A hands-on first look at the Cactus RQ250 lithium ion 250Ws portable strobe

Apr 4, 2018

John Aldred

John Aldred is a photographer with over 20 years of experience in the portrait and commercial worlds. He is based in Scotland and has been an early adopter – and occasional beta tester – of almost every digital imaging technology in that time. As well as his creative visual work, John uses 3D printing, electronics and programming to create his own photography and filmmaking tools and consults for a number of brands across the industry.

A hands-on first look at the Cactus RQ250 lithium ion 250Ws portable strobe

Apr 4, 2018

John Aldred

John Aldred is a photographer with over 20 years of experience in the portrait and commercial worlds. He is based in Scotland and has been an early adopter – and occasional beta tester – of almost every digital imaging technology in that time. As well as his creative visual work, John uses 3D printing, electronics and programming to create his own photography and filmmaking tools and consults for a number of brands across the industry.

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Cactus has remained quite a small player in the flash scene since Godox came along with their powerful and portable lithium-ion powered strobes. But, small as they may be, they are a mighty force. They have the widest cross-platform compatibility of any brand out there and have become a favourite of Pentax and Sigma shooters the world over.

But Cactus has always had one big problem. They only make speedlights. Well, that’s changed now, with the announcement of the RQ250 battery powered portable strobe. It’s 250Ws and on paper, it seems to compete very well with its direct Godox AD200 competitor. We got to check out a prototype at The Photography Show recently, and have a little chat about its future.

YouTube video

Despite being a pre-production prototype, a quick hands-on look at the unit demonstrated some great potential. Of course, this is still a pre-production prototype. So, not everything’s fully implemented yet, hardware’s subject to change slightly and the firmware will definitely need an update to add essential features like high speed sync.

But as of right now, the previously published specs are expected to be met, and some even exceeded.

  • 250Ws power
  • Bare bulb with frosted lens reflector
  • Unibody design with detachable reflector
  • Lithium-Ion battery
  • 400 Full Power flashes
  • LED Modelling light & AF-assist
  • Fan-cooled for continued use & warm environments
  • Wireless TTL, HSS and manual power control for Nikon, Canon, Fujifilm, Olympus, Panasonic, Pentax, Sigma and Sony.
  • Built-in 2.4Ghz wireless receiver for Cactus V6II and V6IIs triggers

Being still in the prototype stage means that there’s no real word on price or a release date yet, although it’s currently still expected to be out at some point during Summer 2018.

As soon as we know, we’ll be sure to post an update.

Here are a couple more things we got to check out during the show…

YouTube video
YouTube video

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John Aldred

John Aldred

John Aldred is a photographer with over 20 years of experience in the portrait and commercial worlds. He is based in Scotland and has been an early adopter – and occasional beta tester – of almost every digital imaging technology in that time. As well as his creative visual work, John uses 3D printing, electronics and programming to create his own photography and filmmaking tools and consults for a number of brands across the industry.

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11 responses to “A hands-on first look at the Cactus RQ250 lithium ion 250Ws portable strobe”

  1. Motti Bembaron Avatar
    Motti Bembaron

    MMM…Hardly hands on. I was expecting a lot more from this “Hands on” article. Can’t they give us an approximate date? It looks promising but if I had to buy any lights now, I would go with Godox. It’s a bit to vague to wait for. Hopefully real hands-on review, release date and price come our way quickly.

    1. Dave Kai Piper Avatar
      Dave Kai Piper

      Summer 2018 :)

      1. Motti Bembaron Avatar
        Motti Bembaron

        Oh good. Summer in Montreal is only in July so it’s very specific :-)

        1. Paul Monaghan Avatar
          Paul Monaghan

          Lucky… Scotland has like 1 day of summer ?

          1. Motti Bembaron Avatar
            Motti Bembaron

            Yes, we know :-). We were in Ireland last September and when we mention cold weather they said we lucky we are not in Scotland. If all goes well, we will experience Scotland next September.

          2. WillTheLightingGuy Avatar
            WillTheLightingGuy

            @motti_bembaron:disqus… I’m the Cactus distributor in Canada. PM your email address and I can send you updates as they come.

          3. Motti Bembaron Avatar
            Motti Bembaron

            Will do. Not sure if I do it right but I tried PMing you through your Disqus profile but could not. Are you in Markham? I see a distribution center there and I can email to that address.

          4. WillTheLightingGuy Avatar
            WillTheLightingGuy

            Yes, that’s us. info at amplis.com

          5. Motti Bembaron Avatar
            Motti Bembaron

            Sounds good. Looking forward for hands on review.

  • udi tirosh Avatar
    udi tirosh

    I think it’s nice to see someone underdogging Godox. It’s good for the industry. And more options mean more innovation fighting for our buck

  • iphoto27 Avatar
    iphoto27

    It will be available in 2019 in two versions.

    1st with RQ250 with V6 II
    2nd just RQ250

    So starting selling the overpriced manual junk Rotolight that many reviewers have claimed it is good.