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03-18-2008, 07:54 PM   #1
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Need to get a flash.. but what? (College student)

I'm wrapping up my last semester, and we're talking about flashes and such in my Advanced photo class. My teacher is a real-life photographer and shoots Canon [he adores my old Pentax glass I use..hehehe] and he was telling me that the Sigma 500 is a good unit and the Vivitar 285 HV "can light up a whole city block and last for 1,000 years." I am not sure about either of them. I want to get a flash as I think this would be a good addition to my bag.

All I know is that I want a swivel, and good amount of features and compatibility with my K10D.

What is good out there that I can afford? I want to stay under $200 if possible, as I want to get another old M lens or a Sigma 17-70

03-18-2008, 09:12 PM   #2
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My opinion

I'd say you'd be best off with one of the two top Pentax flashes. I have both, and very much like both. At first I was hesitant about the FGZ 360, as it's small size and lack of swivel head seemed like real cons; so I first purchased the FGZ 540. I still have the 540 and use it frequently, but if the two, the 360 is the one I carry in my walk around bag. (actually I have two 360's) If I really need a swivel like effect, I just take the flash off and control it wirelessly with the K10D's built in unit (in command mode the on camera flash won't affect the outcome of your photos).

For me the wireless abilities, and the fact that I know for sure they'll work with my camera and other flashes is huge for me. If you do still think you need more power and a swivel head, then go for the 540, but I personally find the 360 to be a real workhorse. My 540 rarely makes it out beyond use as a slave on a light stand with an umbrella attached to it. Even then, my other 360 compliments it as a near equal in that role (I use two flashes on stands wirelessly with one 360 on my camera to control them for large group shots). For the price you're talking, plus the lighter and more compact convenience of use, I'd say you couldn't loose with a 360.
03-18-2008, 09:32 PM   #3
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Nikon SB- (not the 27) and pair it with Cactus V2s trigger system...should barely break $100 unless you go with the more expensive -26 or -28
03-18-2008, 09:49 PM   #4
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Flash?

My 2 cents would be for a Sunpak 383 which is similar to the Vivatar. It is of course a manual flash which suits me fine for strobist work. Plenty of power. Mine was only $85

CK

03-19-2008, 05:25 AM   #5
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If you are taking classes and have to manually set all the exposure parameters, then you can save money and get cheap auto/thyristor flash. I just got one at the local pawn shop. It bounces, swivels, zooms and has guide number of around 100. Of course zoom is manual, it has no wireless mode but for $20 I think it is still a pretty good deal.

Just go to this site: link to check voltage so you do not kill your camera (if it is DSLR).
03-19-2008, 05:54 AM   #6
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I recently picked up a Digital Concepts 952AF/PEN flash unit . It works well as a manual off camera unit with remote triggers (will not fire off K10D flash). The 270 degree swivel and 90 degree bounce are very good features. It is sold under the Sakar label and one other, can't remember the name, usually for $89-109. You can find info by searching 952AF in google, ebay etc

sold my k10d and replaced it with k20d. flash works the same

Last edited by ivoire; 04-06-2008 at 09:13 AM.
03-19-2008, 06:58 AM   #7
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I have a couple Nikon SB24s, they are great, better build quality than Vivitar stuff. Full manual control. That being said, I have a few Vivitars too. Nothing wrong with them. The 285 have manual controls built it, the 283 has a few settings, but for real manual control, there is a adapter you can find for 20 bucks or so, the varipower adapter. The Nikon sb26 has a built in optical slave, that's nice. For photo class, I would find a cheap 283 or 285hv. The 283s that say made in China should be safe to put on your camera hot shoe as well as the 285hv (please measure your trigger voltage yourself, I can only speak for my copies of this flash). Then look for a sb26 w/ built in optical slave (free) for your second flash. Then... Well I'll stop there, you'll be in up to your neck in no time.

Cheers, Matt
03-19-2008, 07:14 AM   #8
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Look for an old AF280.

03-19-2008, 07:25 AM   #9
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IF you decide not to go the cheap-manual route, and until Pentax comes out with a mid-range flash with a swivel head, I highly recommend the Metz 48 AF-1. I like mine better than the Sigma equivalent (which I used for a month before returning).

