Flash alternatives for Minlta Dimage Z5

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by Merlin the Mystic, Feb 25, 2008.

  1. I bought a Z5 just a little while before Minolta announced they were
    stopping camera production. Perfect timing! It was at a nice price
    however and overall it performs well. However the built in flash is
    useless beyond ~3m. So I'm looking for a flash gun, the Z5 has a shoe
    for the purpose. Then I saw the prices and gulped, the flash guns
    (Minolta and Sony) are 2 or 3 times more expensive than the camera was!

    I see that Sigma an Metz also produce "compatible" guns:
    http://photoclubalpha.com/2007/06/12/flash-choices-for-the-alpha-dslrs/#more-73
    however these are not cheap either.

    I even started thinking about buying a new camera because it had a
    cheaper flash (eg Canon SX 10is) but then I thought a slave flash might
    be a reasonable alternative with the Z5.

    Has anyone any experience to offer, please, or suggestions about a
    reasonably priced flash?

    Thanks
    Merl
     
    Merlin the Mystic, Feb 25, 2008
    #1
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  2. Merlin the Mystic

    Clark Martin Guest

    In article <2008022522241016807-Merlin@theCourtofKingArthur>,
    Merlin the Mystic <> wrote:

    > I bought a Z5 just a little while before Minolta announced they were
    > stopping camera production. Perfect timing! It was at a nice price
    > however and overall it performs well. However the built in flash is
    > useless beyond ~3m. So I'm looking for a flash gun, the Z5 has a shoe
    > for the purpose. Then I saw the prices and gulped, the flash guns
    > (Minolta and Sony) are 2 or 3 times more expensive than the camera was!
    >
    > I see that Sigma an Metz also produce "compatible" guns:
    > http://photoclubalpha.com/2007/06/12/flash-choices-for-the-alpha-dslrs/#more-7
    > 3
    > however these are not cheap either.
    >
    > I even started thinking about buying a new camera because it had a
    > cheaper flash (eg Canon SX 10is) but then I thought a slave flash might
    > be a reasonable alternative with the Z5.
    >
    > Has anyone any experience to offer, please, or suggestions about a
    > reasonably priced flash?



    I have a Z5 and bought a Sigma EF-500 DG ST I- TTL for it. IIRC it
    caused $165 from <http://47stphoto.com>. It is indeed a big improvement
    on the built in flash. I don't know of any camera's built in flash that
    can compare to a comparable external flash.

    The Sigma works quite well. It has lots of power but I wouldn't mind
    more (see my use below). In shooting indoors while bouncing off the
    walls or ceiling it does a good job of providing even illumination. The
    flash head has a zoom mechanism that automatically syncs with the camera
    to concentrate the light when zooming in.

    Sigma makes two models of flash, the ST and the Super. The model I
    bought, the ST is cheaper. I don't recall what the difference is but I
    do remember that when I was comparing them it didn't matter.

    I did use a slave flash till I broke my old flash unit. I never got
    particularly good results with it. For one thing just setting it up in
    the dark, and putting it on a separate tripod caused lots of trouble.
    My primary interest is in night photography of trains. They tend to
    move so aiming the camera and a slave flash is a bit tricky. I think
    the biggest problem was that my little flash simply didn't trigger the
    slave reliably unless I placed the slave ahead of the camera and just
    out of view. But that again made for tricky shooting of a moving train.
    I might at sometime try one or more slave flash units in concert with
    the Sigma. They shouldn't be as much trouble as the Sigma will be
    providing the bulk of the light and it should have enough power to
    trigger the slave(s) by bouncing off the subject.

    One problem I've had is that many of the train engines and cars I shoot
    have retroreflective decals on them. This reduces the amount of light
    the flash puts out. I've taken to shooting them using full manual.

    --
    Clark Martin
    Redwood City, CA, USA Macintosh / Internet Consulting

    "I'm a designated driver on the Information Super Highway"
     
    Clark Martin, Feb 26, 2008
    #2
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  3. Merlin the Mystic

    ray Guest

    On Mon, 25 Feb 2008 22:24:10 +0100, Merlin the Mystic wrote:

    > I bought a Z5 just a little while before Minolta announced they were
    > stopping camera production. Perfect timing! It was at a nice price
    > however and overall it performs well. However the built in flash is
    > useless beyond ~3m. So I'm looking for a flash gun, the Z5 has a shoe
    > for the purpose. Then I saw the prices and gulped, the flash guns
    > (Minolta and Sony) are 2 or 3 times more expensive than the camera was!
    >
    > I see that Sigma an Metz also produce "compatible" guns:
    > http://photoclubalpha.com/2007/06/12/flash-choices-for-the-alpha-dslrs/

    #more-73
    > however these are not cheap either.
    >
    > I even started thinking about buying a new camera because it had a
    > cheaper flash (eg Canon SX 10is) but then I thought a slave flash might
    > be a reasonable alternative with the Z5.
    >
    > Has anyone any experience to offer, please, or suggestions about a
    > reasonably priced flash?
    >
    > Thanks
    > Merl


    FWIW - Faced with a similar situation several years ago after I got my
    Kodak DC210+ (yes, I said it was several years ago) - I purchased a
    hotshoe slave and attached the old flash unit from my film SLR - worked
    quite nicely - I don't really understand why you need the latest and
    geatest.
     
    ray, Feb 26, 2008
    #3
  4. On 2008-02-26 02:58:23 +0100, ray <> said:
    > FWIW - Faced with a similar situation several years ago after I got my
    > Kodak DC210+ (yes, I said it was several years ago) - I purchased a
    > hotshoe slave and attached the old flash unit from my film SLR - worked
    > quite nicely - I don't really understand why you need the latest and
    > geatest.


