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10-28-2008, 05:30 AM   #1
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one more newbie flash thread

Hi all,

as one might guess from the title, I'm completely new to off-camera flashes. I read about a thousand threads so far to get some basic understanding. I will summarize my basic questions :

1) P-TTL : some seem to like it, other not. Am I'm right in thinking that P-TTL will be a great help when using the flash in situations where distance between subject and flash will change often, but not as reliable as manual mode (e.g. in studio) ?

2) Wireless : will the AF360 or AF540 work wireless when not in direct optical line with the onboard flash (e.g. when directed against reflective umbrella or inside a softbox) ? Will pw or flashwave always be more reliable ?

3) When used on-camera, will the swivel possibilities make a big difference (couldn't I use a lightsphere instead of bouncing from ceiling) ?

My main concern here is that I have a very tight budget. So if I could start with a AF360 (or even less expensive ....) and a shoot-through umbrella instead of AF540 (or equivalent) + flashmeter + wireless transmitter/receiver...... well, you see my point

thx a lot for input

10-28-2008, 05:47 AM   #2
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QuoteOriginally posted by Wulifou Quote

My main concern here is that I have a very tight budget.
I do all of my flash work with units I paid about $10 ~ $30 for....most of the time with a single $10 flash.

For ease of showing examples, I made a Flickr set just to illustrate that flash doesn't have to be expensive.
10-28-2008, 06:07 AM   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by Mike Cash Quote
I do all of my flash work with units I paid about $10 ~ $30 for....most of the time with a single $10 flash.
Mike,

that is amazing (and very inspiring). I was actually into the pttl questions, since I intend to use sometimes the flash on stand, and sometimes just on-camera (or holding it) when shooting friends and family. Is the auto mode on AF200T reliable, when shooting moving subjects ?
10-28-2008, 07:29 AM   #4
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If you're really on a budget, ditch p-ttl for thryster auto or full manual mode, with a cable or an optical slave device like a [IMG]wein peanut[/IMG] (stolen from The Wein Peanut Experiment with Canon Speedlites - Canon Digital Photography Forums).

If you're really on a tight budget, you can use tape, bungee cords, rubber bands, broomsticks, etc., and reflect off $2 posterboards from staples. You can use a cut up translucent milk jug instead of a Lightsphere.

All that fancy equipment just makes things quicker. Oh, and it keeps you thinking about equipment rather than shooting, though that's a fine hobby in its own right.

10-28-2008, 08:00 AM   #5
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I second the old thyristor flash. I am currently using two with wireless triggers and they work great. No P-TTL or auto mode but when I use flash, I usually have plenty of time to adjust settings. And the best part is that I paid something like $20 for the flash and about $15 for wireless trigger (plus shipping).
10-28-2008, 08:14 AM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by deuces Quote
If you're really on a tight budget, you can use tape, bungee cords, rubber bands, broomsticks, etc., and reflect off $2 posterboards from staples. You can use a cut up translucent milk jug instead of a Lightsphere.
hmmmm, didn't think of af360 and an umbrella as fancy, but you've made a point here translucent milk jugs are not common where I live, but I think I'll try some old tupperware stuff from the kitchen ...... thx
10-28-2008, 08:20 AM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by drabina Quote
I am currently using two with wireless triggers and they work great.
could you tell me which one you're using ? I read a lot of posts with people beeing happy with Flash Wave, but they are more expensive then Cactus (which I could get for 25 ) ? Do you have any feedback on these ?
10-28-2008, 08:33 AM   #8
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Homemade Bounce Flash Toys, lots of experimentation with home made diffusers. Bubble wrap for the win!

If you think about it, the only difference between Mike Cash's $10 flash and the 360 is p-ttl. So it's fancy.

10-28-2008, 08:54 AM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by deuces Quote
Homemade Bounce Flash Toys, lots of experimentation with home made diffusers. Bubble wrap for the win!

