Today is the day Strobists have been longing for. Why? It’s the official launch day for the LumoPro LP180 flash, an amazingly capable little (or not-so-little) flashgun which costs way less than the equivalents from the likes of Canon and Nikon.
The LP180 (review to be published Wednesday) is a “quad-sync” flash, which means it can be triggered four ways: on top of the camera, from an old-fashioned PC cable, from a new-fashioned 3.5mm-jack headphone cable and from another flash using the built on slave unit.
The unit takes 4 AA batteries (it works just fine on Eneloops), tilts up 90-degrees (and down a few) and spins a full 360 degrees. The foot has a lever to clamp it onto place on a camera or light stand, control is by pushbutton on the back panel and you can even hook it up to an external power source for fast recycling.
On paper it looks pretty great, and in persons it’s pretty awesome too. Here are a few spoilers from the full review.
The three best features in my opinion are 1) the jack socket, which lets you use a cheap, sturdy and ubiquitous cable to trigger off-camera flash instead of a shitty, fragile and falling-out-friendly PC cable; 2) the easy-to-adjust power output which can be dialed down to 1/128 of full output in 1/3-stop steps and 3) the tripod socket, which sits on one side of the top section, right in the middle of its tilt axis. This lets you mount the flash on any tripod or flash stand without using an adapter, and thanks to its positioning you can easily adjust the angle and – better – you can twist the body of the unit so that the slave detector can point towards the camera without moving the flash head itself. This is so useful that every flash maker should just copy it right now.
Slave sensitivity is great, and I have been using it with my Fujifilm X100S’s built-in flash (turned down low) as an almost 100%-reliable remote trigger. There are several slave settings so you can tell the unit to ignore any number of pre-flashes your camera bursts out before it files the real thing. Handy.
It’s also (spoiler alert) tough, made from a resilient and yielding plastic. Comparing this to the old LumoPro LP160 is like comparing an iPhone 5 to… Well, to any phone made by Samsung.
The price? A mere $200 That means you could almost buy three of these instead of just one $550 Nikon SB-910.