Meet the Cactus RQ250 Wireless Monolight, a new bare-bulb mono-light

Cactus, the company that gave us the brand-independent wireless triggering system with HSS capabilities, has just recently announced the RQ250, a palm-sized, bare-bulb wireless mono-light that supports wireless TTL/HSS. It is a fully featured light in a compact body.

Missing in the Cactus product range, until now, was a high-output portable flash with a consistent light quality for location shooting. Although Cactus’s RF60X is a great speedlight, it is a traditional on-camera flash. The RQ250, however, is a 250Ws Li-ion battery based wireless mono-light – 250Ws is three times the power of a typical GN60 portable flash, a bit over when compared to a Cactus RF60X and a bit under when compared to a Mecablitz 64AF-1 Digital. It will be available this summer.

Mono-lights are self-contained photographic flash lighting units, which you’ll usually find in a studio. The difference with a traditional on-camera flash is that it has its own independent power source, that it doesn’t depend on a centralised power supply, and that it usually supports much higher power levels.

Cactus wanting to combine a small size with a 250Ws capable unit was no small feat to design. The company’s head of Research and Development, Henry Chan, says: “We could not find off-the-shelf flash tubes that meet our requirements for power output and uniform distribution of light in a built-in light modifier, so we designed one from the ground up for the RQ250.” It’s called the TubeOne flash tube.

What makes the RQ250 unique is its special flash head design. When paired with the optically optimised reflector, the TubeOne flash tube is able to deliver power with maximum efficiency. Hot spots are kept to a minimum, producing a pleasing and very usable, consistent light straight out of the included reflector.

The built-in reflector is detachable and Cactus claims it produces the best light possible with the least possible number of hot spots, even without an external light modifier. With the frosted glass lens, the RQ250 is said to produce a beautiful and evenly spread of light. By removing the reflector, you will get a bare-bulb flash that excels in even light distribution when paired with softboxes and studio umbrellas.

Despite its palm-sized body, the RQ250 is fan-cooled, which means it can be pushed without being stressed, even on a hot, sunny day.

The RQ250 is lithium-ion battery-powered and can fire 400 full-power flashes on a single charge. It comes with an on-axis LED modelling light, which also functions as an AF-assist.

Like Cactus’s triggering system, the RQ250 builds on a cross-brand platform that works with Canon, Fujifilm, Nikon, Olympus, Panasonic, Pentax, Sigma, and Sony cameras. Wireless TTL and HSS are all supported.

Price has yet to be disclosed.