Flash photography. i know nothing of it, can you help?

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by Steven C \(Doktersteve\), Aug 25, 2003.

  1. i have a sony dsc F717.
    talking to someone in a camera store one day, i asked about flash
    photography, and he replied "oh man, that is a whole different class of
    photography altogether".

    what did he mean?

    i want to get a relatively inexpensive flash for my camera that i can also
    use when i get a DSLR and 35mm body, but dont want to break the bank now,
    just pay enough to explore flash photography and not have to rely on my
    camera's popup flash.

    i have seen vivitar flashes for about $20 USD, they seem ok, you can change
    the directoion of the flash bulb itself, tilt it up and down etc.
    is this somewhere to start?

    i am on a BUDGET, that is why i am asking about something AFFORDABLE (like
    under $30 for now).


    Steven C \(Doktersteve\), Aug 25, 2003
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  2. You know. its really a pain to come here and try and get advice. seriously
    gary, why would i post something if it wasnt "for real", can you tell me a
    good reason? of course i wanted advice, and you offered none.
    Like i said, if you dont like my posts, you can always ignore them.
    Didnt mean to "bother you".

    Steven C \(Doktersteve\), Aug 25, 2003
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  3. Steven C \(Doktersteve\)

    Paul Cordes Guest

    Why not.
    A Vivitar 2000 and perhaps a Stofen omnibounce.
    As you point out it's somewhere to start.
    Will you want to use it on your DSLR........I doubt it.

    Another approach is to buy a cheap slave flash. Use the popup on the camera
    to trigger. Be sure that the slave is digital ready, as it needs to fire on
    the second flash not the first from the camera. You can have a lot more fun
    with a slave and explore a lot more interesting situations when the slave is
    somewhere other than with the camera. These can be had for as little as $50

    For just a little more you could try the Vivitar 283.
    That you might just use on your DSLR.

    Paul Cordes, Aug 25, 2003
  4. Wow, that is pretty much exactly the type of info i was looking for.
    Thanks alot... I cant want to get home and check out the links and the
    flashes you mentoined.

    And i can use the slave type digital ready you mentioned on the 717? i know
    the 717 takes 3rd party flashes, and it has a hotshoe for it... i know this
    works because i have an OLD flash that i was told i shouldnt even use on it
    (the flash is about 20 years old, and it has too hard a charge, and could
    damage my camera i was told).

    When i make the initial investment on the DSLR, i will get a good flash
    unit, but as i said, that isnt for some time.

    Thanks again.
    Steven C \(Doktersteve\), Aug 25, 2003
  5. Yes. Getting good flash shots takes knowing what you are doing, and there's
    quite a bit to know. (I just picked up a book on it, and it's being quite
    helpful. It's in Japanese, but I'm sure there are similar books in English.)

    I just picked up one of the cheapest flash units the local camera store had,
    and have been having fun with it. Some people recommend the Vivitar 283 as a
    cheap but OK flash.

    David J. Littleboy
    Tokyo, Japan
    David J. Littleboy, Aug 25, 2003
  6. Steven C \(Doktersteve\)

    Paul Cordes Guest

    I have not used that particular slave, but I believe that it will work on
    the 717.........but I could be wrong.
    Paul Cordes, Aug 25, 2003
  7. Steven C \(Doktersteve\)

    Dr. Gizmo Guest

    Sony makes a dedicated flash for your camera that would possibly be your
    best (although probably most expensive) option. Doubtful that flash would
    work on any other cameras, possibly not on any other Sony's. I would try
    to find a third-party flash that is dedicated to your camera. There are
    inexpensive slave units that are fun to play. My recommendation is to get
    a good, dedicated, camera-mounted flash first.
    Dr. Gizmo, Aug 25, 2003
  8. Steven C \(Doktersteve\)

    Mike Graham Guest

    I can tell you a good reason. Trolling. Happens regularly. It's best
    not to get overly defensive about it.. it makes you look like a bit of a
    prick and then fewer people want to be bothered answering the question.

    Mike Graham | Metalworker, rustic, part-time zealot.
    <http://www.metalmangler.com>| Caledon, Ontario, Canada

    Lousy photographer with a really nice camera - Olympus C3020Zoom.
    Mike Graham, Aug 25, 2003
  9. Steven C \(Doktersteve\)

    Dreamer Guest

    I had reasonable success with a Vivitar 2800 on my Kodak DC290. It's sort of
    the 283's little brother and costs somewhat less. You might consider that if
    the 283 is out of your price range.

    Dreamer, Aug 25, 2003
  10. Steven C \(Doktersteve\)

    M. Souris Guest

    What about the Sunpak DS20? Price is right, and I think it fits this
    M. Souris, Aug 25, 2003
  11. Note, early models of the Vivitar 2000 had high voltage and could eventually
    fry out your camera. I don't know if the current models are fixed or not.
    Also, the Vivitar is fairly underpowered. Before I got my Promaster 5750DX
    flash (supports Olympus, Sony, Canon, and Nikon digital cameras using different
    flash adapters for full TTL support, but is out of the original author's
    budget) I used a Kalimar 175A flash. I believe this is the same Kodakgear
    flash Circuit City sells for ~ $35 (both Kodakgear and Kalimar are now owned by
    Tiffen), since it has the same specs, etc. It was a nice flash, and did well
    for straight on flashing (for bounce flash, I usually had to use a smaller
    Slaves are a lot harder to use than a single flash. It would probably be
    better to start with a standard flash.
    Michael Meissner, Aug 26, 2003
  12. But for twenty bucks?

    Gary Eickmeier
    Gary Eickmeier, Aug 26, 2003
  13. As long as you don't minding how to use the camera in manual mode, it should
    not be a problem. Here is part of my Olympus flash FAQ that discusses how to
    use an auto-thrystor type flash.

    To use an automatic flash, you typically set the flash to one of the builtin
    settings, and set the ISO level to be that used in the camera (usually locked
    to be ISO 100). The flash then has a legend that says what f/stop to use, and
    you set the camera to manual mode, setting that f/stop, and the shutter speed
    recomended by the documentation. For example, on my Kalimar 175A flash, if I
    set the control to the blue setting, and set the ISO to 100, the flash
    indicates to use f/5.6 and has a range of 3-15 feet (with a shutter speed of
    1/125 second). If I set it to the red setting, the f/stop is f/2.8, and the
    range is 10-30 feet. I have my C-2100UZ set so that it remembers the f/stop
    and shutter speed when in the non-auto modes between power-ups. This means to
    take a flash, I can usually just dial straight to M-mode and not have to change
    anything else.

    Some really old (or cheap) flashes don't have the thyristor to automatically
    set the light level, so you would need to use full manual mode. Additionally,
    there are situations where you need to use manual mode, such as trying to take
    a picture outside of the range of the sensor, or trying to take a picture that
    doesn't have a convenient wall behind it to bounce the light back (in which
    case the thyristor which is reading the reflected light won't be able to judge
    the distance correctly).

    Older flashes (and some modern flashes like the Vivitar 2000) can possibly
    shoot hundreds of voltages across the flash terminal. If your camera doesn't
    have the necessary voltage isolation circuits to protect the camera (the E20N
    has it for instance, I don't know if the 717 has it), a high voltage flash
    could potentially ruin your camera. The following web site lists some of the
    flashes and what their voltages are:

    Michael Meissner, Aug 27, 2003
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