12:57pm, 13 February 2009
News on

Vivitar 285HV flash had been completely sold out and will no longer be available owing to the acquisition of Vivitar's brand by Sakar International. Flash combos with Vivitar 285HV will be replaced by Cactus KF36, the first flash introduced by Cactus. Specifications and functions of which are the same as 285HV. Cactus KF36 will be available at the end of February.
Niko R. 8 years ago
what, no built-in cactus trigger in it?!
Harm Tido 8 years ago
Of course not, they'd have to replace too many flashunits. Now they can just keep replacing receivers. Much cheaper on shipping...
celticview 8 years ago
the way i see it, its just the same unit but different logo on. they could have at least do some minor adjustments but then again that would add more cost on their part. i wonder if the price is still the same?
kraig7777 8 years ago
1/8 power?
igotyofire 8 years ago
i would have liked to see them keep the name vivitar as cactus has a not so hot reputation if it is infact the same people who make the ebay triggers, where as those old vivitar 283s and 285's have created an outstanding reputation over the years. I think from a marketing point of view that was a bad decision. Its not like Ford didn't stick with the name jaguar after its purchase. I guess we well see soon what is to come. Posted 8 years ago. Edited by (member) 8 years ago
I dont know, does that mean that only gadgetinfinity wont be selling vivitar 285HV anymore? or vivitar 285HVs are going totally out of market?. Someone else must be continuing to sell those anyway, right?
I hope cactus makes some improvements like 1/8 power, metal shoe etc. I am almost sure the price will be same, approx 100 USD(including shipping) on gadget infinity, maybe even lesser to capture market share?
Lets see.
celticview 8 years ago
definitely should have a lower price.. you could grab a brand new vivitar 285hv from amazon for less than a 90 or so.. last time i checked
miguel_cruz Posted 8 years ago. Edited by miguel_cruz (member) 8 years ago
I ordered one last week, should arrive i hope, in the next few days. I've never used one of the old vivitars, in fact, this will be my first manual flash, and it will also be the first time i use a flash off camera.
eLuVeFlickr PRO 8 years ago
I bought it and I can say two flash are identical.
I have a Vivitar 285HV and this Cactus KF36.
tonyarrj 8 years ago
I still waiting for my 285HV from amazon. it arrives in May.
leus 8 years ago
Ouch. I bought two Vivitars a couple of months ago from Gadget Infinity (great service and prices, btw.) I'm tempted to buy one of their lightning studios: V4s --one transmitter and two receivers--, swivel bracket, light stand, umbrella and one of these flashes, all for $150.
I'll see what happens.
miguel_cruz Posted 8 years ago. Edited by miguel_cruz (member) 8 years ago
Does anyone now how long does it take to arrive? I ordered 16 days ago and still no sign of my flash.... I allready bought a light stand, a swivel and an umbrella, and without the flash i can't start playing with it:(
bshurn 8 years ago
I've ordered from gadget infinity & got mine pretty fast (less than a week) if I recall correctly.

I am in Seattle,WA.

Where are you?
floodkoff 8 years ago
I always wait for my packages from HK for about 3-4 weeks.
I'm in Saint Petersburg, Russia.
I get the package from GI within 14 days. I am in India.
Hi, did anyone receive this flash? Any feedback?
alexdmejias 8 years ago
So for those who have the 285hv or the cactus, would you stick with it or go for something like the LP120, which seem to be similar, but a bit pricier?

I'm wondering because this is going to be my first flash, and I don't really know too much about them atm.
miguel_cruz Posted 8 years ago. Edited by miguel_cruz (member) 8 years ago
I did, today! Couldn't be more satisfied!

first shot here:

I don't know what the build quality issues were with the more recent vivitar's, i've never used one, but the the cactus i got actuary feels and looks sturdy and relatively well built for something out of hong kong. Especially when compared to the cactus trigger i got along with it (they seem rather fragile).
@Alexis Mejias
I f you dont mind spending the extra cash, go for LP120, it has better features than 285HV or KF36.

If you dont wanna spend that much money, buy KF36 or vivitar 285HV. I have two 285Hvs and they are working well, bought them a few months back. I will stick with them till they are dead. But i dont feel the need to change them for any new ones.

There is one more option, the cheapest one YN460, chk this thread

Hope this helps.
rudy__ 8 years ago
Alexis Mejias - So for those who have the 285hv or the cactus, would you stick with it or go for something like the LP120, which seem to be similar, but a bit pricier?

I would go for the LP120. The optical slave and the two trigger inputs are really nice to have. Also it is claimed to have the same power level as the 285HV. And the 285HV/KF36 really works best with alkaline batteries.

The YN460 is interesting but not nearly as powerful.
alexdmejias Posted 8 years ago. Edited by alexdmejias (member) 8 years ago
I think that I'm gonna spend the extra cash and just get the LP120, thanks to everyone for their input.

ps: has anyone been able to find pictures of how to control the output of it? all I see are the switches,but nothing else

and all I would need would be a PC cable to connect it to my canon xti right?
miguel_cruz 8 years ago
Anyone else got a cactus? How are your's performing?
jonny rebel 8 years ago
I recently bought 2 of the 285HVs and 1 of the LP120. I have buyer's remorse... I should have bought 3 of the LP120. The 285HV is clunky and does not work well with rechargable batteries... It has no built-in optical slave, and the wein peanut slave that is made to plug into it does not work unless you have fresh alkalines in the flash... It has a non-standard sync port... It does not have 1/8 or 1/32 power options... It takes up a lot of extra space in my bag compared to the LP120... and it makes so much noise when charging the capacitor and during "battery saver mode" that I just want to break it!

