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07-08-2011, 02:58 AM   #1
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Newbie (on a budget)'s first flash

Hi everyone,

I'm thinking about getting a flash, but I really don't know what the choices are. Would anyone be able to help me figure out what my choices of worthwhile flashes are, if I'm using a Pentax K-r, and have a budget of $150 max. Thanks

~Ben

07-08-2011, 06:29 AM   #2
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Try looking at a used model like a Vivitar 283/ 285. I own an older Vivitar 283 and it provides a lot of power with 4 automatic settings. It does not provide any sort of P-TTL at all. Just check out the power output at the camera connection position to see that the voltage output at the camera mounting point is not too high or it could damage the cameras electronics.

Otherwise start looking at newer flash units that are listed on this forurms equipment review list to see how others rate various models. See how much they are worth as well. The type of flash you what will depend on what you are going to be using it for. The more powerful models provide greater flexiblity of use and although expensive, are a better buy if a flash is to be used a lot down the road.
07-08-2011, 07:51 AM   #3
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I asked almost the same question a couple weeks ago - noob flash recommendations. Check here for some suggestions: https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/1560486-post12.html

https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/pentax-beginners-corner-q/149993-ready-mo...pup-flash.html

Last edited by paulh; 07-08-2011 at 08:16 AM.
07-08-2011, 08:08 AM   #4
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I think you can get a new Sigma EF-530 DG ST for your budget. Best bang for the buck.

07-08-2011, 08:36 AM   #5
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Depends on the usage of said flash...i would recomend you to start reading strobist.blogspot.com and getting some insight on manual flash usage and off camera lighting.
With 150 you can get a sb-28 and a cheap stand...but if you start to get into off camera lighting be ready to spend at least 300 to get a good principal flash, cheap radio triggers, maybe a cheap secondary flash a pair of stands and umbrellas (convertible ones are great...).

If it's only a on-camera with tilt and swivel sigma has pttl compatible options that you may want to check out.

Good luck...and welcome to the realm of FBA (yet another, camera related, buying addiction).
07-08-2011, 08:49 AM   #6
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Thanks everyone for your opinions and tips

What do you think of the Pentax AF 280T?
07-08-2011, 09:36 AM   #7
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The AF280T is a great flash. You can use it manually or use auto. It is not a pttl flash, but I think auto is more consistant. You can also get them cheap. It is also not very powerful.
07-08-2011, 10:13 AM   #8
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I haven't seen it here in this thread yet, but it bears repeating: be very careful what flash you use on your camera's hotshoe. Some older flashes have very high trigger voltages and can fry your hotshoe or camera when fired on-camera. The Vivitar 283 is one of the "unsafe" flashes. You may get away with using it for a while, but don't be surprised if you get zapped. The 285's are hit & miss depending on what model they are, but most if not all of the Nikon flases are safe. I used SB24's and SB28's on the hot shoe in manual mode with no problem. Nice units. I have heard the AF280T is a nice flash if you can find one, but I have no personal experience with them. This table may help with voltage questions.

07-08-2011, 10:13 PM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by geauxpez Quote
I haven't seen it here in this thread yet, but it bears repeating: be very careful what flash you use on your camera's hotshoe. Some older flashes have very high trigger voltages and can fry your hotshoe or camera when fired on-camera. The Vivitar 283 is one of the "unsafe" flashes. You may get away with using it for a while, but don't be surprised if you get zapped. The 285's are hit & miss depending on what model they are, but most if not all of the Nikon flases are safe. I used SB24's and SB28's on the hot shoe in manual mode with no problem. Nice units. I have heard the AF280T is a nice flash if you can find one, but I have no personal experience with them. This table may help with voltage questions.
Ah yes, I don't want to fry my camera. Thanks.
07-09-2011, 06:35 AM   #10
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For a first flash on a budget you can't beat a AF280T. They are cheap, about $25.00 -$30.00 USD on e-bay and plenty powerful for non-studio usage, plus they do integrate with your camera to the extent that it will automatically set the shutter speed and aperture on a A, F, FA, DA lens and will show a flash ready indication in the viewfinder if you use it in the Tv mode.
07-09-2011, 03:53 PM   #11
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I'd go with the Pentax made 280. It's a beginners flash and will support all the functions on the camera without hassle. Plus you don't have to worry about trigger voltages or anything like that which if not correct can potentially destroy the camera. After you become more fluent with the flash then I would move up to the big boy versions. Nothing like jumping ahead to quickly and being discouraged because nothing seems to work.
07-09-2011, 07:32 PM   #12
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sunpak 30dx or 433 D, dedicated to pentax.. approx $30-40 (used).

* tilt
* swivel
* manual modes from full down to 1/16 in full steps
* 3 auto modes
* 120 feet GN (38 meters) @ 35mm & ISO 100
* some minimal communications through TTL (even though newer pentax DSLR don't support TTL): detects when flash is in shoe and sets the shutter speed to 1/160 max. Viewfinder shows you when flash is recharged.
07-09-2011, 07:49 PM   #13
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Sigma EF-530 DG Super, you can find it below $150 sometimes on the Marketplace. I own one and it's an awesome flash (especially love the High Speed Sync option). Supports P-TTL and wireless slave and has a tilt-swivel head.
07-09-2011, 11:49 PM   #14
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Thanks everyone! I like the looks of the AF280T...
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