    That's an interesting option, I have a Canon Speedlite (?) which gets
    no use these days and I woud e happy to press it into service. However
    the tricky bit is getting varying degrees of sync and integration with
    the camera. You mention a hotshoe slave: I imagine that this is some
    sort of "converter" between camera A and flash B, can you tell me any
    more about it please?

    Thanks

    Merl
     
    Merlin the Mystic, Feb 26, 2008
    #4
  5. On 2008-02-26 01:46:55 +0100, Clark Martin <> said:

    > I have a Z5 and bought a Sigma EF-500 DG ST I- TTL for it. IIRC it
    > caused $165 from <http://47stphoto.com>. It is indeed a big improvement
    > on the built in flash. I don't know of any camera's built in flash that
    > can compare to a comparable external flash.


    Thank yo for your recommendation. I have looked around here (I'm in
    Holland) and only the 530 seems to be available. I'll keep looking!

    Merl
     
    Merlin the Mystic, Feb 26, 2008
    #5
  6. Merlin the Mystic <> wrote:
    > On 2008-02-26 02:58:23 +0100, ray <> said:
    >> FWIW - Faced with a similar situation several years ago after I got my
    >> Kodak DC210+ (yes, I said it was several years ago) - I purchased a
    >> hotshoe slave and attached the old flash unit from my film SLR - worked
    >> quite nicely - I don't really understand why you need the latest and
    >> geatest.


    > That's an interesting option, I have a Canon Speedlite (?) which gets
    > no use these days and I woud e happy to press it into service. However
    > the tricky bit is getting varying degrees of sync and integration with
    > the camera. You mention a hotshoe slave: I imagine that this is some
    > sort of "converter" between camera A and flash B, can you tell me any
    > more about it please?


    There are lots of convertors of various degrees of sophistication and
    cost, very specific to specific camera and flash unit.

    But the simplest and cheapest is simply no conversion, just triggering
    the flash. You then have two options. The oldest is full manual
    control where you do the syncing yourself using flash guide number
    calculations amd set both camera and flash up fully manually.

    However, even very old flashes these days usually have an auto mode
    which uses their own sensor to deliver a flash power correct for a
    given aperture and ISO by measuring the reflected power and cutting
    the pulse when they've seen enough. So you use the camera in fixed ISO
    and aperture priority and the flash auto function does the
    syncing. All they then need for connection between them is a PC cable
    or a shoe-to-PC convertor if their shoes aren't compatible.

    --
    Chris Malcolm DoD #205
    IPAB, Informatics, JCMB, King's Buildings, Edinburgh, EH9 3JZ, UK
    [http://www.dai.ed.ac.uk/homes/cam/]
     
    Chris Malcolm, Feb 26, 2008
    #6
  7. Merlin the Mystic

    Roy G Guest

    "Chris Malcolm" <> wrote in message
    news:...
    > Merlin the Mystic <> wrote:
    >> On 2008-02-26 02:58:23 +0100, ray <> said:
    >>> FWIW - Faced with a similar situation several years ago after I got my
    >>> Kodak DC210+ (yes, I said it was several years ago) - I purchased a
    >>> hotshoe slave and attached the old flash unit from my film SLR - worked
    >>> quite nicely - I don't really understand why you need the latest and
    >>> geatest.

    >
    >> That's an interesting option, I have a Canon Speedlite (?) which gets
    >> no use these days and I woud e happy to press it into service. However
    >> the tricky bit is getting varying degrees of sync and integration with
    >> the camera. You mention a hotshoe slave: I imagine that this is some
    >> sort of "converter" between camera A and flash B, can you tell me any
    >> more about it please?

    >
    > There are lots of convertors of various degrees of sophistication and
    > cost, very specific to specific camera and flash unit.
    >
    > But the simplest and cheapest is simply no conversion, just triggering
    > the flash. You then have two options. The oldest is full manual
    > control where you do the syncing yourself using flash guide number
    > calculations amd set both camera and flash up fully manually.
    >
    > However, even very old flashes these days usually have an auto mode
    > which uses their own sensor to deliver a flash power correct for a
    > given aperture and ISO by measuring the reflected power and cutting
    > the pulse when they've seen enough. So you use the camera in fixed ISO
    > and aperture priority and the flash auto function does the
    > syncing. All they then need for connection between them is a PC cable
    > or a shoe-to-PC convertor if their shoes aren't compatible.
    >
    > --
    > Chris Malcolm DoD #205
    > IPAB, Informatics, JCMB, King's Buildings, Edinburgh, EH9 3JZ, UK
    > [http://www.dai.ed.ac.uk/homes/cam/]


    Hi.

