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DPChallenge Forums >> Photography Discussion >> New Old Toy (Flash Fun)
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07/19/2007 10:42:46 PM · #1
Here's the new toy: ' . substr('//images.dpchallenge.com/images_portfolio/5885/thumb/557753.jpg', strrpos('//images.dpchallenge.com/images_portfolio/5885/thumb/557753.jpg', '/') + 1) . '

It's an old Sunpak 333 Auto flash. I bought from B&H's used department for $25. It has no TTL but it does have an Auto mode which uses a sensor to meter the light and cut it's output at the appropriate time and it has a manual variable adjustment on power output.

What good is an old non-TTL flash? Well, coupled with a cheap Ebay wireless flash trigger, umbrella and an old boom mic stand, it turns into a versatile, portable, somewhat powerful light source, that I can use for anything from product shots to portraits. Best ~$65 I've spent lately.

Here's a test shot, almost no editing.
' . substr('//images.dpchallenge.com/images_portfolio/5885/thumb/557752.jpg', strrpos('//images.dpchallenge.com/images_portfolio/5885/thumb/557752.jpg', '/') + 1) . '

I set the flash in manual mode at full power. I metered the shot with my flash meter. I could have experimented using only the camera's histogram, but I have the flash meter, so I use it. Set the camera's aperture to the reading I got (which was f/11) and whala, a perfectly exposed "still life".

I didn't use the flash's auto mode, because I was using a shoot-through umbrella. If i had been using a bounce umbrella, I could have set my camera's aperture to correspond with the scale on back of the flash and would have gotten a perfect exposure without needing to meter.

So, if you want a cheap way to get into lighting, look into older manual and Thyristor flashes. They may be antiquated, but still quite valuable.

Warning: before using an older flash on a new dSLR, be sure to do some research on the trigger voltage. If it exceeds the maximum amount your camera can handle it WILL fry your camera's electronic.

Another shot, I set the flash down to 1/4 power, got a meter reading of f/4. The lower power let me get a shallower DoF and also let ambient light fill more of the shadows.
' . substr('//images.dpchallenge.com/images_portfolio/5885/thumb/557769.jpg', strrpos('//images.dpchallenge.com/images_portfolio/5885/thumb/557769.jpg', '/') + 1) . '

Message edited by author 2007-07-19 22:54:11.
07/19/2007 11:19:09 PM · #2
Showoff ;)
I'm just jealous cuz I don't have any cool toys! :(
(yet...)
07/19/2007 11:22:42 PM · #3
you can get voltage adapters though for your hotshoe!
07/19/2007 11:26:42 PM · #4
Originally posted by noisemaker:

you can get voltage adapters though for your hotshoe!


Yes, the wein safe sync, but it cost twice as much as my flash :-)
07/20/2007 12:14:06 AM · #5
I updated the image of the flash setup to show what all I have there, in case anyone is interested. You might have to refresh to see the new image, if you have previously viewed it.
07/20/2007 12:54:14 AM · #6
i have to post a reply just so i can keep this idea !
07/20/2007 01:33:46 AM · #7
Awesome stuff! Will have to try something like that.
07/20/2007 04:12:48 AM · #8
Originally posted by jan_vdw:

Awesome stuff! Will have to try something like that.


You should. Quite inexpensive.
07/20/2007 05:40:13 AM · #9
I also have a basic non-TTL flash unit that I use. I still need to get an umbrella though, I'm currently making my own diffusers with paper. I also want to look into some RF triggers as well, the cable gets irritating.

Originally posted by fotomann_forever:

Originally posted by noisemaker:

you can get voltage adapters though for your hotshoe!


Yes, the wein safe sync, but it cost twice as much as my flash :-)

I couldn't even find anyone who stocked them down here, so I built my own.
07/20/2007 05:55:06 AM · #10
Here's a question - if you are using radio triggers (ebay or PWs), is there actually any purpose at all in having a new TTL flash? AFAIK, TTL is completely useless unless you have A) flash on camera, B) a cord or C) the canon IR remote trigger.

So, $25 is certainly worthwhile in this case!
07/20/2007 10:06:21 AM · #11
//www.strobist.com/
07/20/2007 11:16:12 AM · #12
Originally posted by surfdabbler:

Here's a question - if you are using radio triggers (ebay or PWs), is there actually any purpose at all in having a new TTL flash?


No you are right, TTL won't work with the radio slaves.. and some of the newer flashes such as my Sigma EF-500 DG ST won't even fire on them (I think it has something to do with too low of a trigger voltage).

Certainly, it is a lot more economical to not pay for features that won't work anyway though.

