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Old Oct 15, 2004, 3:43 PM   #1
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I picked up a new hobby, slot car drag racing. It operates just like normal 1/4 mile drag racing, but everything is 1/24 scale. This is my latest (first) creation for this new hobby, and I decided to play around with my camera and more particularly the flash. I have a Nikon CoolPix 5000 (a couple of years old) and I can take some great pictures with it, but when it comes to using the flash (on any camera) I just can't seem to get the hang of it. The built in flash has some problems with the additional lense housing I use for my UV filter. Actually the problem is the housing blocks the flash, but even without my UV filter the flash just seems weak to me. So I have been using a really old sunpak flash I bought for my dad's 35mm camera. This thing can light up complete darkness so I know it is way to much for my Nikon.

style="BACKGROUND-COLOR: #000000"Maybe it is just me hanging onto memories of my dad's Canon 35mm but I seem to prefer using an external flash. Can someone makea recomendation for a good all around flash? I don't want to get into the TTL versus non-TTL compatability with this camera, I just want something I can use inside our house. (I have a new baby on the way and family that lives out of state. They are expecting pictures and I don't want to spend hours post processing the exposure levels.)

Here is the best I can do straight out of the camera: http://home.comcast.net/~ericstill/s...rdoriginal.jpg
  • iso = 100[/*]
  • Shutter = 1/500[/*]
  • Aperature = 3.4[/*]
  • White Balance = flash[/*]
  • The flash was pointed straight up and bounced off the ceiling
[/*]
I can adjust the exposure through the EV setting in my computer, but I usually end up need to make major changes to the brightness and contrast to get my colors back. Here is what I have been able to do using my work computer over lunch. It may not look great, but is looks good on the LCD monitor I have here. http://home.comcast.net/~ericstill/superbird.jpg
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Old Oct 28, 2004, 4:51 PM   #2
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It's been almost two weeks since I first posted this, so I am making another pleafor help. Please don't leave me at the mercy of a saleman.
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Old Oct 28, 2004, 6:06 PM   #3
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How about the Nikon SB-50 DX?

FYI, steve review:

http://www.steves-digicams.com/2001_...n5000_pg2.html

But someone is not recommend it here:

http://www.stevesforums.com/forums/view_topic.php?id=9174&forum_id=53

And, if you are not stick to TTL, which limits you with certain Nikon flash model (and may be Sigma) , you can in fact consider any flash with manual , or better with auto features, as long as they are safe for your camera hotshoe (trigger voltage below the limit of your camera hotshoe permissible voltage)

I beleive among popular "goes on any camera" flash are Vivitar 285 HV,
http://www.stevesforums.com/forums/v...ighlight=285HV

Sunpak also have good flash (acording to members here)
Or you can get a big Metz potato masher (like in my avatar) :G, then every ones will be jalous

Tell us more about your preferences and we should be able to come with more precise suggestion.
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Old Oct 29, 2004, 10:44 AM   #4
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Thank you for the reply.

I had forgotten that the SB-50 DX was mentioned in the review. That is probably a good starting point, but it just seems like an equivalent flash can be had for less money. If I can't find anything else to my likeing I will probably end up with a Nikon flash, just so I keep everything as the same brand.

Having said that here are the issues I am trying to solve. The lighting inside of our house is kept fairly soft. (Bright lights hurt my eyes.) So I am forced to use a flash, unless it is late afternoon and the sun is coming in through the front window. The built in flash on the CP5000 is weak in my experience. I may not be using the camera correctly but the built in flash seems to have about a 10 foot range, at home. Furthermore I keep an adapter and a UV filter on it which gives me a shadow in most of my pictures. I have also played around with close-up (borderline macro) pictures and the built in flash gives me more troubles that it solves. Again I have shadows from the lense, and areas of these pictures are noticably brighter than others. We also have our first child on the way (actually about 3 weeks away) so I am looking to take way too may pictures of him.

So the first feature I am looking forwould solve is the shadow caused by using my adapter or by having the lense zoomed out. Secondly I would like to option of being able to adjust the flash so I can have sufficient lighting in a 10-20 foot range. This is for indoor use so I'm looking for an "extended range" fill-in flash. Thirdy I have enjoyed playing around with my old Sunpak flash by bouncing the flash off of various surfaces. Granted all I have done so far is bounce the flash off of note cards and through tissue paper, but I am getting better lighting each time I "play."

I realize I have a lot left to learn about using a flash, andI am probably not asking the right quesitons.
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Old Oct 29, 2004, 2:13 PM   #5
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Unfortunately, the Nikon 5000 doesn't take advantage of the TTL or eTTL features ofNikon external flash units. You should get the cheapest auto flash unit you can, if cost is a major concern. Read Steve's conclusion regarding this model and the Nikon5700. Until the introduction of the most recent models, Nikon digicams haven't taken advantage of the TTL or auto zoom features of the dedicated Nikon external flash units. I'd try to get something with a rotating flash head so that you can vary the angle of the lighting to get different types of lighting effects. You can also allow both the internal and external flash units to be used simultaneously or you can turn off the internal flash if you want.
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Old Oct 29, 2004, 9:55 PM   #6
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A bracket will solve most of your lens shadow issue.

http://www.stevesforums.com/forums/v...hlight=bracket

if you use a nikon (or dedicated) flash, then you need a Nikon dedicated ttl cord to use with the bracket.

===========

With close shooting, a good (powerful) flash combined with a small white umbrella should give more interesting and pleasant result .
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Old Oct 30, 2004, 9:56 PM   #7
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Thank you for the information. It looks like the Vivitar one is a good place to start looking. I feel much better walking into a store now, thank you again.
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Old Nov 9, 2004, 10:36 AM   #8
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I just wanted to say thank you. After talking it over with my wife we decided that instead of purchasing an inexpensive flash now, we would go all out on the flash knowing I will want a bigger and better camera in a couple of years. I ended up with the Nikon SB-600. I know this is overkill for my camera, but like I said I'm probably a year or two away from a new camera.

Another deciding factor on the Nikon lens was the camera store itself. The guy I spoke with warned me about the dangers of Nikon's hot shoe. According to him the Nikon is one of the most sensative to trigger voltage, and I should only use a Nikon Flash in the hot shoe. He has seen "a few" (I never asked for an actual number) Nikons damaged bya high trigger voltage. His first recommendation was to use a remote flash and a bracket. He walked me through his whole line-up from a $30 one clear up to an high end Metz one. To my surprise he was pushing the $30 flash, and I may go back and get it when I feel like playing around with a second flash.

If anyone is interested I had much better results playing around with my new toy last night. The link is to my wife and our new nursery, be warned the picture is about 100kB. http://home.comcast.net/~ericstill/Glenda.jpg
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Old Nov 9, 2004, 11:53 AM   #9
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Did the flash work in ttl or manual or auto mode?
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Old Nov 9, 2004, 3:10 PM   #10
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With it on the camera I only get two modes TTL and full Manual. It works great in TTL. I didn't have much time, so I set the camera to Aperature priority mode, set the speed light configuration to "Internal flash off," and set the flash mode to on. I walked around the house and the pictures had sufficient lighting. For fun I took one picture of our rabbit without the lights in the room off and one with the overhead light on. I couldn't tell the difference between the lighting in the two.

Obviously the light meter is not behind the lens, but it appears to be sending the correct TTL messages to the flash. I hate to use the term point and shoot, but for casual use that is how this flash is working for me. I haven't played much with the built in diffuser or the zoom head, but so far I like the results. Now to set up my slot car and see how those pics turn out.
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