Speedlight VS Strobe

Last Updated on April 9, 2021

In my years mentoring beginner portrait photographers, one of the most frequent lighting question I have received is which is better, speedlight vs strobe. And like with many debates within the photography community the answer is, it depends.

The best way to find out which one you should go with is to cover the pros and cons of each to see whether strobes or speedlights fit your personal style best.

photographer standing in photo studio with speedlights and strobes set up

Speedlights – What You Need To Know


  • Speedlights are lighter weight and usually more compact and portable
  • Easy to power
  • Offers numerous advanced features including HSS and TTL
  • They offer tremendous versatility and can be mounted on and off your camera
  • Affordably priced models available


  • Speedlights are slower than strobe lights with a longer recycle time
  • Battery power does not last long
  • Interface is usually more complex than a strobe
  • Lower power output
  • The light source is smaller leading to more shadows

Strobes – What You Need To Know


  • Offers a very fast recycle time
  • Allows for more creative outlets
  • Larger power ranges
  • Bigger light sources, allows for larger light modifiers
  • Light is much more powerful
  • Improved tech means they are more versatile than they once were


  • Larger and less mobile than speedlights
  • Cost is generally higher
  • Most need to be plugged in to an outlet, battery powered options cost even more

Which Is Best For You?

There was a time when strobe lights and speedlights served very different functions for photographers but with technology advancements there is significant overlap.

That is a good thing

Now that more portable, battery powered strobe lights are available and speedlights with advanced features have hit the market it is possible to find one of either category that will fit the bill. But the reality still is that they have specific strengths that are best suited for specific situations.

Most photographers will find strobes provide much more power but sacrifice weight and portability. While the opposite is true for speedlghts, which provide greater mobility thanks to their lightweight. But they offer much less power as a trade off.

Because of this, photographers looking for primarily for power should definitely opt for a strobe while those seeking portability and a more affordable price should go with a speedlight.


Here are my favorite picks for strobe lights and speedlights. These particular models are great all around performers that won’t break the bank while still providing exceptional lighting performance.

Neewer Vision 4

[amalinkspro type=”showcase” asin=”B06WW4PGMC” apilink=”https://www.amazon.com/dp/B06WW4PGMC?tag=themainmuseum-20&linkCode=osi&th=1&psc=1″ new-window=”true” addtocart=”false” nofollow=”true” sc-id=”4″ imgs=”LargeImage” link-imgs=”false” specs=”Please note: vision 4 only supports M, multi, 2. 4G wireless remote; do not support TTL, HSS mode; sync speed: 1/200 seconds; extremely short flash duration: from 1/1000 to 1/10000 seconds. 6 steps of power adjustment( 1/64 to 1/1)~~~Large capacity Lithium battery pack to provide 700 full power flashes and fast recycle time( 0. 4-2. 5 seconds)~~~13W energy-saving LED Modeling lamp. Stable color temperature at 5600200K over the entire power range; Compatible with Canon Nikon Panasonic Olympus Pentax with Standard Hot Shoe and Sony Camera with New MI Hot Shoe like Sony A7 A7S/A7SII A7II A6000 A6300 A6500~~~Built-in 2. 4G receiver with 8 channels. Trigger included. Sub firmware upgrade helps keep pace with the latest technology. 1-Year Newer and lifetime email support~~~With Li-ion battery, extremely short flash duration and high Gn60, this German engineered 300W flash Meets all location shooting demands Whether shoot fast-moving objects or shoot in different lighting environments” btn-color=”#ff9900″ btn-text=”Check Current Price” alignment=”alignnone” hide-prime=”0″ hide-image=”0″ hide-price=”1″ hide-button=”0″ width=”750″]Neewer Vision 4 300W GN60 Outdoor Studio Flash Strobe[/amalinkspro]

This strobe offers exceptional performance and is my favorite for outdoor sessions. It offers great power and reliable lighting every time I fire it up. The price is reasonable and it has never let me down.

Neewer TT560 Flash Speedlite

[amalinkspro type=”showcase” asin=”B004LEAYXY” apilink=”https://www.amazon.com/dp/B004LEAYXY?tag=themainmuseum-20&linkCode=osi&th=1&psc=1″ new-window=”true” addtocart=”false” nofollow=”true” sc-id=”4″ imgs=”LargeImage” link-imgs=”false” specs=”Vertical Rotation Angle: 0~90 degrees, Horizontal Rotation Angle: 0~270 degrees; Note: Dont support TTL and the camera menu setting Function~~~Compatible with for Canon Nikon Panasonic Olympus Pentax Fijifilm and Sony with Mi Hot Shoe cameras,like a9 a7 a7II a7III a7R III a7RII a7SII a6000 a6300 a6500 (NOT compatible with Canon EOS Rebel SL3/250D,Rebel T7/1500D 2000D,Rebel T100/3000D 4000D)~~~Power Management: Switch to the ON, the flash will start charging (the charging indicator is dim)~~~For a test flash, press the test button. After use, press the ON/OFF to OFF to power off.~~~Red charging indicator lamp flickers in every 1s; it indicates low battery; The flash unit has 8 steps of power output control which indicated by 8 pieces of ” btn-color=”#ff9900″ btn-text=”Check Current Price” alignment=”alignnone” hide-prime=”0″ hide-image=”0″ hide-price=”1″ hide-button=”0″ width=”750″]Neewer TT560 Flash Speedlite [/amalinkspro]

This affordable and feature packed speedlight is compatible with Canon, Nikon, Sony and the rest of the major camera makers. It offers all the features you need in a speedlight without costing an arm and a leg. Performance is great and mine has served me well for years.