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Old Nov 1, 2004, 7:20 AM   #1
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Another question to show how inexperienced I am with cameras. I recently bought a Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ3. I've had it a couple of weeks, and already feel like I have outgrown it (typical feeling with budding new photographers, I'm sure).

One of the primary things I am trying to take pictures of are hummingbirds in my garden. This camera does not have a hot shoe for an external flash. Would it work if I set up a strobe light to flash continuously and just set the camera in burst mode to take a series of pictures?
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Old Nov 1, 2004, 12:03 PM   #2
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It might work, but odds are it would just scare off the hummingbird! ;-)

The choice here is to put up with the internal flash, buy another camera, or use a slave flash (a flash that fires when it "sees" another camera flash (i.e. the internal flash, or someone else's flash) firing).

I personally use one for over a year with my Olympus C-700 (only because I would have had to buy a proprietary cable and bracket (which costed as much as my slave flash) to use a wired flash with my camera). An example of a slave flash (Metz 34-CS2) firing (I was testing it in the store before buying):

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/08...n/preflash.jpg
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Old Nov 2, 2004, 11:07 PM   #3
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This question was recently asked on another message board concerning the fz3. There was several slave fashes recommended, two were the Vivitar DF120 and the Vivitar DF200 digital flash. There was others, but they are reported to work with the Lumix FZ3 and FZ15 cameras. Of these two flashes, the DF200 is more useful. B&H has it for $70.00.
I am thinking of getting a fz3 myself, to replace my trusty Canon Pro90.
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Old Nov 3, 2004, 2:25 PM   #4
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The big thing to look for in a slave flash is the ability to flash on the second light, not the first.

Some/many digital cameras fire a very quick flash to help with the metering and then the big flash to take the picture. Many flashes will detect the first "pre-flash" and fire off of that. You need to make sure that any slave flash has the ability to skip that first flash and fire on the second.

I have no idea what this feature is called, in a marketing sense so I don't know how to tell if a flash can do it or not.

Eric
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Old Nov 3, 2004, 4:05 PM   #5
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"Preflash"

The photo link I posted above was the test I did in the store to make sure that the flash I wanted to buy (Metz 34-CS2 Digital) was truely compatible with the preflash my camera has:
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/08...n/preflash.jpg

In the case of my flash there's a switch to change it from single flash mode to preflash (also has a third position to disable the slave mode):

http://www.photoweb.ru/pictures/34cs2-big.jpg

Some other slave flashes you have to "train"...you put the flash in "training" mode, point the camera at it and take a flash photo...the flash then knows what to look for and know if it's a single or double flash. Only problem might be is if you change modes on the camera you might have to retrain the flash (also if you change batteries on the flash).

One comment about my Metz 34-cs2 flash, although it's nice and small and has plenty of power (guide number of 34m/114'), some people don't like the fact it runs on two non-rechargeable CR2 batteries which aren't cheap.
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