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A New Bare Bulb Flash Arrives

FORUMS General Gear Talk Flash and Studio Lighting
Thread started 26 Jan 2013 (Saturday) 10:20   
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tetrode
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I haven’t been posting much here on POTN recently but did want to bring a new piece of flash gear to the attention of POTN’ers. If a powerful, bare bulb, remotely-controllable, non-TTL flash sounds interesting, read on.

Let’s get the disclaimer out of the way first: I’ve been working with Edward Tang of CheetahStand as a beta tester of his new CL-180 flash for the better part of a year now. I have absolutely no financial involvement with this product whatsoever and do not stand to profit from it in any way. Edward is a friend and I help him out with product development and testing every so often purely as a friend. As this flash can be viewed as a successor to the greatly missed “Sunpak 120J, I thought the soon-to-be available Cheetah Light CL-180 might be of interest to forum readers.

So what we have here is a shoe-mountable flash unit somewhat larger than a Nikon SB-910 or Canon 600EX. The Cheetah CL-180 is rated at a bit over 150Ws of power; slightly more than a Quantum QFlash. It’s a bare bulb unit as mentioned above and is able to accept a variety of head-mounted accessories which includes a standard 5” reflector, two types of snoot, folding 19” octabox/beauty dish, and a cleverly designed umbrella holder with dedicated reflector. It is also compatible with virtually all existing Quantum/Lumedyne mount accessories. The only exceptions I’ve encountered are the Lumedyne snoot and the Lumedyne ANEC mount adapter. The diameter of these two accessories is fractionally too large for the CL-180.

An additional potentially attractive accessory which I was unable to test is the Cells II transmitter. The Cells II enables high speed sync with Canon cameras.

Here's the flash with radio receiver and umbrella mount, battery pack, and transmitter:

IMAGE: http://f.cl.ly/items/1T1j190Q3f1z3q2t4612/Cheetah_CL180_1.jpg

Power output of the flash can be varied from 1:1 down to 1:128 in third stops using the rotating dial on the back of the unit. A focus assist lamp and audible recycle alert are also provided.

The accessory of greatest interest would have to be the radio transceiver set. The small receiver plugs into the side of the flash while the transmitter sits in the camera hotshoe. The transmitter can control various flash functions but, most noteworthy, is its ability to control flash power. The current flash power setting can be seen on the transmitter’s backlit LCD screen. Range is very good. The flash triggered reliably at unobstructed distances in excess of 500 feet during beta testing. Of course, multiple groups and multiple channels are supported.

This is a view of the flash from the back. Here it has the optional umbrella holder and reflector mounted:

IMAGE: http://f.cl.ly/items/3l0u163q273K3f2t2u3T/Cheetah_CL180_2.jpg

Power for the CL-180 is provided by an external 4500mAh lithium-ion power pack. The pack has two power outlets and a removable battery cartridge. In my testing, a fully charged pack provided over 800 full power pops. Full power recycle time is approximately 2-1/2 seconds. With the appropriate cables (Quantum compatible cables will work) Nikon and Canon flash units can also be powered by the battery pack as can Quantum flash units.

The preceding should not be taken as a review. It’s intended as a product announcement. That said, I will add that the test units functioned flawlessly throughout the long beta test period. I believe Cheetah will have the CL-180 and accessories available some time later in February.

Post #1, Jan 26, 2013 10:20:07




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The ­ Loft ­ Studios
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Price?

Post #2, Jan 26, 2013 10:25:41


MARK

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doidinho
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Looks nice. Is there a review in the works?

Post #3, Jan 26, 2013 10:29:25


Robert McCadden
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tetrode
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The Loft Studios wrote in post #15536001external link
Price?

I'm afraid you'll have to ask Edward about pricing. He's a friendly guy. I'm sure he'd love to chat with you about his new baby.

Post #4, Jan 26, 2013 10:38:43




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tetrode
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doidinho wrote in post #15536010external link
Looks nice. Is there a review in the works?

I'm sure they'll be one forthcoming, Robert, but I really don't think it would be appropriate for it to come from me as I was somewhat involved in the product's development. On the other hand, I will be more than happy to respond honestly to any questions you or anyone else might have regarding the CL-180.

Let me say this: I've been involved with a number of products that have oozed through the development pipeline and have never taken the initiative to write about them here on POTN. This product has performed so well, so reliably, so impressively that I thought it deserves mention here on the forum.

Apart from the used market, relatively affordable bare bulb flash units have not been available since the demise of the Sunpak 120J. This CL-180 fills the void in spades being far more powerful and feature-rich. Time will tell if it proves a worthy non-TTL capable competitor for the pricey Quantums.

