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Old Feb 23, 2007, 9:39 AM   #1
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I know there is a big difference in price. But what is the difference between the 2?

I don't want anything i have to manually set. I mainly want a flash to bounce to avoid shadows and harsh light. Is the Sunpak a flash i can just set and forget? Or should i stick with the 430EX?
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Old Feb 23, 2007, 1:12 PM   #2
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You'd want to use manual exposure on the camera, unless you're comfortable understanding how to use Av Mode and make sure you've got enough separation between ambient light (using a -EV Setting with Exposure Compensation) to make up for the amont of light being provided by the flash, selecting an aperture to match what the flash is contributing.

The easiest way to use a Flash like the Sunpak 383 Super to start out with is by using manual exposure, setting the aperture on the camera to match the aperture the flash tells you to use for the Auto Range you pick.

You'll have 3 different Auto Ranges to choose from.

For example, the middle range on my Sunpak 333 Auto shows 4 1/2 to 30 feet with the zoom head extended (my 333 Auto is a similar flash to a Sunpak 383 Super, only my 333 Auto has 3 position manual zoom head on it).

The flash will show you the aperture to set the camera to for the selected Auto range on the flash (you'll have 3 different auto settings with different distances shown from short to long), based on what ISO speed you want to use (it will have a sliding iso speed scale, and the aperture you need to set will vary by ISO speed).

For example, with my Sunpak set on the middle range using ISO 100, I can shoot at f/4 at anything from 4 1/2 to 30 feet with the zoom head extended. It changes with my zoom head position, but wouldn't with a 383 Super.

If I move the ISO speed slider to ISO 200, it will show f/5.6 as the aperture to set on the camera for that selected range. If I move it to ISO 400, and can shoot at f/8 within the same distances shown for the range I selected, etc.

In addition to 3 different Auto Ranges with different distance ranges and aperture settings, the flash will have manual power settings. I've got full, 1/2, 1/4, 1/8 1/16 on my Sunpak 333 Auto.

The Sunpak models like the 383 Super have a built in sensor that measures reflected light during the exposure. When it sees enough reflected light for the selected Auto Range, it terminates the flash output. So, the flash is controlling the exposure.

You just need to set the flash and camera to match for iso speed and aperture. Then, use a shutter speed that's appropriate for the amount of ambient light you want to let into the image (shutter speed has no bearing on the amount of light from the flash the camera sees, since the flash burst is very short).

You'll be limited to the sync speed of the camera for the fastest shutter speed you can use with this type of solution (probably around 1/200 or 1/250 second), but you'd have to check the camera's specs.

I spent virtually nothing for the flash system I use on my Konica Minolta Maxxum 5D. The trigger voltages on most of the Sunpaks is relatively low. So, they can be great bargains for someone wanting a flash system on a budget for digital, whereas a lot of older strobes have trigger voltages that are too high. I just gave away one Vivitar not too long ago, because it's trigger voltage was too high to be safe on digital.

I bought a smaller Sunpak 222 Auto with tilt and 2 Auto Aperture Ranges for only $7 from http://www.keh.com and they even threw in a nice coiled PC Sync cord with it.

I then got a larger Sunpak 333 Auto with tilt, swivel, 3 Auto Aperture Ranges, Manual Power Settings (full, 1/2, 1/4, 1/8, 1/16), a manual zoom head, GN of around 120 Feet at ISO 100 (depending on zoom head position) for only $25 in 10 condition (as new in box) from the used department at http://www.bhphotovideo.com

These types of Auto Thyristor Sunpaks are dirt cheap on the used market, and have the added benefit of eliminating the need for a preflash to judge exposure.

In addition to the Sunpaks, look for the Metz MZ series strobes. Some of these can recognize the camera settings being used with the correct foot (they have upgradeable feet that are specific to a camera model). Yet, they still have an auto setting that uses the sensor built into the flash to judge exposure (so you don't need a preflash). In a nicer strobe, look for a newer Metz 54 MZ3 or MZ4 with the correct foot for your camera model.

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Old Feb 24, 2007, 6:51 AM   #3
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momof3b1g wrote:
Is the Sunpak a flash i can just set and forget? Or should i stick with the 430EX?
First, when you say "stick with" are you saying you already have the 430EX? If you do I can see no reason to switch. If not, you need to decide if theAUTO mode alone of the 383will suit your needs or if you need the TTL exposure control the 430 offers. I own 2 Sunpak flashes, a 383 and a handle-mount 544. Both great units for different situations. The photosensors still nail the exposure despite not having all the LCD readouts and digital electronics. Angle of coverage is good on both. The 430EX does have more power than the 383 (GN of 141 as opposed to 120, putting it in the same league as the handle-mount) but for situations where carrying around the "potato masher" isn't practical the 383 hasn't let me down. I do have another flash that is a TTL unit designed for my camera. Why? It supports the use of higher shutter speeds (my camera will only sync to 1/160 with non-TTL units) and for outdoor use (removing shadows, adding "pop" to pictures in the shade) I often need to use a faster shutter.

Another case for the 383 lies several posts below in this very forum...6 pages of requests for the manual from folks who picked up a used 383 based on it's reputation. Finally there is the price...a difference New of $160 US (based on the latest prices at B&H). For the cost of the 430EX you can get the 383 plus the 544 plus the rechargeable AA's and charger to operate both. Or how about a 383 plus tripod, filters, camera bag, etc.?
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Old Apr 9, 2007, 10:27 AM   #4
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I recently got a Sunpak 333 flash and I'm using it with my Canon and Pentax DSLR's. It works just fine, but I can't figure out how to change the manual zoom range. The light comes on at the 35mm setting and I can see no way to change it. You don't happen to have a manual for that flash do you or could you tell me how to change the zoom range. I seem to be able to work the rest of the settings just fine. They are the same as my 383, but the zoom thing has me baffled.
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Old Apr 9, 2007, 10:41 AM   #5
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You pull and push the zoom head to the desired position. It's a manual zoom. ;-)

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Old Apr 9, 2007, 11:03 AM   #6
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Gosh, well you do, don't you. Thanks Jim. Amazing how dumb we can be at times, isn't.
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