Vivitar 285HV Enough Control?

Discussion in 'Photography Equipment & Products' started by myfotoguy, Jun 11, 2010.

  1. myfotoguy

    myfotoguy TPF Noob!

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    I am currently using Nikon CLS (D300 to trigger an SB600 and SB900). I am interested in getting more distance, and triggering lights when flash is blocked by subject or small object, plus additional lights.

    I'll get Cactus or similar for triggers, my main question is....

    Are the Vivitar 285 HV's limiting since your options for power are four settings: FULL, 1/2, 1/4, 1/16? I thought I read about ND gels for flashes, is that right, add 1 for 1 stop, 2 for two stops? Certainly not as "convenient".

    Would I be better off getting a used SB-28 for additional power control of 1/32 and 1/64? or the LumoPro 160?

    EDIT TO ADD: From what I understand, the SB-28's would have better (much?) recycle times than the Vivitar units. Those that have been doing this, is that much of a factor?

    It seems the 285 HV Vivitars are the best bang for buck, but not sure if there is enough control (I suppose I could run tests with what I have in manual to see and go beyond CLS mode, but I intend to add 3rd and 4th lights, so not sure how much additional control will be needed).
     
    Last edited: Jun 11, 2010
  2. KmH

    KmH Helping photographers learn to fish Supporting Member

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    How often do you use less than 1/16 power now?

    More distance means more power or a more tightly focused beam, not less power.

    Power can also be mitigated by diffusion.
     
  3. Big Mike

    Big Mike I am Big, I am Mike Staff Member Supporting Member

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    Yes, keep in mind that distance is a factor in the exposure (on the subject). So you can gain or loose light by simply moving the flash closer or farther as you need to.
     
  4. Derrel

    Derrel Mr. Rain Cloud

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    I think the 285HV works pretty well as an umbrella flash unit, and the power options have always been pretty good for me. Flash-to-subject distance is an excellent way to adjust the flash exposure, and is a time-proven, reliable and simple way to make minor exposure adjustments.

    For example, with a main light flash at Full power and a fill-light flash at Full power, you can achieve a nice 3:1 lighting ratio by positioning the Main light at 5.6 feet from the subject and the fill light close to the camera and at 8 feet. (Note the distances of 2.8 feet, 4 feet, 5.6 feet, 8 feet, 11 feet, 16 feet and how those correspond with aperture sequences???).

    The vast majority of light adjustment over the last 50 years has been by moving the light stand a foot or a half a foot or two feet...the flash companies love to promote incremental 1/3-stop or 1/5 stop light control on strobe power packs that cost thousands and thousands of dollars, but at the actual, real-world level, there is a huge amount of adjusting of flash output by simply moving the umbrella a small amount, or feathering the light a small amount. Full-1/2-1/4 are actually eminently useful increments of output.

    (Second time today Big Mike and I have started posting at almost the same exact minute,and he's been briefer, and faster than me in getting a post out!)
     
  5. myfotoguy

    myfotoguy TPF Noob!

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    Thanks for the simple explanations. I was thinking about the technical details of flash units vs. the obvious simplicity of changing the distance of the flash unit from subject.

    Again, thanks!
     

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