Third party flashes???

sinpig

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Hello friends!!
I have been looking to buy an external flash for my G1 and find the prize for the Panasonic ones slightly disturbing :mad:
So after a whole lot of reading I'm inclined towards buying the Vivitar DF383 for Panasonic, ($129.99) But now that I'm ready to pull the trigger I'm wondering if I should buy the Sunpak 383 or the Digital Concepts or something else altogether.
This is my first flash and I'll probably upgrade later next year, this is just to learn the ropes!! So I'm not planning to spend a whole lot of money (I'll rather use my money on lenses :smile:)
What are you using? Why do you like it? What do you dislike?
One last thing I'm a beginner photographer, nothing too seriuos I'll use it to shoot pictures of my kids, pet, etc.
Thanks
 

sinpig

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Anybody cares to share?

So does anybody has any experience with these flashes? How about the Nissin di466?
I review some of the info posted but from the point of view of a beginner, I really need somebody to tell me what to buy and why :frown:
Please, somebody??
 

photoSmart42

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I use a pair of Vivitar 285HVs for my lighting. Sometimes directly on camera, other times off-camera either with a cord or triggered through a slave (RF or optical). They're great, and you can get them for cheap. Fully manual of course, but then again I don't have a choice since I mostly shoot with manual lenses, so all the digital flash functionality doesn't do me much good.

I suggest the best resource would be the Strobist community. Check it out when you have a chance. Lots to learn about lighting, what works and what doesn't, and how to get it on the cheap.
 

Jimboh

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Flash unit

I bought a Metz AF48 for the GH-1. Guessing the flash would be compatible with yours as it's spec'ed generally to Panny/Oly.

Also consider a dedicated flash cord so you have the flexibility to hold it off camera. Current plan is to use as shoe or corded, with flexibility to slave it out to an AF58 should the need present. I did not investigate radio trigger compatibility.

IMO flash diffuser is pretty important to reduce the harshness of the flash (I know AF48 has built in one, but not enough for me.) The Lumniquest Ultra bounce was reasonable and packs down well. I was able to light up a Irish bar facade in the New York, New York and the Paris casino areas in Las Vegas pretty nicely. Looked pretty natural, minimal hotspots.

Recommend you use 2700Mah (or higher) NiMH AA rechargable. You will get faster recycle times and decent battery life for your shoots. Thomas-distributing.com :2thumbs: sells Maha world charger kit that has served me well.
 

sinpig

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Also consider a dedicated flash cord so you have the flexibility to hold it off camera. Current plan is to use as shoe or corded...

Thanks for the tip I guess I never consider a flash cord, it will no doubt be a good addition for portraits of my kids.

Recommend you use 2700Mah (or higher) NiMH AA rechargable.
I purchase the Sanyo Eneloop which I thinks are fantastic, I guess I'll just have to try it out.
One more question: how important it's for you that the flash swivels? I guess the Nissin Di466 just tilts, no swivel :(

Thanks :thumbup:
 

Brianetta

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I use an old hand-me-down that I got from my uncle twenty years ago. It wasn't new then; I'm guessing he'd had it for about five years. A friend of mine recently bought a very old (and thoroughly discontinued) second hand flash from eBay. Both function perfectly.

Only caveat here is that you have to set your exposure yourself, since the camera can't talk to the flash except to say "fire!"

So, if you're just starting, I'd recommend getting an old second hand flash whilst you save up for something posh.
 

elshaneo

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I'd recommend you to get the Olympus FL-36 second hand flash which should be around 120 USD. If I'm not mistaken all micro 4/3 cameras share the same hot shoe compatibility.
 

mauve

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I use an old hand-me-down that I got from my uncle twenty years ago. It wasn't new then; I'm guessing he'd had it for about five years. A friend of mine recently bought a very old (and thoroughly discontinued) second hand flash from eBay. Both function perfectly.
Only caveat here is that you have to set your exposure yourself, since the camera can't talk to the flash except to say "fire!"
You must be careful to check the discharge electrical current with a voltmeter before using old flash guns on electronical cameras. As a rule of thumb, digital cameras should not be exposed to more than 12 V, but some are even less tolerant and won't handle more than 6 V. To give some perspective, my old no name cobra I use on my OM-1 delivers steadily 120 V. The dangerous part of this is this electrical current is very short, in the order of milliseconds, so it probably won't fry your camera outright, but it will wear out internal caps much faster and reduce your camera lifespan by a magnitude.

To be on the safe side, use a current suppressor with any old flash unit, like this one :
Safe Syncs
 

Brianetta

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You must be careful to check the discharge electrical current with a voltmeter before using old flash guns on electronical cameras. As a rule of thumb, digital cameras should not be exposed to more than 12 V, but some are even less tolerant and won't handle more than 6 V.
A good point. My E-P1 is rated to 6.5V, and my flash's trigger voltage is 6.8V. I'm happy to take that risk, although some flashes have hundreds of volts across the foot.
 

PeterB666

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I am very happy with my Nissin di466 Four Thirds. I got it for around $100 USD including shipping from eBay. The zoom head works well, the built in wide angle diffuser fully covers the 9mm end of my 9-18mm lens and it does to 12mm without the diffuser in place, the variable power options are nice, quick recycle times and it is very flexible as a slave flash (triggered by my more expensive but far less capable Olympus FL-14).

What can I say - I think it is the best value for money new flash out there.
 

sinpig

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After much thought and research I chose a Metz 36 AF-4. It doesn't swivel, but I figure I have to learn how to use a flash first before I get picky.

I picked mine up at Amazon for $110.00, not that much savings there. But at least it takes away all the worries that the voltage might slow fry the G1.

I guess if have a better knowledge about cameras I would have bought one from keh's website :mad: . But the guys at the local camera shop hate when somebody is looking for anything other than DSLR accessories :eek: They don't understand why I don't get a "real" camera an get all patronizing about it... oh well.

:2thumbs: for all your advice I thank you!!
 

swampduck

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Can anyone take a picture of their Oly with the FL-36 attached? I want to see the size relationship...I currently use a E-pl1
 

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