"Universal" flash

Discussion in 'Lighting' started by haris, Sep 7, 2007.

  1. haris

    haris Guest

    Hello,

    Which on camera flash would you recommend for using on different (manual, not TTL, that is without using SCA adapters) cameras with central contact only? I am looking for flash on which I can manually change flash output power (that is set aperture on lens and set flash indenpendently of lens). If there is one which set power on aperture marks, not marks like 1/8, 1/16, 1/64 of power would be nice, but not that important. Zoom head is not important, but can pass.

    Thanks
     
  2. Michel Hardy-Vallée

    Michel Hardy-Vallée Membership Council Council

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    Sunpak 383 or Vivitar 283 are the best, affordable (about 100$ in CDN) most powerful all-around flashes you can find. You can use them both on camera hotshoe and off-camera with a cord. They have manual (full, 1/2; 1/4; etc) and auto modes (range-based: 0.6 to 4m; 1m to 19m; etc).

    The Sunpak 383 has a guide number of 130 (in feet @ 100 ISO), uses 4 AA batteries (get some lithium ones for max usage), and has both a tilt (90degs) and a swivel head (180deg). You can literally bounce the flash behind you, which is very useful in tight cramped spaces (although you would need a flash meter to help with proper exposure). Vivitar 283 has a little less movements, I think.

    The Sunpak is still manufactured; the Vivitar was recently discontinued, but I've heard that the production has been restarted. They're pretty much the last non-TTL flashes left, and they're a must if you don't want to spend useless money to use them on pre-TTL cameras.

    When I'm taking pictures at an event, I use the Sunpak at 45deg, auto 0.6m-4.5m range, with a diffuser on my Spotmatic. 50mm lens set between f5.6 and f8, 400 ISO film, hyperfocus, and I can do pretty much everything I need.

    There is a battery pack for the Sunpak as well, which gives you amazingly quick recharge times, but it's a bit hard to come by. B&H sells it in the USA, I haven't seen it in Canada. No idea about continental Europe.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 7, 2007
  3. fschifano

    fschifano Member

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    Actually, it's Vivtar's 285HV that's been re-introduced. I have two. They're real workhorses.
     
  4. Steve Smith

    Steve Smith Subscriber

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    I have a twenty year old 285. It is excellent.


    Steve.
     
  5. Roger Hicks

    Roger Hicks Member

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    Or an old Metz 45, though that needs a PC nipple and a bracket. I lent/gave mine to a friend years ago, but as far as I know, she is still using it professionally, and it must be 25+ years old now.
     
  6. ricksplace

    ricksplace Member

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    I have a Vivitar 285 that I bought new close to thirty years ago. I had to replace the foot a couple of years ago. That's the only repair I have made in thirty years of use.
     
  7. Drew B.

    Drew B. Subscriber

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    Me too.
     
  8. Nick Zentena

    Nick Zentena Member

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    If he goes with the 45 he needs either the older CT-3 or maybe one of the #1 models. The newer CL-3 I think has less control. Okay I'm sure it has less control I just don't remember how much less. I got to say the auto settings on the Metz are very good :smile:
     
  9. haris

    haris Guest

    Thank you all.