By Darlene Almeda
I decided I wanted to try those $28 Amazon Basic Flashes Kevin Purcell wrote about in the "Cheap As Chips Flash" post a couple of weeks ago for one of the courses I teach. Here's a quick update of our progress.
I received two of the flashes this week. Because I do not want to put these flashes on my camera hot shoe (because of circuitry malfunction concerns), I purchased a couple of Phottix Trigger Kits (link below) to get the first flash to fire. I figured that if the second flash did not fire with the onboard slave, then the second Phottix trigger should do the trick.
I also purchased a cheap softbox for the main light.
The gear after unboxing, prior to setup
Yesterday one of my classes and I tried them out. The first flash out of the box started up and fired as needed. The second flash did not; some button lights lit up, but I could not set the settings as needed—they were frozen. After leaving the flash on for about a minute, it appeared to work and its slave did fire from the first flash.
We proceeded to do the test run with a couple of students individually. Simple portrait setup with one flash on face and second behind for rim lighting/background separation.
The author setting the f-stop. Photo by Amy Connors.
All went okay (power was surprisingly good with the AA batteries), until the second student took the portrait seat. The back flash then balked again and would not fire with its onboard slave. We turned on the Phottrix trigger and it fired every time. Turn off the trigger, and no flash.
Anyhow, Amazon has a 30-day policy for returns and refunds, so the flash that faulted is headed back to Amazon.
Chelsea. First test, before the second flash stopped working
We will do this again this week when the replacement flash shows up, because my students like playing with cameras and flashes. I'll write in more detail about possible lighting setups next time.
Everything we used was purchased from Amazon, although I think I got the last two Phottix trigger kits they had in stock—here's a link to the manufacturer's website. We used a Fuji X-Pro2, Fuji 56mm APD, the two Amazon Basic Flashes, the Phottrix Ares Transmitter/Receiver Trigger Set, and an Altura Photo Softbox Flash Diffuser for shoe mount flash.
©2017 by Darlene Almeda, all rights reserved
Darlene Almeda is a photographer and educator. Here's her website.
Original contents copyright 2017 by Michael C. Johnston and/or the bylined author. All Rights Reserved. Links in this post may be to our affiliates; sales through affiliate links may benefit this site.
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Featured Comments from:
Under the Bridge: "Good info. I've been curious about these flashes. What do you think of the color temperature? I use some vintage Nikon flashes (SB-24/SB-28) and they play nicely in manual mode with all of my digital cameras because of their low trigger voltages. I would love to mix in a cheap flash with an optical slave, but I want the color temperature to match the Nikons. I've been contemplating an old SB-26 for a $125, but $30 is such a tempting price. Does anybody know the trigger voltage for these flashes? I haven't been able to locate that info."