AOIs first flash unit: The UCS-Q1 Ultra Compact Strobe

AOI has announced the launch of its first flash unit: the Ultra Compact Strobe Q1 (UCS-Q1). They designed this entry-level strobe with simplicity in mind.

The AOI Q1 underwater compact strobe features a built-in 700-lumen continuous light with three power settings, which can be used for macro photography, as a focus light, as well as a dive torch.

It also offers a modeling flash function, which fires a short burst of flashes to help users aim and position the strobe as desired (especially useful when using a snoot). The strobe has a non-removable ball arm and comes with a diffuser, which provides a beam angle of 85°. 

Beginner-friendly underwater strobe

The AOI design team kept in mind what the users wanted; ‘simplicity’. So, especially first-time strobe users and owners of an entry level set-up will have fun with the AOI Q1.

With just two buttons and a single knob the control panel of the strobe is kept simple. The knob controls the power setting. The maximum brightness is at number 7 or the equivalent of Guide Number 22. Keeping the strobe to only manual function means that when used with an automatic compact camera, it is easy to obtain the desired the brightness. You can easily adjust the brightness of the strobe to match the exposure of the camera. The UCS-Q1 has a very sufficient beam angle of 85° with the diffuser on.

You can activate the continuous light function (which has 3 power settings) with the left button. The different power settings can be adjusted by cycling through the button. The highest setting is at 700 lumens, which is bright enough for macro shots or even as an underwater torchlight. The continuous light also works as a focus light. Allowing for quicker focusing and determining the desired strobe position.

AOI Q1 Ultra Compact Strobe

AOI UCS-Q1 Ultra Compact Strobe: Simple design & easy to use

In keeping with the concept of “My First Strobe,” the simplicity aspect extends to the ownership experience and maintenance. The buttons and knobs are clearly labelled – making it easy for you to control the strobe, even with gloves on. The battery compartment is secured with a screw-on cap that is sealed with two O-rings to prevent accidental flooding. Should the battery compartment flood, it does not affect the electronic compartment as the two are kept separate.

The strobe is powered by two 18650 lithium batteries. That allows up to 2000 flashes on a single charge and provides consistent power delivery, even at low levels. The strobe is equipped with power stand-by and auto power-off features to conserve power and increase the lifespan of your strobe.

Being an entry level strobe does not mean it has limited functions and features. The longevity of the UCS-Q1 is further extended by the inclusion of modeling flash function. This function will assist in the correct placement of the snoot when you used with the strobe. The modeling flash has to be activated manually. When triggered, it fires the strobe in high frequency for a short duration, giving the impression that the subject is lighted up. This allows you to visually confirm the snoot position and avoid having to shoot repeatedly to check if the snoot is positioned correctly.

An easy to use and affordable 3-aperture snoot is available as an optional accessory. Standard accessories of the strobe are: A diffuser, spare o-rings, silicone grease, o-ring remover, secure line, and a battery storage case (batteries are not included). A non-removable ball arm also comes attached to the strobe.

Download the User Manual here:

Accessoires for the AOI Q1 Strobe

Snoot for AOI Q1 Ultra Compact Strobe
AOI Strobe Starter Kit

Technical Specifications of the AOI Q1 Strobe

Main Body Material: Polycarbonate + Glass Fiber
Waterproof Level: 60 Meters / 200 Ft.

Guide Number: 22
Color Temperature: 5600K
Beam Angles: Horizontal- 85°, Vertical- 85° (with Diffuser)
Flash Recharge Time: 0.85 Second (Full Power)
Number of Flashes: 2.000 Times Full Flash with 3500mAh Li-Ion Batteries x2
Pre-Flash Counting: Auto Detect and Setting

LED Light:
Maximum Output: 700 Lumens
Color Temperature: 5600K
Beam Angles: 45°
Burn Time: 160 Minutes (Max. Brightness with 3500mAh Li-Ion Batteries x2)
Battery: 18650 (5A Min) Li-Ion Rechargeable Batteries x2
Dimensions: 125.0mm (L) X76.0mm (W) X130.0mm (H) (Ball Mount Included)
Underwater: Approx. 70g (Batteries Included)
On Land: Approx. 520g (Batteries Included)

Main Seal O-Rings x2, O-Ring Remover x1,
Silicone Grease x1, Secure Line x1,
Battery Storage Case (Battery Excluded) x1