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03-19-2012, 07:44 AM   #1
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YN 560II or Vivtar 283

I would like to purchase a flash - I am pretty new to flash photography, but I finally want to get into trying some portraits and things like that. I am looking to spend under $100 and these 2 seem to be highly recommended.

Which would be the best option? Thanks!

03-19-2012, 07:46 AM   #2
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edit: to clarify - just looking for something to use on the camera for now. not wireless or anything.
03-19-2012, 08:27 AM   #3
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I have a hard time recommending either of them for "on camera" flash but I just got 2 of the YN-560ii flashes and they are great. No experience with the vivitar. With the addition of some cheap cactus v5 triggers, you can open up a whole new world of "off camera flash" photography.
03-19-2012, 08:35 AM   #4
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Jennverr,
Both of those flashes are rather large, no HSS capability, & no P-TTL. If you want an on-camera flash I might recommend the the Metz 50. It is a little smaller and gives HSS and P-TTL. From a purely off camera perspective I would agree with enoeske, you really can't beat a pair of YN560's and some cactus v5s.

03-19-2012, 09:22 AM   #5
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If you have knowledge of flash photography, use manual flash on camera is not a big problem.
if you have to rely purely on auto, then you have to buy pttl flash, and then it cost at least 150-200 I think.
or you can buy cheap auto flash (there is sensor build in flash), it can still do the job fine.
03-19-2012, 09:32 AM   #6
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okay what kind of flash can i use where i can still manually set my aperture? or if getting an auto flash, does that mean setting the camera to auto as well?
03-19-2012, 11:26 AM   #7
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so now i am wondering if i should actually go with something like a sunpak 422 or 433. I think I can even use that on cameras other than the pentax as well?
03-19-2012, 11:32 AM   #8
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Any manual flash or flash that has a manual mode will work on almost any brand with the standard hotshoe. All it requires is the center signal pin. The Yn-560ii, vivitar or sunpack will mount and fire on any body but controlling the power to get the correct exposure is up to you. That goes for when its mounted on a Pentax body as well.

If you want a flash that can get the exposure correct by itself, you need something with P-TTL. You can shoot the camera in any mode, and the flash will automatically adjust itself to nail the exposure.

03-19-2012, 11:32 AM   #9
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You could use a Vivitar 285hv flash on camera, set your own aperture, and have a semi-automatic or fully manual flash control. The Vivitar 285hv is also less than $100 US dollars.

The Vivitar model has a dial on the front of the unit that you use can to adjust the flash power between full power (M) to 1/2 power to 1/4, and 1/16 (no 1/8 for reasons unknown). These are the manual exposure modes.

However, the 285hv is what is known as an auto-thyristor flash, which, although being somewhat old technology, works pretty well as a 'automatic' flash. An auto-thyristor is essentially a simple circuit that involves a photosensor which, after receiving enough light, will break the circuit and thus stop the flash from continuing to pour out light; therefore, you get a proper exposure. The Vivitar 285hv has four 'semi' automatic modes.

On that same dial that I mentioned before, there are also four colours that can be selected. They come after the manual M, 1/2, 1/4, and 1/16 power options (just keep twisting the dial, and you'll see 'em). These are the automatic modes, and they are used depending on how big or small your aperture is. The colours further to the left are for properly exposing for smaller aperture holes (Thus creating more flash output), further to the right means you adjust the flash for larger aperture holes (Thus creating less flash output). This works surprisingly well when you keep your aperture fixed.

It's worth mentioning, however, that unless you are using a Pentax flash or a Sigma or Metz flash specifically designed for Pentax Cameras, the maximum shutter speed that you can use while firing the flash will be limited to 1/180th of a second. This is known as the flash sync speed. All of the Yongnuo flashes, at this point in time (including the yn560II), are limited to 1/180th of a second for Pentax cameras, even if they say for Pentax on the Ebay seller's advertisement.

The Vivitar 285HV is no Pentax AF-360 fgz nor Metz 44 AF-1, but it does get the job done. I had mine for a little over a year and it was used both on and off my Pentax K-x. I sold it because I wanted power output levels lower than 1/16. I now use flashes almost exclusively off camera with radio triggers. I have a Nikon Sb-25, three Minolta 4000AF and (hopefully) a new Nikon Sb-80DX if I win the online auction I'm taking part in currently.

