The Armatar 100


Sunpak 120j Barebulb Flash

Here is the pride and joy of my location lighting kit. It’s an Armatar 100.

Back in the 1980s a TV repairman in New Jersey I believe churned these out (Joseph Armato IIRC). It’s essentially a Vivitar 283 with a bare bulb added, the stock battery and flashbulb compartments stuffed with extra capacitors (more power!), the stock base removed and replaced with a HH sync connector and a metal cold shoe with 1/4 20 threads in it.

On this one you can see I replaced the stock (surprisingly accurate) auto thyristor with a varipower module that lets me set a specific power output. Max on this is approximately 100ws and it can still use the standard Vivitar sync cable.

The parabolic reflector is removable and you can use any Norman/Quantum accessories with it that attach with a twist lock and clamp base. I have a Norman mini octobox that works great on it.

The biggest drawback is that it must be used with a quantum turbo battery pack or compatible packs (JTL makes one too). I have a Sunpak 120j and a Quantum T5 and this is still my fave even though it looks like an abomination. It’s straightforward and extremely versatile.