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Archive 2012 · Small, cheap, manual flash
  
 
deepbluejh
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p.1 #1 · p.1 #1 · Small, cheap, manual flash


I'm looking to add a couple small, manual flashes to my wedding gear bag. Right now I'm using Canon 430EXs and are happy with them. I use the 430s on manual only, about 1/32nd power (so not much at all). I'm wondering what is the best fit for a replacement. I don't need ETTL at all and would prefer something both small, cheap, and that can be fired with wireless triggers.

There are a number of cheap Chinese flashes out there (Yongyou, Nissin, etc), but most of these are 580EX knockoffs and are huge. Anything smaller that is decent?



Nov 05, 2012 at 01:25 PM
swoop
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p.1 #2 · p.1 #2 · Small, cheap, manual flash


I use a Leica for the majority of my work and have become very familiar with manual flash because of it.

This is my little set of small manual/auto non-dedicated flashes.


Metz 36 C-2, Metz 20 C-2, Sunpak PF20XD, Holga 12 MFC, Holga 120



The two Metz flashes have auto modes. The 36 has 3 settings along with a nifty exposure calculator. The 20 has 2 auto modes with an exposure chart that isn't too hard to decipher. My Metz 20 however busted about a year ago. It turns on and test fires but will not fire on a shoe. Very annoying, so I can't recommend it for reliability. But when it did work it was awesome. I may even buy another.

The best part of the Metz flashes is they both can bounce off a ceiling, a very great feature. They don't swivel though. I bring the 36 C-2 with me often. It uses 4 AA batteries and the 20 C-2 uses 2 AA's. The 36 has a pretty good recycle time of about 4 seconds. Another awesome feature with the metz is that they both have 2.5mm sync ports. So they can be used wirelessly with a radio trigger. However they have only one manual setting and that's only full power. So it's use is kinda limited.

My other favorite flash is the Sunpak PF20XD. It has a spot on auto mode with 3 settings as well as a variable manual mode. In a pinch it can also be set as a flash activated slave. It's a straight flash though, and you will not be able to bounce it. The battery door on mine is flimsy and if I don't push it just right the batteries don't make contact and it stops working.

The two Holga flashes are basically the same. With the newer 12 MFC having color filters attached. They are mostly for effect and are too strong for white balancing. There's only one setting, ON, and it fires at full power with a fairly long recycle time. There is an exposure chart on the rear, It isn't exact though. The older style 120 has a really cheap battery door that would fall off on me every so often and has a loud whine. The newer 12 MFC has a more solid build and is much quieter. They both use a single AA battery and fire straight on, no bouncing.



Nov 05, 2012 at 06:34 PM
jefferies1
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p.1 #3 · p.1 #3 · Small, cheap, manual flash


I purchased 2 of the Yongnuo YN560-II speed lights when one of my Canon burned out a flash tube (again). They work great. I only shoot manual everything so never need the ETTL feature. One issue could be very low light. You don't get the IR to help focus the camera in the dark. Only reason I am sending that canon to be repaired is I need that option available. Still they are great for multi on location flash work and as single units. They work with the Canon battery pack for very fast recycle which I can't live without.
Easy to adjust the power using the digital display. In fact I prefer it to the Canon adjustment. I also use them at 1/32- 1/8 a lot. Build quilty is good. Had mine for about 6 months.Same size as the Canon 580.



Nov 05, 2012 at 08:33 PM
 

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deepbluejh
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p.1 #4 · p.1 #4 · Small, cheap, manual flash


Thanks, yeah, I've seen the Yongnuo flashes on Amazon and these look to be close to what I'm looking for. The issue I'm running into is that they are *huge*. They are basically the size of 580EXs. I'd like something much smaller, though that still has manual power adjustment.


Nov 05, 2012 at 09:20 PM
DigMeTX
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p.1 #5 · p.1 #5 · Small, cheap, manual flash


Yeah, they are big fo sho. Have you compared them in size to the YN-460? I haven't but it seems like a smaller flash to me... maybe that's just my subconscious declaring them smaller because they're a smaller number. People seem to be pretty happy with them though. How powerful do they need to be? The Nikon SB400 might be another option. They are REALLY tiny but not as powerful as, say, the YN-460.

brad



Nov 06, 2012 at 03:51 PM
DigMeTX
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p.1 #6 · p.1 #6 · Small, cheap, manual flash


Also, check out http://speedlights.net

Good resource especially for the off-brand flashes.

brad



Nov 06, 2012 at 03:57 PM





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