Review: Godox Thinklite TT685S TTL (Sony)

The Godox Thinklite TT685S TTL is a flash that I’ve honestly been waiting for for a very long time. While Sony has announced their own radio transmitter and receiver to work with their own flashes, sometimes all you need is a really good an affordable flash and transmitter. Seriously, how do you beat $165 for a flash and a transmitter that both have solid build quality?

But that’s not all that this flash has. It’s got a radio receiver built in, TTL, groups, channels, manual control, multi-stroboscopic flash abilities, and full incorporation with what Sony’s platform offers.

If you’re a strobist, looking for a budget friendly option and the most bang for your buck for your Sony camera with a multi-interface shoe, then you’d honestly be stupid not purchase this–and I say that with complete and total honesty.

Chris Gampat Portraits quickly on Greenpoint (1 of 3)ISO 4001-60 sec at f - 1.4

Pros and Cons

Chris Gampat Portraits quickly on Greenpoint (2 of 3)ISO 4001-60 sec at f - 1.4

Pros

  • Super reliable
  • Automatic transition to high speed sync
  • Stroboscopic mode
  • Incredible TTL output that meters will with the Sony system
  • Well built
  • Affordable
  • Pretty much gives you an awesome studio option in a small size with loads of features

Cons

  • Initially tough to use until you actually sit there and page through the manual.

Gear Used

The Godox Thinklite TT685S TTL was used with the transmitter linked in the previous link, the Sony a7, the Sony RX1r II, Sony 24-70mm f2.8 G Master, Sony 85mm f1.4 G Master, Sigma 35mm f1.4 Art with the Sigma MC-11, Sony 35mm f2.8.

Tech Specs

Specs taken from the Amazon listing:

  • Compatible Cameras: Sony DSLR cameras (TTL autoflash)
  • Guide No. (1/1 output @200mm): 60(m ISO 100); 190 (feet ISO 100)
    Flash Coverage:·20 to 200mm (14mm with wide panel)
  • Auto zoom (flash coverage set automatically to match the lens focal length and image size) Manual zoom
  • Swinging / tilting flash head (bounce flash): 0° to 360° horizontally and -7° to 90° vertically
  • Flash Duration: 1/300 to 1/20000 seconds
  • Exposure control system: TTL autoflash and manual flash
  • Flash exposure compensation (FEC): Manual FEB: ±3 stops in 1/3 stop increments (Manual FEC and FEB can be combined)
  • Sync Mode: High-speed sync (up to 1/8000 seconds), first-curtain system, and second-curtain sync
  • Multi Flash: Provided (up to 90 times, 100Hz)
  • Wireless flash function: Master, Slave, Off
  • Controllable slave groups: Optical: 2(A and B); 2.4G: 3(A, B, and C)
  • Transmission range:·Optical: Indoors: 12 to 15m /39.4 to 49.2 ft.; Outdoors: 8 to 10m /26.2 to 32.8 ft.; Master unit reception angle: ±40° horizontally±30° vertically.·2.4G: 100m Channels: Optical: 4 (1, 2, 3, and 4); 2.4G: 32(1-32)
  • Slave-ready indicator: Two ref indicators blink
  • Auto Focus Assist Beam: Effect range: Center: 0.6-10m /2.0-32.8 feet/ Periphery: 0.6-5m / 2.0-16.4 feet
  • Power Supply: Ni-NH batteries (recommended) or 4*LR6 alkaline batteries
  • Recycle Time: Approx. 0.1-2.6s (eneloop Ni-NH batteries of Panasonics).
  • Full power flashes: Approx.230 (2500mA Ni-MH batteries)
  • Power Saving: Power off automatically after approx.90 seconds of idle operation.(60 minutes if set as slave)
  • Sync Triggering Mode: Hotshoe, 3.5mm sync line, Wireless control port
  • Color Temperature: 5600 ± 200K
  • Dimension: 64*76*190mm (W x H x D)
  • Weight: 410g (without battery, camera flash only)

Ergonomics

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Godox Thinklite TT685S TTL product photos (1 of 13)ISO 4001-125 sec at f - 2.0

Looking at the Godox TT685S TTL is like looking at many other very standard flashes. For the newbies, it will be intimidating. For the photographers with experience, it will be a bit of a learning experience, but you’ll get there.

With that said, the back of the flash is dominated by the LCD screen, buttons, and some branding.

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Godox Thinklite TT685S TTL product photos (6 of 13)ISO 4001-30 sec at f - 2.0

The front of the flash has an IR sensor and otherwise lets you look at the rotating head. It’s very much like every other standard flash in terms of how it rotates around.

