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12-14-2008, 12:34 PM   #1
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Best $30 Flash (AF280T) i ever bought

All,
Thanks to the strobist who suggested that we buy these inexpensive used flashes. I'm very happy with mine on my K10D. Some observations:

1. Although the TTL feature of this flash doesn't work on my K10, the AF 280T Auto feature does, and does well. With my Metz 48 PTTL, my camera would always catch my wife's eye blink. with this 280T, no closed eyelids, 280T beats out my PTTL flash, score 1 Auto, PTTL 0. Why they didn't put Auto function on Metz 48 like the Metz 58 is a mystery.

2. AF 280T is a tilt and swivel maniac. Why they left out swivel on the AF 360, its a mystery

3. On my off camera cactus usage, the Manual Auto Sync high and low modes work every time with my K10

Cons to the AF 280T:
GN at 28 meters is a bit limiting but i'm sure i'll get my usage out of it. No fractional power settings of this flash, just High and Lo (for macro usage they say) With Camera aperture setting you can control the amount of light to a degree, except that with multiple flashes, one can't individually reduce the power level of this flash from other flashes (except by positioning it closer or farther away).

But for $30, great utility for an amateur.

Now that i've got my first set of Cactus working well, after the antenna mod, i've ordered a second set at $33. I've love it when camera accessories cost $30 or less. That will give me a backup transmitter and 2 flash capability.

Thanks for all the suggestions on this forum!

12-14-2008, 12:55 PM   #2
MSM
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QuoteOriginally posted by philbaum Quote
All,
Thanks to the strobist who suggested that we buy these inexpensive used flashes. I'm very happy with mine on my K10D. Some observations:

1. Although the TTL feature of this flash doesn't work on my K10, the AF 280T Auto feature does, and does well. With my Metz 48 PTTL, my camera would always catch my wife's eye blink. with this 280T, no closed eyelids, 280T beats out my PTTL flash, score 1 Auto, PTTL 0. Why they didn't put Auto function on Metz 48 like the Metz 58 is a mystery.

2. AF 280T is a tilt and swivel maniac. Why they left out swivel on the AF 360, its a mystery

3. On my off camera cactus usage, the Manual Auto Sync high and low modes work every time with my K10

Cons to the AF 280T:
GN at 28 meters is a bit limiting but i'm sure i'll get my usage out of it. No fractional power settings of this flash, just High and Lo (for macro usage they say) With Camera aperture setting you can control the amount of light to a degree, except that with multiple flashes, one can't individually reduce the power level of this flash from other flashes (except by positioning it closer or farther away).

But for $30, great utility for an amateur.

Now that i've got my first set of Cactus working well, after the antenna mod, i've ordered a second set at $33. I've love it when camera accessories cost $30 or less. That will give me a backup transmitter and 2 flash capability.

Thanks for all the suggestions on this forum!

Philbaum: Nice to hear. I have a k10d and recently bought a Metz 48. Unfortunately before getting into strobist. Now, I wonder if money would have been better spent else where. Do you use your Metz with the Cactus transmitter? Able to use manual mode and still be triggered? Right now I am using the built in flash as a trigger and it only allows pttl.
12-14-2008, 12:56 PM   #3
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Now for the best $10~20 you'll ever spend for a flash: AF200T
12-14-2008, 01:05 PM   #4
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I think those also have the sweetness of doing useful things on yer 67s and 645s, too.

I'm not entirely sold on this P-ttl thing, myself, ....not why I went Pentax. That's a good compatibility, though.

12-14-2008, 01:44 PM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by MSM Quote
Philbaum: Nice to hear. I have a k10d and recently bought a Metz 48. Unfortunately before getting into strobist. Now, I wonder if money would have been better spent else where. Do you use your Metz with the Cactus transmitter? Able to use manual mode and still be triggered? Right now I am using the built in flash as a trigger and it only allows pttl.
Mark,
Yes, i use my Metz with the Cactus as well, on manual. The Metz has raw power with 48 meter GN and zooming capability, manual and auto with camera. Plus it has rear curtain, High Speed Synchro for fill in on bright days, and fully power adjustable on manual. Metz 48 doesn't seem to cause my wife to blink when i use it on bounce flash, off walls and ceiling. I hear you on the cost.

I plan on using both with the cactus, the Metz for positions that require more power and a very focused beam.

One could make a case for selling the Metz48 and buying more inexpensive flashes. But i like really wide angle stuff too, and the Metz48 flash will cover ultra wide angle that most inexpensive flashes won't.

Its all pro and con, thanks for comment
12-14-2008, 01:53 PM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by Mike Cash Quote
Now for the best $10~20 you'll ever spend for a flash: AF200T
Mike, thank you much for the tip on the 280T. I may just take you up on the 200T as I know of a good home for the 280T with a relative that needs one :-) At least with flash addiction, the cost trend line is in a much better direction than LBA :-)
12-15-2008, 06:19 AM   #7
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Scrounge up another 280 for your relative. It ain't like you got the last one on the planet.

I'm not saying the 280 is no good for off-camera; I use mine that way quite a bit. And it is excellent for situations where you want to bounce and setting up lights isn't really an option. Not to mention that it is great for setting on auto, turning the head around backwards, and firing it into an umbrella.

It is just that the 200 is smaller, lighter, and in addition to 2 auto power settings has 4 manual power options. No bounce/swivel, but that is moot off-camera. Only real drawback is that the shape makes it not a good candidate for a snoot or grid. The two I have see quite a bit of use and I wouldn't mind having a couple more of them.

Someday the teeming millions populating the Strobist forum on Flickr are going to discover this overlooked jewel and the prices will go through the roof.
12-15-2008, 07:16 AM   #8
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I got mine basically free, and I love it so much more than I expected! The tilt-swivel head (without locking buttons, thank you Pentax) is excellent, sturdy, the exposure meter is very reliable, I just love it.

I keep reading that some people don't like PTTL, if I ever upgrade all I would want to change is the GN and an AF-assist light. Exposure-wise this flash is as good as it gets, I'm sure.

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