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| 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.