TT685II
So what’s the difference between the TT685 and the TT685II? Godox have been listening to users’ feedback on the original TT685 and have made various upgrades to the preceding model. The most notable of the upgrades is the broader bounce angle afforded by the TT685II. Providing a tilt angle from -7° to 120°, users of the TT685II gain an extra 30° tilt angle over its predecessor. It is also rotatable by 330°, though due to the upgrades made the rotation is no longer the same 360° found on the TT685.
The TT68II comes with a TCM function, which stands for ‘TTL Flash Converted to Manual flash’ – effectively easy light metering with TTL mode which is then ‘locked’ into the Manual settings. The User Interface (UI) now more closely matches that of the V1 and V860III, so if you have any experience using either of these then that’s something in the TT685II’s favour. The USB port on the TT685II is now a more typical industry standard of Type-C.
Should I choose the Godox TT685II or V860III?
Now we’ve established what the TT685II has over the original model, let’s have a look at deciding between the two fresnel-headed speedlights. There are a number of differences between the models despite them looking almost identical.
The likelihood is that you will decide on whether the V860III or the TT685II is best for you based on this difference alone. The V860III enjoys having a Li-ion battery that has the capacity to provide up to 480 full power flashes on a full charge. In contrast the TT685II is not able to house a lithium battery and instead has space for 4 x AA batteries. Of course these batteries can be rechargeable ones, in fact Godox recommend you use Ni-MH rechargeable batteries as the full power flash estimate provided by Godox (330 full power flashes) is based off of using them. The preference here is really on the user, as there are positives to using each type of battery:
Lithium-Ion Battery (V860III)
More flashes - 480 on a full charge
Improved recycling time - 0.01 - 1.5s recharge time
Do not lose power when working in cold conditions
The Li-Ion batteries are interchangeable with other Godox flashes (AD100Pro, V1 and V860III for example)
4 x AA Batteries (TT685II)
Cheaper - AA batteries are cheaper in the short term, whether these are rechargeable batteries or single use ones. You don’t need to fork out for a spare Li-Ion battery
More easily accessible - In a pickle, a quick trip to the corner shop will sort you out
New AAs don’t degrade over time - consistent performance each time you put new batteries in. Lithium-Ion batteries will gradually degrade, decreasing the amount of flashes a full charge can provide over time
When looking at the positives of using each type of battery above, you’ll probably start seeing which model may be more your flavour. However, before you rush off to buy one there are more things to consider!
We briefly touched on this above, but recycling time is such a key factor to consider for any photographer. The quicker the recycle time, the quicker you can take your next shot and the lower the likelihood that’ll you’ll miss 'THE' shot. Working photographers will want to save on those precious seconds between shots, and when comparing these two speedlights the V860III comes out on top with a preferable 0.01 – 1.5s recharge time, compared to the 0.1 – 2.6s (with Ni-MH batteries) recharge time of the TT685II. However don’t get us wrong, 0.1 - 2.6s isn’t by any means slow, it’s just not as rapid as the V860III’s time.
One large difference you will notice between the two on-camera flashes is the price of each of them. Our Godox V860IIIs are a very competitive £193.00, whilst the TT685II is priced at a more affordable £129.00 making it a great option for any photographer who wants real quality on a tighter budget. The largest contributing factor to the price disparity is the lithium battery.
Put simply, if you NEED a modelling light, the TT685II isn’t going to be much use to you as it doesn’t have one. The V860III features a 2W LED modelling lamp to help with pre-visualisation and is also adjustable in intensity. A modelling lamp is probably a feature more suited to a beginner and may not be something that a seasoned photographer will worry about if it’s missing.
When looking at these two speedlights, it’s apparent that you get a lot of quality and ‘bang for your buck’ whichever model you choose. You can’t really go wrong with either, so decide which one suits your needs more - whether that be saving pennies by getting the TT685II, or deciding on that extra quick recycle time with the Li-Ion battery on the V860III. The V860III will serve you well, especially with the batteries being cross-compatible with some of the other Godox flashes such as with the AD100Pro and V1. The Godox TT685II would be an absolutely perfect choice for a beginner, and is in our opinion is probably the best budget top-brand speedlight on the market.
Whichever you choose, we’ve got you covered with two years’ warranty provided on either model. If you're still undecided, have a look at the technical specs in the table below. Check out the links below to find out more about these speedlights!
TT685II and V860III Comparison Table
|Power||~76Ws / GN ~ 60 (m ISO100)||76Ws|
|Flash Coverage||20 to 200mm||20 to 200mm|
|Flash Duration||1/300 to 1-20000 seconds||1/300 to 1-20000 seconds|
|Exposure Control||E-TTL II autoflash and manual flash||E-TTL II, i-TTL, TTL Autoflash|
|Flash Exposure Compensation||Manual FEB ±3 stops 1/3 increments||Manual FEB ±3 stops 1/3 increments|
|Sync Mode||High-Speed Sync, First, Second Curtain||High-Speed Sync, First, Second Curtain|
|Multi Flash||Provided up to 100 times (199Hz)||Provided up to 100 times (199Hz)|
|Wireless Functions||Transmitter, Receiver, Off||Transmitter, Receiver, Off|
|Groups||A, B, C, D||M, A, B, C, D|
|Focus Assist Beam||2.0-32.8 ft Effective Range||2.0-32.8 ft Effective Range|
|Power Saving||Power off automatically after 90 seconds idle||Power off automatically after 90 seconds idle|
|Sync Triggering Mode||Hotshoe, 2.5mm sync line||Hotshoe, 2.5mm sync line|
|Swivel||0-330° Rotatable / -7° - 120° Tilt||0-330° Horizontal / -7° - 120° Vertical|
|Power Supply||Ni-MH (recomended), 330 Flashes||7.2V/2600mAh Li-ion Battery, 480 Flashes|
|Recycle Time||0.1 - 2.6 sec (Rechargeable Ni-MH Battery)||0.01 - 1.5 sec|