Are all flashes the same?

Discussion in 'Photography Beginners' Forum' started by CW Jones, Nov 19, 2009.

  1. CW Jones

    CW Jones TPF Noob!

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    Ok I am trying to find a decent "starter" type flash... The Canon 580EX is too expensive. The 430EX isn't too bad price wise.... but where would this Vivitar stack up? VIVDF383CAN Vivitar DF383 Digital TTL Shoe Mount Power Zoom /Swivel /Bounce Auto-Focus Flash for Canon TTL, Guide Number 45m (147')

    If it has many of the same features.... then am I really just paying for the Canon brand? I have a 20 year old Vivitar that still works.... Just not electronic controls and what not.

    This is a flash for a Canon 30D, right now with just a 18-55 kit lens... after the holidays it should have the 50mm 1.8 a well and maybe another to be named later :)

    -Collin
     
  2. Derrel

    Derrel Mr. Rain Cloud

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    That looks like a pretty decent flash for $125. The zoom head function is manual, and the maximum Guide Number of 147 in feet at ISO 100 (likely at the 85mm zoom position) is reasonably powerful. The one review at the site says it has a loud hum when recycling--which is something older flashes often used to have, but which newer, more expensive flashes have managed to overcome. The single reviewer says recycle time is a bit slow--but then who knows what kind of batteries he was using, or even if he had shot enough shots to form the capacitor. Reviews on equipment that has just been purchased often have information that is incomplete, or not fully fleshed out. But Vivitar is a good, established flash maker,and I expect this product would be a pretty good flash for use with a 30D, for most "normal" uses.

    This Vivitar does have both tilt and swivel, so that's a plus. And it has TTL connectivity and AF features. It "probably" does not have Canon wireless E-TTL triggering and command features, but that's more advanced than one would expect for a $125.

    All flashes are not created equal. For fast-moving stuff, or where you will get only one opportunity, the manufacturers' own flashes are good choices. In more repeatable environments, or where shots are pretty similar, like say your living room at Christmas, or doing lots of similar macro-range shots, it's not necessary to have an expensive, high-technology flash unit. The LCD on the camera will let you know if you've managed to blow an exposure when using a lower-tech or even an old all-manual flash. But if you want auto-zooming, FULL remote flash capability with remote flash command and control, and need to be able to nail flash exposures right 95% of the time, all the time, then the manufacturer's own better flashes become worth the money.
     
  3. ANDS!

    ANDS! No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Not just Canon brand, but also Canon compatibility. I have no familiarity with the system that Vivatar uses and what it is compatible with. What you are looking for with third party accessories, is how well they integrate into the current Camera's system.

    Check the product specs and user reviews to see just how useful and flawless the Vivitar works with the Canon system. At worst, you'll just be manually setting everything.
     

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