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Old Dec 31, 2009, 7:07 PM   #1
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Default DMC FZ20 Flash To Replace Sunpak 383

Dang it, Gumby.

Been using a Sunpak 383 on my FZ-20 these last several years via a flash bracket, Kaiser hot shoe adaptor, and sync cord.

The 383 bit the dust a couple days ago, the 383 is discontinued, and used ones are as expensive as a new one once was.

Looking for a fllash comparable to the 383, with sync cord socket, swivel and tilt.

Doesn't have to be dedicated, of course.

Any suggestions?
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Old Jan 1, 2010, 10:02 AM   #2
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How about this Vivitar?
http://www.amazon.com/Vivitar-285HV-...2357592&sr=1-1
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Old Jan 1, 2010, 10:21 AM   #3
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He wants both swivel and tilt (the Vivitar is tilt only).

Frankly, I'd just buy a used Sunpak (as mentioned in the other thread you started on this same issue).

But, there are tons of non-dedicated aftermarket Auto Thryistor type flash models that work in a similar way, letting you set the Aperture and ISO speed on the flash to match the Aperture and ISO speed on the camera, terminating the flash output when the flash sees enough reflected light for your settings. Just make sure to check trigger voltage if it's not a relatively new flash model. See this thread:

Trigger Voltage Limits with Modern Digital Cameras

Most newer digital cameras use a more sophisticated flash setup, where the flash is aware of your camera settings used. So, as time passes, you're probably going to see fewer non-dedicated flash models from major brands (which is probably one reason the Sunpak 383 Super was discontinued).

If you insist on a new versus used flash, you may want to look at something like this one. This is a reputable Hong Kong Based vendor. But, I don't know about the quality of the flash. Expect shipping to run around 10 days to the U.S.

http://www.gadgetinfinity.com/produc...cat=256&page=1

But, I'd probably just buy a used Sunpak 383 Super (or similar Sunpak model) instead. I've bought a couple of used Sunpaks (333 Auto and 222 Auto) and I've had no issues with them. The 333 Auto is similar to the 383 Super (tilt, swivel, multiple aperture ranges, manual power settings, shoe mounted or pc sync port triggered), except that it has a manual zoom head built in (which takes some getting used to)..
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Old Jan 1, 2010, 1:13 PM   #4
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How about Nikon SB-24?
It works very well with my FZ10.
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Old Jan 1, 2010, 2:34 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JKA View Post
How about Nikon SB-24?
It works very well with my FZ10.
That's a very nice alternative as well, as it cranks down to 1/16 power.
My first camera in 1977 was a 1963 Petri Flex 35 mm with a flash from about the same era, so I'm not all hung up about a dedicated flash.


The option that Jim C. with the Gadget Infinity wasn't a bad choice, but lacks various power settings.

May just have to go with buying a used flash, and add my Sunpak 383 to my worn out Sunpak422D and 433D collection.

Attaching my 383 to the hot shoe on the FZ 20 loosened it, and while the guy who fixed it said he reinforced the shoe, I've used a flash bracket ever since.

Been using a Kaiser hot shoe mount with a m/f cord running to the sync port on the 383, so if I go with a flash with no sync port, I'll just put another hot shoe adaptor between the bracket and flash, and run a f/f cord to it.
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Old Jan 4, 2010, 12:31 PM   #6
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As I noted before, when my 383 croaked, I purchased another used unit. The Nikon SB-20 is another good option with a lot of flash power and tilt.

Sarah Joyce
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Old Jan 7, 2010, 8:05 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JimC View Post
He wants both swivel and tilt (the Vivitar is tilt only).

Frankly, I'd just buy a used Sunpak (as mentioned in the other thread you started on this same issue).

