Triopo F3-500: China’s answer to the Profoto B1?

Triopo has announced the Oubao F3-500, a battery-powered studio flash with radio and optical TTL support for Canon and Nikon.

Triopo F3-500

Triopo, the Chinese tripod and flash manufacturer, has unveiled a battery-powered studio flash with wireless TTL control. Described as the “world’s first” Triopo flash with lithium battery for indoor and outdoor use, the Oubao F3-500 is a 500Ws monolight with a removable Li-ion battery pack.

Triopo F3-500

It seems to be designed primarily for location shooters, with a foldable handle at the back and a multi-use handle mount, umbrella adapter and light stand mount on the base. There is an accessory mount on the front for softboxes and reflectors, but it is not yet clear if this will be a Bowens S-fit or some other standard.

For low-light and studio work, a 20W LED modelling lamp will help preview lighting effects and assist focussing without draining the F3’s LE-29 battery too quickly. The suggestion of “multiple” power supplies in the specs implies the F3-500 will also work from mains adapters or alternative power supplies.

Triopo F3-500

A 2.4GHz radio is built in, allowing a photographer to trigger the flash and control power levels and other settings from a dedicated camera-top controller. Different models of Triopo’s 2.4GHz trigger will support TTL, rear-curtain sync and high-speed sync for Canon and for Nikon.

The F3 also has an optical slave compatible with Nikon and Canon’s advanced wireless systems, or available to use as a simple slave sensor in manual mode. Thus if you want to add this to an existing kit of TTL speedlights, you can do so before the various proprietary Triopo triggers and widgets become available.

Triopo F3-500 2.4GHz trigger

Triopo F3-500 and battery

For more direct control, a backlit LCD and settings panel are on the rear of the flash itself. The firmware can be upgraded via a USB port.

Manufacturer specifications

ModelF3-500
Flash power500Ws
Modelling lamp20W LED
Recycle time2 seconds at full power
Operating modesAuto, M (with S1/S2 optical slaves), Multi (stroboscopic), DV lighting
Wireless featuresTTL, front-curtain sync, rear-curtain sync, high-speed sync and remote parameter adjustment (via dedicated trigger)
Wireless flash modesSlave C, Slave N, RX-C, RX-N
Flash duration1/250–1/9,000 second
Other featuresMultiple power supply mode, USB firmware updates

Triopo’s sister company, Oubao, has been making long cylindrical studio lights for the Chinese market for many years now from their base in Yueqing, Zheijang, eastern China. The F3-500 appears to be the first studio-sized flash to come under the Triopo branding, and the first with TTL or a battery built into the head. The battery mounting on the right-hand side is the most obvious “inspiration” drawn from Profoto here, while the other key features pre-dated the B1 in Chinese lights such as the CononMark K4T and Nicefoto N-Flash.

However, Triopo themselves are keen to compare this product to something from Profoto, as these photos sent to me from the Triopo factory demonstrate.

Triopo F3-500 and Profoto B1

The F3-500 is shown alongside a Profoto D1, the mains-powered flash on which much of the B1 battery flash’s form factor is based.

Triopo F3-500 and Profoto B1

Pricing and availability have yet to be announced. For more information, visit triopo.cn.

David Selby
Based in Paris, France, David Selby is editor of Lighting Rumours, a part-time photographer and a quantitative analyst.
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