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Old April 3rd, 2004, 09:36 PM   #1
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Camera flashes

I need a little schooling on still camera flashes. I'm not happy with the look that the on camera flash puts out on my Minolta A2, (or really any still camera). I won't always have the option of setting up my video light kit, so I'd like something small and portable, and I guess battery powered, which means a flash solution that I can use off camera.
I read lots about slave flashes, and wireless flashes, but am not sure the difference.

I know I can probably spend a thousand dollars on this easily, but I don't want to invest that much. A few hundred bucks, tops.

Also, does anyone make a diffuser or something that will work on a built in flash?


Thanks!
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Old April 4th, 2004, 01:37 AM   #2
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Look for the Metz brand (don't know if that's spelled correctly). They're expensive but you can find them a lot cheaper used from pawn shops.
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Old April 4th, 2004, 03:21 AM   #3
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Before going out and whack down cash on an external flash check to see if the camera has flash compensation. You can do a lot with this to make your flash shots look more natural. This article at Pop Photo gives you some things to try to improve your flash shots.

If your still not happy then check with Minolta and see what is compatable. These days you can't just go and throw on any old flash like you can with Frank's trusty ole Nikon. Many digital cameras only work properly with dedicated flashes.
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Old April 4th, 2004, 04:38 AM   #4
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Thanks. I didn't know that. My wife's cousin just bought a Nikon F5 and a hand-held Metz for it, including the power-pack. They worked beautifully together earlier this evening---at my uncle's birthday party. (He turned 69.) My Nikon's not that old. It's a FM2T. :-))
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Old April 4th, 2004, 05:16 AM   #5
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The big SLRs are usually not a problem as they are designed to work with studio systems throught either the hot-shoe or the PC connector. My 1nRS works fine with my old Metz hand-held but only in TTL or manual mode abad only at a sync of 1/125 instead of it's standard 1/250. this isn't a problem for studio work but for sports work it's just too damn slow, even 1/250 is pushing it.

With the new digital compacts like the one Dylan has are even more limited to what flashed you can use. The Canon G2/3/5 all have hot-shoes but only work with Canon's E-TTL flash system and flashes that support it like the EX series. Even Canon's own flashes like the older EZs don't work as they don't support E-TTL. Looking at the Minolta's specs it says non-dedicated flashes can be used but only through the PC terminal which means flash sync only with no auto flash exposure. Auto flash exposure will work with Minolta Maxxum flashes but only in Program mode by the looks of it.

Basically, Dylan will need to get a dedicated Minolta flash unless he wants to mess around with manual flash exposure. Manual flash is ok if you have time to set up you shots and work distances etc but I doubt Dylan wants that hassle as he bought this camera for a hassle free everyday shooter.
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Old April 4th, 2004, 11:00 AM   #6
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Hey guys!

I definitely want as hassle free as possible.
My Minolta A2 has a PC synch cord plug, but only accepts its own flashes on the shoe mount:
2500(D)
3600HS(D)
5600HS(D)

I think it looks like I should just buy a dedicated flash, since if I have the time to mess around with manual metering, I probably have the time to set up a light kit.
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Old April 4th, 2004, 09:11 PM   #7
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Check around the third-party flash manufactures like Metz, Starblitz, Vivitar, and Sunpak as they may make a dedicated unit. Sunpak and Metz would be the first places I'd look as their gear is on par with the original manufacturer products and in the case of Sunpak better value for money.
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Old April 7th, 2004, 04:20 PM   #8
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Thanks Adrian. Will do.
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Old April 7th, 2004, 08:06 PM   #9
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Sunpak is good for the money; Metz is higher-end German made. Vivitar used to be very good when they were made in Germany, but the new ones are cra**y, in my opinion. I don't know anything about Starblitz.

The basic rule about flashes is to get a powerful one. Leo's sells Sunpak, and that other place, Bow Photo (probably not spelled right) sells Metz. If it were me, I'd check pawn shops first, but a good Sunpak at Leo's is only around $70 or so bucks.
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Old April 8th, 2004, 09:59 PM   #10
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Dylan, what donít you like about the built in flash/ Cano you send me a couple of examples? Describe the circumstances you usually shoot under and the distances to your subject. A small diffuser (Omni Bounce, Lumiquest) and a small external flash may be the answer (along with flash compensation, as Adrian suggested).
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Old April 9th, 2004, 04:11 AM   #11
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I throughly recommend the Omni Bouunce. I have one on my 540EZ and it does a great job. It actually never comes off I'm so stoked with it. It really helps to reduce hard shadowing and red-eye as well. It even allows me to use the flash with my 15mm fisheye. The only drawback is the flash compensates for it and even blasts at almost full power every pop which kills batteries pretty damn quick. With the Omni Bounce and flash comp my flash shots look quite natural and not flashed at all.
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Old April 9th, 2004, 06:03 AM   #12
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Yup, love my Omni Bounce. However, Lumiquest has many devoted fans as well. I think the wedding, portrait fans prefer Lumiquest.
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Old April 9th, 2004, 12:01 PM   #13
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Hey Jeff
My problems are:
1) always the direct head on light, when I'd rather do something different/off camera.
2) often underpowered.
3) I don't know if you can get diffusers for built in camera flashes, can you?

I actually found a flash adapter which will let me use my Vivitar flash left over from my Canon SLR, and it's only about $20, so I might go with that and keep my old flash. It won't give me the extra benefits of a dedicated flash, but I don't need one enough to justify a few hundred bucks (yet).

What is the Omni Bounce you are talking about?
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Old April 9th, 2004, 06:18 PM   #14
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It's a diffuser. Check it out here
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Old April 9th, 2004, 10:24 PM   #15
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<<<-- Originally posted by Adrian Douglas : It's a diffuser. Check it out here -->>>

AH, seen them before, just didn't know the brand name.

Does anyone make a diffuser for an on-camera flash?
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