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Godox Thinklite TT685S TTL product photos (7 of 13)ISO 4001-30 sec at f - 2.0

Turn to the side of the flash and what you’ll find is a cover that exposes ports. If you’ve got other Godox flashes then you can see if your receivers will fit into here. However, the flash has a radio built in so it doesn’t need it.

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Godox Thinklite TT685S TTL product photos (8 of 13)ISO 4001-30 sec at f - 2.0

The other side has the battery compartment. It lays it out in a straight row, which is rather odd and not normal so to speak.

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Godox Thinklite TT685S TTL product photos (9 of 13)ISO 4001-30 sec at f - 2.0

The flash also comes with a fairly flimsy shoe for its foot. There are much better built ones out there that feel much more solid for what they’re worth. Then again, the whole package is affordable.

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Godox Thinklite TT685S TTL product photos (10 of 13)ISO 4001-30 sec at f - 2.0

The Godox X1T-S is the transmitter. On top you’ll find a hot shoe for another flash and a test button. Additionally, you can also spot the branding here.

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Godox Thinklite TT685S TTL product photos (11 of 13)ISO 4001-30 sec at f - 2.0

Turn to the back and what you’ll find here is the large control LCD screen. Plus there are buttons to control the according variables along with a wheel to scroll through.

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Godox Thinklite TT685S TTL product photos (12 of 13)ISO 4001-30 sec at f - 2.0

On the side, what you’ll find are the on/off switch and the back bulb light on/switch. You’ll probably only work with the former.

Build Quality

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Godox Thinklite TT685S TTL product photos (3 of 13)ISO 4001-30 sec at f - 2.0

Both units are built very well and if you put a Sony badge on it, you’d probably think it were true. The transmitter and flash are both not weather sealed though, so be careful when shooting in tougher conditions. Despite this I’d be very confident using the flash and transmitter on any gig that is thrown at me.

It still doesn’t come close to the LumoPro LP-180, which is by far the best built hot shoe flash out there.

Ease of Use

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Godox Thinklite TT685S TTL product photos (4 of 13)ISO 4001-30 sec at f - 2.0

Going through the menus and navigating the buttons accordingly isn’t that difficult if you’re used to many of the flashes that have been coming out in the past couple of years. They’re not simple, but they’re as direct as they possibly can be.

Again though, I recommend that every photographer really goes through the manual unless you’ve got a lot of experience with a variety of flashes. Chances are that many of you don’t work with as many flashes as I do due to my job of reviewing the gear.

Image Quality

Chris Gampat Portraits quickly on Greenpoint (3 of 3)ISO 4001-60 sec at f - 1.4

This flash does an awesome job at offering TTL transmission with a Sony camera and a lens with electronic information passing through. As long as this was happening, the results were stellar. I’m very happy not only with this but also the manual flash output which seems to be right on par with many other flashes out there in the same category.

For that reason again, I’ve got no issues with this flash.

Chris Gampat Portraits quickly on Greenpoint Dane (1 of 1)ISO 4001-160 sec at f - 1.4

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Godox Thinklite TT685S TTL flash sample images (1 of 3)ISO 4001-40 sec at f - 4.0

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Godox Thinklite TT685S TTL flash sample images (2 of 3)ISO 2001-320 sec at f - 4.0

Some of the images on my personal website and in my latest project called “The Secret Order of the Slice” were shot using this flash. It’s super reliable and offers exactly the image quality I ask it to with exposure compensation and HSS when I need it according to Sony’s metering system.

Chris Gampat Erica Lourd portraits 2016 Spring extras (6 of 6)ISO 1001-125 sec at f - 2.0

Chris Gampat The Secret Order of the Slice A romantic time in the park (1 of 1)ISO 1001-200 sec at f - 5.6

Chris Gampat The Secret Order the Slice Everyone Loves Pizza (1 of 1)ISO 2001-400 sec at f - 4.0

Conclusions

The-Phoblographer-Editor's-Choice-Award-Logo

Let me state this: there isn’t a single reason why this flash shouldn’t receive the Editor’s choice award. The Godox Thinklite TT686S TTL flash is reliable, compact, and simply works. Not only that but it gives the user a whole load of options. You can do slow sync with Sony, second curtain flash, first curtain, it doesn’t matter. You’ll get it and more importantly you’ll get it at a damned affordable price point.

If you need TTL flash output and radio transmutation for your Sony camera, this is honestly one of the best bang for your buck options out there.

Phoblographer-Star-rating

The Godox Thinklite TT686S TTL flash wins five out of five stars and the site’s Editor’s Choice award. In nearly seven years of reviewing products, this flash is the biggest no brainer out there for every Sony photographer and you should all pick one up.