Flash advice needed

Discussion in 'Lighting' started by dans, Oct 15, 2004.

  1. dans

    dans Subscriber

    Messages:
    58
    Joined:
    Aug 21, 2004
    Location:
    Northern MA
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    I need to pick up a flash for my cameras and I'm a little lost having been out of photgraphy for a dozen years. I have two cameras that I'll be using it with. A Mamyia 645 1000s and a Canon AT1. I have "pistol" grips for both cameras (the 645 is the power winder).

    My last flash unit was a Vivitar 283 that no longer works. What I didn't like about that was it was almosts too powerfull. It had very pronounced shadows that I found distracting. I'll be using this primarily for candid shots and maybe a few portraits. The venues will be small rooms, not studio.

    My questions:

    1) Should I look for a replacement for the 283 or maybe something less powerfull?

    2) The 283 is still available, but is there something brands models I should consider rather than the Vivitar?

    3) What about reflectors, would they help reduce shadows and maybe produce a less stark result? If so are there add-ons or flash specific devices?

    Thanks for you help
    Dan
     
  2. John Koehrer

    John Koehrer Subscriber

    Messages:
    6,378
    Joined:
    Apr 3, 2004
    Location:
    Montgomery,
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Dans:
    Hard to beat the 283, been in production for about 30 yrs. That's an endorsement in and of itself.
    Too powerful? get the VP1 accessory for it & dial down the power.
    Regarding the shadows. It's a flash. Harsh shadows are the norm.
    You could bounce the light or look for a diffuser by Stofen or another mfr.
     
  3. Konical

    Konical Subscriber

    Messages:
    1,702
    Joined:
    Jun 1, 2003
    Good Afternoon, Dans,

    You might consider the Vivitar 285 instead of the 283. The 285 adjusts for wide angel, normal, and telephoto without any separate attachments. Otherwise the two units are highly similar. The 285 may sell for just slightly more.

    Konical
     
  4. brimc76

    brimc76 Member

    Messages:
    414
    Joined:
    Feb 4, 2003
    Location:
    Uxbridge On.
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    I'm with Konical on this, go for the 285. I'm pretty sure you can dial the power down on the 285 without an attachment too. Another thing you could look into is a Stroboframe flash bracket to raise your flash a little higher above your lens. This way your shadows are lower behind the subjects you are photographing and not as noticeable.
     
  5. wiseowl

    wiseowl Member

    Messages:
    423
    Joined:
    Sep 14, 2003
    Location:
    S Wales
    Shooter:
    4x5 Format
    I'll throw in a vote for the 285 also, it has 4 auto stops and manual powers of half, quarter and 1/64 (maybe 1/8, but to check that I'd have to walk :smile: )

    I'm not sure if a flash can be too powerfull, more power means more distance, being able to bounce further and with smaller stops for more DOF (If needed) . I also have a metz 45-ct1, this has 5 auto stops and full power manual, there is an add on which will give manual power steps.

    Martin
     
  6. rbarker

    rbarker Member

    Messages:
    2,222
    Joined:
    Oct 31, 2004
    Location:
    Rio Rancho,
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    The Vivitars have great reputations, but you might also look at the Metz line. While the large "potato masher" 45s (I have the 45 ct2 with TTL capability) may be cumbersome with the pistol-grip already on your cameras, Metz has smaller units that might work better with your setup. Some also support standardized TTL modules that can be changed according to the camera it's being used with. Having a unit with both tilt and swivel on the head is handy.

    I'd agree with Martin, though - more power is better, and more flexible - as long as the unit allows you to dial down the power to fit your environment. As far as I know, all of the Metz units have that feature.
     
  7. bjorke

    bjorke Member

    Messages:
    2,032
    Joined:
    Aug 17, 2003
    Location:
    SF & Surroun
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    The function of the strobe depends largely on... what's its function? Sport, studio work, journalism? Which most-closely matches what you're likely to do with the strobe? I've been through a host of Sunpaks and Vivitars and Canons and monolights, they all have a "sweet spot" for their usage. There days I usually carry a small unit with my 35's -- a Metz 23C (just died! alas I think I was too rough to it) or a Sunpak 322 (old and a bit slow but with an easy-to-tweak power adjustment), since I tend to use both of them for improvisational fill light outdoors. Do you want wireless? Automated bounce? Or will you only use it in controled situations where you can pre-meter? How much light do you need?