Post #5, Jan 26, 2013 10:52:15




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FJ ­ LOVE
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this flash system looks well thought out and seems more softbox friendly too, thanks for posting this Dave :cool:

Post #6, Jan 26, 2013 13:05:58


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tetrode
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FJ LOVE wrote in post #15536505external link
this flash system looks well thought out and seems more softbox friendly too, thanks for posting this Dave :cool:

It's definitely softbox and beauty dish friendly but I'll also mention that the umbrella adapter makes it EXTREMELY Apollo/Apollo clone friendly:

IMAGE: http://f.cl.ly/items/3D3N0k400X2n0g3W0i3w/Cheetah_CL180_4.jpg

Post #7, Jan 26, 2013 13:34:17




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sigma ­ pi
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IMAGE: http://f.cl.ly/items/3l0u163q273K3f2t2u3T/Cheetah_CL180_2.jpg

What are the different modes and what is the buzz button for?

Post #8, Jan 26, 2013 14:08:08


Don't try to confuse me with the facts, my mind is already made up.
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Wilt
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tetrode wrote in post #15535989external link
As this flash can be viewed as a successor to the greatly missed “Sunpak 120J, I thought the soon-to-be available Cheetah Light CL-180 might be of interest to forum readers....
An additional potentially attractive accessory which I was unable to test is the Cells II

Interesting product. It will be interesting to see what portion of today's photographers it will appeal to.

Those of us who cut our photographic teeth with manual flash units are dwindling in number! A lot of foks know Auto photosensor mode; more recent photographers may know only ETTL. You encounter on POTN many photographers who have to be convinced and given the hard sell to buy and utilize a hand held light meter, much less a flash meter.

Also, since the flash claims HSS capability (although normally only ETTL compatible flash units support HSS, because HSS commands are sent from the camera to control light output duration to match shutter speed selected) and no flash meters are HSS compatible, the determination of exposure would be problematic.

What advantages would it have over the Lumedyne (apart from the HSS)?

Post #9, Jan 26, 2013 18:36:28


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DarthVader
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Sweeetttt

Post #10, Jan 26, 2013 19:00:27


Nikon/Olympus.
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dave63
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Color me intrigued.

Post #11, Jan 26, 2013 19:02:21



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EmaginePixel
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Wow.. this is cool. More details and demo reviews please!

Post #12, Jan 26, 2013 20:24:40


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dmward
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Wilt wrote in post #15537494external link
Interesting product. It will be interesting to see what portion of today's photographers it will appeal to.

Those of us who cut our photographic teeth with manual flash units are dwindling in number! A lot of foks know Auto photosensor mode; more recent photographers may know only ETTL. You encounter on POTN many photographers who have to be convinced and given the hard sell to buy and utilize a hand held light meter, much less a flash meter.

Also, since the flash claims HSS capability (although normally only ETTL compatible flash units support HSS, because HSS commands are sent from the camera to control light output duration to match shutter speed selected) and no flash meters are HSS compatible, the determination of exposure would be problematic.

What advantages would it have over the Lumedyne (apart from the HSS)?

Interesting observations. It does appear that there is an inclination to either be a Manual flash guy or an ETTL flash guy.

The irony is that both have their place and a smart photographer wants to have all the tricks in the bag. What I find intriguing is the ability to remotely control power. If that can be combined into multiple groups with multiple units in each group this becomes a great solution that has a power capability that is between speedlites and monolights.

600EX-RT with battery pack 60Ws ?? $650 per unit
CL-180 with battery pack 180Ws $???
E640 with VML 640Ws $750 per unit

If Edward can get this to market for about $350 a unit with battery and keep the remote control modules under $100 I think they will fly off the shelf. Regardless HSS capabilities.
If that is really there then its even more useful.

Post #13, Jan 26, 2013 21:55:43


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dmward
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Wilt wrote in post #15537494external link
What advantages would it have over the Lumedyne (apart from the HSS)?

I think this is more targeted at Quantum than Lumedyne.

Post #14, Jan 26, 2013 22:06:00


David | digifotografi tutorialsexternal link | dmwfotos websiteexternal link

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tetrode
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dmward wrote in post #15538103external link
....
If Edward can get this to market for about $350 a unit with battery and keep the remote control modules under $100 I think they will fly off the shelf. Regardless HSS capabilities.
If that is really there then its even more useful.

David, I'm not in a position to discuss product pricing, but I can say that the number you picked is definitely not within the realm of possibility. The manufacturer has been adamant about maintaining a very specific price point and that price point is well north of what we might wish for. Edward actually has very little maneuvering room if he wants to sell this product.

The CL-180 is most definitely in a different product tier than, say, the Yongnuo family of flashes and you have to accept that it will be priced accordingly. I know for a fact that Edward is trying his best to bring this flash to market at the most attractive price possible.

Post #15, Jan 26, 2013 22:13:24




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A New Bare Bulb Flash Arrives
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