A Pocket Full of Flash

TAMRAC 5385_large
I’ve been gathering together gear in preparation for my 14th cross-country drive. We’re moving to a new home in northern California—Hidden Valley Lake—above Napa.

No more Mr. Renter, thank you very much.

Zoom Street Photo

Part of the journey will be devoted to a feature for Zoom Street called Road Strobes. I’ll be using three LumoPro LP160 Quad-sync flash units exclusively. (You can read my report on the LP160 here.)  This strobe offers professional quality and the oomph of a Nikon SB-900 at an affordable price—$160. (Keep in mind Nikon and Canon’s high-end flashes run $500. So you can have three for the price of one SB-900. And who do we have to thank for this stellar light? Moishe Applebaum of Midwest Photo Exchange in Columbus, Ohio. (Bless you, Moishe.)

Now the LP160 is a manual flash without all the TTL bells and whistles, but that’s fine with me. The only problem I faced with the LP160… it doesn’t come with a padded travel pouch. I understand that helps to keep the price down. But if you think finding a generic case is easy—take my word for it—it ain’t.

Midwest Photo has the 32” LumoPro Lighting Case—a nice bag, but way too big for my purpose. So I shopped around in brick & mortar stores, but still came up empty. Digicam cases & lens bags were too small. Camera cases too big. I even searched luggage shops through miscellaneous travel bags, but nada nada nada, no cigar.

I phoned Adorama and gave them the dimensions…they had one soft case but couldn’t guarantee it would fit.

After a grueling search online, I finally stumbled on the Tamrac MX5385 M.A.S. Flash Accessory Pocket (Large, Black… see details at bottom of this post).


I purchased the last one in stock on Amazonand it’s perfect.

Zoom Street Photo

flash case

Not only is it a perfect fit—snug and well-padded with a bit of breathing room at top—but it includes a front pocket for the flash stand and spare batteries. The case can be quickly attached to a belt or to most Tamrac products featuring their M.A.S. (Modular Accessory System).





Beat a path to Tamrac immediately!

Zoom Street Photo

The nice folks at Tamrac are sending me two additional “pockets” so each LP160 is guaranteed to survive the  road trip. That is, unless I encounter an IED.

LumoPro LP160

Here are the Tamrac MX5385 specs:

Material    Exterior: 600 denier Ripstop PolyTek nylon
Interior: Closed-cell foam padding
Type of Closure     Touch fastener
Exterior Dimensions     4.5 x 3.125 x 9.25″ (11.43 x 7.94 x 23.5cm) (WxDxH)
Interior Dimensions     3.5 x 1.75 x 8.75″ (8.89 x 4.45 x 22.23cm) (WxDxH)
Accommodates     Flash or light meter
Carrying/Transport Options     Carry handle
Belt loop
Weight     4.0 oz. (113g)

For additional info on these products & other cool gear, visit:

www.tamrac.com   /   www.lumopro.com


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…


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?


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!