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Thread: Unique Flash Light

  1. #1

    Default Unique Flash Light

    I have a unique flash lighting requirement and need some advice from the lighting gurus in here.

    My cameras are these:

    1. The small and light Panasonic LX3

    2. The Canon S5IS ultra-zoom (12X optical)

    3. The Pentax K-x

    4. The Fujifilm F31fd

    The first three cameras have a flash hot-shoe. The fourth one does not.

    I am planning on purchasing either a Vivitar 285HV or a Metz 58-AF1 flash unit.

    My problem is that I do not wish to mount either of these flash units on the camera because it would make it quite top-heavy i.e. hand holding the camera would be quite uncomfortable.

    I generally shoot indoors and I would wish to use the inbuilt camera flash as a fill and the external Vivitar/Metz as a ceiling/wall bounce flash positioned away from the camera e.g. on a table, on the floor in a corner of a room, etc.

    Further points that I have noted are:

    (A) The indoor environments I often shoot in are in homes (living rooms, halls) with adults and children moving about. I like to capture the ambient light in the room as much as I can, yet keep the faces and bodies sharp and well-lit... am thinking bounced flash here and a slow shutter speed (between 1/50 sec to 1/100 sec)

    (B) Lighting is often energy-saving fluorescent (sometimes warm or cool daylight color temperature.) Sometimes daylight enters through windows and doors.

    I have never used a professional external flash before, though I have been an enthusiast photographer (only using in-camera flash till now) for the last two years.

    I now wish to begin using external flash units and have decided to opt for the brightest of flash units primarily for these reasons:

    # As fast as possible recharge times... I think the brighter flash units will be able to provide several bursts of low-power intensity i.e. 1/8thm, 1/16th with freshly charged NiMH Batteries.

    # Maximum full-on brute power if and when I do need it... rarely. Thinking school events e.g. indoor stage performances, indoor games, outdoor music concerts, etc.

    I also do not want to invest in any particular brand of flash units if I can help it. Since I change my camera brands every one/two years. Is that prudent?

    What would be the most reliable method to sync either one or two external flash units with either of these cameras (with or without its inbuilt flash fired)? Should I invest in radio triggers, optical slaves, other equipment that can get the job done? I'm quite adept now adjusting exposures accurately. Which method will easily allow me to do so?

    Thanks in advance to all the flash gurus in here for their advice and suggestions.
    Last edited by sircam; 8th December 2009 at 10:58 AM.

  2. #2

    Default Re: Unique Flash Light

    radio popper, pocket wizard or some random brand of china make.

    there is no way for you to adjust the power wirelessly i think. since your flashes dont support ettl ittl or other advanced ttl.

    anyway, if you have people in the room (many people) and you have large bursts of flashes all the time across the room and sometimes quite fast as you said. wouldn't it be damn irritating to the guests? i think i would be irritated esp you're not taking pictures of me.

    anyway, if you want to retain ambient, and use your on cam flash for fill, then whats the off-cam flash for? and you are going to encounter problems of different color lights. from your ambient to your external.

    i'd really recommend you to save yourself the HUGE PITA and just mount your flash on your cam, or use a flash bracket to make your flash looks like "Off camera". If you're not going to shoot alot of bursts, you can consider using the external flash as main light, and ambient as fill.
    Last edited by IsenGrim; 8th December 2009 at 05:11 PM.

  3. #3

    Default Re: Unique Flash Light

    what you're asking for is really unique.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Nov 2003
    Kuala Lumpur; Kuching; SGP

    Default Re: Unique Flash Light

    Have you considered these? They're nice to hold and universal. Gives you powerful and nice lights!

    Tum podem extulit horridulum...日出東方﹐唯我不敗。

  5. #5

    Default Re: Unique Flash Light

    TS does not want to invest in any particular brand of flash...this Metz, or Sunpak or Vivitar are names of some brand.

    Broncolor, Elinchrome, Bowens, Balcar are also some established brands.
    Last edited by cabbySHE; 9th December 2009 at 03:26 AM.

  6. #6

    Default Re: Unique Flash Light

    IsenGrim, cabbySHE & eyes... thanks a lot for your answers.

    I tried out a Metz 58-AF1 flash unit off-camera positioned away from my camera (on a table-top) in the corner of the room (large hall) as explained in the first post of this thread. The results were great and I could freely move my LX3 (compact camera) about without the added weight of the monstrous Metz 58-AF1 flash unit on its hot-shoe.

    But I noticed one problem. I had to make sure the flash was behind the line of sight of my lens, else the flashing unit got captured too! Couldn't foresee this before.

    I suggested the above setup earlier because I wanted to get well-exposed interiors in larger spaces such as a larger hall or living rooms i.e. about twice the size of similar rooms.

    I also notice that by simply raising the ISO to higher ISOs (above ISO 400) really helped to expose for the ambient lighting in the backgrounds. I thus needed less flash power. I agree that my earlier suggestion does turn out to be a PITA because it has to be used within limitations! So, after my initial experince, I've decided to stick to a smaller on-camera external flash unit! Searching for a good one now.

    The bigger Metz (picture in this thread) was originally considered. Its great... maybe overkill for my current needs + the fact it uses proprietary batteries.


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