User review - Sunpak PF20XD

Discussion in 'Photography Equipment & Products' started by Overread, Jul 17, 2009.

  1. Overread

    Overread has a hat around here somewhere Staff Member Supporting Member

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    SUNPAK:サンパック

    Well not the largest nor most pretty flash in the world, but its function and diverse.

    Early user views;

    1) It has manual power options of full power, 1/4, 1/8, 1/16 and 1/32 as well as 3 auto flash firing modes.

    2) It will fire without a cord with a preflash synch and also with a no preflash mode (this second mode appears to work fine with a static subject for lighting, not sure if a fast moving subject would give different results). I tested mine and it worked well with both the camera popup and the 580M2. Also note the flash will fire from a hotshoe as well.
    I have not tested if it will fire from a slave hotshoe off the 580M2 (not got one) but I assume that it will

    3) Its very light both with and without batteries (2AAA) which is a great plus for my chosen use of this flash (macro work).

    4) Whilst it has a built in wide angle panel (plastic basically) it does need some diffusion to break the light up from its smaller flash head - though lighting given is gernerally quite pleasing.

    Overall this is quite a functionals flash offering both auto and manual controls as well as the abilty to work easily in a multiflash setup without needing additional setup gear. I hope to get some test work done with the flash at some point (going on holls soon so not much playtime at the moment) and for macro work I expect to need to make some form of diffusion cover for the flash to help break the lighting up further
     
  2. JerryPH

    JerryPH No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Thanks for the review! :)

    Just something to consider when looking at this flash... it has a guide number of 20 @ ISO 100. This is only marginally stronger than your average on camera flash.

    In comparison to full sized lower end flashes like a Nikon SB-600 or Canon 430EX, their guide numbers are in the 98-102 @ ISO 100 range and a $90 Vivitar 285HV has a guide number of 120 @ ISO 100. It has no provision for tilt or swivel, so using it as an on camera bounce flash is not possible.

    The price of this flash unit would have to be very attractive as one would need at least 4 of them to give the same amount of light as a single full-sized (low-ish) end flash.

    I would not totally discount it, though. As mentioned, it could make a nice off camera macro flash or used up close in smaller areas as a fill flash or hairlight flash.

    I tried doing an amazon search for them and nothing came up... what is the price of these things? If under $25, it could be interesting.

    Edit: I found them at BH Photo for $55 each. IMHO, a bit overpriced for what you get. For an extra $34 you can get a new Vivitar 285 that offers many more flashes per recharge and 5 times more power. Still, an interesting choice for people on a budget. :)
     
    Last edited: Jul 17, 2009
  3. Overread

    Overread has a hat around here somewhere Staff Member Supporting Member

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    !! your getting far better prices in the US than I found in the UK for that flash (and that is not even taking into account the exchange rate) Darn makes importing cheap!

    As for the power I do agree this flash is certainly not going to replace anything like a 430 Speedlite or similar flashes = for me the key thing was that it was low profile and light - very light - so that I could mount it at the end of the lens above my subject without leading to unblancing my setup.
    Interesting point though is you can mount the flash backwards - its hotshow is just a single triggor point, so provided you used the manual power output settings it could be bakwards mounted and fired that way - but then the lower guide number is going to affect the overall effect and usability of such a setup.
     
  4. Overread

    Overread has a hat around here somewhere Staff Member Supporting Member

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    *update*
    Well gave the flash some tests inside and it worked very well for detecting and firing with the other flash in wireless mode. However taking it outside it refused to fire at all. Thinking the batteries might be low I changed them in both (just to make sure) and the flash still refused to fire.

    After doing some more tests and research its apparent that in bright lighting reflection based autoflashes do find it hard to detech the reflected preflash light - and thus missfires are not uncommon So a wired or wireless setup is really needed for reliable results when not in dim lighting. A bit of a shame but not unworkable
     

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