Vivitar 285 auto flash......seems counterintuitive

Discussion in 'Lighting' started by Doug Bennett, Oct 2, 2005.

  1. Doug Bennett

    Doug Bennett Member

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    I have several Vivitar 285s. They have 4 Auto Flash modes: Yellow, Red, Blue, Purple. Yellow indicates larger apertures, Purple at the other end of the range indicates smaller apertures. E.g., if Yellow indicates f5.6, Purple is around f11. Yellow has the greatest light output, and Purple the least.

    That has always seemed counterintuitive: seems like full power would call for the smallest aperture, not the largest. What am I missing?

    Tangential rant: chief among the many things I dislike about digi-cams is the inability, on all but a very few, to strap on a 285 and by-god get some light on the subject.
     
  2. bobfowler

    bobfowler Subscriber

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    You've got it bassackwards - the f/5.6 setting (yellow) is putting out less light than the f/11 setting (purple). What confuses some people is that coming off "M", Vivitar starts with the lower flash output amounts when dialing in the power settng instead of starting from higher power.
     
  3. John Koehrer

    John Koehrer Subscriber

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    Hey gents,
    I think there's a slight misunderstanding of the color ranges here.
    The colors represent the distance at which you can use the flash in an automatic mode. They are not used to set power.
    At the maximum distance in each range the flash will provide the max. power it is capable of delivering. At lesser distances the flash will quench or dump the unneeded power back to the main capacitor for faster recycle times.
    If you were to measure the light at the max. distance of each range it should approximate the aperture suggested by that colors indicator.
    The 285 has the variable power capablility on the other side of the scale whereby you can increase or decrease power to control exposure manually.