The new Sunpak 120J II bare bulb TTL Flash Kits for Canon and Nikon are now available from B&H Photo for $299.
The kits include an external Lithium-ion battery pack, though the flash requires 4 internal AA batteries, and can run off these internal batteries alone like most regular speedlites.
The original Sunpak 120j were fairly legendary flashes. Built on the simple and solid Sunpak speedlite body, with a second capacitor added into the head, doubling the light output to approximately 120WS, and adding a bare bulb and reflector mount.
As with the classic Vivitar flash units, the original Japanese Sunpak speeldlites have long since discontinued production. And the Sunpak 120j II are really more a product of opportunistic naming rights than a comparable alternative to the original Sunpak models.
The 120J II are now based on the Chinese Triopo flashes, and do not include any extra capacitor to boost the power over that of a regular speedlight.
Nevertheless bare bulb alternatives to the current popular speedlite models are in high demand, though still strangely something many manufactures have constantly put on the back burner.
So the 120j II may not exactly be a real alternative to the original classic, though they will have their place, and even add some significant features, like full TTL metering, and Optic Wireless Slave Modes for the Canon or Nikon systems.
The main notable difference being the TR-180 adding HSS (High Speed Sync), which the Sunpak 120j II specs do not mention.
- Guide Number – 54m (ISO 100, 105mm Equivalent)
- Bare Bulb Head and Reflector Mount
- ETTL or I-TTL Metering
- TTL, Manual, and Multi Modes
- FEC, FEB, FEL
- Canon or Nikon Optic Wireless Slave Modes
- S1 & S2 Optic Slave Modes
- HSS to 1/8000th (Possibly Triopo TR-180 Flash Model Only)
- Second Curtain Sync
- Manual Power Levels From 1/128 to Full (In 1/3rd Stop Adjustments)
- AF Assist Light
- Full Tilt and Swivel Head
- Large LCD Display
- Powered By 4 AA Batteries
- External Battery Port (Nikon plug for both Canon & Nikon versions)
- 2.9 Second Recycle (1 Second with External Battery Pack)
- Flash Duration – 1/200s~1/20000s
- Sound Prompt
- Power Save Mode
- Overheat Protection
- PC Sync Port
- Flash Comes with Stand, Reflector, and Bag.
The Sunpak 120J II provide an external high voltage battery port which accept the Sunpak / Triopo TR-2800 Lithium-ion pack, and likely any regular Nikon compatible high voltage speedlite battery pack as well.
The socket in the flash uses the Nikon style plug for both the Canon and Nikon version of the flash.
The only other port provided is an original style PC sync port –
TR-2800 Battery Pack
The Sunpack 120J II are really just like a regular speedlite and will run off their 4 internal AA batteries alone. Though Sunpak at least are selling the flash as a kit with the Tripop TR-2800 Lithium-ion battery pack included.
The TR-2800 are 2500mAh 11.1V Lithium-ion packs, which should provide over 1200 full power shots with the Sunpak 120J II, or most regular speedlites (with an external battery port).
Full power recycle time is around 1 second. And there is a second port provided to run a second flash as well (likely with some increase on that 1 second recycle time).
- Type – Lithium-ion
- Capacity – 11.1 V – 2500 mAh
- Output – 310 V
- Input – 12.6 V, 1.0 A
- Size – 80x40x120 mm
- Weight – 430 g
The cord supplied for the Sunpak 120J II are the Nikon style plug. Though the battery pack end of the cord uses the standard DIN plugs, so other cords can also be used for other flash models.
Polaroid PL-135 / Tripo TR-120
The Sunpak 120J II are not actually Triopo’s first bare bulb flash unit. Over 12 months ago, in March 2013 the first Triopo bare bulb flash units emerged under the Polaroid PL-135 name, and shortly after as the Triopo TR-120.
The main difference with the new Sunpak 120J II being the change to the later Triopo flash body, as well as the addition of Canon and Nikon Optic Wireless Slave Modes. And also HSS capability with the new TR-180 model.
The Polariod flashes were originally released for just $99 on Amazon, leading to a bit of a rush of purchases. As is not uncommon though, the first batches had some teething issues, and it was incorrectly reported by some that they were quickly discontinued.
The new Sunpak and Triopo models do also have an updated reflector mount though. Which now clamps the reflector, instead of having it screw into place.
As the fine threads on the reflector base were one of the main issues with the first batch of Polaroid flashes.
Triopo in general have been a little behind other brands like YongNuo etc in the build quality of their flashes, and this is pretty well reflected in some very low prices. (Though they have been well ahead with some features, like the bare bulb, and built in radio for example).
Though I have not heard any complaints about the original Polaroid flashes since the first batch. And you would expect the build quality is making progress at lease to some degree in new models like this as well.
Purchasing from B&H Photo at least you can be fairly reassured they will look after any issues. Though they only have the kits with battery pack available at this stage.
If you’re after something more like the original Sunpak 120j, then the Godox AD180 are really more comparable, and leave the original 120J a long way behind in virtually every respect. And prices are now coming down to as low as $330 for AD180 and PB960 battery pack kits.
The Jinbei MF-200 would also be another option.
The Sunpak 120J II offer a more compact flash unit though, which can be more nimble without the need for an external battery pack attached. And they offer TTL capabilities for on and off-camera use, as well as Optic Wireless Slave Modes for Canon or Nikon.
And the Triopo version at least will likely be available eventually at some very affordable prices.
Price and Availability -
The Sunpak 120J II Flash Kit with Battery Pack are available now from B&H Photo for $299.
Triopo TR-180 flash – Ebay.
Triopo TR-2800 Battery Pack – Ebay.
Triopo TR-120 / Polaroid PL135 – Original Post.
Sunpak – Website.
Triopo – Website.