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Thursday, 12 January 2017


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I wish there was a flash that was automatic but non TTL, and had a built in slave to the second flash function.

Just a automatic but non TTL and non dedicated flash that was in current production, was more or less modern and didn't sent 600 volts into the camera hotshoe would be nice. I have amassed a sack of old flashes for about the price of the AA batteries they use, but it would be nice to have something that is safe, reliable, and sort of new available to buy. For digital TTL flash is deeply flawed. and needlessly complex.

Of course I imagine such a thing exists and that some helpful person will enlighten me in the time honored way of the internet

What a blessing that digital makes using a fully mechanical flash so easy. And that these no-name manufacturers are finally showing us how cheap the basic hardware of a flash is. Add exposure automation, and Nikon or Canon would charge $500 for this. That's a 2000% markup!

Dedicated flashes are probably among the key profit centers for the big camera makers. Generations of pro have been discouraged from system-switching by their four-figure investments in proprietary flashes. Products like this and my Youngyou (yeah, whatever) are very destabilizing devices.

Looks a bit like our Yongnuo YN-460II models as well. And directly from China they cost about the same, or not much more.
Very nice to have some of these. Like Andre said, much more important than the brand or even size of your camera.

Cheap as chips, as they say in the UK

... where chips are not that cheap!

If you enter "AmazonBasics Electronic Flash for DSLR Cameras" in Amazon UK (click on Purchases through T.O.P. at the top of the page here and support Mike) you will see that the same flash is also for sale for £26.09.

I've had a couple of old Braun 370BVC flashes for years. No TTL metering of course, but they are hard to beat for sheer power. This gun seems to be of similar output, according to the guide number.

While the Brauns are good, they are 30 or 40 years old and have started to be unreliable. It's not helpful when they default to full power at random. This Amazon flash sounds worth a try.

...... and tripod heads ..... and L plates.

Ahhh ... makes me think of the old reliable Vivitar 285HV and its "purple setting" which was actually a stop less powerful than stated. I would have about 4 or 5 of these in my bag if I was still shooting special events.

At the other end of the spectrum you could get a Leica SF64 Flash for $850. But it does have TTL! (Neither Amazon nor B&H has any user reviews so it may be that nobody has actually bought one.)

I wish all flash unit manufacturer's (and writers about them)would distinguish between "Wireless" meaning either responding to the light of the flash itself, (line of sight), and "Wireless" meaning a radio frequency operating pulse which does not require that straight path, and, thirdly, infrared, which if it is like my TV remote, is also pretty much line of sight.

I have three of the neewer model. Best $100 on camera I have spent. Or is top nod going to an old Speedotron Blackline pack and heads. Digital makes it very easy to manually control flash and actually understand what is going on.

Almost any flash with built in optical slave can be very helpful.
We use a bunch, allowing them to be tucked out of line of sight.
They also work when using a bunch of them in a soft box or behind a scrim. Only one requires a synch cord or trigger.

......unless other flashes are going off, and even then we carry a few long Off camera cords or simple synch cords.
Digital makes manual flash very easy. One of these and a 3 foot coiled cord allows just a touch of light to be bounced in from the dame direction as weak ambient light.
I haven't use these but am a big fan of a bit of bounced flash.

For hugh crawford:

I've been looking for a non-TTL auto flash too. I still have a couple old Vivitar 283s that sort of work, but they are about done. I ordered one of the Neewer flashes like this one, but immediately realized there is no auto flash control on it. After a lot of searching I found a Sunpak "auto 144D" and it is just about perfect. Non-TTL auto and in a good bit smaller package than a 283 that fits well on my Panasonic GX8. It's a pretty solid little unit and works just fine...just like the trusty Vivitar 283. Unfortunately it looks like Sunpak has quit making them and Amazon only has used ones available now.

Mike replies: So do you guys know of someone who could write those posts?

If only there were a blog dedicated only to shooting with flashes and lights... Strobicly, one might say...

"So do you guys know of someone who could write those posts?"

Kirk Tuck, of the visualsciencelab, he has written books on the use of photographic lighting equipment. He is a great storyteller and expert on lighting.

I say "no" ... 28 USD, but 52 EUR here in Germany :(

"Mike replies: So do you guys know of someone who could write those posts?"

I'm sure you write that with tongue firmly planted in cheek! There's this fellow we know from Texas, who has written whole books on the topic. I think you could wheedle a few posts from him if you tried! And I agree it would be great to have posts on other photographic topics than cameras and lenses: lighting equipment and technique, ball-heads, tripods, printers, books, pool tables, Green Bay Packers, dogs, hip hop... No stop, stop!

