If you’ve seen my unboxing videos you know that I own and use a couple of Godox TT685 flashes for Fujifilm cameras. If you also have one of these and want to learn how to set it up, keep reading.
I love using flash! I used to be a “natural light photographer” but once I learned to use flash I didn’t look back.
Some time ago I switched systems from Canon to Fujifilm, found the Fujifilm system to be great except for their flash lineup, and decided to use Godox flashes. Man! That was a smart decision!
The TT685 is Godox’ most powerful, AA batteries-based, hot shoe flash. It has a guide number of 60m at ISO 100 and 200mm zoom (equivalent), so it’s comparable to Canon’s 600EXII-RT, Nikon’s SB900 or Sony’s HVL-F60RM. As it happens with all current Godox flashes, it has an integrated transceiver so it can control other flashes or it can be controlled remotely through Godox’s proprietary radio frequency system.
Let’s start the setup with something simple.
Batteries and Power
The battery compartment is a bit unusual for me, because batteries are arranged right next to each other in a line, instead of clustered 2+2 as it happens with Canons, Nikon, Sony or Metz flashes.
After you put your batteries in, you slide the door closed and you’re good to go. Look at the back of the flash and the power switch is to the right and beneath the screen. Slide it up and you’re good to go.
Tilt and Swivel
The TT685’s head can tilt up 90 degrees and down 7 degrees. In order to do it you only push the head gently in the direction you need to point to. Unlike brand name flashes, it doesn’t have a position lock so you’re free to move it without problems, but it has predefined stops/markers at the 45 and 60 degree positions. The head can also swivel left and right 180 degrees.
This degree of movement is exactly what I expected and it’s the same as brand name flashes.
When you first turn the flash on it is in TTL mode. It means that the flash is ready to fire and set its power automatically, based on the information sent by the camera. This only works if the flash model is compatible with your camera. If your flashes are marked for, let’s say Canon, and you have a Nikon camera, TTL will not work.
When the flash is in TTL mode you can set the flash exposure compensation, so that it fires with more or less power than the normal calculations. You can do this by pressing the second button below the screen, which has a lightning and +- symbols. You’ll see a new icon appear on the screen and, turning the wheel to the left will increase the compensation, while turning it to the left will decrease the compensation between -3 and +3 stops, with ⅓ stop increments.
Even though TTL is very useful in situations with constantly changing lights, it’s also hard to debug in case things don’t work. That’s why so many people recommend shooting with flash in manual mode.
Switching the TT685 to manual mode is pretty easy. Just press the Mode button once and the screen now displays an M at the top and the current power setting at the lower right corner, in the form of a fraction, so that 1/1 is full power.
To change the power setting you just turn the wheel. Turning to the right (clockwise), decreases the power, while turning to the left (counter-clockwise) increases the power. Every click of the wheel is ⅓ of a stop, increment or decrement.
The flash can be zoomed to the desired coverage, and it’s pretty simple to change. Press the Zoom button once and then turn the wheel. Turning it to the right zooms the flash in, decreasing coverage. Turning the wheel to the left zooms the flash out, increasing the coverage. If you turn the wheel all the way to the left you’ll see the AU option, which allows the flash to set the zoom automatically, based on the lens on the camera. This is one of those compatible camera-only functions.
If you plan to use the TT685 for off-camera flash, you have one universal way to do it and a Godox-only way.
The universal way to trigger the off-camera flash is using the Optical Slave mode, also known as Servo mode. You can select this pressing the S1/S2 button once. You’ll now see an “S1” on the flash screen.
In this mode the flash will wait and fire in manual mode when it “sees” another flash firing. You need to make sure the light sensor is clear and within line-of-sight of the triggering flash. If the flash you’re using as the trigger is in “red-eye reduction” mode, you need to set the TT685 to wait until the second firing of the trigger flash. You can do this pressing the S1/S2 button again, so you now see an “S2” on the flash screen.
Radio – Master
In order to set the TT685 as a Master, controlling other flashes through radio signals, you need to press the Sync button once, so you’ll see a radio icon on the screen with the letter M next to it, You’ll also see a list of groups with their mode and power settings. The first group listed is M and it refers to the mode and power setting of the Master flash.
In order to select a group you need to press the Gr button repeatedly, until the desired group is highlighted. You can then press the Mode button to switch that group between Off, TTL and Manual Modes. Pressing the +/- button will allow you to change the power setting (if it’s in Manual mode) or the flash exposure compensation (if it’s in TTL mode) of the selected group, by turning the wheel.
Pressing the Ch button allows you to change the channel used to communicate with the slave units.
Radio – Slave
Setting the TT685 as a Slave unit is pretty simple, you only need to press the Sync button again, so you’ll see a radio icon on the screen and you’ll also see a label with the word Slave.
In Slave mode you can only set the channel, by pressing the Ch button and rotating the wheel; and you can also set the zoom, by pressing the Zoom button.
The Mode and Power setting will come from a Master unit or a dedicated transmitter.
There’s one important consideration when using radio frequency systems: they are, usually, not compatible with each other. If you have Godox flashes, they can only be triggered with a Godox Master, but not a Yongnuo or Nissin or Canon transmitter.
On the other hand, one strong point for Godox is that they offer a wide range of products that can be controlled with their radio system, from small flashes to 1200 Ws flash heads.
As you can see, the Godox TT685 is a very capable flash, which is available for many camera brands like Canon, Nikon, Sony, Fujifilm, Olympus and Panasonic. It is very reliable and well made and a great alternative to brand name flash units. It is also part of a great flash system from Godox, which includes both speedlights and flash heads.
I hope this post was helpful for you. If that was the case, share it with your friends! If you’d like to add something, please leave a comment below.
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