I hope this helps you make your decision,

Best wishes
03-19-2012, 11:56 AM   #10
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Thanks all, this is helping me. one last question here : should i just suck it up and throw down the extra $ for a used sb-24 or a cactus? THANKS AGAIN
03-19-2012, 12:03 PM   #11
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imo, radio triggers will get you a lot farther than any on camera flash will.
03-19-2012, 12:41 PM   #12
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I have a Yongnuo 650 (model 1) which I most commonly use on camera for bounce flash, and it works extremely well. Of course, I have to use manual mode, but as I usually use it in an indoor environment where the ambient light is artificial (& therefore static), this is not a problem. Adjustments are infrequently needed and small, and the power of the flash allows me to shoot at ISO 100 or maximum 200, which leaves me plenty of room in post for adjustments of up to a stop & a half either way.

I've also used it off-camera, but for what I most commonly shoot, that's less useful.

If that's your intended use then I highly recommend the Yongnuo. If the light situation is going to be changing quickly, then I'd recommend something with PTTL so that you can use it in full auto, though for less than $100, I don't know what you'll find.
03-19-2012, 01:59 PM   #13
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I went for the radio trigger route, so I would recommend that. However, there is always a compromise to be made.

Off camera flash isn't just a flash and radio trigger investment. It often requires you to set up light stands (because where else are you going to put this flash that you have set up with a radio trigger?). While this offers greater creative flexibly, it reduces portability and jacks up the price of the flash system as a whole. Consider, you now need a flash, a set of radio triggers, and probably a light stand, an adjustable flash-mount/ umbrella-mount to mount the flash to the light stand, and lets face it, an umbrella, since you've already invested in everything else. But the extra effort isn't wasted, the difference between a good snap and a great photo is often a result of the prep work.

On-camera flash will get you into position faster and cost less, but offers less creative control of your light source. In the end, it comes down to shooting style and price point.

The yongnuo flashes have received a lot of praise for their price, power, recycle time, and output accuracy, but they've also received a lot of frustration due to their tendency to not last much more than 500 pops. I'm just going on what I've heard from other online photo groups and online product reviews. I've never owned one myself... though I find a $75 flash very very alluring. I'd seriously consider a used SB-26 or Sb-80dx (around $125 as of now). Great durability, accuracy, power, and they have built in optical slaves. The Sb-25 and Sb-24 are great too, a bit cheaper but they don't have optical slaves. The best choice is still a modern Pentax flash, but they're way out of your sub $100 price range.
03-24-2012, 09:25 AM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by Gerbermiester Quote
I went for the radio trigger route, so I would recommend that. However, there is always a compromise to be made.

Off camera flash isn't just a flash and radio trigger investment. It often requires you to set up light stands (because where else are you going to put this flash that you have set up with a radio trigger?). While this offers greater creative flexibly, it reduces portability and jacks up the price of the flash system as a whole. Consider, you now need a flash, a set of radio triggers, and probably a light stand, an adjustable flash-mount/ umbrella-mount to mount the flash to the light stand, and lets face it, an umbrella, since you've already invested in everything else. But the extra effort isn't wasted, the difference between a good snap and a great photo is often a result of the prep work.

On-camera flash will get you into position faster and cost less, but offers less creative control of your light source. In the end, it comes down to shooting style and price point.

The yongnuo flashes have received a lot of praise for their price, power, recycle time, and output accuracy, but they've also received a lot of frustration due to their tendency to not last much more than 500 pops. I'm just going on what I've heard from other online photo groups and online product reviews. I've never owned one myself... though I find a $75 flash very very alluring. I'd seriously consider a used SB-26 or Sb-80dx (around $125 as of now). Great durability, accuracy, power, and they have built in optical slaves. The Sb-25 and Sb-24 are great too, a bit cheaper but they don't have optical slaves. The best choice is still a modern Pentax flash, but they're way out of your sub $100 price range.
Yes this is the thing. I am really looking for portability right now rather than investing in a whole set up. I want to get some initial learning in before I do all that.

anyway update: I found a nikon sb-24 for about $60 on ebay, so I went ahead and got that. I think I'll get the sunpak 433d too and just try both.
eventually if i do decide to go totally off camera with stands umbrellas and the works, i'll have these 2 to try that with as well.

thanks everyone. i may be back here when i get the flash(es) to ask more questions haha.
03-24-2012, 12:52 PM   #15
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i can't believe nobody bothered to mention the fact that a vivitar 283 can have a trigger voltage above 250 volts, which could have fried jennverr's camera.
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