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Old Dec 5, 2008, 10:37 AM   #11
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Here is the up close test photo I took at about 10 feet to test the Sony slave flash's ability to reduce or quench the light out put of the Sony slave flash.

Sarah Joyce
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Old Jun 16, 2009, 12:32 AM   #12
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I have a FZ28 and I'm very happy with it. The one thing that bugs me is that it doesn't have a flash hotshoe, so I'm considering adding a slave flash to it.
After some research, I found some options that could work, some a little better than others:
- Sunpak DS20 seems a good and cheap choice, but it's sold out...
- Bower SFD829TW - around US$50, has mixed reviews,
- Sony HVL-FSL1 (similar to the one Sarah Joyce got at the swap meet for $2) sells for US$65 at Amazon, but has no user reviews,
- Metz 28 CS2 and Digi-slave 3000 seem good choices, with higher price tags,
- some guy says at Amazon that you can use a Vivitar 285HV with the FZ28 - if this is true, this could be a great choice, right?

Problem is: I live in Brazil, where local options are very limited, so anything bought abroad is almost 'unreturnable' - I can't play around too much.

Any advice from more experienced users?
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Old Jun 16, 2009, 9:06 AM   #13
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Here's another one you may want to look into. $49 seems like reasonable price for a digital slave bracket and flash with it's Guide Number. But, I have no experience with it. So, you'll need to research it.

http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/produc....html#features
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Old Jun 16, 2009, 10:18 AM   #14
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Jim, thank you for your answer. That unit is the second one in my list, the (few) reviews I found were very misleading. Besides, that flash only works at full power, which can be a little harder to handle.

Browsing through B&H, I also found these two, with similar specifications:
- Morris midi Slave GN 55
- Smith-Victor PG160S GN 40, or its older brother, PG250S with GN 70, but a little harder to find.

I'll keep searching for a while, but I have to make up my mind, as I'm going on vacation at the end of June.

Cheers,

Ricardo
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Old Jun 16, 2009, 10:36 AM   #15
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You may want to look into this Sunpak Bracket, too. It's got a built in optical slave that works with digital from what I can see of it's description.

http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/produc...h_Adapter.html

Then, you'd have more options on the flash choice. For example, you could use non-dedicated auto thyristor flash models that can work in an ISO standard hotshoe (Sunpak 222 Auto, Sunpak 333 Auto, Sunpak 383 Super, Vivitar 285HV, etc.), even if they don't have built in slave ability.
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Old Jun 17, 2009, 10:28 PM   #16
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Jim, thank you for your suggestions, they have helped me a lot!

After much thought (and seeing the last Digi-slave 3000 in stock at the B&H site - which was already in my shopping cart - being sold while I was typing my delivery address), I decided to get the Metz 28 CS2, mainly because that's what Sarah Joyce got, and I trust she knows a LOT more than I do. I spent a bit more than I intended at first, but at least I expect to get a 1st rate product.

I was looking for an affordable, lightweight slave flash with solid reviews. My first options were the Sunpak DS20 and the Smith-Victor PG250S, but since they are on the Strobist list, they are sold out everywhere (no wonder, these guys really seem to perform well, in spite of only operating in full power).

I was then tempted to get the Vivitar 285HV (impressed by its stellar reviews) with an optical slave hotshoe, but I was afraid that the slave hotshoe wouldn't perform as expected, firing before the actual picture was taken. Besides, the 285HV is BIG!

The bracket you suggested also seemed a little too cumbersome, and some reviews I read strongly advised against it, based on its reliability and not-so-solid-build.

I mainly use the FZ28 (and now the slave flash) on hiking and day-trips. That's the reason why I got the FZ28 instead of a dSLR (or the Canon SX10, for what it's worth): its smaller size and weight. I guess I'm keeping up with my intent to mantain a lightweight kit.

Cheers,

Ricardo
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Old Jun 18, 2009, 9:31 AM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RConsonni View Post
I decided to get the Metz 28 CS2, mainly because that's what Sarah Joyce got, and I trust she knows a LOT more than I do. I spent a bit more than I intended at first, but at least I expect to get a 1st rate product.
That Metz you got looks interesting (very full featured for a slave flash) and it should provide better light compared to the camera's built in flash, extending your usable range. The only major drawbacks to it appear to be lack of swivel or tilt (so that you could bounce a flash for more diffused lighting) and the use of 2 AAA batteries (which usually means slower recycle times after a full power flash compared to larger units with 4 AA batteries).

Of course, the use of 4 AA batteries would increase size and weight. So, any choice is a compromise and it sounds like you want to keep the package as small and light as possible.

Please let us know how you like it when you get a chance to test drive it more. Metz has a reputation for providing quality light.

Quote:
I was then tempted to get the Vivitar 285HV (impressed by its stellar reviews) with an optical slave hotshoe, but I was afraid that the slave hotshoe wouldn't perform as expected, firing before the actual picture was taken.
That Sunpak bracket with the built in optical slave is supposed to be adjustable to allow for preflashes from digital cameras. But, I have no experience with it.

If you decide you need something more powerful later and/or you want a flash you can bounce for more diffused lighting, you'll also find that Wein makes digital slave triggers designed to ignore preflashes. Here's one example:

http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/produc...lave_100_.html

Quote:
Besides, the 285HV is BIG!
You can find smaller flashes ;-)

For example, I've also got a little Sunpak 222 Auto in a smaller flash (and these are very inexpensive on the used market). This one has tilt (but no swivel), so you can only bounce it in landscape position without a separate flip bracket, with two auto ranges and two manual power settings. It will work via a PC Sync Port or an ISO standard hotshoe. GN is about 72 feet at ISO 100. I got it used for only $7 from keh.com (and they even threw in a nice coiled PC Sync Cord with it).

In a larger flash, I've got a Sunpak 333 Auto (also inexpensive on the used market). I found this one for only $25 at bhphotovideo.com (in their used department). It's got a much higher GN, tilt and swivel, multiple Auto ranges, multiple manual power settings and more. I sometimes use the Sunpak 222 Auto and the 333 Auto at the same time (one in the hotshoe, one off camera) with my KM Maxxum 5D and Sony A700.

But, like the Vivitar 285HV, the Sunpak 333 Auto would seem a bit large on a smaller camera like your Panasonic (the 333 Auto body is roughly the same size as the Sunpak 383 Super, only the Sunpak 333 Auto also includes a built in zoom head). I've also got an older Vivitar 273, which is a smaller flash compared to the newer Vivitar 285HV (but, I rarely use it since it's got a trigger voltage that's too high for the hotshoe in many digital cameras). They're also inexpensive on the used market.

Any choice is usually a compromise in one area or another (features, range, size, weight, etc.). It sounds like you want small and light and that Metz looks to be a pretty decent choice (with more features than you would normally find in a slave flash). Please keep us posted on how well it works with your Panasonic.
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Old Jan 16, 2010, 3:02 PM   #18
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Does any one know if I can buy a Digi-Slave 3000 in the UK? I've looked and they only seem to be from the USA. Any good alternatives?

Thanks, Gail
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Old Jan 16, 2010, 3:57 PM   #19
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Gail-

Canon has a non tilting Slave Flash. I believe it is the HF-1. That could be a possibility.

Sarah Joyce
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