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Old Oct 1, 2006, 10:35 PM   #1
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Ok,

I finally got my Ef-500 DG 'super' MA-ADI flash toexpose properly most of the time- but I'm still not happy. The problem is the preflash, which virtually guarantees that at least one person in any group shot is going to either have their eyes closed or look drugged. I'm tired of it, and the flash is going to go to ebay for disposal.

I'd like a replacememt, one that doesn't make my kids look like sleepy derelicts. I was willing to take the financial abuse and get a Minolta flash, but from what I see, they suffer from the same issue. Is there any fully ttl compatible flash that doesn't have a preflash?

There are a couple from Metz that look good, like the 54MZ4. Does anyone have experience with these? Do they mount using the Minolta shoe, or one of those screw down things that drops your flash?

The thyristor flash solution is not out of the question, but I do want a powerful flashgun, and there are voltage questions that I will need to look into. I also seem some cheapo thyristor flashes on Ebay that say they're Minolta and ttl compatible, but I have my doubts.

It's not really a money issue, but I don't use the flashgun a lot and I don't really want to put out $500 for something that gets used only a few times a year.
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Old Oct 1, 2006, 11:13 PM   #2
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The older strobes you see on EBay that show they're for Minolta are probably not designed for a Maxxum shoe and would not work without an adapter (and they would not be dedicated on your DSLR).

As for the Metz, there are a few KM users around that have both the Metz 54MZ4 and the KM 5600HS (D), and the impression that I get is that they prefer the Metz.

If you get the correct SCA 3302 M6 (or the M5 version will also work) foot with one, it will be aware of the camera settings being used, while still allowing you to use the Metz Auto feature to eliminate a preflash (it uses it's own built in sensor with it's Auto mode instead, terminating it's output when it sees enough reflected light for the aperture/ISO speed you're using). You can also use it with a preflash if desired, just like a KM strobe.

If I were going to invest in a decent flash, I'd probably go that route, since it also supports HSS. As for mounting it, it would work the same way as a Minolta strobe, since the correct SCA 3302 foot is designed specifically for the Maxxum hotshoe.

But, I really don't use a flash enough to justify the expense. So, I'm using an inexpensive Sunpak 333 Auto I got for $25 in 10 condition (as new in box) from the used department at B&H via an adapter to give my 5D an ISO standard hotshoe. There is a vendor in Hong Kong that sells them for $14.95 + $5.00 shipping. If you search for FS-1100 on Ebay, you'll find the listings.

Of course, it mounts to the adapter with one of those "screw down things" (as you put it). lol But, I just leave the flash mounted tightly to the adapter, and the adapter then slides and locks into the hotshoe just like a Minolta strobe would. No big deal, since you would never need to remove the adapter from the strobe unless you planned on using more than one strobe with the same adapter.

With this type of solution, you wouldn't have wireless or HSS and you'd need to use manual exposure on the camera. But, if you don't change apertures that much indoors, it's really not a huge hassle.

For example, just set the camera to around f/5.6, 1/100 second (more or less, depending on how much ambient light you want to let in) and ISO 200, setting the strobe to the aperture range that best matches it and shoot away.

My inexpensive Sunpak 333 Auto has 3 Auto Aperture Ranges, along with manual power settings, tilt, swivel and a manual zoom head, with a GN of around 120 feet at ISO 100, depending on the zoom head position.

I've also got a smaller Sunpak 222 Auto (tilt, no swivel, no zoom head, only 2 auto ranges) that I got from the used department at KEH for only $7 (and they even threw in a nice coiled PC Sync Cord with it). The shipping was more than the strobe. Fortunately, I was buying some other stuff at the same time to help with that part. lol

You could also go with something "in between" these solutions. For example, somthing like a Metz 40MZ3 using the SCA3302 M5 or M6 foot. It's not quite as powerful, and it wouldn't have HSS. But, it would be aware of the camera settings used and has an Auto Mode that can eliminate a preflash like the more expensive 54MZ series strobes.

I've seen a KM user report that it works fine just fine, even though you don't see the 40MZ3 mentioned on the Metz web site as a compatible strobe for KM DSLR models. He also has a 54MZ4 and was surprised that the 40MZ3 did everything the 54MZ4 does except for HSS when he used an SCA3302 M5 foot with it. You'll need a newer SCA3302 M5 or M6 foot for proper operation and full compatibility with a KM DSLR with either of these strobes.

Make sure you get the MZ series versus AF series (the AF series strobes don't have a changeable foot and do not have an Auto mode that uses a built in sensor to eliminate the preflash).