But, there are tons of non-dedicated aftermarket Auto Thryistor type flash models that work in a similar way, letting you set the Aperture and ISO speed on the flash to match the Aperture and ISO speed on the camera, terminating the flash output when the flash sees enough reflected light for your settings. Just make sure to check trigger voltage if it's not a relatively new flash model. See this thread:

Trigger Voltage Limits with Modern Digital Cameras

Most newer digital cameras use a more sophisticated flash setup, where the flash is aware of your camera settings used. So, as time passes, you're probably going to see fewer non-dedicated flash models from major brands (which is probably one reason the Sunpak 383 Super was discontinued).

If you insist on a new versus used flash, you may want to look at something like this one. This is a reputable Hong Kong Based vendor. But, I don't know about the quality of the flash. Expect shipping to run around 10 days to the U.S.

http://www.gadgetinfinity.com/produc...cat=256&page=1

But, I'd probably just buy a used Sunpak 383 Super (or similar Sunpak model) instead. I've bought a couple of used Sunpaks (333 Auto and 222 Auto) and I've had no issues with them. The 333 Auto is similar to the 383 Super (tilt, swivel, multiple aperture ranges, manual power settings, shoe mounted or pc sync port triggered), except that it has a manual zoom head built in (which takes some getting used to)..
Jim,
I wound up buying the used 383 flash you linked on your other post, and it's due in tomorrow.
Just keeping it simple, as my head was beginning to explode from reading specs on all the new stuff.

Thanks!
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Old Jan 7, 2010, 8:24 PM   #8
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That's sounds like a good bet. keh.com is a reputable vendor. I actually got a little Sunpak 222 Auto in bargain condition a while back from them for only $7 (and they even threw in a nice coiled PC Sync cord with it). It works just fine.

It's a smaller flash with tilt and no swivel and isn't as powerful as models like the 383 Super, 433D, 333 Auto, etc. But, it still has 2 auto ranges and 2 manual power settings, which makes sense since it's really not powerful enough to warrant more settings like you see with the larger Sunpak models.

It will also work via a PC Sync Port or a hotshoe. Judging from the scales on the back, GN is about 72 feet at ISO 100. Of course, the shipping and tax probably ran me more than the $7 I paid for the flash itself. :-)

I sometimes use it at the same time with a Sunpak 333 Auto (that I got from B&H a while back for only $25), triggering one with the hotshoe and the other with a PC Sync connection.

I'm not seeing as many of these non-dedicated Sunpaks at the bigger vendors of used gear now, and it looks like prices are increasing. Perhaps these types of flash models are being bought more on the used market, since vendors like Sunpak aren't making their non-dedicated flash models anymore.
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Old Jan 10, 2010, 11:19 AM   #9
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The flash arrived, and I'd put it at excellent to like-new condition.

I'm sure as film cameras are being phased out more, and on-board flashes are enough for a lot of novice shooters, non-dedicated will become obsolete...at least in this price range.

When I bught my FZ20 over five years ago, it was due to its hot shoe, ability to work with my studio lghts, focal length, etc., as I retired a couple of Canon A-Series cameras and several lenses.

Eventually I'll get into a DSLR.

Thanks for the help, Jim!
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Old Jan 10, 2010, 11:30 AM   #10
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Great. I figured it would be in Excellent condition since they listed it that way. I've found that keh.com has very conservative ratings on used gear, and I wouldn't hesitate to buy bargain condition gear from them either (as bargain condition only has cosmetic issues that should not impact operation, letting you find better deals on items that way if you're on a tight budget).

Yes.. Non-dedicated flash units are probably are not as popular anymore... not so much because the on-board flashes are adequate, but because the dedicated units communicate with the cameras (so that the flash knows the camera settings being used, eliminating the need to set the camera and flash to match for ISO speed and aperture).

Most of the camera manufacturers' dedicated flash models also support FP (Focal Plane Shutter mode), which is also known as HSS (High Speed Sync). That lets you use a flash at shutter speeds faster than the camera's x-sync speed (because they pulse the light over a longer duration), making them handy for fill flash in brighter daylight lighting using wider aperture settings (where you may easily exceed the x-sync speed of a camera trying to use a non-dedicated flash in the same way).
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