When it comes to off camera lighting there are options and thenmore options but most people start off with flashes, strobes or speedlites depending on what you call them, you know, the simple to use ultra lightweight and portable hot or cold shoe device. Some people never move on from them and others still use them to compliment their other lighting equipment. Personally I’ve played with both on numerous occasions and I’m a big fan of the little flash devices, I think for me it’s not only the portability and light weight but the fact there is no cords (I hate cords). You have complete freedom as long as you are able to trigger them.
It’s usual that if your starting out you are going to either just go out and buy yourself a proprietary unit that goes with your camera, or you’ll hop on to ebay and pick up something cheap and nasty. I’ve done the latter to provide you with a little bit of a first hand account, of what happens when you go cheap and nasty. On buying a proprietary unit, there is absolutely nothing wrong with that, what it will give you is a unit that will be useful on and off the camera since they usually have some sort of TTL technology, trust me it comes in handy sometimes, but when you take it off camera you are doing to be using it in manual mode, so how many times do you need to pay for the extra technology that you probably won’t use. Ok I know you can get TTL trigers etc… but the real control in manual.
So after that long winded intro I’m going to talk about an amazing flash unit that is priced perfectly for enthusiasts and pros. If you haven’t worked out already it’s the LumoPro LP160 Quad-sync Manual Flash. As the name suggests this is a completely manual flash designed specifically for off camera lighting, that has some amazing features and great build quality for what I consider extremely reasonably priced, and worth every cent.
I’ll run through a few of the features or specs quickly:
- Guide number: 140 (at ISO 100, feet) (Equivalent to Nikon SB-900 and Canon 580 EX II)
- Remote function: Optical Slave, Digital Optical Slave, PC syncro port, miniphone (3.5mm) port
- Power settings, Full, 1/2, 1/4, 1/8, 1/16, 1/32, 1/64
- Zoom Settings: 24, 28, 35, 50, 70, 85, 105mm
- Swivel: 270degrees
- Tilt: 187degrees, -7degree tilt for macro photography
There’s the bulk of the technical stuff for you, now for some cool features. One of the main problems with these sorts of flash units compared to their bigger brothers is there is no real way of finding out if it’s recycled and ready to fire again. Most of the time the Flash ready light is on the back of the unit which doesn’t really help that much. The LP160 has two Flash ready lights, one on the front and one on the back. I know it’s just a small feature but you’ll start to appreciate it when you have a few units all with different recycle times due to the different power settings. Another cool item/accessory that comes in the box is a Wide-angle diffuser that fits perfectly on the unit and doesn’t feel at all like it’s going to fall off. By attaching the diffuser you effectively bring a 24mm zoom down to 17mm.
For those looking at this as an addition to their pre-existing flash systems it’s worth mentioning that the new “Digital Optical Slave” mode will ignore the “pre-flash” which is a common feature of TTL flashed for obtaining exposure information.
I recently took the LP160 out with a reflective umbrella to a shoot for a test to see how it held up.
The LP160 performed so well that I’m more then happy to recommend the unit to you guys.
Now for a little story…
At the beginning of this post I mentioned how it’s quite normal for someone to hop onto ebay and purchase some cheap gear. Usually the thought behind it all is, if it light’s it will work fine. That may be so to a certain degree, so what I did was hop on to ebay and purchase two Yongneo 460ii’s from different suppliers. The YN460ii’s are probably one of the cheapest around, and the reason I purchased them from two different suppliers was a QA issue. They arrived with a nice soft case and that’s about it. So it was time to test them out and who would have guessed they worked perfectly. True they were nowhere near as powerful as the LP160, the didn’t have zoom or the cool front mounted flash ready light but they were working. I used them a few times and everything seemed to work out fine.
A few weeks later I thought I would use them for a shoot, to see how they went. I mean I had played with them for awhile and never had any problems. Four shots in, one unit completely died and the other would only fire using the “test” button.
I did two things, one I sent an email to the ebay seller, and second I sent an email to Youngnuo. I haven’t heard back from Youngnuo and the ebay seller told me that I’ve had them to long to provide me with a new unit. To say I was surprised would be a lie, I was completely expecting this and the fact that the unit’s lasted for as long as they did was probably a fluke. I mean I had, had the units for about 2 months in total.
My point in all of this is that LumoPro gives you a 2 year warranty from the date of purchase, not to mention that if you send them an email you will hear back! There is QA done on their units and their a professional bunch of people. I know as photographers especially when it’s a paid gig you need backup gear for your backup gear but I don’t have that doubt welling up inside of me every time I pull out the LP160. I know it’s going to work, I know what to expect and I know if I run into problems I can send them an email or give them a ring and we’ll be able to work something out. It’s important when you are purchasing gear to have that piece of mind, I think.
As I’ve said I’m more then happy to recommend the LumoPro LP160 to you, I think it’s an amazing unit that should find it’s way into your camera bag. Head over to the product page for some more specs and to pick one or two or three up. 🙂
You can now save $10 off a LumoPro LP160 with this promo code.