Blinded by the Light

Zoom Street Photo

I’d heard some nice rumors about the LumoPro LP160 Quad Sync Flash, so I figured it was time to see for myself. Off-camera speedlights are the rage today, but unless you’re Joe McNally you probably can’t afford, say, a dozen SB-900s. Yepper, a gaggle of Nikon strobes is a bank-buster for sure.

I’ve  purchased only one SB-900—(it’s the master, I’m the slave)—and use several less powerful flashguns for rim and fill when necessary. But it would sure be nice to add a little oommph to the equation without taking out a loan…

lp160_back

So here’s the LP160 raising it’s hand, shouting ”Me! Me! Me!”

Hmm, looks and feels pretty solid.

What’s the street price?

$159. No joke.

So I figured it couldn’t have much juice, right?

Boy, was I in for a surprise. When I triggered the thing at full power it lit up the living room like I’d switched on a Kleig light.

Zoom Street Photo

Believe it or not, the LP160 matches the power of my SB-900. Keep in mind it’s a manual flash, but you can still use it with TTL by choosing the Si setting where it simply ignores the pre-flash. You just have to set the strobe’s power manually.

In its standard slave mode (S) it’s very sensitive—fires immediately upon sensing another flash. You could it almost call it trigger happy, which is a refreshing change from a flash that suffers from stage-fright. During my initial tests it never missed a cue.

LP160’s power ratio: 1/1, 1/2, 1/4, 1/8, 1/16, 1/32,  1/64.

Recycle time is 3-4 seconds when using rechargeable NiMH. batteries.

The back panel controls are efficiently designed; on/off and slave selection switches;  separate buttons to control power and  zoom (the motorized zoom head extends from 24mm to 105mm); and last but not least… a reset/test button.

On one side of the LP160  you’ll find both a 3.5mm Miniphone jack socket and a socket for PC Synchro cord.

The flash head of the LP160 has a distinct advantage over my SB-900—I don’t  have to depress a button to swivel it. The head tilts from -7 to 90 degrees; rotates 180 degrees to the right, 150 degrees left; 330-degree total.

And here’s a rarity LumoPro included a ready light on both the front and the back of the LP160—a extremely useful feature when slaving. Of course you can also mount the flash in your camera’s hot shoe. I used it on both a Nikon D300s and D90.

The flash comes with several accessories… a small stand, a snap-on wide-angle diffuser, and a Miniphone to PC Synchro cord. The only thing missing is a padded carry case but—hell—at this price who’s gonna complain?

LumoPro-LP633

Using the optional LumoPro LP633 Umbrella Swivel w/ Flash Shoe Adapter (above) I mounted the LP160 w/umbrella on a light stand and was ready to roll.

Zoom Street Photo

All I needed was a model, so I dragged my son outside for this quick portrait.

photo by Derek Pell

I kept the power at 1/8 so the bounced flash blended nicely with the ambient light.

So as you can see I’m sold on the LP160. And so was everybody over on Zoom Street where it just received this:

Street Smart Editors' Choice Award

Way to go LumoPro!

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