The LP120 has none of these issues, is whisper quiet by comparison, is built just as strong if not stronger, looks and feels like a modern flash(!), has swivel as well as tilt for bouncing, and has just as much output power in my experience.

Anyone want to buy a couple like-new 285HVs??? =P
alexsoleadri 8 years ago
I´ve just received a couple of kf36 and cactus v4 triggers from gadget infinity. I found them well priced for what you get. And i´m really pleased for not having to worry anymore about cables. They are working well. The triggers didn´t failed almost any shot in all the weekend, and the rechargable batteries work well in those flashes. This is my first kit of lights and I can´t compare them with other ones but i´m very happy with how it works.
gvandendriessche 8 years ago
Has anybody experience with this Cactus flash and phottix triggers PT-04?
Would it work with regards to the trigger voltage?
quietlightphoto 8 years ago
I E-mailed Cactus on their Viv 285 clone, and yes, it too is made in China. No thanks!

alohadave 8 years ago
Where else would it be made?
rudy__ 8 years ago
The 285HV/KF36 is like the Chrysler hemi. Fantastic in it's day but kind of old and clunky now when you compare it to modern designs.
Mario_Santander - Posted 8 years ago. Edited by Mario_Santander - (member) 8 years ago
I have 2 vivitar 285 HV and now one more, Cactus KF36 from GI, without problems, works well as the vivitar.

I have the JIANISI PT-04 TM without problems.

Regards from Spain.
MKSAGAR81 [deleted] 8 years ago
I just received my cactus KF36 this afternoon, I haven't tried it yet because I don't have a AA batteries.

I read the manual it says to use Alkaline batteries, is the rechargeable lithium batteries okay to use?
Rob Mirage Posted 8 years ago. Edited by Rob Mirage (member) 8 years ago
I got mine the day before yesterday. I've used NiMHs in it and it seems to work just fine.

I did note the 'alkaline' recommendation and thought 'sod that I'm not buying disposable cells again just for this' and just went for it.

Anyone know if I'm likely to blow up or something?

I went for this for my extended manual setup - I've got 3 Nikon CLS capable units but the prices are ridiculous - and I'm pretty happy with it for the price but the build quality is nothing against an SB900. You get what you pay for of course.
Franck Lassagne 8 years ago
So, Cactus KF 36 is exactly the same as the Vivitar HV285 ?
rockpowered PRO 8 years ago
Yes, it is
Biggzie Posted 8 years ago. Edited by Biggzie (member) 8 years ago
I didnt realise that they were the same, & I ordered a Vivitar & a Cactus. They both arived within a couple of days of each other & the price including shipping to Australia was within a couple of dollars.
However, the Vivitar came with the manual, a pc sync lead & the wide angle diffuser, but the Cactus had all that plus a nylon case & colour filter set.
I could have got the Cactus cheaper without the colour filters ...
Im running them both fine on NiMH batteries.
Bob Joziasse 8 years ago
I'm using the Cactus KF36 for some months now. I've played with it and used it in a photoshoot. The output is not always the same. From time to time the flash just puts out more light than the settings would indicate... Strange. Anybody else have the same problem?
Michael Stoop 8 years ago
I did my waterdrops, as well as most of my other sessions with mainly the Cactus KF36. Didn't notice any differences in exposure so far, it actually seems pretty consistent. I'll do some control tests the next time I have it set-up.
Biggzie 8 years ago
Bob, Id have to agree, Im finding sometimes that both my Vivitar 285HV & my Cactus KF36 are occasionally firing off at slightly different intencity.
I have a couple of old Acheiver flash units that work fine with my film bodies, but my digital bodies started showing up slight variances that film seem to absorb.
Im occationally getting maybe a 1/3 to 1/2 stop difference between firing from the Vivitar & Cactus. Not always, but it sometimes gets annoying.
Dörnveek 8 years ago
i got my kf36 delivered to vienna in three days. no joke.

question, though. although i bought the flash to use off-camera, can the kf36 be used on-camera with the latest dslrs? (herr hobby's post about the 285HV made it sound like the 285HVs are dslr safe, but do we have a definite thread about that confirms the kf36's compatibility - even if they're assumed to be the same flash?) thx.
Murray McMaster 8 years ago
This depends on your camera. My Nikon D40 will accept flashes with a trigger voltage of <250V. Different Nikons are different & I think Canon digitals are < 6V. Look up trigger voltage on the thread search, your camera & flash manual should have info too.
Preconscious Eye 8 years ago
I have the Cactus V4 set-up and use 2 of the KF36 flashes--so far so good. No complaints.
Dodgsun Posted 8 years ago. Edited by Dodgsun (member) 8 years ago
so any updates on this flash?? is it worth the low low price. or is it worth upping the ante for a lp120 or going even cheaper with a YN460???
aquaphotoboy 7 years ago
Guys, can the Cactus KF36 be plugged to a PW Flextt5? if so, then what cable should I use?
midwestphotoexchange 7 years ago
@aqua: Yes, 2 (possibly 3) options

1.Pocket Wizard MV1
2.LumoPro Mini to Vivitar 16"
3.Might work on the hotshoe, not sure.

Coach-Z 7 years ago
Bought two KF36 and two extra Cactus receivers to fire them, and they work great...
Who cares about 1/8, it's a 100$ shipping included..
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