Off-camera flash suggestions?

Discussion in 'Lighting' started by Daniel Grenier, Nov 19, 2004.

  1. Daniel Grenier

    Daniel Grenier Member

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    Here at work (semiconductor engineering firm) I need a powerful off-camera battery-powered flash with umbrella on a tripod that can be set off by the on-board flash of a camera (Nikon D1.... no film... sorry).

    This is to photograph such things a DVD players, cell phones, TVs and such.
    I do not want to go with a full-fledge strobe due to mobility, need for AC and cost. I need something "unplugged" and easy to move around.

    Any suggestions?
     
  2. Jeremy

    Jeremy Member

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    If you have a big budget for this I would suggest the JTL Mobilight

    http://www.adorama.com/JTDL220MK.html

    Quite small and use a battery, not a cord. If these are too big or expensive you might try some Vivitar 283's--manual flashes with a good punch (I have a couple for sale with quantum batteries if you're interested).
     
  3. bjorke

    bjorke Member

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    Nikon makes wireless TTL units, don't they? Canon and Minolta do..... D-TTL with an SB-26? (Sorry, Nikon #'s elude me -- but I have the Canon wireless unit, it works great)
     
  4. bmac

    bmac Member

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    Quantum Q-Flash with a light stand and softbox. Can't go wrong with it. I don;t know what your finished photos are for, but a softbox is going to give you nicer looking light than an umbrella.
     
  5. Daniel Grenier

    Daniel Grenier Member

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    This looks very interesting indeed, this Q-Flash. I will definetely look into this one further. Pics are for Client's reports on items we take apart and reverse-engineer for them.

    Thanks for the suggestion Brian.
     
  6. John Koehrer

    John Koehrer Subscriber

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    Daniel:
    Since you're using the digicam, you're going to want to be sure the trigger voltage is safe for the camera. <6V. To be safe I'd suggest either a wireless controller or a Wein Safe-sync.
     
  7. rbarker

    rbarker Member

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    A couple of additional options to think about. Metz also makes several models of battery-operated units with fairly high light outputs, which makes them more suitable for use with modifiers like softboxes or umbrellas. If you need light levels that are more similar to studio lighting, you might consider the Alien Bees line of studio strobes. There is a battery pack available for them which makes them quite useful for location work. A couple of other studio strobe makers have similar on-location battery packs, as well.
     
  8. Ole

    Ole Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    HAMA makes a simple slave unit with hotshoe and PC connetors. The unit is set off by another flash, and triggers flash #2. I have used this with a Vivitar 238 and a Metz 45 - works every time.
     
  9. Ed Sukach

    Ed Sukach Member

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    When you say, "Fired by the on-camera flash" you are defining the use of a "slave", plugged into the flash unit and fired by the on-camera flash, with *no* hard connection - therefore synch circuit current/ voltage does not come into play. That should be, simply, *no* problem ... one can use a variety of accessory "Slave triggers", and plug them into anything, from a very small battery-operated flash unit to a VERY large Studio unit.

    The question would lie with the in-camera flash system itself... would the firing of an external flash synchronize properly? Would the in-camera flash control system/ exposure system get all "confused"? If it is possible to set exposure and the flash itself on "Manual" - I would expect no problem - from there...

    The "Peanut"-sized slave triggers are relatively inexpensive ... I'd buy one and give it a try with a borrowed - existing ... flash unit before I became too involved.
     
  10. genef

    genef Member

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    If you go with the peanut slave (I use them in a like application and they work well), be sure to get the 'digital' variety. The digital type will ignore the pre-flash used by most digital cameras.

    Gene Farley
     
  11. kjsphoto

    kjsphoto Subscriber

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    Like BMAC said you cannot go wrong with the Quantums or go with the White Lighting.

    Also forget abotu the slaves and go with Pocket Wizards. Get rid of the cords. ALso with the WL they have built in slaves...

    Just my two cents...
     
  12. Dean Williams

    Dean Williams Member

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    Check into a good used Vivitar 365. They run on a battery power pack. Quite powerful for a non AC flash. You can use the auto sensor with your camera set on manual and a slave to trigger the strobe. I use one for a studio flash and the complete rig mounted to a light stand, including brella weighs about 20 pounds. Very portable, and can usually be had for less than $100.