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Old Mar 19, 2004, 7:47 AM   #1
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Default External Flash for Digital

You may want to check into Promaster flash units for ANY new digital camera. Promaster makes two reasonably priced, good quality flash units for digital (DX series) and make adapters to connect them to many major camera brands. I've been pleased with my 5750DX with my Olympus C5060. The flash head is adjustable to "spread" or "focus" the flash, tilts up to 90 degrees, rotates 180 degrees, and has a smaller second flash in the front for "filler" if you want that effect, but can be turned off when you don't need it. From what I can tell, all functions from the camera work correctly through this flash. I got the flash unit, adapter, flash bracket and external cord for less than the larger Olympus flash unit alone. I don't feel that I've taken the cheap way out either. So far, Promaster is great. I don't work for them, just happy with my equipment.
Another great feature is that they use rechargable NiMh batteries. Promaster makes 2200 mAH batteries (somewhat uncommonly high capacity) which last quite a long time in these flash units. The 5750DX uses 4 and I carry two sets. I got the 6 hour charger because the batteries last so long, and the charger itself is a convenient storage / carrying device in my camera bag. It's not too big and unlikely to get lost that way either. I suspect these batteries would be good in any digital that uses "AA" rechargable.
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Old Mar 19, 2004, 10:54 AM   #2
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The smaller second flash is a feature not found in many flashes, I'll grant you that.

But all flashes that take AA batteries will work with NiMh batteries. Many (but not "lots") of companies make 2200mAh batteries now a days, and some even higher. Not all are created equal, but that is a separate matter.

I would warn against carrying you batteries in your charger. The metal on metal of the battery heads against the metal of the charger can encourage oxidation. I would recommend plastic (non-conductive) carry cases. I got a 4 of them free with my battery purchase from Thomas Distributing

You should carry them in something, to prevent shorting while in your pocket.

Eric
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Old Mar 19, 2004, 1:36 PM   #3
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Eric, your warning of carrying batteries in the charger causing oxidation is pure rubish! Are they more likely to oxidize in the charger than in a flash or in a camera? Are not those metal to metal contact? I would hope so, metal is the most common conductor in use in those items. There are a lot of solutions out there for AA battery storage, any of which is better than throwing them in your pocket with car keys and a handful of change. If you are going to carry a charger anyway whats wrong with storing a set there. Just read your instructions that came with the charger as some inexpensive chargers may actually drain batteries over a long period.
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Old Mar 19, 2004, 2:44 PM   #4
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I have read not to store the batteries in the flash for long periods of time as well.

It may still be rubbish, though. I certainly haven't tested it. But I have found batteries that have corroded at the ends that were in things, and never seen it happen to batteries that weren't. But is it the metal-to-metal? Is it that the batteries are in use? I don't know. It isn't a scientific test, but it says something.

Eric
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Old Mar 19, 2004, 6:45 PM   #5
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I appreciate all the discussion my post has generated. Just re-read the instructions with the Promaster charger that came with the 2200mAH batteries (4 of them). They explain that in the case of this product, once fully charged, the charger switches to a trickle charge if it's left plugged in. Thus, the batteries won't loose the 30% they claim can be lost after just a few days off the charger. There is no warning for or against storing them in the charger while unplugged. I just talked to my camera shop where I purchased the Promaster equipment and they agreed there is no problem storing the charged bartteries in their charger. The charge will deterioriate but will cause no harm to the charger or batteries. It's a convenient size, about the size of a cell phone and the wall plug prongs fold down and out of the way. There may be better ways or other opinions but I'm very pleased with the performance and quality of Promaster everything.......One of these days I may get a AA holder just to eliminate the weight if I'm going to carry the bag and tripod around all day somewhere. Just today I carried spares for a smaller camera wrapped in clear wrap, just to keep contacts insulated from one another and keys, etc.....by the way, I shoot so much that no battery sits in any of my equipment for more than a few weeks to a month or so. That seems safe but I do know about the long term effects. Thanks for all the concern though.....
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Old Mar 20, 2004, 12:24 AM   #6
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Most good chargers switch to trickle charging, but not all. It's a very handy feature to have (I wouldn't buy one without it.) What is the model number on that charger, do you know? Knowing which chargers are good is a good thing.

I've thought about wrapping batteries in a rubber band so they wouldn't short against each other, but as you point out, they could still short against keys or loose change. Luckly my batteries came with holders (I didn't even ask for them) so I didn't make the mistake I was thinking of.

Eric
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Old Mar 20, 2004, 7:28 AM   #7
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The one I have is the Promaster Rapid Charger - Timer Controlled 6-hour Charger, Code 7471. Includes 4 / 2200mHA, NiMH batteries. It will also charge AAA's. I paid $29.80 at PJ's Camera, in Glen Ellyn, Illinois. Not sure if they do mail order but they do carry the full line of Promaster.
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