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Old Sep 5, 2004, 12:00 AM   #1
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I just bought a Panasonic FZ20 and was thinking about getting an external flash for it. I don't know anything about external flashes. I need help deciding which one to get. What features should I be looking for? I would greatly appreciate anyone's suggestions. Thanks for your time.

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Old Sep 5, 2004, 11:49 AM   #2
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It has a standard (ISO) hotshoe, so you can get any non dedicated flash. Wach out for cheap flash that may have high trigger voltage. Check for those features in general:

- tele/zoom (to concentrate the flash in long zoom)

- swivel (horizontal and vertical) for bouincing

- manual power settings (1/4, 1/16 etc ...)

- Auto capability (F stop settable, F 2.8, F5.6 etc ...)


Oh, forgot: battery: NiMH rechargeable AA seems to be the cheapest way for now
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Old Sep 12, 2004, 7:33 AM   #3
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JAson, I got the Sunpak 383 model for my Panasonic and it works awesome! Great prices to be da too. Search for best price before buying. I paid $69

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Old Oct 17, 2004, 7:48 AM   #4
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I too have just bought an FZ20 to replace my Nikon Coolpix 950.
Below are my notes from initial studies and testing.

Using an External Flash

My test choice was the Nikon SB4 – which would seem like a good companion.
SB4 has an Auto-Aperture of ƒ4 for 100 ASA.
When an external flash is mounted on the hotshoe it automatically disables the FZ20 internal flash; inserts an additional "External Flash" option in the MENU; and creates the External Flash Icon in the Viewfinder Screen.

(It is significant in this evaluation that the FZ20 ISO default is 100 – but I had earlier adjusted that Setting to 80 - as to be my standard.) Read on!

One has two MENU options under "External Flash" Manual, or Preset.
I had problems with the Manual setting (of which more later) and chose the alternative "Preset". The Viewfinder Icon for "External Flash" changed to indicate my chosen "Preset" option.

I elected to use Aperture Priority shooting and set the Aperture to ƒ4 so that it would match the Auto-Exposure requirements of the Nikon SB4.
The flash would not trigger. First pressure on the shutter release produced the standard 4 negative beeps.

I discovered that one press of the Cursor Right Arrow (which is marked with an electronic flash symbol) changes my ISO 80 preferred setting to 100. And at this, the Nikon SB4 worked perfectly. Ergo – the FZ20 must be set to ISO 100 for an external electronic flash to work. Had I not changed the ISO 100 default to 80, I wouldn't have needed to revert it per the Cursor. But - the Cursor action is OK and can stand as a routine required action when using external flash – because when the external unit is removed, my preferred ISO is automatically restored for all normal use of the camera.

User Manual Error:

On Page 80, Para 1: " When setting to "Preset" and attaching the external flash, the Aperture Value and the ISO Sensitivity are respectively set to ƒ2.8 and ISO 100 on the camera regardless of the recording mode."

This might be the case with the dedicated Panasonic DMW FL28 electronic flash but it is NOT the case with any of my Nikon Speedlites.
The ISO has to be changed to 100 if this is not already the default. It is not automatically corrected to ISO 100 when a Speedlite is mounted in the hotshoe. It takes just a single "click" on the Right Hand Cursor Arrow.

And – as spelled out here, one can use Aperture Priority recording mode and set whatever is the Auto-Aperture for the Speedlite used. So the User Manual's statement that attaching the external flash sets the aperture to ƒ2.8 and the ISO to 100 regardless of the recording mode …. is not correct for Nikon Speedlites (and almost inevitably likewise incorrect for all similar Auto/Thyristor electronic flashguns from other makers).

(Panasonic doesn't mention any of this in its User Manual - presumably because it wants me to buy its dedicated DMW FL20 Flashgun)


There is no need for financial indulgence with procurement of the Panasonic dedicated DMW FL28. The flash capabilities of the FZ20 are just great.
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Old Nov 24, 2004, 7:09 PM   #5
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Thanks for the info Stuart! I am planning on buying the FZ20 early next year. It will be my first digital after many, many years of 35mm. I still have my Vivitar 285HV flash and was wondering if I might have to also buy a new flash. I will be using the FZ in a lot of low light situations and want to use an external flash to conserve camera battery power. The 285HV flash unit has a 12 volt trigger, as per Vivitar specs. Do you know by chance if that might be to high of a trigger voltage for the FZ. Does the FZ manual list any mention on externalflashtrigger voltage? I don`t want to "cook" any electrical circuits in the camera because of to high trigger voltage.
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Old Dec 2, 2004, 5:29 PM   #6
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Okay, I gotta answer to my question from a FZ20 owner. Hey checked his owners manual and the manual states that max trigger voltage is 24 volts. I`m good to go!
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Old Dec 2, 2004, 10:14 PM   #7
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There is considerable doubt as to the integrity and applicability of the stated ISO Standard.
You can learn a great deal about this on the following URL.



Stuart Willis
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Old Dec 3, 2004, 1:20 AM   #8
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I also wanted a flash so this was a good question for me. Thanks Spectre for the simple answer. Just wanted to know the time not how to buildthe watch.

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Old Dec 3, 2004, 5:23 PM   #9
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Hey Stu, Do you know if there`s an easy wayto check the trigger voltage on my flash, just to be sure? I went to the link you provided and saw the postings next to the the/my Vivitar 285HV. I do have a fewdigital volt meters laying around, but nothing fancy.Thanks for your replys!

Watch making is FUN!!!
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Old Sep 28, 2005, 7:54 AM   #10
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Hi, B&H has the DMW-fl20 now! It has not been available for a long, long time. 150$!
Got to buy it myself now...

Regards, Espen
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