Smallest Powerful Accessory Flash?

Discussion in 'Lighting' started by Fragomeni, Dec 5, 2011.

  1. Fragomeni

    Fragomeni Subscriber

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    Hi all,

    Need some advice here. I'm looking for the smallest powerful accessory flash I can find. I hold the flash in my left hand and use open flash technique (basically opening the shutter for a long exposure and manually firing off the flash to make the exposure) so all I need is something with a test button that I can push to fire it. I don't use the flash mounted to the camera and I don't worry about flash sync speeds because I use the above stated technique. The key here is SMALL but still powerful. Any suggestions?
     
  2. MattKing

    MattKing Subscriber

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    Olympus T32?
     
  3. mopar_guy

    mopar_guy Subscriber

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    Well, Press 25 flashbulbs, of course.
     
  4. mopar_guy

    mopar_guy Subscriber

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    Press 25 flash bulb at ASA 100 is guide number 280 feet.
     
  5. Fragomeni

    Fragomeni Subscriber

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    Haha, no flash bulbs. I have plenty of them but thats not what I'm going for.

    I'll check out the Olympus!

    Any other ideas folks?
     
  6. Newt_on_Swings

    Newt_on_Swings Member

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    Flashbulbs, the way to go! =]

    I got the T32 flash, its a nice compact one, the smallest I can think of as well that packs that much light, even has a rotate-able front for angled bounce flash. GN of 32 meters or 100ft @iso 100. Lacks a bit in manual modes though.

    What is your intended goal? Using for fill light in architecture at night? If using long exposures, I have read sometimes a good choice can be a high intensity flash light or flood light to paint in the areas.
     
  7. Ralph Javins

    Ralph Javins Member

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    Good morning, Francesco;

    Need some specifications here. This question is remarkably subjective and will vary widely based on what is meant by "small" and what is meant by "powerful." If we are clearly limited to electronic flash and cannot use the older flashbulbs, then we are really out in an area where the specific numbers for any one of the qualities will probably limit the numbers for the other qualities. My Minolta Auto 25 will easily go into my shirt pocket, but the Metz 60 CT1 will outperform the Auto 25 by a factor of about 4 or maybe 5.

    From your description of the intended use, it sounds like you are just opening the shutter in a dark area, and using multiple flashes from the electronic flash to illuminate the scene to be recorded onto the film. If you are using something that can be carried in your shirt pocket, you will need to space the flash positions closer together and make more of them than you would with something carried on a shoulder strap or in a bag.

    The best general suggestion I can offer is to just take what you have, and start experimenting and documenting what you did for each identified exposure. Then choose the one you like the best for that scene and situation. One thing to be said for a smaller, less powerful unit in this case, is that you will probably have a more even illumination from that unit with more closely spaced together flash positions than you probably will with a more powerful unit with the flash positions spaced farther apart.

    Try what you have and see if you like what you get.
     
  8. Christopher Nisperos

    Christopher Nisperos Member

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    Hello Francesco,

    Depends on what you mean by "small"... I say this because I noticed that you didn't necessarily specify, "lightweight". If you're already shooting mega-formats, perhaps an old Graflex Stroboflash or Norman 200B flash (what are they? 200ws?) would do the trick? They're relatively small. Or how about something like the Profoto B600? Not as lightweight as a shoe-mount flash, but all the power (light) you might need, and certainly portable (the head can be easily handheld)..

    Just an idea ..
     
  9. olleorama

    olleorama Member

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    Metz have some smaller units which are nice. I have a metz 32 which is really nice and can rotate and tilt, provides TTL with the right SCA-module and camera. I can use it both with Nikon and Pentax.
     
