US based photographic accessory company Lumopro have announced the development of the new LP180 manual hotshoe flash, to be released later this year. The LP180 replaces the very popular LP160 flash which reached the end of its life cycle in October last year.
The previous LP160 manual flash gained a lot of respect, in a market flooded with cheap, almost throw away, Chinese manual flashes, the LP160 was the only solid, reliable, simple, manual alternative. Priced around $160 – $180 the LP160 was around 3 times the price of many cheap alternatives, but with the support of the strobist community, it not only survived, but thrived.
The LP160 (shown below) was build like a tank, that’s because it was based on a very solid old flash body. Controls were very simple up and down power level buttons. And one of the most unique features was simply a reliable 3.5mm mini-phone jack sync port connection, instead of just the traditional PC sync port which are known for their poor reliability.
So what can we expect from the new LP180? Lumopro Product Manager Kevin Deskins has been rather guarded about releasing hard details at this stage. So why all the fuss now then? Well after conversing with Kevin (who is self confessed design freak, much like myself) without him even giving away many details, its very clear he has put a LOT of time and effort into this new baby, and he is genuinely excited about letting people know they have been working hard on something they think people will really like. Its definitely no simple sync port upgrade this time.
Now I can hear people screaming “bare bulb” already, but I think its safe to say they haven’t gone that far at this stage if Kevin’s comments on recent flickr threads are any indication. What we do know is this is another fully manual (not TTL) flash –
“This is an update to the LP160, that much I can say, the idea of the “LPTTL” isn’t quite ready for the world. This round, is just a beefier better version of your manual off camera flash. “This ain’t your daddy’s Vivitar…not even by a long shot.” There are some things up our sleeve this market hasn’t seen before.”
Kevin has pointed out numerous times they are listening very closely to user feedback and addressing those points. From my own point of view lack of HV battery port for external battery pack (and therefore faster recycle time) was the main thing lacking in the LP160, so I would be very surprised if that is not updated.
So what could the new features not seen before be? – This is 1000% speculation now, but I’ll take a punt and say one may simply be a 1/4″ 20 threaded mounting hole on the side of the flash, so that it can be easily mounted horizontally in an umbrella swivel and along the axis of an umbrella shaft. Possibly even a more elaborate T-slot style hotshoe track. I’ve been saying for quite a few years a horizontal mount would be all it would take to create the first real off camera speedlite, hopefully someone may really be listening or channelling this time.
Another feature, which is probably a long shot at this late stage, is a simple socket for a remote manual power control using regular radio triggers to adjust the power level. This was recently discovered as a DIY hack, but could not be more ideally suited to the Lumpro flashe.
In any case we look forward to the return of the Lumopro flash (later this year), the 160 was already good, and the LP180 is sure to be an improvement. The 160 was the simple reliable manual option for many of my own speedlight mount customers using the hotshoe flashes professionally.
The full Lumopro Announcement –
LumoPro® Announces Development of New Flagship Flash Product
January 4, 2013 — LumoPro®, a leading developer and manufacturer of off-camera flash equipment, announced today that a new flagship flash, LP180, is currently in development. The new manual flash will have unique features never before seen in a small flash. More details will be announced closer to launch date, which is estimated to be later this year.
The LP180 will be the newest release in the successful line of LumoPro® flashes. Beginning with the LP120 in 2009 and continuing with the release of the LP160 in 2010, LumoPro® has shown a strong commitment to the off-camera flash community by developing durable and reliable flashes at an affordable price.
“We cannot express in any human language how excited we are about this new product.” Said Kevin Deskins, LumoPro® Product Manager. “We can however express it by banging our fists in excitement on our keyboards, ‘lqwlnhqw;ion;sbdq;jgjasfdnj;’ Our team has been working very hard on the LP180. I believe this next generation LumoPro® flash unit will take the first few steps into revolutionizing the speedlight industry.”
More information will be provided later in the development of LP180 and shared with customers in the coming months. Deskins also stressed, “We want people to know we’re still here, we’re still listening, and we’re working very hard on this new product. We thank our customers for their continued support and look forward to launching this incredible new product later this year.”
While striving to maintain quality product and superior customer support, LumoPro® will continue to bring lighting and support equipment to the photographic community such as grip equipment, stands, and modifiers. LumoPro® products can be found at Midwest Photo Exchange in the United States, CameraTools in Europe, PhotoFreak in Israel, and Shanzhuoboshi in China.
Questions about the LP180 and other LumoPro® equipment can be directed to firstname.lastname@example.org.
You can also see more reviews on the original LP160 HERE