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12-02-2009, 06:49 PM   #1
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Best flash with no auto shut-off?

Hi all. I'm looking into getting some manual flashes in addition to my Pentax dedicated ones. Mostly because all of mine have an auto shutoff feature that I can't override (af 360s and Sigma 530 Super). They can stay on in all slave modes but once I put them on master its game over.

I was looking into the Vivitar 285HV (of course) and/or possibly a Metz. Heck, I'll even pick up a N*kon SB26 if theyre available! My main want is a flash that stays on till I turn it off and not before. What would be nice is one that I can attach a battery pack to.

Any ideas? Suggestions?

12-02-2009, 11:31 PM   #2
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If you're considering Viv's then take a look at these: LumoPro LP120 Manual Flash
12-03-2009, 02:13 PM   #3

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One of the most underated flash series is Sunpak 4xxD, in particular 422D, 433D, and 444D. They are compact, powerful and feature-rich (for their times). The head can swivel and tilt. They have auto (3 aperture settings), manual (5 levels: full, 1/2, 1/4, 1/8, and 1/16).

Also, look for Sunpak 3600DX or 36DX. They are European names of Sunpak 444D but cost less because most people are unfamiliar with the model numbers.

Check out used department at B&H. If a flash does not come with module, buy a module that is not "common" and thus cheap (Ricoh, Olympus). You don't need dedication, any module will work.

Just got this setup from B&H:

- Sunpak 36DX for Olympus OM - $21.36
- EXT-8 Extension Cord for MX, RX, NE - $3.48 (I need the extension cord to use with a flash bracket. It's not needed if you plan to attach the flash to the camera's hot shoe).
- 3-day USP shipping: $5.90

How can you go wrong for $30?

B&H has decent return policy for used equipment, beating FleaBay any time.

12-11-2009, 09:00 AM   #4
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i picked up a couple of canon 540ez flashes. and they are great for strobist use. they don't work with the canon digital bodies so are easy enough to find reasonably cheaply. they work great with my cactus V2 (ebay versiojnsof anyway) and have manual power adjustment down to 1/128. you can also specify the head coverage from 24mm to 105mm which is handy sometimes. they can be set to always on or to power off after a period of inactivity using a the sliding power switch. all in all a great alternative to the usual nikon sbXXX option.

12-19-2009, 07:38 AM   #5
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12-22-2009, 01:16 AM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by jboyde Quote
Hi all. I'm looking into getting some manual flashes in addition to my Pentax dedicated ones.

My main want is a flash that stays on till I turn it off and not before. What would be nice is one that I can attach a battery pack to.

I am pretty cheap so I went with a few Promaster 7000M/Quantaray PZ-1 DS-1 flashes for Nikon. I've been buying at various prices over the last year, but to be able to buy any number for $31.25 each, free shipping, at one go, is pretty nice. For $156.25 you would have five flashes, four working and one spare.

The Pentax dedicated version of the flashes work well as manual flashes on the camera, but there is some issue with the pins so that a radio trigger can not fire them. I found it posted that the Nikon versions don't do this, so started with one Nikon to test out and now have five.

Quantaray DSZ Series PZ-1 TTL Power Zoom Flash for Nikon Cameras

You can find the Promaster manual for this flash here. There is no difference in the flashes except the logos printed on them. This flash is also under a different name in Europe.

• Guide Number: 138 (ASA 100, 105mm)
• Power Source: 4 AA Alkaline Batteries
• Recycle Time: 0.3-10 Seconds
• Angle of Coverage: 78 H 60 V
• Covers 24mm lens on 35mm cameras
• Motorized Zoom: 24mm-105mm
• Bounce Angle: -7 to 90
• Swivel Angle: 0 to 180
• Flash Modes: TTL, Manual, Multiple, Modeling, Optical Slave
• Manual: 1/1, 1/2, 1/4, 1/8, 1/16, 1/32, 1/64
• Front & Rear Flash Ready Light
• Multifunction LCD Display Panel
If you look at the manual you'll see that the flash has an auto power off feature. It isn't like the auto power off of the 360FGZ where the flash simply shuts down when off camera. The auto power feature on the Promaster/Quantaray flash is a standby mode.

The flash only shuts down the LCD and LED indicators. The actual flash stays ready. Even when the flashes are in their standby modes, as soon as I hit the shutter, activating the PT-04TM triggers, the flashes fire. This is kind of the best of both worlds for off camera radio triggers, there is power being saved, but it doesn't interfere with shooting.

edit: I let the flash sit for an hour or so ( this isn't how long it takes, it is just that I didn't check it for a while) and the flash did finally go into a deeper sleep. This deeper sleep meant that I had to touch the button on the PT-04TM trigger and wait for the flashes to charge their capacitors before taking a shot. I have to say I never noticed this before as usually I'm not taking long enough between shots for the flash to get to this deeper sleep. I think that because I can wake up the flashes without touching them by just using the remote, and that they keep their configurations, that I am perfectly happy with this behavior.
end edit:

The requirement for an external battery pack can be met by notching the sliding battery door to allow a wire to pass through. It is just a matter of cutting a 1/2 wooden dowel to the right lengths and coming up with the external power source.

DIY mod to Nikon SD-8a for more flash power - The Photo Forum - Photography Discussion Forum

You can also buy a manufactured version to work with the flash, but I'm not sure it is worth the investment. The manufactured module is almost twice the cost of the flash at $ 52.95.

Personally Eneloops in the flash have worked fine for what I do, so I haven't bothered with this.

Thank you

Last edited by Russell-Evans; 12-22-2009 at 05:39 AM.

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