    Do be aware that connecting an older Flash to a Modern Camera by cable might
    well fry the Camera's Circuits, because some of those Flashes can have 300
    volts in the Trigger Circuit.

    A little cheap radio Synchroniser would be safe, and do the job better than
    an optical slave.

    Roy G
     
    Roy G, Feb 27, 2008
    #7
  8. Merlin the Mystic

    ray Guest

    On Tue, 26 Feb 2008 11:12:08 +0100, Merlin the Mystic wrote:

    > On 2008-02-26 02:58:23 +0100, ray <> said:
    >> FWIW - Faced with a similar situation several years ago after I got my
    >> Kodak DC210+ (yes, I said it was several years ago) - I purchased a
    >> hotshoe slave and attached the old flash unit from my film SLR - worked
    >> quite nicely - I don't really understand why you need the latest and
    >> geatest.

    >
    > That's an interesting option, I have a Canon Speedlite (?) which gets no
    > use these days and I woud e happy to press it into service. However the
    > tricky bit is getting varying degrees of sync and integration with the
    > camera. You mention a hotshoe slave: I imagine that this is some sort
    > of "converter" between camera A and flash B, can you tell me any more
    > about it please?
    >
    > Thanks
    >
    > Merl


    It is a hotshoe which attaches to the bottom of the flash unit. It senses
    the light when the camera flash fires and fires the flash attached to it.
    Works quite well - was not terribly expensive - as I recall less than $20
    or so.
     
    ray, Feb 27, 2008
    #8
  9. Merlin the Mystic <> wrote:

    > I bought a Z5 just a little while before Minolta announced they were
    > stopping camera production. Perfect timing! It was at a nice price
    > however and overall it performs well. However the built in flash is
    > useless beyond ~3m. So I'm looking for a flash gun, the Z5 has a shoe
    > for the purpose. Then I saw the prices and gulped, the flash guns
    > (Minolta and Sony) are 2 or 3 times more expensive than the camera was!
    >
    > I even started thinking about buying a new camera because it had a
    > cheaper flash (eg Canon SX 10is) but then I thought a slave flash might
    > be a reasonable alternative with the Z5.
    >
    > Has anyone any experience to offer, please, or suggestions about a
    > reasonably priced flash?


    Hi Merl,

    I have a Z5 and love it. I used it on safari in Africa and got some
    unbelievable wildlife photos. The British Minolta/Sony magazine
    published some of them.

    I also agree that the internal flash is only good for driving a slave
    flash. I totally ignore the internal flash for most shots and use an
    external flash:

    Sunpak PZ40X II (MX) which has the Minolta ADI system compatibility. It
    is very compact and uses 2 AA cells. I use MNiH cells in both the flash
    and the camera. I got mine from B&H.

    I take a lot of flower macro photography and in bright sunlight I will
    set the flash to always be on so that I get fill flash. It works very
    well.

    http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/408095-REG/Sunpak_PZ040M2_PZ40X_II_
    AF_TTL.html

    --
    Pardon my spam deterrent; send email to
    Cheers, Steve Henning in Reading, PA USA - http://rhodyman.net
     
    Stephen Henning, Mar 8, 2008
    #9
  10. Merlin the Mystic

    Clark Martin Guest

    In article <>,
    Stephen Henning <> wrote:


    > I also agree that the internal flash is only good for driving a slave
    > flash. I totally ignore the internal flash for most shots and use an
    > external flash:


    The internal flash does have another use. Using it for fill flash can
    make a big difference in some circumstances. I haven't been using it
    much but I want to do it more. I've been reminded about it from time to
    time when seeing other's pictures.

    --
    Clark Martin
    Redwood City, CA, USA Macintosh / Internet Consulting

    "I'm a designated driver on the Information Super Highway"
     
    Clark Martin, Mar 9, 2008
    #10
  11. Clark Martin <> wrote:
    > In article <>,
    > Stephen Henning <> wrote:


    >> I also agree that the internal flash is only good for driving a slave
    >> flash. I totally ignore the internal flash for most shots and use an
    >> external flash:


    > The internal flash does have another use. Using it for fill flash can
    > make a big difference in some circumstances. I haven't been using it
    > much but I want to do it more. I've been reminded about it from time to
    > time when seeing other's pictures.


    And in some cameras the internal flash can sync at much higher speeds than
    an external flash.

    --
    Chris Malcolm DoD #205
    IPAB, Informatics, JCMB, King's Buildings, Edinburgh, EH9 3JZ, UK
    [http://www.dai.ed.ac.uk/homes/cam/]
     
    Chris Malcolm, Mar 9, 2008
    #11
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