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05-05-2011, 01:29 PM   #1
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Bell+ howell?

Hi there,
just starting out with photography, and i am just learning as i go,
i am looking for a flash unit for my pentax k-x, and have spotted a brand called bell+howell, can you let me know if they are any good, and would you recommend them, or any others. Just getting used to using the site as well, theres alot of information on it.
Thanks.

05-05-2011, 01:45 PM   #2
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I have the Bell & Howell Z680 flash for my K-r. Good news is it works! Bad news is I'm not a great person to ask because I've just begun with dSLR and hotshoe flash, so I don't know much about how to properly use it.

I do like that it has bounce and swivel capability. It does have P-TTL and it does work automatically with the K-r, and I would assume the K-x. It does not have high speed sync capability, which I'm not real familiar with but is a deal-breaker for many.

I got this unit because it was less than $100 and I just couldn't afford more at this point. I'm happy with the purchase so far, but in the future, I think I'll probably want to upgrade to a better unit with more features. However, this will help me learn about external flashes and hold me over while I add to my collection of other accessories.

Jury is out on durability, battery use, etc.
05-05-2011, 01:52 PM   #3
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I looked up Bell and Howell flash units and saw a few different models in there line-up. You can try looking up this flash on the data base this web site has to see how it rates if it is listed.

You can learn a lot from others on this site about photography in all its forms. Just take your time to find out what you want from picture taking. I have been at it for 30 years and still find out someing new to learn after all this time, Have fun with your new camera!!
05-05-2011, 02:00 PM   #4
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I think Bell & Howell just rebadges generic flash units made by some manufacturer in China. The same flash has different brand names: Vivitar, Bower, ....

Never owning any of them, I can't say much.

As a rule, I don't recommend flashes without auto mode (with its own light sensor). But that's in general, not specific to Bell & Howell.

05-05-2011, 02:16 PM   #5
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Bell+howell

Hi there, thank you so much for your posts and advice.
05-05-2011, 02:54 PM   #6
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B&H was a big name in slide projectors in the last century :-) Have not heard much from them lately.
05-05-2011, 05:32 PM   #7
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I have a huge Bell + Howell hammerhead flash, likely from the late '60s or early '70s, that came in a box of other miscellaneous camera parts. Somebody must have bought up the rights to the name (like Vivitar) and recycled it.
05-05-2011, 05:41 PM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by SOldBear Quote
I think Bell & Howell just rebadges generic flash units made by some manufacturer in China. The same flash has different brand names: Vivitar, Bower, ....

Never owning any of them, I can't say much.

As a rule, I don't recommend flashes without auto mode (with its own light sensor). But that's in general, not specific to Bell & Howell.
I own a SF10 and use the Achiever 630AF flash unit. It works with the cameras TTL metering system. There is no senser on the flash unit. It works well with camera it was designed for but willl not work on other cameras.

Unless you are getting another brand of camera to use, the dedicated P-TTL flash will work well for you. Look at getting the most powerful model so you can get the most out of the flash. You may want see if it can be used as a slaved remote flash.

05-05-2011, 05:55 PM   #9
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I think we are stealing the thread but this may be related to the OP's question: the current models of B&H flashes don't have auto mode.

QuoteOriginally posted by stevbike Quote
... It works well with camera it was designed for but willl not work on other cameras.
After a Canon flash and a Minolta flash that don't work with cameras with other brands, or even cameras of the same brand but of different generations, I learned my lesson.

I do have "dedicated" flashes (2 copies of Pentax 540), but that model also has auto mode and manual mode with multiple power ratio settings. I can use them with my Canon and Ricoh cameras.

p-TTL annoys me for two reasons:

- They are dedicated. The flash can't be used conveniently with cameras of different brands.
- Many people react to the pre-flash strobe and thus have their eyes closed during actual exposure. My son is one of them.

As the result, I use p-TTL only when I absolutely have to. In particular, I don't use p-TTL for group photos.
05-05-2011, 07:52 PM   #10
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Bell & Howell [ Bwe Bell & Howell - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia ] started over a century ago and used to be extremely big in cine photo gear. In the 1960's and 70's B&H was a major importer (and rebrander) of Canon photo gear to North America. Now, about any B&H product that isn't targeted for commercial-industrial or governmental customers is just re-badged third-party stuff. If a B&H-branded device is covered by warranty, fine; if not, you're up a creek.
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