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Vintage flashes (for off-camera use)?
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 25, 2017 1:33 am    Post subject: Vintage flashes (for off-camera use)? Reply with quote

To keep this simple:

- never did flash photography before
- strapped for cash
- vintage flashes seems to go for next to nothing on eBay
- only interested in getting flashes for noodling around with "studio" portrait photography

So...anyone have any recommendations? Between $20-30?

I see Vivitar 283/285's, and other old Japanese flashes, going for super cheap - are these worth looking into for off-camera use?
(I understand certain old flashes can be hazardous when used on the camera hotshoe).

Would I need optical slave triggers for these?


PostPosted: Tue Apr 25, 2017 4:49 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

You mention Vivitar 283 and 285 flashes. These would be my first recommendations. They're powerful, rugged, and they have variable output, which might be of some help in a studio setting. And they will definitely need slave triggers.

As for trigger voltage, if you have a multi-meter, it is easy enough to check yourself. Usually voltages over 6v are considered excessive.


PostPosted: Tue Apr 25, 2017 7:09 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

cooltouch wrote:
You mention Vivitar 283 and 285 flashes. These would be my first recommendations. They're powerful, rugged, and they have variable output, which might be of some help in a studio setting. And they will definitely need slave triggers.

As for trigger voltage, if you have a multi-meter, it is easy enough to check yourself. Usually voltages over 6v are considered excessive.


Thanks heaps for the reply!

Any other flash units you could recommend for off-camera use?
Minolta Maxxum 3500xi? Canon EZ series? Other Japanese stuff?


PostPosted: Tue Apr 25, 2017 7:19 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I recently picked up a Cobra D400 which is reasonably powerful (GN33m at 100 ISO) & has a trigger voltage of only 2.5V
It's TTL function won't work with any of my cameras, but that wasn't of interest anyway Smile


PostPosted: Tue Apr 25, 2017 8:14 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Cooltouch has mentioned trigger voltages, and it reminded me of this web page that provides a fair listing of what has been reported to them for some old guns -

http://dpanswers.com/roztr/volt_finder.php

If you are thinking you may hook the old flash directly up to a digital, I'd suggest always giving the guns you plump for a quick check for both trigger voltage and polarity, regardless of what you have read about them. Just as a belt and braces thing. It's fairly quick and painless, so why not. Here's a 'how-to' on another page from the same guys -

http://dpanswers.com/content/genrc_flash_measuretv.php#lip

And it's surprising how many people actually own a simple multi-meter. Sometimes they don't even realise it. It's that thing in the toolbox they inherited.

I hope that helps a bit and good hunting.


PostPosted: Tue Apr 25, 2017 8:27 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Over the years i had collected a box full of old flashes, tripods, cords and stuff, all coming from camera sets i bought. At some point i thought about doing some experiments with flash photography and i bought a cheap chinese remote trigger set on ebay. This way i had no concerns about flash trigger voltage and my camera, some old flashes can burn your DSLR's circuits!

The first thing i found out quickly was the fact that it is really hard to use simple flashguns, they always blow out the same large amount of light. So you'll have to look for anything that can be manually set, variable flash-power really is a must if you ask me.

So : anything that has a variable flash power output will do! Mine were a National PE3066G, Sunpak 3075G (still have them around) and a Metz (sold that).

Making reflectors is not so hard, some iron wire and white cardboard come a long way! I had a lot of fun with this low-budget set-up, i could trigger 3 flashes simultaneously, put some color filters in front of one, things like that. A whole new world to discover!

Here are some samples i made with my wife, it was fun!

My poison Ivy... by René Maly, on Flickr

High heels by René Maly, on Flickr

Boudoir by René Maly, on Flickr


PostPosted: Tue Apr 25, 2017 10:39 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks a lot for all the replies!

Been researching about flashes and how to use them ever since I made this thread, and I'm starting to like the Minolta 4000AF and Canon 430EZ units from a price-features perspective.


PostPosted: Tue Apr 25, 2017 1:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

You mentioned the Canon 430EZ. That'll work. So will the 420EZ. I had one of them that finally gave up the ghost after 25 years of reliable service. I replaced it with a 540EZ. Better than both the 430 and 420.

Nikon's SB24 will work well because it has a variable output. I know because I own one of these as well.

I too have amassed a sizable quantity of flashes of various outputs. I probably have at least a dozen, ranging in size from a tiny thing that takes a couple of "AA" batteries to a GIANT Sunpak 622 that takes a fistfull of "C" size batteries. Really any and all flashes like this will work for studio flash work -- to aid in creating light spots in the frame, say hiding behind a potted plant, for example, to bring out the outline of the plant. But in order to get a complex lighting setup to render a properly exposed photo, you're gonna need to meter things. And for that, I strongly recommend you also get a flash meter. Some are expensive -- usually the digital ones -- some not so. I have a Gossen Luna Pro F, which does a great job with flashes as well as regular reflective and incident photography, and best of all, it is relatively cheap on the used market.


PostPosted: Sat Apr 29, 2017 10:32 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

TrueLoveOne wrote:
Over the years i had collected a box full of old flashes, tripods, cords and stuff, all coming from camera sets i bought. At some point i thought about doing some experiments with flash photography and i bought a cheap chinese remote trigger set on ebay. This way i had no concerns about flash trigger voltage and my camera, some old flashes can burn your DSLR's circuits!


It is ideal a set of two minimum. My old flash (12V) Nissin 360WX-DIGITAL (the last word seems ironic) works well on my Panasonic. But that thing can fry my Sony (6V). The question is if the problem is solved by placing my old flash in the upper shoe of the transmitter which is attached to the camera by the bottom shoe.



Thanks!


PostPosted: Sat Apr 29, 2017 11:29 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

anktonio wrote:
The question is if the problem is solved by placing my old flash in the upper shoe of the transmitter which is attached to the camera by the bottom shoe.



Thanks!


Good question..... i wouldn't know. I use a very simple wireless set. It's just a trigger on the camera and the receivers go on the flashes.