BTW, love the strobist. We should have more toots like that here ;-)
07/20/2007 11:24:35 AM · #13
Cheaper than Pocket Wizards. I always find the PWs a bit on the large side. It would be nice to have them at 1/3 of the size. Your setup looks good to me.
07/20/2007 11:37:50 AM · #14
Originally posted by Raziel:


I couldn't even find anyone who stocked them down here, so I built my own.


Oooh, care to share?
07/20/2007 12:59:32 PM · #15
Originally posted by fotomann_forever:

Originally posted by Raziel:


I couldn't even find anyone who stocked them down here, so I built my own.


Oooh, care to share?

I built it a while ago so I can't remember exactly what circuit I used. I think it was this one, with some modifications. //www.carlmcmillan.com/images/Optoisolated_Adapter.GIF

Older flash units have a trigger voltage of around 300V. And yes, it hurts... The optoisolator is there to keep the high voltage from frying the camera. The camera only 'sees' the 6V from the battery that you use to drive the internal LED in the optoisolator. I used a 3V lithium coin battery as it is safer than a 6V volt (also cheaper), while still driving the optoisolator. A small current is only drawn from the battery when you hit the shutter, so it lasts for very long. I had to experiment a bit to get a SCR that worked, I used one that is rated 'sensitive gate', also make sure it can handle that voltage of the flash.

I would not recommend building this if you don't know your away around electronics. I had to tweak the SCR and resistor on the flash side a bit to get it to work with my flash. Also, I take no responsibility in anyone breaking their camera by attaching a DIY device to it.
07/20/2007 05:59:25 PM · #16
Originally posted by Raziel:


I would not recommend building this if you don't know your away around electronics. I had to tweak the SCR and resistor on the flash side a bit to get it to work with my flash. Also, I take no responsibility in anyone breaking their camera by attaching a DIY device to it.


Think I'll just stay away from the high voltage flashes :-)
07/21/2007 02:49:34 PM · #17
' . substr('//images.dpchallenge.com/images_portfolio/5885/thumb/558451.jpg', strrpos('//images.dpchallenge.com/images_portfolio/5885/thumb/558451.jpg', '/') + 1) . ' Not the best portrait in the world, done only for demonstrative purposes.

This was shot in Auto mode with a silver reflective umbrella. Reflective umbrellas are more efficient than shoot-through type, loosing less light with less spill.

Set the flash in auto mode in the f/8 range. Set camera to f/8 and set shutter speed to 1/8 second to get proper exposure on the window. Let the Auto mode of the flash take care of the rest of the exposure for me.
07/23/2007 05:58:59 PM · #18
So which trigger are you using and how much did that cost you?

Thanks for sharing this info. It's just what I was looking for. I'm saving up for a decent flash such as the Metz AF-1 or something like that - something a bit cheaper than the Canon 580. This would help me out in the meanwhile.
07/23/2007 06:09:47 PM · #19
Originally posted by codezion:

So which trigger are you using and how much did that cost you?


Cactus PT-04 is what I have. The set cost me about $20.
07/23/2007 06:32:42 PM · #20
that's neat! i just did a little research on ebay and found this.

would it work with my nikon d50 AND trigger my elinchrom strobe as well?

oooh, leroy, the one you have is the same i just found on ebay, isn't it?

Message edited by author 2007-07-23 18:34:07.
07/23/2007 06:46:32 PM · #21
Originally posted by Mephisto:


would it work with my nikon d50 AND trigger my elinchrom strobe as well?

oooh, leroy, the one you have is the same i just found on ebay, isn't it?


Yup, that's the one. And yes, will work on the D50 and fire your strobes.
07/23/2007 06:53:54 PM · #22
Originally posted by fotomann_forever:

Originally posted by Mephisto:


would it work with my nikon d50 AND trigger my elinchrom strobe as well?

oooh, leroy, the one you have is the same i just found on ebay, isn't it?


Yup, that's the one. And yes, will work on the D50 and fire your strobes.


cool, i already bought one :)
looking forward to play with it!
08/01/2007 07:43:21 PM · #23
' . substr('//images.dpchallenge.com/images_portfolio/5885/thumb/564576.jpg', strrpos('//images.dpchallenge.com/images_portfolio/5885/thumb/564576.jpg', '/') + 1) . '

With an assistant holding the setup over the water, I was able to use my wireless setup as fill flash here. Adds a nice catch light in the eye too.

I used a LumaQuest Pocket Bounce instead of an umbrella for this shot. The umbrella would have eaten way too much output and be really hard to use at the beach.

Wouldn't have been able to work at any distance with on camera flash, since I was at about f/11 at 1/200 sec. Being able to put the flash close to the model and still have respectable focal lengths really helps.

Message edited by author 2007-08-01 19:44:53.
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