As for trigger voltage, it would be a good idea not to go much higher than around 6 volts via an FS-1100 or third party equivalent adapter if you go with a non-dedicated auto thryistor type strobe, unless you use something like a Wein Safe Sync with it.

But, there are a number of strobes, both used and new, that are relatively close to that. Personally, I wouldn't worry about it, as long as it was under around 8 or 10 volts. In a new non-dedicated strobe, the Sunpak 383 Super is a popular choice (but, the used Sunpaks you can find for less have roughly the same specs and features).

If you wanted something in a handle mount, the Sunpak 544 would probaby make a great choice in an inexpensive, non-dedicated strobe. It's got a low trigger voltage and would work via one of the third party adapters with a PC sync port like I've got (or just plug it into the sync port on a 7D) . Ditto for the Metz 45CL1 (trigger voltage is low enough from that one for use via an adapter on my 5D, and you could use it the same way as a non-dedicated handle mount). No adapter would be needed to use it with the sync port on a 7D.

Another non-dedicated Metz would be something like the 32MZ2 or 3. You can use the correct SCA adapter for Maxxum cameras (even an older model) to eliminate the need for an adapter and set the Auto range manually to one of the available ranges, using manual exposure on the camera. Nooner had one of these and used it that way on a 5D if memory serves.

I think Kalypso is using a Vivitar 285 with a 7D. But, some of these have a high trigger voltage. So, you'd want to be careful and measure the voltage for any strobe you get.

Note that the PC Sync Port on a 7D will support trigger voltages up to 400 volts. The PCT-100 also has voltage protection built in if you use it to convert the hotshoe to a PC Sync port. But, the FS-1100 and third party equivalent adapters to give a 5D or 7D an ISO standard shoe do not have voltage protection built in.

You'll see more comments on trigger voltage, other Sunpak models (rduve made some comments) and more, in an older thread you started here:

http://www.stevesforums.com/forums/v...mp;forum_id=84

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Old Oct 2, 2006, 6:45 AM   #3
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The 'screw down thing' is not nearly as big of a deal on a $20 flash as it is on a $400 flash (at least to me). I'd just hate to put that kind of money into a large flash only to have it fall from a lousy mount. Besides, I'd hate to put Minolta's hard work on a proper shoe to waste!

(that other thread wasn't started by me- in fact I didn't even post to it) :blah:I did post to the other (long) sigma 500 thread though.

The Metz seems like a good solution, but the thyristor flash is so cheap, lol. Tough call.






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Old Oct 2, 2006, 9:16 AM   #4
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Sorry about that. I was half asleep when I posted last night. lol


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Old Oct 2, 2006, 9:47 AM   #5
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TTL auto-flash on digital cameras means you have a preflash. Some systems might be faster about it though.

You can have auto-flash without using TTL metering, with the thyristors and no preflash. I have a nikon sb24 now ($50 used), and I think it has this capability. The sb-26 also has a built in optical slave, a very trick flash (about $70-90 used). Both are quite powerful and have low trigger voltage.

Or, you could go full manual if you have the time/patience to make two or three exposures to get dialed in. This is my favorite route, with radio triggers, but obviously I'm not chasing fast moving subjects.
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Old Oct 2, 2006, 3:02 PM   #6
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Mercury694 wrote:
Quote:
Ok,

I finally got my Ef-500 DG 'super' MA-ADI flash toexpose properly most of the time- but I'm still not happy. The problem is the preflash, which virtually guarantees that at least one person in any group shot is going to either have their eyes closed or look drugged. I'm tired of it, and the flash is going to go to ebay for disposal.

I'd like a replacememt, one that doesn't make my kids look like sleepy derelicts. I was willing to take the financial abuse and get a Minolta flash, but from what I see, they suffer from the same issue. Is there any fully ttl compatible flash that doesn't have a preflash?

There are a couple from Metz that look good, like the 54MZ4. Does anyone have experience with these? Do they mount using the Minolta shoe, or one of those screw down things that drops your flash?

The thyristor flash solution is not out of the question, but I do want a powerful flashgun, and there are voltage questions that I will need to look into. I also seem some cheapo thyristor flashes on Ebay that say they're Minolta and ttl compatible, but I have my doubts.

It's not really a money issue, but I don't use the flashgun a lot and I don't really want to put out $500 for something that gets used only a few times a year.
Yeah, I hate that look eyes half closed look myself. Last night, I had a hard time taking shots of my daughter with the onboard flash. I had try to coax her to get her eyes to stay open. It's not as bad with the 5600, since I can bounce the flash, but there still is some blink in some shots.


