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GEAR REVIEW: LumoPro LP-180

Hey all. Happy humpday!

I like free shit. I won’t lie. I have a motive for starting this segment. I want free shit. So, I am going to dedicate a day to review a product. I’ll put it through the rigors of a visual designer and I’ll give you my 2 cents, for whatever it’s worth to you.

I didn’t get a comp for today’s gear though. I had to pay for this one. Today, I want to review a piece of gear that I always keep in my bag and I am making plans to acquire a few more and shoot some amazing work. Today, I am reviewing the LumoPro LP-180 Speedlight.

I found out about this strobe through the blog site Strobist.com. I was one of those photographers who felt that the flagships were the best of the best. I shelled out several hundred dollars for a couple of Nikon SB-800 strobes, and I liked them when I got them. But an article by Strobist made me realize the folly in my ways. You see, I ONLY shoot manual. I’m not banging on my chest or anything. It’s not meant to be an elitist statement, but I don’t shoot TTL. If it hadn’t been for the Strobist article, I would not have even considered another brand other than Nikon. (Hell, the TTL lights were the reason I stuck with Nikon gear as long as I had.) It wasn’t until just recently that I ACTUALLY found out what TTL was exactly, and I don’t use it. I shoot by feel. I set up, I test, I shoot. Although completely self-taught, I think I have a pretty decent technical acumen. I know how to adjust my settings to get to where I want to get to. And I am not much of an editor, so I try to get as close as I can out of camera.

After learning that I was paying a lot of money for features I don’t use, I took Strobist’s suggestion and picked up a couple of the LumoPro LP-180 strobes.

The very first thing I noticed was how different it felt from the Nikon flashes. The LumoPro strobes feel larger. The plastic is different. The Nikon felt more solid, but the LumoPro’s felt more hearty.

Their wit and nerdy charm has made me a fan for life.

I tested them out a few weeks before Otakon 2016 and threw them in my case.

I went to Otakon and had a disastrous weekend of shooting. I thought it was the lights. I was ready to pack it in. Although the lights produced good light overall, I could not get the damned things to pop as I expected. Disappointed. Dejected. I went home and sat down with the manual. I kicked myself. Over and over again. Really hard.

The manual was simple and concise. LumoPro completely won me over! The writing in the manual made everything better. Their wit and nerdy charm has made me a fan for life. I realized that if I had just made one setting change on my lights, things would have synced as expected. That wasn’t the light’s fault. It was mine. And my love for these lights has grown stronger every shoot.

I pair these lights up with the Phottix Ares transmitters and receivers and I have an instant studio anywhere. They recycle quickly with fresh batteries and the light is consistent. I have not dropped them (yet) to test their ruggedness (I DID have to pay for these…). Nor have I tried to use them as a flotation device for partially submerged models.

All that I DO know is that when I haul around my camera case, I have a couple of these in there.At around $150 USD,  they are much cheaper than the SB series from Nikon or the Canon flagship strobes. With 4 different ways to sync these lights, you are never out of options and the range worked for me. If you only shoot in Manual mode for your lights, give these a look.

I recently found out about the LumoPro LP-180R which has a built-in receiver. I am super-stoked about picking up a couple and trying these out, as it could POSSIBLY reduce the need for dedicating precious travel case space for radio receivers. For full technical specs of the LumoPro LP-180 and LP-180R, visit the LumoPro website here.

If I do pick up any of the 180-R’s, I will try and remember to link this review to that one.