Flash Question

Discussion in 'Photography Beginners' Forum' started by jnm, Sep 29, 2009.

  1. jnm

    jnm TPF Noob!

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    after doing some poking around on strobist I am considering the Sunpak 383 flash or the Vivitar 2385HV for our D40 along with the Cactus 4 channel flash trigger.

    what i want is a good on camera flash that will work with the D40 with little to no messing around with manual settings on the flash as well. of course i want the ability to manage the settings on the flash, but i dont want to have to every single time necessarily, so auto syncing with the cameras settings is a huge plus. i also want to start trying some off camera flash work, hence the Cactus.

    my questions are: will either or both of these flashes work with the Cactus 4/D40 setup? will either or both of these flashes work on the hotshoe of the D40 without having to manually adjust the settings on the flash? and finally, it doesnt look like the Vivitar turns left and right but the Sunpak does, can anyone confirm this? or should i just get the SB-600 instead?

    or am i really, really lost and confused on all of this?! tia!
     
  2. Dao

    Dao No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    The Vivitar 285HV or Sunpak 383 should work as a manual flash. But watch out for the trigger voltage of the flash when mount them on you camera. Make sure the flash has a low trigger voltage or you need a flash safe sync between the flash and the camera.

    I believe you are right on the flash that the 383 can rotate the head to the left and right and tilt up and down vs the 285 only tilt up and down.


    As for what flash works on your cameras in auto mode, I may need to have the Nikon people to chime in,
     
  3. Derrel

    Derrel Mr. Rain Cloud

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    You are correct-the Sunpak 383 has both tilt AND swivel; the 285HV has only tilt. Both flash units use an old,proven method called Auto Thyristor flash control. The user sets the flash to a color-coded setting,or two,or three,or four, and depending upon the ISO value in use, each color has a specific lens f/stop that goes with that color-coding. Which f/stop goes with each color varies by ISO level. It's a simple system, and it allows the flash to determine how much flash exposure is needed over a fairly wide range of distances.

    I am familiar with the Vivitar 285HV, having owned three of them for many years; the Sunpak 383 I have not owned, but its strong suits I would say are the swiveling foot and the slightly more modern, streamlined design. If you search for the instruction manual, there's a web site that has the Sunpak 383 manual for free download.

    A quick search shows that the 383 has three auto f/stops
    Auto settings: f/2, f/4, f/8 (at ISO 100). I would assume,based on experience with a lot of other Auto-Thyristor flash units that at ISO 200 your auto f/stops will be f/2.8, f/5.6, and f/11 and that at ISO 400 they will be f/4, f/8,and f/16. The Sunpak also has manual power outputs of Full power, ½, ¼, 1/8, and 1/16. Trigger voltage on the 383 is very LOW; on the 285HV you want the High Voltage model,which actually has a low triggering voltage. For on-camera flash, the swivel of the 383 would be nice for doing vertically composed photos. With the 285HV, the flash must be on a bracket or held in the hand and hooked up to the hotshoe with a remote cord.
     
  4. PhotoXopher

    PhotoXopher TPF Noob!

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    I love my little SB-400, it just works :D
     
  5. Village Idiot

    Village Idiot No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Buy the SB. Some of the newer 285HV's were prone to dying fairly quickly due to a very big bad batch at the factory. Plus even with manual adjustments, the 285 has a very limited range, i think the 383 is similar. The SB will adjust in 1/3 stop increments. This isn't the most important thing in the world with only one flash off camera, but when using multiple flashes, more adjustability is always a good thing.
     
  6. jnm

    jnm TPF Noob!

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    so its looking like the SB600 will just work on camera with little to no hassle. the cactus 4 isn't expensive so may just get that too and use the SB600 off camera at times. so it looks like back to the original plan.

    thanks all!
     
  7. Village Idiot

    Village Idiot No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Once you learn how to use off camera flash, you'll probably be doing that a lot more than using the flash on camera, but regardless, it's good to have a capable automatic flash for your camera when you need one.
     
  8. jnm

    jnm TPF Noob!

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    yeah, any more flashes i buy i suspect will be on the order of the sunpak or similar, but as you say i want at least one to sync with the camera when its attached to it. thanks again.
     
  9. thenikonguy

    thenikonguy TPF Noob!

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    just a heads up.. i cant remember which sunpak flash it was I use to have, but it DID NOT work with the cactus..
     
  10. jnm

    jnm TPF Noob!

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    interesting. when i get to the point of a second flash ill be sure to check into compatibility with the cactus system too. thanks for the heads up.
     

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