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Old Oct 7, 2006, 3:19 PM   #7
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Quote:
The problem is the preflash, which virtually guarantees that at least one person in any group shot is going to either have their eyes closed or look drugged.
People blink even without a preflash too, though. It's not always to blame.

Here is a recent snapshot taken using a KM 5D with a Sunpak 333 Auto with closed eyes. This combo doesn't use a preflash. :-)



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Old Oct 8, 2006, 12:18 PM   #8
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Of course you are right, Jim. I notice after reading through the Sigma 500 manual again that I can set the flash up for manual and I expect that would eliminate the preflash. Unfortunately in my family ( 2 of 3 kids and quite a few of my extended family) blinking to the flash is a pretty big issue. I've shot this same family for quite some time with my old set up (Minolta X-350 & x-700 with amanual flash) and didn't have nearly as many issues with closed or dopey eyes. I may be blaming the pre-flash prematurely, and I may in fact not ditch the flash quite yet. I will however be getting a Thyristor flash for family portraits. I was fairly frustrated when I started this thread because I had extended family in town and in all but 3 flashshots (of 34) I had at least 1 family member with closed or dopey eyes. Those 3 were all taken with the onboard flash as opposed to the Sigma flashgun. Of about double that many taken with my Fuji f10, almost none (4 or 5 probably, I haven't really counted) suffered from the same problems. It could simply be a slightly different timing in preflash or a difference in flash intensity. There are other disappointments in the Sigma flash though. Not all of them are proprietary, Minolta and even Sony ones seem to be randomly calibrated, with different people seeing different issues in what should be nearly automatic fill flash situations. The onboard flash seems to perform superb, I have no real issues with that (other than the unavoidable preflash). The Sigma 500 has some nice features on paper and I've managed to get it to work ok in most situations where people are not the subjects, but that's not really keeping with the spirit of dumping my film gear (which I also had to set the flash and camera manually) for a new DSLR and Auto-flash. I'm pretty sure there's a Metz flash in my future, as they seem to have the best solution of those available.If the thyristor flash works well, I may wait to see if a newer generation of flashes would solve these issues. Funny, flash photography is still really in the hands of the photographer, even though the math is far more simple than most other things the camera does automatically.
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Old Oct 10, 2006, 10:39 AM   #9
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Hi Jim,

Yesterday I got my one month earlier ordered Sigma EF-500 DG Super flash, as here in Israel the official representative, import Sigma products ONCE a month...more scarcely for Minolta or Sony stuff. Was ordered primary by my request. He also was so kind to add as a "Bonus"...to me, as you can see at my attached photo, a NEW type "Third Part" adapter, so now I own two of those; this one, a more wider/bigger & "With" sync possibility, so IF...& want to fire another "NON" dedicated flash with my 5 meter length syn cord brand "Rowi"...acquired 4 decades ago, seems that will be OK...of course I'm speaking of per example my Metz 32 which has only 5 volts trigger voltage + attached to the adapter & slip on the camera my lovely Sunpak AF-433, I measured 7 volts trigger...Now among us Jim...maybe is a little bit "UN-SAFE" together...what you think?:P

After a long test I'm a little bit disappointed...close photos the "camera Flash Compensation lever"...can be at "0" compensation, BUT...when I shoot per example my bedroom, at 18mm (Kit lens), my unique lens with 8 contacts...all the others are from my "Film Maxxum 9xi body with 5 contacts, so NO efectived "ADI" possibility...at "0" all the photos came seriously "UNDEREXPOSED"...ONLY...with "+2" compensation...the shoots came well, exactly same with all "Bounce Ceiling" photos...no matter close/normal or far away shoots; also I noticed that the ISO..., in the flash display, changes when I move the Flash Compensation, camera setting...:angry:

I study both Instructions, of the camera & flash, 5 times...can't understand why the ISO change...so also the "Flash Output" changes...I think...:flame:

Any detailed/relevant explanation I will appreciated very heart fully

Peace,

Alex 007:|
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Old Oct 10, 2006, 11:12 AM   #10
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I've got the same adapter you just got Alex. I've tried it triggering two strobes at the same time (a Sunpak 333 Auto and a Sunpak 222 Auto), one via hotshoe and the other via the PC Sync Port, and it seems to work that way. I don't know if the combined voltage would hurt or not (it may be in parallel, and see less versus more).

As for the Sigma, a common complaint with some units is underexposure unless wireless, especially when bounced.

Units with a Serial Number starting with 7 or higher may be more consistent (but, some of these may not work "just right" either). Reports on the Sigmas are rather mixed. I wouldn't buy one.

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