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Gear Reviews

LumoPro LP180 Flash Review

By Pye Jirsa on April 17th 2015

Best Manual Flash Money Can Buy?

Despite being a manual flash, the LumoPro LP180 holds its own as one of our favorite manual pocket strobes. For those of you not accustomed to the photographic nomenclature, a pocket strobe is the name given to this particular power output (~guide 60) and size of flash, because it can fit in your pocket. Health Warning: we do not suggest doing this and are not responsible for loss of circulation and/or spastic judgment and mockery. However, we will be responsible for fully reviewing the LumoPro LP180 in all its manual splendor.

LumoPro LP180 Flash Review Video

04-performance-5-stars

After being included in a side-by-side test with over a dozen other pocket strobes, we personally rated the guide number at around 60. This is around the average guide number for a pocket strobe. The LumoPro LP180 also produces solid recycle times of 2-3 seconds. On top of that, it also produces constant power output and color consistency during many shoots. It is incredibly reliable for professional use.

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We have personally taken these out on professional shoots and were very impressed. Before we review gear, we field test the heck out of them to find their true weaknesses and strengths. Many pocket strobes out of the box are great but only show their true colors when they have been field tested over and over again. Because the Lumopro LP180 has remained consistent after many shoots we rate its performance 5 out of 5 stars.

09-features-5-stars

When compared to other manual flashes, again we award the Lumopro 5 out of 5 stars for features. Generally, manual flashes don’t have many features to begin with. They can control power output and zoom with the ability to test flash. However, there are some notable differences with this unit.

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The LP 180 is the only manual strobe we own that has a 1/4 20 bolt insert on the side of the flash. This makes it incredible versatile and easy to mount to everything that has the “standard” 1/4 20 bolt.

14-design-5-stars

The Lumopro LP180 has an incredibly simple UI. The ease of use to set basic adjustments without the need to read your manual makes it simply beautiful.

lumopro-lp180-flash-review-5

It features a slave option and test option. The buttons for navigation are straightforward and fast. This elegantly designed interface deserves all of it’s 5 of out 5 stars.

19-quality-5-stars

The Lumopro LP180 has the build quality you would come to expect from a big brand manufacturer. The weight correctly reflects it’s high grade plastic structure including details like rubber buttons. We give it 5 out of 5 stars on overall quality.

22-value-3-stars

In fact, this pocket strobe would be nearly perfect if it wasn’t for our rating of 3 out of 5 in the value category. 3 out of 5 is not necessarily bad, it’s average. For what the LP180 delivers you pay the appropriate price of $200. Also to keep in mind, combining this with a Pocketwizard+ III for around $150 will raise the price to $350. This flash is more expensive than a Neewer ($100) and a Yongnuo ($70) but the build quality is superior. If you want a new and reliable manual flash this is the flash for you.

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33-overall-score-4.5-stars

The LumoPro LP180 is a reliable workhorse in the world of manual flashes. Although it’s expensive, it’s incredible performance and reliability make it well worth the price you pay. If you’re looking for a top-notch manual flash, then you should definitely consider the LumoPro LP180.

Conclusion and More Info

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About

Founding Partner of Lin and Jirsa Photography and SLR Lounge.

Follow my updates on Facebook and my latest work on Instagram both under username @pyejirsa.

Q&A Discussions

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  1. Brian Spillane

    I have a pair of the LP 180’s and love them. The price currently however is $150 which I think would affect your value rating. http://mpex.com/lumopro-lp180-quad-sync-manual-flash.html

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  2. Lester Terry

    Nice review. Definitely a must have!

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  3. robert s

    ive held that lumapro flash in my hand. first thing I said was “when did the museum want it back?”
    display is small and old school. buttons could be bigger and spaced out just a bit more. love the 1/4″-20 threading. brilliant. 4 way sync is nice but a bit of hype up since the majority (except PW users) dont need any cables to fire them. slip it into the hot shoe and thats it. build quality is nice but the same level as anything new being sold by the asians. the lumapro has a more rougher finish and the others have a more smoother shinier finish so it may seem like its a cheaper plastic. but the plastic is high quality with any flash today.