If you think about it, the only difference between Mike Cash's $10 flash and the 360 is p-ttl. So it's fancy.
Convinced (even if I still don't know if the pttl fancy stuff is helpful or just a marketing trick when using the off-camera flash for fill-in when people are moving around a lot )
10-28-2008, 10:02 AM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by Wulifou Quote
could you tell me which one you're using ? I read a lot of posts with people beeing happy with Flash Wave, but they are more expensive then Cactus (which I could get for 25 ) ? Do you have any feedback on these ?
I have purchased this set: link. It is for one flash, but the seller can sort of customize package for you. I needed additional hotshoe adapter ($5) to use with my flash (it didn't have the pc socket). I have total of two of those sets and they work just fine.
10-28-2008, 11:28 AM   #11
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great ! thx a lot for the help
10-28-2008, 11:53 AM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by Wulifou Quote
Hi all,

1) P-TTL : some seem to like it, other not. Am I'm right in thinking that P-TTL will be a great help when using the flash in situations where distance between subject and flash will change often, but not as reliable as manual mode (e.g. in studio) ?

2) Wireless : will the AF360 or AF540 work wireless when not in direct optical line with the onboard flash (e.g. when directed against reflective umbrella or inside a softbox) ? Will pw or flashwave always be more reliable ?

3) When used on-camera, will the swivel possibilities make a big difference (couldn't I use a lightsphere instead of bouncing from ceiling) ?
1) Manual means, no calculations. P-TTL requires the camera to calculate. So yes, manual is more consistent.

2) Yes. I have taken shots where there is no direct line of sight with my P-TTL Wireless Flash Slaves and it works.

3) Swivel is very useful for a flash. Using a diffuser is not a replacement for bouncing the flash, they give you different effects and each has a place and time to use.

QuoteOriginally posted by deuces Quote
If you think about it, the only difference between Mike Cash's $10 flash and the 360 is p-ttl. So it's fancy.
The difference is not only p-ttl, also don't think of P-TTL as a useless technology (because it's very useful). The 360 has lots of features that aren't found on many base model flashes. Zoom head, tilt head, manually adjustable power output, auto thyristor mode, contrast lighting mode, focus assist lamp, second curtain flash, high speed sync, and optical wireless capabilities.

Yes, if you spend the time, you can tinker with all the adjustments you want. But that's just how it is in photography, if you want to tinker with settings all day, you can. If you like making the adjustments fine, but technology has it's place in photography as well, and I for one appreciate the less time and addition photography possibilities that the technology offers.
10-28-2008, 12:30 PM   #13
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I'm not knocking the technological advances of units like the 360 and 540. I'm just pointing out that in the end they both do the same thing....throw a certain amount of light on a subject....and that if one is really on a tight budget that the technology of two or three decades ago is still perfectly usable.
10-28-2008, 01:13 PM   #14
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Well I never doubted your intentions Mike, that's why I wasn't quoting you to reply to

I also want the OP to know that there has been advancements in Flash units because the feel of this thread gives off the impression that there are no differences.

I understand being on a budget though. I was using LED flashlights with point and shoot cameras a while back.
10-28-2008, 02:19 PM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by drabina Quote
I have purchased this set: link. It is for one flash, but the seller can sort of customize package for you. I needed additional hotshoe adapter ($5) to use with my flash (it didn't have the pc socket). I have total of two of those sets and they work just fine.
Sorry I'm not meaning to hijack this thread. But:
Hi everyone. Can someone explain to me in plain english what I would need from this vendor to shot wirelessly with a K20D, 540 and 360 flashes. I emailed the person but I got like a canned reply and it didn't help very much.

I saw this in his FAQ section:
Q: I recently bought the 16 channel triggers from you. The trigger works flawlessly with my Pentax K10 and my OLD vivitar flash up to 1/180 but with my pentax 360FGZ flash it will only sync up to 1/30. I looked for a solution and saw that you recommended fresh NiMH batteries which I did but there was no change. I tried every possible combination on the flash and camera. Have you heard of similar problems with this setup?

A: Since the trigger works flawlessly with your Pentax K10 and your OLD vivitar flash up to 1/180,
this means the radio slave has no problem.

Q: After researching online this is not an unusual problem with Pentax Flashes (360 or 540). It seems to be a consistent problem above 1/30 shutter speed.
Thanks, Chris


Did you notice this drabina?

Thanks
Jim

Last edited by jbrowning; 10-28-2008 at 02:29 PM.
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