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05-02-2013, 10:12 AM   #1
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A cheap flash for indoor/outdoor portraitures?

Hello all!

I've recently received a few photography gigs--I did a friend's senior pictures recently, and I will be doing another friend's engagement photos.

I'm kind of inexperienced with portraiture, so I needed some advice:
I need an on-board fill flash & diffuser.

I did the senior pictures without one and fought with sunlight, etc. in PP. I'm looking to spend $25-$30 for something cheap that will get the job done (this is a hobby ).

I found this, and people seem to like it(?). I've seen many of these in my price range.

I'm not a strobist... will this work with my K-x? I understand that there are various hot shoe modules available (where to look?), but will this work natively?

05-02-2013, 10:42 AM   #2
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The 422D works fine.

Or get one of these: link.

433D and 444D are 1/2 stop more powerful than 422D (GN of 120 vs 100).

Don't worry that they are not "dedicated" to Pentax.

If you want more details, search the forum for "sunpak 433D," "sunpak 444D," and "sunpak 422D" (4xxD models are very similar).

Edited to add: I've owned (then sold) more than a dozen of Sunpak 4xxD units (or clones); none of them is unsafe for Pentax DSLRs.

Last edited by SOldBear; 05-02-2013 at 10:48 AM.
05-02-2013, 10:43 AM   #3
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Do be careful with older flash units, some of them have trigger voltages that can fry your camera. Ones designed for digital are usually OK.

Here is a link with some flash units listed: Photo Strobe Trigger Voltages That one is listed as questionable, so if you buy it you should test it first.

Assuming it is safe, it will be all manual, so you will need to set the power. That is not a P-TTL flash.

One flash I have used on the k-x is the Pentax AF200T. It is manual, but does have a useable 'Auto' mode that is not bad. Not big or powerful but nice for fill at low power.
05-02-2013, 10:52 AM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by jatrax Quote
Assuming it is safe, it will be all manual, so you will need to set the power. That is not a P-TTL flash.
Sunpak 4xxD units are safe.

About operating modes, they all have auto mode with 3 aperture settings, and manual with 5 power ratio settings (1, 1/2, 1/4, 1/8, 1/16). I prefer the Sunpak 4xxD to Pentax AF280T (2 aperture settings in auto, and 2 power ratio settings in manual).

05-02-2013, 12:46 PM   #5
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Try to find a Pentax AF280T, it will serve you well and will not be very expensive.
05-03-2013, 07:44 PM   #6
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Original Poster
Thank you all for your insight--definitely lets me know where to look! Looks like there's some cheap ones on eBay right now that will serve my needs...


Also, will a dirt-cheap diffuser accomplish my purposes? Are some better than others as far as effect/situations?
05-03-2013, 07:50 PM   #7
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You can Google DIY flash bounce card.
05-09-2013, 07:39 AM   #8
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I've seen diffusers made from old plastic milk containers and paper towels. Can't get much cheaper than that.

05-09-2013, 08:06 AM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by MikeS Quote
Hello all!

I've recently received a few photography gigs--I did a friend's senior pictures recently, and I will be doing another friend's engagement photos.

I'm kind of inexperienced with portraiture, so I needed some advice:
I need an on-board fill flash & diffuser.

I did the senior pictures without one and fought with sunlight, etc. in PP. I'm looking to spend $25-$30 for something cheap that will get the job done (this is a hobby ).

I found this, and people seem to like it(?). I've seen many of these in my price range.

I'm not a strobist... will this work with my K-x? I understand that there are various hot shoe modules available (where to look?), but will this work natively?

What lenses are you using? I am asking simply because you said "fill flash & diffuser" - flashing for fill (especially when talking portraiture) is totally different than lighting a scene with a flash. Your glass is the biggest variable here and your flash system needs to be built around that.
05-09-2013, 09:06 AM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by reeftool Quote
I've seen diffusers made from old plastic milk containers and paper towels. Can't get much cheaper than that.
My homemade diffuser/bounce card cost no more than $1, works so nice on portrait and foods (no hot spots on greasily dishes)

05-09-2013, 09:17 AM   #11
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Or just buy a cheap manual flash with bounce and swivel functions that enable you to soften the light from the flash using the walls and ceilings. The AF280T is a great unit if you can find one.
Diffusing the flash outdoors does need extra work, and to me, the most reliable way of doing this is via a shoot-through or reflective umbrella fitted on a light stand.
05-14-2013, 05:58 PM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by Ash Quote
Or just buy a cheap manual flash with bounce and swivel functions that enable you to soften the light from the flash using the walls and ceilings.
This technique is much better than a diffuser mounted on your hotshoe flash

Cheers

Randy
05-14-2013, 07:24 PM - 1 Like   #13
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What is even better is a remotely triggered off-camera flash diffused off-axis onto the subject. Also not an expensive venture, and can give great lighting anywhere, not just indoors.

DA* 16-50 on K20D with off-camera flash diffused with shoot-through umbrella
08-13-2013, 10:26 AM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by Ash Quote
What is even better is a remotely triggered off-camera flash diffused off-axis onto the subject. Also not an expensive venture, and can give great lighting anywhere, not just indoors.

DA* 16-50 on K20D with off-camera flash diffused with shoot-through umbrella
Ash, I have K-30 and I am looking into purchasing YN 560iii + RF-603 Single 2.4GHz trigger, Would that do it to remotely trigger off-camera flash? What other accessories would be beneficial for me. I am very new to external flash photography/off camera photography. Thank you!
08-13-2013, 02:04 PM   #15
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I'm not sure about that particular flash mod but most dedicated P-TTL flashes have the ability to be wirelessly triggered without the need for the radio trigger you mentioned. With the radio trigger, you can fire off any flash remotely, and have more range to do so than with the optical system (without the radio trigger).


Ash.
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