What flash to get

Discussion in 'UK Photography' started by alans-computer.local, Feb 8, 2008.

  1. The camera I use is an old Olympus Trip 35. I might get something decent
    later - I use a measuring tape to focus it. It has a PC socket and
    f-stops. I'd like to get a flash for it so I can take decent photos in
    my house - diffused, bounced, off-camera flash so should I get
    1. a flash gun, if so, should I avoid dedicated ones, or what
    should I look for?
    2. a basic studio flash - mains or battery?
    and do I need a flash meter for either of these?

    Looking for any thoughts because I never used a flash before and don't
    want to get anything stupid. Have read photo.net and Strobist but am
    still not sure.
    alans-computer.local, Feb 8, 2008
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  2. alans-computer.local

    Rob Morley Guest

    Something like this?
    You'll need a PC lead and a hotshoe adapter, and a bracket is handy too.
    If you're using a single auto flash you shouldn't need a meter.
    Rob Morley, Feb 9, 2008
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  3. alans-computer.local

    Woody Guest

    IIRC the Trip has a hot shoe so there should be no need for PC sync
    cables etc. The difficulty is going to be getting a simple
    single-contact flash.

    Try one of the older camera shops that still have second hand. Two that
    spring to mind - if they are still in business - are Cambrian Cameras in
    Colwyn Bay, North Wales, or Clive's Camera Kabin in Scarborough - the
    latter being wholely used kit. Also look around you area for camera
    fairs - they happen more often than you may think, and you will almost
    certainly get what you want there.

    Having said that, you are going to pay £20 or so for any cheap flash:
    You can get a 35mm compact auto-focus with flash and heaven knows what
    other bells and whistles for not much more than that. Look around and
    you can even get a decent film SLR by such a Nikon or Canon for well
    less than £100 - and I'm talking new!
    Woody, Feb 9, 2008
  4. alans-computer.local

    monopix Guest

    First decide how powerful a flash you'll need. What are you trying to
    photograph and how far away is the subject going to be. E.g. if the subject
    is 2 metres away and you want to use a middling aperture of, say f8, then
    you need a flash with a guide number of 2x8=16 (in metres) at whatever film
    speed you plan to use. Most flash guide numbers are quoted at ISO 100 so if
    you plan to use ISO 200 film, for instance, then you can multiply the guide
    number by 1.4. If you want to bounce or diffuse the flash, then allow at
    least a couple of extra stops so, in the above example, instead of needing a
    flash with a guide number of 16, you would need one with a guide number of

    Assuming the power that you need is achievable with a battery flash, I would
    go for that rather than a studio light, unless you need a modelling light to
    see the lighting effect before taking the picture, in which case, a studio
    light is the best option - but more expensive.

    The advantage of a battery flash (besides price and size etc.) is that they
    are available with built in sensors which will adjust the flash output to
    match the aperture you use. These flashes are usually referred to as auto
    types and will have a setting where you have to set the camera aperture to a
    specified value. Better ones will have two or three settings for different
    apertures. The sensor is built in to the flash unit and one problem can be
    the sensor may be obscured from the subject if you use a diffuser. You get
    the same problem if you point the flash at a reflector, unless the flash has
    a moveable head to allow this while keeping the sensor pointing at the
    subject. To get around this, some flashes have seperate sensors, usually
    available as an accessory, which can be mounted on or near the camera while
    the flash is used off the camera.

    Auto flashes usually have a manual setting as well which will give you
    maximum output but you'll have to adjust the camera aperture depending on
    the distance from the flash to the subject. This isn't difficult but you'll
    have to experiment a bit depending on the type of reflector/diffuser you use
    as there's no way of knowing how much light loss you'll get. Using a flash
    meter will allow you to measure the light reaching the subject and so cuts
    out the guess work if using the flash in manual mode. If you do decide on a
    studio flash, a meter is all but essential.

    A lot of flashes are only designed to be used in a hot shoe and don't have a
    cable to connect to a pc socket so watch out for that - though you can get
    adapters to get around the problem. You might also think about how you are
    going to support the flash. There are brackets that allow flashes with hot
    shoes to be mounted on standard lighting stands.

    Finally, don't bother with any flash that says it's dedicated to a camera
    type (even if it says Olympus) because your camera doesn't have a dedicated
    flash ability.

    monopix, Feb 9, 2008
  5. alans-computer.local

    Rob Morley Guest

    He said he wanted to use it off-camera.
    Most (all?) dedicated flashes will work in non-dedicated mode.
    Do you have something against eBay?
    That seems excessive - I paid under a fiver including delivery for a
    boxed Miranda 650 OM, which has tilt and zoom and a guide number of 120
    feet. It happens to have TTL dedication that works with one of my
    cameras, but it also has three auto ranges and manual mode. I also have
    a neat little Sunpak tilt-and-swivel jobbie that cost a couple of quid.
    Whistles and bells, but how many have a hot shoe or PC sync socket? How
    many take standard filters, or work without a battery?
    Well less, including a lens? Sounds unlikely to me, but I don't pay
    much attention to modern kit.
    Rob Morley, Feb 9, 2008
  6. alans-computer.local

    Derek Guest

    If its any use I have a spare Chinon ( dixons rebranding) rated 100asa/100ft
    hot shoe with cable port, thyristor controlled and tilt head - its easy
    enough to use you just dial in the details and set the thyristor switch and
    shoot. I used it to good effect on night rallies tho' at full power it eats
    batteries.. I'd be happy with £10 tho' I suspect the postage on top would be
    a bit hefty to the republic.

    remove the nospam baby to reply
    Derek, Feb 10, 2008
  7. Thanks are due all around for all the info.
    Derek, I might be tempted, but I usually find
    it a hassle writing off for anything.... retail is easier. I've a 20
    pound note. Would I get any change from that? Most of my cash is in
    Euros. Would I need to buy a pc cable? Does it include gels and does it
    take AA batteries?
    alans-computer.local, Feb 10, 2008
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