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12-02-2014, 09:27 AM   #1
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3rd party flash

Hi fellow users
I'm thinking of getting a new flash gun or two. Using vivitar 283's at the moment, but toying with the idea of getting the sigma or metz dedicated flash. Or to save longer for the Pentax flash. Any advice on which is better would be appreciated.
Yours truly, Geoff.

12-02-2014, 09:58 AM   #2
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It depends on what your needs are.
The Pentax AF360FGZ and AF540FGZ are less expensive now than their newer counterparts, AF360FGZ-II and AF540FGZ-II. All are full-featured, excellent choices.
Metz makes flashes compatible with Pentax features like P-TTL and HSS. Some people like the Metz better than the Pentax units.
If you can find the older Pentax versions for the same price as the new Metz versions, I would get the Pentax.
12-02-2014, 11:53 AM   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by AquaDome Quote
Some people like the Metz better than the Pentax units.
If you can find the older Pentax versions for the same price as the new Metz versions, I would get the Pentax.
Yes, particularly since Metz recently filed for insolvency. Production is supposed to continue with the intent of salvaging the 84 year-old company.

Lighting equipment manufacturer Metz files for insolvency: Digital Photography Review

Regardless, I would suggest that you take a full audit of how you use your flashes. Units with full compatibility are expensive and the features may not work as well as you might expect. A good example would be P-TTL with manual focus lenses where the camera's ability to modulate the flash is significantly crippled due to lack of distance information from the lens. I have a Sigma EF-610 DG Super, but have found that I get comparable results from a Pentax AF-280T using the flash's on-board sensor.* If I were going the strobist route, I would forego buying dedicated flash entirely.


Steve

* Yes, I regret spending the $225 USD for the Sigma

Last edited by stevebrot; 12-02-2014 at 12:03 PM.
12-02-2014, 01:36 PM   #4
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What do the Vivitars lack, that you wish the new flashes had?

12-02-2014, 02:00 PM   #5
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I remember the 283 from years ago, they were excellent flashes with detachable sensor. I'm not sure if they can be used on DSLR hotshoes as the trigger voltage may be too high and cause damage.

Anyway the flash I use is a Metz 48AF-1 the firmware could be updated - sure whether this will still be the case in the future. I got it off ebay for about 60.

Jeff
12-02-2014, 02:51 PM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by screwdriver222 Quote
I remember the 283 from years ago, they were excellent flashes with detachable sensor. I'm not sure if they can be used on DSLR hotshoes as the trigger voltage may be too high and cause damage.

Anyway the flash I use is a Metz 48AF-1 the firmware could be updated - sure whether this will still be the case in the future. I got it off ebay for about 60.

Jeff
I have a couple of 283's that I use to play around with off-camera flash. Both have trigger voltages well above 100v, far too much to risk on my K10D.

For on-camera flash, I have a Vivitar 383, which is new and is safe for dslrs. It also supports p-ttl. The only thing it lacks is wireless control of off-camera slaves. So far, that hasn't been a problem.
12-02-2014, 03:06 PM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by stevebrot Quote
SNIP I have a Sigma EF-610 DG Super, but have found that I get comparable results from a Pentax AF-280T using the flash's on-board sensor.* If I were going the strobist route, I would forego buying dedicated flash entirely. * Yes, I regret spending the $225 USD for the Sigma
The I do not regret my 610 Super. It's a great value compared to similar flashes from Pentax and Metz.

The 610 is very bright allowing use of high speed sync fill flash from a distance on sunny days, useful during parades and other events. P-TTL mode, despite its limitations, is a good way to manage constantly changing ambient light conditions. The 610 also has stroboscopic mode special effects, not an essential feature but it does open up some artistic effects that can't be done with many other flashes.

(For portrait and still life photography, yes, the 610 Super and similar P-TTL flash has unneeded features and costs.)
12-02-2014, 09:30 PM   #8
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As I prefer a full manual flash and see p-TTL as an option, I ordered the Cactus RF60 recently. I used it last weekend at a festival and was surprised by its functionality. It lacks p-TTL and does HSS only in slave mode. But as it has an inbuilt timer, it will flash like the camera's built in trailing curtain option. And off-camera it can be triggered optically by the camera or by a radio transmitter. Or be used as a radio transmitter and flash on camera. Flash power goes 1/128th of full power in 1/3rd steps.
Lots more info about it here

12-02-2014, 09:39 PM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by DeadJohn Quote
The I do not regret my 610 Super. It's a great value compared to similar flashes from Pentax and Metz.
That it is, but it may be poor value if your needs are better met with one or more speed lights.


Steve

---------- Post added 12-02-14 at 08:42 PM ----------

QuoteOriginally posted by noblepa Quote
I have a couple of 283's that I use to play around with off-camera flash. Both have trigger voltages well above 100v, far too much to risk on my K10D.
There are two flavors of the Vivitar 283. The first is a vintage series of legendary stature that (unfortunately) have high trigger voltages. The second is a currently available modestly-priced unit sold under the Vivitar brand that has nothing in common with the first.


Steve
12-03-2014, 11:10 AM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by ChristianRock Quote
What do the Vivitars lack, that you wish the new flashes had?
Not much really. Just the talk of high trigger voltage keeps cropping up, and although I've not had any issues on my K200 or K5, I've got the issue nagging me every time I attach the 283. Other than that, wouldn't mind playing about with high speed sync, assuming it can be done.
12-03-2014, 11:42 AM   #11
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There's a page where you can check what the voltage of your version is... Photo Strobe Trigger Voltages

It seems like there is an older version of this flash that is too high; the newer versions (China and Korea made) should be fine.
12-03-2014, 01:30 PM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by geoffw Quote
Not much really. Just the talk of high trigger voltage keeps cropping up
That can be measured directly using a voltmeter.

Are your Vivitar 283s vintage or are they the model currently sold at B&H and elsewhere. If they are the current model, the voltage should be safe.


Steve
12-03-2014, 03:44 PM   #13
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My 283's are about 23-25 yrs old. Checked the trigger voltage some time ago. 200+VDC if i remember correctly. Given the age of these gun I suppose they could be up for replacement. Can always use them on slaves off camera.

Last edited by geoffw; 12-03-2014 at 03:49 PM.
12-03-2014, 07:47 PM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by geoffw Quote
Checked the trigger voltage some time ago. 200+VDC if i remember correctly. Given the age of these gun I suppose they could be up for replacement. Can always use them on slaves off camera.
Don't let them near any modern camera without a shoe adapter.


Steve
12-04-2014, 06:07 AM   #15
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For manual work the youngnuo 560iii flashes are great! They are powerful, have a fast enough duration for most situations (not including fast action), and they are easy to use with a rf603 radio transmitter on camera. The flashes have a built in radio reciever! I have never had them fail me and I've even had one fall from a 6 foot stand and it still works fine.
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