  10. Fragomeni

    Fragomeni Subscriber

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    Thanks for the responses everyone. Sorry for the ambiguity in my initial inquiry. I'm not doing anything fancy here. I just need a small pocketable flash. I really don't need any setting or buttons besides a simple test button to manually fire the thing. The T32 that's been mentioned looks good and is smaller then what I've been using so far but I'd like even smaller if possible. Ideally something that'll fit in a shirt pocket. This is for use with my Fuji GS645W (my small camera that I carry) so I want a flash that will not add much bulk to what I'm already carrying. I remember seeing a little flash a while back that was about the size of a cigarette pack and it put out a heck of a lot of light. I just didn't pay attention to what it was so now I don't know how to find it. To sum it up, I'm just looking for a simple pocketable flash. No special features, no need to pivot or swivel, just something I can fit in my pocket which will put out a decent about of light. Both flashes I've been using, some old Minolta thats lost its name badge and an old Polaroid flash that I ripped of a Polaroid camera which doesn't even have a shoe mount (which I like), have a guide number of 56 (guide number measured at 10ft at 100iso) which is fine. More power would be nice but not if I have to sacrifice size. I would tolerate a little less power for smaller size. If I could find something the size of a cigarette pack that would be the perfect size.
     
  11. MattKing

    MattKing Subscriber

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    If you want even smaller, the Olympus T20 is just that.

    It has a GN of 20 (meters) with ISO 100.

    Its shoe makes it a little uncomfortable in a shirt pocket, but otherwise it is the right size.

    An info link: http://www.star.ucl.ac.uk/~rwesson/esif/om-sif/flashphotogroup/t20.htm

    And an eBay listing: http://www.ebay.ca/itm/OLYMPUS-ELEC...pt=Digital_Camera_Flashes&hash=item2eac8cf933

    If you decide to try to get one, be sure that the battery door is intact, and that it comes with the sliding panel at the back. That panel reverses. One (almost blank) side is used with TTl flash on a number of OM bodies, while the other is used to either set the in-flash auto range or to indicate the aperture to use for different distances.

    The back panel comes in two different versions - if you need feet, don't buy the one that only shows distances in meters.

    I think I have three of these - they fit in just about any camera bag.
     
  12. snederhiser

    snederhiser Member

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    Hello;
    I have a old Vivitar 150, measures 4" x 2 1/2" x 1 1/8". Has a guide number of 56 @ 100asa, uses 2 AA batteries. Nice compact unit, Steven.
     
  13. waynecrider

    waynecrider Member

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  14. Jean Noire

    Jean Noire Member

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    Well if "small" is the buzz word here, you could consider the ContaxTLA140. Smaller than a pack of twenty and same shape, with the business area about 25 x 10 mm. Not particularly powerful but does the job for me on many occasions and can be picked up quite reasonably. Check it out.
    BTW the Olympus T20 does not have a test button to fire it, needs to be hot shoe mounted and is far larger than the TLA140. Don't know about the T32.
    Regards,
    John.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 7, 2011
  15. olleorama

    olleorama Member

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    Get a bigger shirt, with bellow pockets :smile:
     
  16. MattKing

    MattKing Subscriber

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    Ooops, John is right about the T20 - no test button.

    The T32 has one.
     
  17. Fragomeni

    Fragomeni Subscriber

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    Found a little Zeikos that looks like its putting out a good bit of light. I'll need to determine its guide number to see how it stands up but at slightly smaller then a cigarette pack I'm thinking this is what I've been looking for! Thanks for all the help everyone!!
     
  18. LunoLuno

    LunoLuno Member

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    I have a TLA140 (Kyocera CONTAX) and a FC-E (MINOX). Both are not that powerful, but they are extremely small, so I bring one of them almost anytime even when I don't have any particular plan to use it.

    As John Roberts mentioned above, TLA140 is a very small and light flash which works with a CR123A lithium battery. I love this small thin silver-finished flash, it really matches my old chrome Nikkormat. The FC-E, which is originally designed for a dedicated flash for the Minox 35 series, is almost the same size (though a little bit thicker) as the TLA140. It works with only two 4AA batteries, GN18 which is tad powerful than the TLA140(GN14), and it has two auto setting mode (Full/F4/F5.6/ISO100). The main drawback of the FC-E is that it can't be mounted on all camaeras without an adapter. The shoe part of the FC-E is located at the hollowed area of the flash body, so it can't be mounted directly on the cameras which have a flat upper surface you find with most of the rangefinder cameras.

    TLA140 - Contax (Kyocera) / GN14(m) / Full, TTL, test / w56mm x H74mm x D21mm
    FC-E - MINOX / GN18(m) / Full, 2auto, test / w74mm x H55mm x D30mm / High trigger voltage (over 200V)