It's a little over $200 ($25 over, to be exact) but good value for the money in terms of features and power, and can be controlled as a P-TTL wireless slave by the K10D.
03-19-2008, 09:43 AM   #10
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The Metz looks nice.
03-22-2008, 06:33 PM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by loudbay Quote
I have a couple Nikon SB24s, they are great, better build quality than Vivitar stuff. Full manual control. That being said, I have a few Vivitars too. Nothing wrong with them. The 285 have manual controls built it, the 283 has a few settings, but for real manual control, there is a adapter you can find for 20 bucks or so, the varipower adapter. The Nikon sb26 has a built in optical slave, that's nice. For photo class, I would find a cheap 283 or 285hv. The 283s that say made in China should be safe to put on your camera hot shoe as well as the 285hv (please measure your trigger voltage yourself, I can only speak for my copies of this flash). Then look for a sb26 w/ built in optical slave (free) for your second flash. Then... Well I'll stop there, you'll be in up to your neck in no time.

Cheers, Matt

Cool, thanks for the advice. I was talking to my professor and asked him about the Nikon SB-24 and he said it was quite awesome and that I should get it. I like how it has a swivel, and I'm not interested in using automatic stuff anyway so I don't need that TTL stuff.

Will the Nikon SB-24 be safe on my K10D? Will it hook right up to the hotshoe or do I need some adapter? I don't want to blow it up. Will an infrared transmitter/trigger work on it?


Thaaaanks!
03-22-2008, 06:43 PM   #12
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With the new student rebate for the AF360FGZ ($50) and Adorama's $175 price, I think I have to change my recommendation in general. The Metz flash is nice, but for $100/45% less, were I a student I'd skip the swivel and just take the flash off-camera if I needed to.
03-23-2008, 04:46 AM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by skydragoness Quote
Cool, thanks for the advice. I was talking to my professor and asked him about the Nikon SB-24 and he said it was quite awesome and that I should get it. I like how it has a swivel, and I'm not interested in using automatic stuff anyway so I don't need that TTL stuff.

Will the Nikon SB-24 be safe on my K10D? Will it hook right up to the hotshoe or do I need some adapter? I don't want to blow it up. Will an infrared transmitter/trigger work on it?


Thaaaanks!

it's safe, and I'd guess that it will thyristor meter fairly accurately, if my SB-80 is any indication. If you really want P-TTL, then go for the metz--otherwise, any of the SB-24,26,28 nikon flashes would do the trick (26 is best, has a slave).

For art photography, you'll be working manual whether you like it or not. Likely off camera, too. Buy a cheap nikon, and spend the rest on a set of triggers. Use the change for toys at home depot
03-23-2008, 08:19 PM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by benplaut Quote
it's safe, and I'd guess that it will thyristor meter fairly accurately, if my SB-80 is any indication. If you really want P-TTL, then go for the metz--otherwise, any of the SB-24,26,28 nikon flashes would do the trick (26 is best, has a slave).

For art photography, you'll be working manual whether you like it or not. Likely off camera, too. Buy a cheap nikon, and spend the rest on a set of triggers. Use the change for toys at home depot
I see. Well the Metz seems high for 3rd party anyway...
and my professor was pretty much saying I don't need the auto functions (that's what p-ttl means right?); because they make people look bad and it's a 'generic' exposure, plus it eats batteries faster he said.

I'll try to find a 26, what is the slave feature you speak of? I'm new to flashes so I don't know what would be really needed. I plan on being able to take the flash off and mount it on a light stand and trigger it with a infrared transmitter if I can. But most of the time I'll have it on the camera I think, hence I like the ability to swivel it in other directions.

Thanks

Last edited by skydragoness; 03-23-2008 at 08:28 PM.
03-23-2008, 08:30 PM   #15
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I'd go for an old unit for offcamera flash. You prof probably doesn't want you using auto modes so dont pay for it. Get a SB-24\25, Sunpak 383, Vivitar 285HV or some other older ones.. (btw thats in order of preference personally).

Thanks
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