    On my camera I only use nikon flashes SB700/800/900. ttl accuracy is better with them. non of the asian flashes are great with ttl accuracy. ttl with the 622n slaves are crap.

    off camera, I dont care. $200 is a sum for a manual only flash for todays options. u could buy 3- yongnuo 560 III flash with built in receivers. pros around the world use them day to day. theyre very reliable.

    they only come with one year warranty though. I never had to use it but I can say that itd be a pita to get service as their CS is crap at best. but theyre inexpensive, fast powerful, well built and just disposable in my eyes. I would never put an expensive nikon flash as an OCF. it will happen that theyll fall over. either someone bumping into the light stand or from the wind when shooting outdoors. its happened a few times outside with the umbrellas absorbing the fall.

    I just sold my 568/565 I used for off camera flash and bought 2 flashes from newcomer shanny. very strong and fast to recycle. excellent build TTL and HSS for $90 shipped. so now owning 4-560II and 2 shanny. looking to sell all my gear and move it to shanny. im waiting for their flagship flash which will be soon.

    2.2 second recycle. faster than the $550 nikon SB910

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hWOplHhmYhg

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  4. Jerry Jackson

    I feel like the third-party manual flashes are getting SO GOOD that the camera manufacturers need to step up their game with premium native flash units. For example, I love the Sony HVL-F60M, but it’s way overpriced compared to what else is available (and similar comments apply to the high-end flash units from Canon and Nikon).

    If Sony, Canon, Nikon, etc. want us to keep paying crazy money for a flash then they need to have all the bells and whistles (like Li-Ion rechargeable batteries that last longer and recycle faster than AAs, and built-in multichannel radio transceivers that work with wireless TTL, wireless HSS, and wireless manual ratio control).

    That, or all the camera manufacturers need to drop the prices on native flash units by 60% across the board.

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    • Pye

      Agreed. Companies like Phottix that are making excellent, durable and well designed flashes are really bringing a whole new type of product to the playing field.

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  5. Richard Hammer

    I invested in four of these bad boys last year, and they are indeed wonderful “pocket strobes” (I prefer the term “speedlights”, but to each his own!)

    As the review says, they’re rugged, consistent, and powerful. I actually prefer shooting all-manual, so I don’t miss the TTL capability. The one thing I DO miss is no high-speed sync, but it’s not an issue most of the time.

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  6. Uncle Bob

    Nice review. For what it’s worth I’ve been using a YN flash with TTL that cost about half the price for about a year and a half and it hasn’t had any issues. It’s not built as well as my Canon flashes but it doesn’t really feel cheap either. I may have gotten lucky with a good copy though.

    The Lumopro does look good though and the warranty mentioned above by Richard makes it a little more appealing.

    I do have a question about manual only flashes though.., when shooting off camera is there anyway to be able to adjust settings directly from camera? With my Canon and YN flashes I can adjust/control everything right from my camera even when my flashes are in manual mode because my flashes and triggers support TTL . This is really helpful when I’m shooting a first dance for example. Is there a way to do that with a manual only flash?

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    • Steve VanSickle

      The cactus v6 triggers allow power adjustment to up-to 4 groups for manual or ttl flashes. http://www.cactus-image.com/v6.html

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    • Jerry Jackson

      I’ve also been using the Cactus V6 triggers that Steve mentioned and I love those things. A bit complicated to setup when you first start using them, but I got faster about setting them up once I figured it out … and they are WONDERFUL.

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  7. Richard Reed

    I don’t believe this was mentioned, but the flash also carries a 2-yr warranty. I think that’s something well worth considering if you’re looking at comparably priced used flashes or even a cheaper new flash.

    I’m a Yongnuo guy myself for cost reasons and the fact that I’m not using them in situations where failure (hasn’t happened yet…knock on wood) would potentially cost me lost business. Now, if photography was how I made my living, the LP180 would definitely be my pocket strobe”” of choice.

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  8. Ed Rhodes

    nice looking strobe!

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  9. Steve VanSickle

    To be fair, one doesn’t require a PocketWizard with this flash. Seeing as how it doesn’t need PW’s TTL ability, one could easily substitute the overpriced radio trigger for a Yongnuo transceiver, or my personal favorite in manual radio triggers: the Cactus V6 for much less than $150 per trigger.

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    • Pye

      Yep yep, very true. We just presented the PWP3 because that’s what we have and use. You just need a radio that you prefer =)

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  10. Brandon Dewey

    great review

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