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Old Jan 6, 2005, 10:23 AM   #1
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Hi, I've never used an external flash before, and I'm pretty new to photography in general, so I was hoping I could get some good advice here. I'm stuck basically between the Sunpak 383 and the Phoenix D92-BZS (although I'm open to other suggestions if there are better choices in the same price range). Since I haven't had much experience with flash, I'm not sure what I would be using it for, although I think bouncing light for nice people pictures will be the main use. The soft lighting effect is just good in general, since harsh shadows from the built-in flash is usually pretty distracting.

This will be used on an FZ20. Thanks...
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Old Jan 6, 2005, 1:34 PM   #2
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plenTpak wrote:
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Hi, I've never used an external flash before, and I'm pretty new to photography in general, so I was hoping I could get some good advice here. I'm stuck basically between the Sunpak 383 and the Phoenix D92-BZS (although I'm open to other suggestions if there are better choices in the same price range).

This will be used on an FZ20. Thanks...
Hi plenTpak,

I've been looking at the exact same flash units for my FZ15. When I made the decision to buy the FZ15, I was thinking, "Ha! I'll outsmart myself...I'll buy the model that doesn't even have a shoe for a flash, so I won't be tempted to buy one of those expensive external units! I'm gonna keep it simple ! One less megapixel, no shoe, no sound recording on mpegs, $85 less...SIMPLE! Yeah, right....:roll:

I took the family Christmas pics this past holiday season, and immediately realized that the FZ15's built-in flash just isn't enough. The Phoenix you referred to comes with a mounting bracket that will enable me to use it with my shoeless 15. But there was another thread here not too long ago that had to do with external flashes for the FZ20, and the Sunpak 383 was mentioned...all favorable. Here's the link to that thread for your reading and researching pleasure:
http://www.stevesforums.com/forums/v...40&forum_id=23

Good luck! Let us know what you decided on!

Geoff
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Old Jan 6, 2005, 2:28 PM   #3
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Heh... yeah, I was thinking the Phoenix might be good in case I need to place it somewhere other than in the shoe on the camera, but I don't know how often that's necessary. However, the Phoenix also has a 3-minute auto-shutoff, which I've read can be a major annoyance. I guess it comes down to whether you consider the convenience of a slave flash to outweigh the annoyance of an auto-shutoff timer. I'm leaning towards the Sunpak 383 since that seems to have a lot of good reviews, and I can always attach a slave trigger to it if I find I really need a remote flash.

Have you tried the Phoenix flash yet? If you have, does it work well for you, and is that auto-shutoff timer annoying?

Thanks!
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Old Jan 6, 2005, 2:57 PM   #4
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The Sunpak 383,422d,433d all perform very well and can be had on Ebay at a reasonable cost.
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Old Jan 6, 2005, 6:00 PM   #5
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nooner wrote:
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The Sunpak 383,422d,433d all perform very well and can be had on Ebay at a reasonable cost.
Thanks... It looks like the 422D and 433D are dedicated flashes. What happens if you try to use a dedicated flash with the FZ20 (which has no camera-flash communication)? Will it just use the manual settings on the flash?
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Old Jan 6, 2005, 6:04 PM   #6
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Use it just as you would the 383, either auto or manual. I use a 433D on a FZ20 and it works great. Search here on the forums for setting etc. I got a cherry 433D for $30 on ebay.
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Old Jan 6, 2005, 6:53 PM   #7
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nooner,I have a 433D coming from eBay.It doesn't have a manual.Will I be able to figure it out wuthout the manual for use on an FZ20?
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Old Jan 6, 2005, 7:41 PM   #8
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Yeah. Put the camera in aperture priority.I use 3.7 fstop. Set camera to manual flash. Set the Sunpak to ISO 100 in auto. Start with the green range and experiment with that and the red and yellow settings to find what you're looking for. As far as WB I use auto and flash depending on the situation. Mainly its trial and error to find what you like. Oh yeah, I use center weighted metering. Try a bunch of shots from diiferent distances etc. so you'll have an idea where to start as each new opportunity comes a long. It takes a little work but will come out much better than the internal flash. Good luck
:| Also I bounce mostly and use an Omnibounce diffuser to offset colored reflective surfaces
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Old Jan 11, 2005, 10:15 AM   #9
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Ok, I got a used 433D for about $50 off ebay. This thing is monster huge! It barely fits in my camera bag, and I fear I'll have trouble when I get the adapter tube. The flash is dedicated for a Nikon, and so it has 4 pins on the bottom, but it works just find and dandy on the FZ20.

So far, the results are fantastic, although I have to fiddle with the settings a lot since I haven't gotten the feel for the right intensity vs distance and such. Flash response can be really fast as long as you don't fully discharge the unit. Oh, I haven't tried shooting anything on continuous or bracket or burst mode yet. I guess I'll use it a bit more before saying anything else about the performance.

I'm wondering though whether I should keep this or go with a smaller flash unit. The 433D takes up a full third of the bag's main compartment (with the FZ20 taking up the other 2/3rds). I suppose I'll have to wait until I get the adapter. What do you think?
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Old Jan 11, 2005, 11:08 AM   #10
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If you have a 1/3 : 2/3 ratio you are doing well. I am about 50:50 with my Vivitar 285HV. It is an excellent unit with a zoom flash and very long range, but it is BIG. I am likely to get a smaller unit for when I don't need the range.
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