I've been using Yongnuo YN-560 IIIs for doing product photography with my X-cams and have been very happy with them.


They are very well-made, full-featured, and come with built-in radio receivers. They only $62 from Amazon, and I shoot with them through speed light softboxes. I control them with the Yongnuo YN-560-TX radio controller that costs a whopping $37.


This system works REALLY well for shooting in manual (which is the only way I work with lights) and the products are well-made and incredible value. I *love* em!

And, yes, I can write that lighting post....


Hi Mike, i learned a lot about lightning with that guy Neil van Niekerk


Just steal some pages from Strobist, or Syl Arena. 8^).

Seriously, a couple of guests posts might be nice.

Is that a beam of light from a flash or the beam from the smile on David Hobby's/Strobist's face? I can only think that the man who taught (teaches) so many people so generously about lighting with basic gear must be excited to know these are available.

Combine one with a package of these: https://www.amazon.com/Yongnuo-RF-603C3-INT-Wireless-Discontinued-Manufacturer/dp/B00DCY29G4/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1484335058&sr=8-1&keywords=Yongnuo+RF-603C3-INT+Wireless+Remote+Flash+Trigger
I did a presentation at my camera club last year with a similar kit (along with lightstands, brackets and umbrellas - all low-end cheap brands). You can make some pretty nice portraits in a very portable package.

I can't remember the number of times I've tried to explain to amateur photographers to at least give supplementary lighting a go, even just simple reflectors.

Unfortunately, all that I often get back in return is a retort that they don't want to go through such extra effort, they just want great shots taken in natural light using high ISO.

Then it becomes an issue that their camera is not good enough for their needs and that they have to get something better. They then start asking what camera is better.

"Cheap as chips" as a certain, very annoying, person on British TV is apt to say but very rarely by anyone else.

[Is he Australian by any chance?



I would agree that lighting is as an important element as pixels, lenses and resolution as someone noted above (and is a light (no pun intended) subject matter on this excellent site), however one can get carried away with artificial lighting like over photoshop post processing and overly HDR'd images.

Great work can be done with natural light, such as Lisa Holloway, http://ljhollowayphotography.com/
who only uses natural light for all her work all be it with post processing. Most of her work is one or two lenses, the primary being 200mm f/1.8 or f/2 Canon L which gives and renders her "signature" images.. She mostly shoots wide open. She seems to have built a business "brand" around her consistent same technique which by all accounts appear to be very successful.
Many of her pictures appear to have been shot with some artificial lights but not the case apparently.

Also Marion Ettlinger, http://www.marionettlinger.com/
A well know portrait photographer of book authors who apparently did Author portraits for books for over 30 years with only 35mm Pentaxs on tripod. She used 8 or 9 continually (In a cycle of being CLA'd and in use).
She always shot natural light as she wanted to keep her equipment spartan and simple. She was often quoted as saying "The less technical stuff you have, the more soothing it is to the subject"
Her shoots with an Author/subject would last about 5 hours and she would shoot around 12 rolls of film.
An article about her http://usatoday30.usatoday.com/life/books/news/2003-11-19-ettlinger_x.htm

In any event, yes it is interesting that there are more options for simple in expensive lighting for modest budgets. A little bit of lighting for even a catch light in the eyes as Galen Rowell was wont to say goes a long way in a stronger image....

I still have a functioning SunPak 383 but have been uncertain whether I can mount it on a modern digital camera without frying the electronics.

So, instead, I plunked down a bunch of money on a TTL flash.

If you are looking for "Non-TTL Auto Flash",
Look for Thyristor Circuitry which is a flash mounted sensor and 'quenching' circuit that monitors light reflected from the subject, and acts quickly enough to 'quench' or turn off the flash based on an ISO you enter. There are still some flashes that have it available new.
Sort of a reflected light meter for flash.
Just be careful with old flashes, which may work fine but present damaging synch voltages to your camera. Same for some old studio flash. When in doubt, use one of these

Interesting to note that Adorama had the less capable Vivitar 283 listed at about $48 in 1982, a full 25 years ago.

My fellow geezers who wish to take a trip down gear-head memory lane should check out Google Books back issues of Popular Photography.


Don't listen to that Tuck guy. He's off buying weird and expensive LED panels. Down another rabbit hole for sure.

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