After recently covering a few Altura Photo on our blog and being pleasantly surprised, we decided to also publish this article going over our Altura Photo AP-UNV1 review as we have been pleasantly surprised by the quality of the other products that we have reviewed from their range.
In our opinion, the Neewer TT560 (Click here to check for product prices and availability) is without a doubt the undisputed king of flash units in the sub $50 price range and we doubt that this is going to change anytime soon in all honesty. We know there are a ton of poor quality flash units in the sub $50 price bracket too though and know some people are saying that the AP-UNV1 is a challenger to the dominance for the Neewer TT560.
The Altura Photo AP-UNV1 flash has managed to earn a pretty large customer base within a short amount of time while also earning itself a decent reputation amongst the community too. With the cheap price tag, solid performance, decent build quality, and ease of use, we feel that the Altura Photo AP-UNV1 can make a good entry-level flash option, especially if this is going to be your first flash unit.
User Interface And Control System
The image above shows the user interface system for the AP-UNV1 flash unit and although it is pretty basic, it is also very easy to use and allows you to quickly and easily tweak the flash unit to perform exactly as you need it to. If you are an entry-level photographer and have just started on your photography journey then the AP-UNV1 can make an ideal flash due to its simplicity. We would ager that if you are able to use a modern smartphone with ease, you should be able to get the AP-UNV1 working directly out of the box after purchasing it.
All the core systems are on the AP-UNV1 as you would expect. It has a flash mode selector, and output level indicator, a charging indicator, a power switch, a power level button, and a test button. This ensures that it should be able to meet the needs of many entry-level photographers while also providing you with a bit of customization too so you can tweak the performance of the flash to meet your needs.
The image above also gives an indication of the tilt and horizontal panning capabilities of the Altura Photo AP-UNV1 too. The flash unit offers you a 0 to 90 degree tilt function and a 0 to 270 degree horizontal pan allowing you to bounce the flash unit or adjust the performance of the flashes output as needed.
For an entry-level flash unit interface, Altura Photo has ticked all the boxed in our opinion and they have done a decent job of putting it all together. Its interface system is very similar to the majority of other sub $50 price range flash units so if you have used either of them, you will be able to quickly pick the AP-UNV1 and put it to work. If you are used to using higher price point flash units that use an LCD panel and directional pad user interface, this system will be a breeze.
Performance And Functionality
There is no doubt in our mind that the performance of the flash units on the market in the sub $50 price range is the main point of failure as many flash units are definatley lacking in this area. Thankfully, the Altura Photo AP-UNV1 is not one of these flashes that have issues with its performance and it can definitely hold its own against the competition while standing head and shoulders above the majority of other flash units at this price point.
We have made the bullet point list below to cover some of the core functions the AP-UNV1 supports that we feel our readers will want to know:-
- Guide Number 38.
- Flash trigger compatible (wireless flash trigger included with the flash).
- Fully supports manual, S1 or S2 modes.
- 3-5 second flash recycle time (low quality batteries tend to result in a slower recycle time).
Now we just want to point out that the recycle time on the flash unit is fixed and you are not able to manually change it. The 3-5 second recycle time that we have listed above is due to various reports from people using the AP-UNV1 as their go-to flash unit of choice. People using low-quality batteries tend to see around a five-second recycle time while people using a set of decent quality batteries (Click here to check for product prices and availability) tend to see around a three-second recycle time.
At the end of the day, the Altura Photo AP-UNV1 performs very well for its price tag ad we have no doubt that it will help to improve the image quality of your flash photography. Additionally, the various accessories included with the flash unit when you purchase it allow you to customize its performance a little to allow you to better prep it for whatever you need out the flash unit.
Build Quality And Design
Now, as an entry-level flash unit, you have to accept that Altura Photo AP-UNV1 have to reduce their costs in some way to help keep the price tag of the flash as low as possible. That said, for its price tag, the build quality of the AP-UNV1 is pretty solid and can easily hold its own against the competing flash units on the market right now.
As we mentioned earlier in the article, the tilt and pan function is pretty decent on the flash unit. On top of this, the joint mechanism attaching the flash head and flash body to each other is solid and does not feel like it is going to snap off in your hand while you adjust the flash heads tilt or pan.
In our opinion, the main weakness of the Altura Photo AP-UNV1 is the two by two battery housing shown in the image above. Although we feel that the one by four battery housing design is much better, the two by two housing is without a doubt the most popular within the sub $50 flash unit range.
The main issue with the two by two housing is that the four batteries are all bunched up near each other. This can make it a pain when it comes to dissipating the heat the batteries can generate during extended periods of use. This is where the slower, fixed recycle time of the flash unit can play into your favor as it helps keep heat generation down when using the AP-UNV1 for extended periods of time. Other than that though, for its price tag, we feel that Altura Photo has done a solid job with the build quality and design of the AP-UNV1.
Question – What camera brands does the Altura Photo AP-UNV1 work with?
Answer – The flash can work with Canon, Nikon, Sony, Panasonic, Pentax, and Fuji camera bodies as it uses a standard hot shoe mount.
Question – Is the hot shoe mount on the Altura Photo AP-UNV1 metal or plastic?
Answer – Unlike some competing flash units in this price bracket, Altura Photo has taken the higher quality metal hot shoe mount for the AP-UNV1.
Question – Does the Altura Photo AP-UNV1 have a flash reflector or flash diffuser included?
Answer – Yes, it has both housed just about the bulb housing.
Third Party Reports
We still wanted to share it with our readers as it offers a third-party opinion on the flash unit. In addition, you can also click here to read some other third party reviews of the flash by people who are using it as their flash of choice.
That brings our review of the Altura Photo AP-UNV1 to an close and we really do feel like this is a great little flash unit that will help improve your image quality and flash photography while making a solid addition to your camera accessories. That said, the Neewer TT560 (Click here to check for product prices and availability) is the same price and in our opinion should be your primary option for a flash in this price range.
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Igor Menezes Fotógrafo – 15 Anos – Daniele Dias – https://flic.kr/p/jCG2E8
dallashangerphoto – Bekah Timm – https://flic.kr/p/8rXMCh
Kah Wai Sin – Bella Again – https://flic.kr/p/8Yhdzj