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Old Sep 19, 2004, 1:53 PM   #1
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No question about it. I took hundreds of test shots. Using a slave unit - at least the ones I purchased, regardless of shutter speed - 1/125...1/30, the pictures were all darker when using the digital slave, and properly exposed when using the built-in flash only. Obviously not what these units are supposed to do... And, yes, they fired as they were supposed to.

I tried this with a Quantaray MS-1 digital "assist" slave flash. Prior, I returned another Quantaray digital slave stand alone that mounts to the hot shoe piece of a standard flash, in my case a Vivitar 2000. Both units were monted on an L bracket attached to the camera when I tested them.

I tried every conceivable aperture and shutter speed combo 1/125, 1/60, 1/90... etc. Different ISOs, ASA's, etc. I mostly used the single, forced flash mode, but also tried it using red-eye reduction (which triggered the slave prematurely... these models don't "learn" flash patterns. They're stupid/simple and flash upon the firing of the first burst from the master/camera's built-in flash). In every instance - on both the stand-alone attached to the Vivitar 2000, and the MS-1 digital slaves, the pictures came out >darker< using both flashes!?!

Any thoughts, anyone?
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Old Sep 20, 2004, 9:55 AM   #2
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While I don't pretend to be an expert in this area, it sounds to me that you are using the wrong type of slave flash for your camera.

In Steve's review of the Quantary MS-1 -- http://www.steves-digicams.com/ms-1.html -- he says:

NOTE: Many digicam flash units put out two flash pulses, a pre-flash to set the white balance and then the main flash. If your camera is one of these then you can't use the MS-1, you need a specially built digicam slave like the SR Electronics DSF-1s. SR Electronics also makes special flash slaves and several different pre-built slave flash units.

A quick Google search will give you information on various slave flashes that are designed specifically to work with digital cameras among which are the following two:

Sunpak Digital Flash Adapter -- http://www.sunpak.com/diFlashAdapt.html

Digi-Slave DSF-1s -- http://www.srelectronics.com/dsf1s.html

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Old Sep 20, 2004, 11:58 AM   #3
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Pretty simple explanation. When the digital slave goes off w/ the pre-flash, the camera's sensors read the added light and close down the exposure accordingly. The Vivitar DF200 doesn't do this, and I think there's a cheaper Sunpak that works OK, just not the cheapest one.

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Old Sep 20, 2004, 12:09 PM   #4
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I have this problem with a non-preflash slave trigger as well. My previous camera, a Sony FD91, did not have a preflash, so my slave unit worked like a charm. However, the FZ1 does have a preflash, so I get the same results you do.

It does work SOMETIMES, though. I have found that if the slave sensor is pointed right at the FZ1's onboard flash and only a few inches away, it seems to work more often, although still not reliably. There's a switch on my slave trigger that supposedly adjusts it for preflash, but it doesn't work reliably at all.

If your photos can allow for longer exposures, you may just want to use the slow sync flash mode of the onboard flash. It turns things yellow though, so you'll want to manually set the white balance to offset that problem. When I was setting up an online virtual tour of my home for sale, this is what I did for taking pictures of large rooms. It worked very well, and that little onboard flash lit up the room like it was on steroids. But if you try the same thing on a moving subject, it's going to turn out blurry.



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Old Sep 21, 2004, 6:20 AM   #5
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Thanks, all. Now I get it, Mudshu. Simple, makes perfect sense. Rshoefield, thanks for the link. EffZeeOne - yes, I've used slow shutter, too.
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