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DPChallenge Forums >> Hardware and Software >> Flash Review, Please?
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10/29/2005 08:54:35 PM · #1
Hey all,

I wondered if anyone out there is currently using the Vivitar 730AF flash on their camera. I went out to price flashes, and although I'd absolutely love a Canon 580EX, the thing is $600CAD, and that's outside my price range. That, and I'm not a huge flash user. I'm looking for something decent, and I want to know if this is... it's substantially cheaper, but cheap might mean garbage...

Any thoughts appreciated...
10/29/2005 09:13:46 PM · #2
no experience with the vivitar, but for a GOOD more resonably priced flash look at the sigma EF-500 DG Super and it works great there's also the non-super with a few less features but same power for less money. Does the trick for me in both portraits and staged shots (water drops, products, objects).
10/29/2005 09:32:54 PM · #3
if you were to go with Vivitar, I'd go with something more like the 850AF instead. Auto-zoom and better cycle time will be serious help when shooting time comes.
10/29/2005 10:03:47 PM · #4
Thanks for the advice... the Sigma does look pretty decent. It's kind of a price point thing, in that the Sigma is double the price of the Vivitar, but only 2/3 the price of the Canon. I guess you get what you pay for. Really, I'm preparing for winter... last year my photography went in the hole during the cold months, simply because I couldn't get a decent shot indoors, and going outdoors was no fun, so I gave up. I'm taking a guess with a decent flash, I'll have more luck indoors this winter. :)
10/29/2005 10:10:31 PM · #5
another thing, you may want to get some bounce head attatchments to go along with the flash. Can really soften the light.
10/29/2005 11:27:27 PM · #6
The link i foloweed mentioned it as canon TTL compatible. Your 300D is e-TTL, NOT TTL. THere is a difference. If the flash is NOT e-TTL it will only work manaully, and I've been there done that - TTL is much better!
It looks to me as if the 730 is NOT e-TTL. The 850 looks like it probably is.
You should call vivitar and make sure.
10/29/2005 11:36:49 PM · #7
I needed a good flash for my Canon and was ready to pay the $479 for the Canon 580 .. until the guy in the camera shop pointed out a different flash. Promaster 7500DX Digital. He promised me it was all I wanted and then some. It had more features than the Canon and was only $190 so I bought it because if I didn't like it I could return it. Last night I tried it at a night sports event and I have to say my pictures came out awesome! It threw out enough light to cover most of the field with no motion blur on my guys in action. I am recommending this flash after my experience with it so far!
10/30/2005 12:24:36 AM · #8
I picked up the Quantaray QDC 900WA flash with my 20D and I am super happy with it. Used it for an entire summer of taking photos at a resort... campfires, indoor group shots, indoor large areas, close-up portraits... it did everything wonderfully. Here's a link for it at Ritz, where I got mine - $180.

//www.ritzcamera.com/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/ProductDisplay?storeId=10001&catalogId=10001&langId=-1&productId=13161353

Message edited by author 2005-10-30 00:24:58.
10/30/2005 12:44:04 AM · #9
i thought i was so not a flash user either, until i got the sigma one, and i also bought a gary fong's dome.. now i can't ever imagine NOT using one.. i hate it now if i take a photo ( like i did yesterday ) and it came back dark down one side of the person... give it a go, it's gives off more of a natural light anyway.. not flashy looking

10/30/2005 04:36:48 AM · #10
A lot of canon users tend to like the Sigma lineup. The super 500 has full manual controls, which can be useful in the hands of an experienced shooter. The other 50 or 500 flash is good, but is fully automatic.

Please remember that flash TTL is dependent on the camera model, not the flash unit, though some models (the 580ex) will have features that further the capabilities of the TTL mode of the camera.

I have used a 580ex, 550ex, and a Vivitar 283. I would say if you're trying to save money, get the Vivitar 283. It has it's own thyristor circuit with a sensor that will help it determine it's exposure. While it will not at all use the camera to help determine exposure, I've noticed two things about it

1) it seems pretty accurate for such a simple exposure measureing system

2) when it does fail, you can rely on it to output the same amount of light again for the composition, so you can adjust the camera to better use the light given. So if it shoots 2/3 overexposed, bump the aperture up 2/3, or lower that ISO 2/3

Now on top of this, the 283 is a very old model, with a strong gn of 120. Make sure any model you try to use is newer and can work with a digital camera (they accept lower voltages). It can be bought on ebay easily for under 40 dollars (including the shipping).

I would strongly reccomend the vivitar until you felt you've out grown it's abilities, and then wish to spend money on a better system. At 40 dollars, you've lost very little from owning a Vivitar.

Max
10/30/2005 09:30:26 AM · #11
Wow, you folk are wonderful! Thank you for all the options... I'm going to go research all of them. I'll let you know what I decide. Another quick word though: I have read some discrepancy about voltages. That is, the voltage of the flash (at least when using it on the Rebel XT) needs to be below 6V, or nasty things can happen. The Vivitar mentioned above, for example, is rated at 8V. Do I risk damaging the camera?

Thanks again for all the valuable feedback. This is why DPC rocks. :)
10/30/2005 01:28:52 PM · #12
You can't buy a new vivitar 283 anymore, but whenever you buy a flash, especially used, ask if they tried it on a digital camera. Also, with the auto thyristor stuff, like the vivitar, the camera doesn't use any special connection to relay information. the hotshoe is basically an impulse. So get a wein hotshoe safesync. Those things could take a lightning strike.

Max
10/30/2005 01:41:22 PM · #13
Originally posted by space amoeba:

Another quick word though: I have read some discrepancy about voltages. That is, the voltage of the flash (at least when using it on the Rebel XT) needs to be below 6V, or nasty things can happen. The Vivitar mentioned above, for example, is rated at 8V. Do I risk damaging the camera?


I'd say that with those specific numbers, there's very little risk, considering that the camera manufacturers will be including a safety margin in the values that they quote for the flash synch voltage. That said, using the 'safe sync' is a pretty good precaution.

As an addendum, I did a quick search and found this: //forums.dpreview.com/forums/read.asp?forum=1031&message=13042207

250 Volts?
10/30/2005 02:01:02 PM · #14
From what i read, if you put some big nassty voltage on there you can fry the camera instantly. by repeatedly going over a bit (as in 8v on a rebel) you can eventuall fry things (you weaken them over time).

Until i got my Metz I used a Quantarray flash that was 6.75 vots for a few hundred shots with no ill effects, that i know of anyway.

If i recall, the 20D has a higher rating than the rebel 300D. I do not know where the 350 fits in with this.
10/31/2005 04:23:21 PM · #15
A final word:

So I did a lot of humming and hahing, (not to mention checking of my finaces *grin*) and I managed to head into town and find a decent deal on a new 430EX Speedlite. I figured that although it was less powerful than the 580, it would serve my needs at half the price, and be fully compatable with the RebelXT. So far, I'm loving it. I don't think I'll want for the few bonuses of the higher model.

Thanks again for all the feedback. I really appreciate it, and it helped me to decide.
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