Adorama’s Flashpoint 180 Mono Light set promises affordable, portable off-camera flash


posted Monday, May 20, 2013 at 3:17 PM EDT

Want to improve your photos and unleash your creativity, all in one fell swoop? As the folks at the popular Strobist blog will tell you, off-camera flash can take your photography to the next level. Photography is all about capturing light, and the more of it you can put on your subject, the more the camera has to work with -- but on-camera flash is typically harsh, unflattering and unnatural. The problem with off-camera lighting gear is that it can be rather pricey, especially if it comes with its own power supply for portability. A new single-light strobe kit just released by Adorama promises to buck the trend, letting those of us on a budget dabble our toes in portable, off-camera flash without breaking the bank.

The Flashpoint 180 Mono Light set is based around a 180-watt-second Flashpoint MK-180T monolight with a 7-inch (18cm) reflector, providing a guide number of 150 feet (48m) at ISO 100 equivalent when the reflector is attached. The monolight features a Bowens S-type bayonet mount for attaching either the bundled reflector, or your choice of softboxes, light modifiers and other accessories. Features include a stepless output power control from 1/16 to full power, a three-watt LED modeling lamp, an optional flash-ready beep along with an indicator lamp, and an optical slave sensor that optionally allows the strobe to fire automatically when another flash is seen.

The Flashpoint 180 Mono Light kit includes everything you see here, plus a couple of power cables you don't.

In the interests of portability, there's no light stand in the product bundle, with a compact pistol grip provided instead. Of course, you can supply a light stand of your own, if you prefer. Adorama also includes a small 37-inch (95cm) translucent umbrella which you can either use to bounce flash or to shoot through, for a more diffuse light. This folds down to around 10 inches (25cm) when not in use.

The included monolight offers a strobe with a guide number of 150 feet, plus a three-watt modeling lamp.

The strobe draws power from two standard Sony NP-F960-type battery packs, with third-party equivalents provided in the product bundle. Two 100-240 volt chargers are included, and the packs are placed in a small Flashpoint MV-AD2 housing that's about the same size as the strobe's body, reducing the weight you'll need to handhold. Together, the twin battery packs provide a rated life of up to 700 flashes at full power. To connect power pack to strobe, a 5-foot (1.5m) power cable is included; the product bundle also provides a 10-foot (3m) sync cable, and power cables for the two chargers.

On the rear of the strobe are controls for its optional modeling lamp, beeper, and optical slave functions, plus a test button and more.

Available immediately, the Flashpoint 180 Mono Light kit retails for an affordable US$200 or thereabouts, including both a carry bag and free shipping. More details on the Adorama website.


A handheld pistol grip is included; the strobe is also stand-mountable if you supply the lighting stand.