Cactus KF36

Check availablity: Adorama, Amazon USA, Amazon UK, BH, eBay.

Rebranded version of Vivitar Auto 285HV.

This flash looks and works identical to the original Vivitar Auto 285, but quality is reported to be lower than the original unit. The Vivitar brand is now owned by Sakar.

Unlike the old Vivitars, the Vivitar 285HV has a “safe” (9 volts or below) trigger voltage.

The flash head has manual zoom settings for “wide” (covering about the same angle as a 35 lens on an FX-body), “normal” (50 mm) and “tele” (105 mm). The basic kit also comes with a slide-in diffuser lens for “super wide” (28 mm).

Four auto aperture ranges: f/2.8, f/4, f/8 and f/11 @ ISO 100.

The flash uses four standard AA-batteries. The batteries fit into a plastic holder (Vivitar AP-1) that slips into the battery compartment. Vivitar sells extra holders and I find it very convenient to have the batteries already arranged in the holder when having to change quickly in the field. The Vivitar 285 uses the same battery holder as Vivitar 283 and 273.

Has a proprietary Vivitar type socket and comes with a detachable 30 cm long Vivitar PC-1 short sync cord. The socket is also compatible with the optional 1 meter long Vivitar PC-31 coiled sync cord and Wein Peanut slave trigger.

Like the Vivitar 283, it has a detachable sensor that can be used with the optional extension cord Vivitar SC-3 Sensor Cord for off-camera flash. Other optinal extras are the Vivitar SB-4 AC power adapter and the Vivitar HVP-1 high voltage battery pack.

From 2009, a re-branded version known as the Cactus KF36 has also been available to complement the popular Cactus wireless radio triggers.


Generic flash.
Head: 28, 35-105mm coverage, manual zoom.
Swivel & tilt: no swivel, 0° to +90° tilt.
Exposure modes: Auto, Varipower.
Manual settings: 1/1 to 1/16 in 1 EV steps (5 steps).
No built-in wireless modes.
Features: Sync. socket, Ext. power.
Trigger voltage: 7.1-9 volt.
Batteries: 4xAA.
Field upgradable: No.
Dimensions: 10 x 13 x 11 mm, 397 g.

Zoom head setting:f=35mmf=50mmf=max
Guidenumber (ISO 100, meter):313743
GNs taken from manufacturer's specifications.

Price: USD 100 (new, w/o tax).
Production: 2007-today.

For a detailed explanation of the above specifications, see the guide.



Review links:

Brand profile

Key info

Established: 2003
Country: Hong Kong

Cactus is the main trademark of Hong Kong-based Harvest One Ltd. Some Cactus-branded products are designed and manufactured under the supervision of Harvest One Ltd. Others are rebranded products designed and manufactired by OEMs such as Tumax.

Cactus-branded products are marketed through the Gadget Infinity online shop (solely owned by Harvest One Limited), and a network of distributors.

Please help us improve DPanswers

Do you think there is an error in this listing or do you have anything to add to these specifications? In particular, if no trigger voltage is listed (or you believe the trigger voltage indicated is wrong) and you own this flash and have measured the trigger voltage, please contact us with the additional or corrected data, or simply send us a message and tell us how we can improve the product database.

This page is from: