Small Flash Unit Just for Fill Flash

Discussion in 'Lighting' started by Lyrrad, Feb 20, 2006.

  1. Lyrrad

    Lyrrad Member

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    Hi

    I own an Olympus ps200 that I want to use on a Mamiya 7 II purely for fill in flash. It has a GN of 14 at 80-100asa and GN of 7 at 25-32asa.

    Is it correct to assume it's GN for 400asa will be around 28 or is it not quite as simple as that.


    The flash unit is rated on up to 100asa, so I don't know what the limitations, or problems I may experience would be. I perhaps may look at the Nikon SB-E as another way around this issue. Does anyone else have a cheap alternative.


    Regards


    Darryl
     
  2. Nick Zentena

    Nick Zentena Member

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    If you're asking if you can just change film speed and the GN number will change in lock step then the answer is yes.

    If you're saying the flash only has settings for up to 100 ASA then you might be able to lie to it-) If for example you're set at F/8 tell the flash you're set at F/4.

    I don't know that flash. How will you fire it? Does it take a cord? How will you mount it? How much control does it give you? Does it have manual mode?

    You need to define cheap. Plenty of older all manual flashes that might work.

    By fill flash do you mean on the camera? Or do you mean off camera?
     
  3. JosBurke

    JosBurke Member

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    I am looking for fill flash options on my Mamiya 7II as well--I have a Metz CL-4 w/bracket but thats not as portable/compact as I had in mind !! I'm watching the replies myself!!
     
  4. John Koehrer

    John Koehrer Subscriber

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    Vivitar 285 & 283 although larger can give you the ability to change the power.
    285 has the vp module built in & 283 the module is an accessory.
    Several Sunpak and Metz units also have control of the output power and may be smaller than the Vivitars.
     
  5. waynecrider

    waynecrider Member

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    The deal with most flash units is that the manufactuers over rate the flashes abilities. This is particularly true of the Sunpak and Vivitar units. It's very important to test the flash in question. For the Mamiya you have, be sure to watch for the flash angle such that it will cover the lens. Of course for portrait lenses you'll not have a problem, but it bears saying regardless. There is a little Metz flash, the 20 series and it seems nice, although I have not tested mine yet, but it is small, has reasonable power and Metz is pretty well known for their engineering. For a full size flash I have seen some real good deals in the past for Nikon's SB24, 26 and 28 series, especially the SB24. Of course you would use them on auto or manual, but the manual operation has lots of settings down to 1/16 power. They also make great little "fill in" studio lights. I'm sure Canon and the other camera makers have ones just as good.
     
  6. MattKing

    MattKing Subscriber

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    I carry and use an Olympus T20 flash regularly - any time I don't have one of my bigger units. It is small, light, and the automatic functions are accurate. An Olympus T32 would add bounce (but not swivel) capabilities, but is a fair biy heavier.
     
  7. mgb74

    mgb74 Subscriber

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    I like using the little, all manual, 2xAA battery flashes for fill. They're small, and provide enough power within a 8-12 ft range. What I do is check the output with my flashmeter - with a bare tube and with 2 different densities of acetate. The acetate - taped in front of the tube - gives me a slightly softer light and allows some (albeit crude) control over light. For example, using relatively thick matte acetate (slightly more opaque than a milk carton) , I lose about 1 stop.
     
  8. Lyrrad

    Lyrrad Member

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    This is the kind of thing I'm looking for. I have looked at Nikon SB-E, but I am now not too sure if it will fit straight on to Mamiya 7 hot shoe. I think it is nikon fit only. I am sure there is an adaptor, but perhaps you could name some of these 2xAA battery flashes please
     
  9. mgb74

    mgb74 Subscriber

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    The flashes I was referring to fit any camera with a hot shot; there is no automation with the camera (although some have a thryister circuit that provides automation within the flash). I suppose the most common brand is Vivitar, though similar flashes were also made or branded by many other companies. For example: http://www.bhphotovideo.com/bnh/con...023&is=REG&addedTroughType=categoryNavigation

    My favorite (of the ones I have) is the Vivitar 252 which has a built in PC cord (shown on my ressurected Balda Baldinette). The camera-end of the PC cord plugs into a socket on the flash, which enables the hot shoe; unplugged and the hot shoe is now cold. On the flash is just a scrap of glassine - it softens the light a bit and I lose 1/2 stop.

    I just pick these up used when I run across them. Usually $3-5. Just check the battery compartment to make sure there is no corrosion.
     

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  10. rbarker

    rbarker Member

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    There are essentially two types of flash units: simple, basic designs that require no special electronics in the camera; and more sophisticated flash units that communicate with TTL circuitry in the camera. A hot shoe requires only two pins on the bottom of the flash, and the position of those pins is pretty universal between both flash units and cameras. Additional pins (up to 5 or so) are used for TTL links between the flash and the camera, and those can change between flash units and cameras. Care must be exercised to make sure the flash is compatible with the specific camera model - otherwise you can damage the electronics in the camera. If the camera only has a hot shoe (a single pin plus the metal edge contact), the extra pins on the flash can be ignored.

    In my opinion, the most convenient fill-flash units are those that have either TTL capabilities or in-flash "auto" sensors, combined with the ability to adjust the output + and - in relation to what the sensor thinks is the "correct" exposure. That way, the fill can be adjusted to a point that its use is not obvious in the image.

    One big caveat, however. Portable flash units follow the same basic lighting principals as any other light source. Flash units are by nature close to being a point light source because of their size. Thus, shadows cast by the flash will be harsh. Increasing the effective size of the light source, either with diffusion screens, miniature soft boxes, or little reflector panels will soften the light from the flash.

    Also, as mentioned, testing is required with virtually any flash unit to get a handle on its real output and what it thinks is proper exposure if it has "auto" capabilities.
     
  11. waynecrider

    waynecrider Member

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    I want to expand just a little on Mr Barker's point. You will most likely not get the attributes in a small 2x AA battery unit that would be as capable as a larger unit with variable fill flash abilities. If you are shooting a "7" say for portraits, in many instances you'll be farther back due to the fact that you would normally use a longer lens for better perspective. It may also be true that you'll often want to do full length or 3/4 shots of multiple people. A 2x unit can have some power, (the 20BC-6 Metz I recommended has 3x AA and has a GN of 66ft aT 100ISO, but most flashes of the smaller size will not have variable abilities except thru your attached diffusion in manual mode and your need to utilize your mental calculator. On "auto" you'll suffer the abilities of the unit as pertains to it's engineering which may or may not be to your requirements; I.E. variable fill in. You might check the SB15 Nikon. It was one I seriously considered in the past, is small, and doesn't sit high.
     
  12. rbarker

    rbarker Member

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    Good points, Wayne. There are numerous trade-offs involved with respect to size, convenience, output, and flash positioning (e.g. red-eye avoidance) - even before considerations are made for the quality of the light being output and whether that needs to be modified in some way. As you noted, there are situations where the very-small units just don't have the oomph to achieve the desired level of fill.

    Most of the time, I think of my Metz 45CL potato-masher (with the appropriate SCA module) as being a small, convenient flash. It is, after all, smaller than a studio strobe, and far more convenient than hauling a gas-powered generator. :wink: