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Old 20th February 2010, 11:56 PM
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Default Manual on camera flash fill

Is there such a thing as an on camera flash unit that uses dials to set film speed, distance and aperture?

The ones I have been looking at all seem to be digitised meaning you have to select from a menu and then step to the setting you want.
There are some thing where good old fashioned dials are just simpler and quicker to use.
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Old 21st February 2010, 12:12 AM
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A Sunpak 3600 would suit, if you can find one.
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Old 21st February 2010, 08:35 AM
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Metz 401/402?
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Old 21st February 2010, 08:53 AM
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I have a Mertz 45 CT-3 hammerhead which has manual settings, it also has a very accurate auto setting, which with a little fiddle of the film speed setting becomes ideal for fill-in work. Sadly not very light or pocketable though.
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Old 21st February 2010, 09:35 AM
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Would the old Vivitar 203 suit you? I have used one for fill flash with my OM1and2 to good effect.

Paul.
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Old 21st February 2010, 10:07 AM
Richard Gould Richard Gould is offline
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I second the old vivater 203 great little flash,Richard
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Old 21st February 2010, 10:55 AM
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Vivitar 283 is IMO good choice. I think this is the model Richard and Paul also intended. Very cheap (I got mine for 30 used), simple and powerful(GN 120ft/36mt at 100ASA). Metz CT-45 or 60 are also good choices, albeit heavier and bulkier. Also Vivitar 285 (283 bigger brother) deserves a mention: all the power and simplicity of its little brother with some more features (zoom head, full manual power control in fractions of the max) .

Cheers, Marty.
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Old 21st February 2010, 11:10 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by marty View Post
Vivitar 283 is IMO good choice.
I agree. I used to use one many years back when I had my Pentax gear, and it has a choice of four auto-settings plus manual. A good, solid flash with traditional dials.
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Old 21st February 2010, 12:40 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Carl V View Post
I agree. I used to use one many years back when I had my Pentax gear, and it has a choice of four auto-settings plus manual. A good, solid flash with traditional dials.
I've got a 283, and it is very good. However it doesn't have manually adjustable power settings unless you have the optional VP-1 "Vari Power" module which plugs into the front instead of the photo-cell. I believe that the 285 has adjustable power settings built in.

The VP-1 seems to be hard to come by (or at least disproportionally expensive) so there are many descriptions on the web of DIY equivalents, such as this rather sophisticated one - but there are many others.

NB: One should take great care if you open or modify any flash Unit - the main capacitor can still hold a significant charge even if it has apparently been run down, and at 300+ volts it can be very dangerous if you become part of the circuit! Personally, I know that you can a significant shock just when trying to measure the voltage with a multi-meter!
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Old 21st February 2010, 12:54 PM
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This might not be so important to readers of this forum (most of whom are probably using older equipment?) but one other thing to beware of when using older flash units is that the 300V potential is usually presented directly across the hot-shoe and PC contacts.

New flash units present only 6V or so on their sync connectors.

Manufacturers of modern camera bodies warn that any voltage above 6V (or 12V or 24V according to manufacturer) applied to the hot shoe contacts can burn out the camera's electronics. I don't know when this started being an issue - I'm happy to use my Vivitar 283 with my Nikon FM and FE, but I haven't seen a recommendation one way or the other for my Nikon F90 and as I'm risk-averse, I haven't used it with the 283.

And finally, just to add to the doom-laden confusion, different models of the same flash can have quite different sync voltages. The last 283s and 285s made were low-voltage, but the only way to know for sure is to measure it (taking more care than I did!)

Andrew
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