Which flash to use?

Started 2 months ago | Discussions
brandon77 Regular Member • Posts: 254
Which flash to use?

I have just bought myself a pretty cheap Vivitar283 flash which is very good, However with the settings it also takes me 9-12 metres away from my subject, shooting at 5.6-8 at a rating of 320 on portra 400.

As I’m shooting 35 mm I’d prefer to have subjects closer in for clear images. Is there a flash that you would recommend over this one, in which I could possibly do that?

If it helps I use a Pentax K 1000

Thanks

Pentax K-1
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Overrank Senior Member • Posts: 2,421
Re: Which flash to use?
3

If you haven’t already, read the manual ( it’s amongst this list https://www.butkus.org/chinon/vivitar_flashes/vivitar_flash_units.htm ). In particular read about the various automatic modes ( yellow, red, blue and purple ).

OP brandon77 Regular Member • Posts: 254
Re: Which flash to use?

Overrank wrote:

If you haven’t already, read the manual ( it’s amongst this list https://www.butkus.org/chinon/vivitar_flashes/vivitar_flash_units.htm ). In particular read about the various automatic modes ( yellow, red, blue and purple ).

I am using these, to get my readings

NickZ2016 Senior Member • Posts: 2,270
Re: Which flash to use?

brandon77 wrote:

I have just bought myself a pretty cheap Vivitar283 flash which is very good, However with the settings it also takes me 9-12 metres away from my subject, shooting at 5.6-8 at a rating of 320 on portra 400.

A

GN is 20 metres. 10 metres away means F/2 at 100. Or F/4 at 400 but you're at 320.

That's straight on. No bounce. No diffuser or filter over the flash.

Unless I got the math wrong . But even if I did the 283 is not a hugely powerful flash that you'd expect F/8. Maybe if you had a Metz 45

 NickZ2016's gear list:NickZ2016's gear list
Nikon D800 Nikon AF-S Nikkor 50mm F1.4G Nikon AF Nikkor 35mm f/2D Nikon AF-S Nikkor 50mm F1.8G Nikon 85mm F1.8G +4 more
Overrank Senior Member • Posts: 2,421
Re: Which flash to use?

brandon77 wrote:

Overrank wrote:

If you haven’t already, read the manual ( it’s amongst this list https://www.butkus.org/chinon/vivitar_flashes/vivitar_flash_units.htm ). In particular read about the various automatic modes ( yellow, red, blue and purple ).

I am using these, to get my readings

Put it in red mode, at f/8 that gives you a range of 1.2m to 9m with 400AsA film.

Gesture Veteran Member • Posts: 8,479
Re: Which flash to use?

You can experiment with diffusion overlays over the flash head to lower output.  A piece of thin cloth should do or a diffusion accessory that bounces the flash up and out.

Actually, isn't there settings for 1/4. 1/6. 1/16th power on that dial you turn to match f stops.  Maybe, that was an accessory,.

OP brandon77 Regular Member • Posts: 254
Re: Which flash to use?

Overrank wrote:

brandon77 wrote:

Overrank wrote:

If you haven’t already, read the manual ( it’s amongst this list https://www.butkus.org/chinon/vivitar_flashes/vivitar_flash_units.htm ). In particular read about the various automatic modes ( yellow, red, blue and purple ).

I am using these, to get my readings

Put it in red mode, at f/8 that gives you a range of 1.2m to 9m with 400AsA film.

Whereabouts do you see between 1.2 m and nine? All I can see is F8 and 9 m

OP brandon77 Regular Member • Posts: 254
Re: Which flash to use?

Gesture wrote:

You can experiment with diffusion overlays over the flash head to lower output. A piece of thin cloth should do or a diffusion accessory that bounces the flash up and out.

Actually, isn't there settings for 1/4. 1/6. 1/16th power on that dial you turn to match f stops. Maybe, that was an accessory,.

There are manual settings though don’t really understand how those numbers work to get the right reading

OP brandon77 Regular Member • Posts: 254
Re: Which flash to use?

NickZ2016 wrote:

brandon77 wrote:

I have just bought myself a pretty cheap Vivitar283 flash which is very good, However with the settings it also takes me 9-12 metres away from my subject, shooting at 5.6-8 at a rating of 320 on portra 400.

A

GN is 20 metres. 10 metres away means F/2 at 100. Or F/4 at 400 but you're at 320.

That's straight on. No bounce. No diffuser or filter over the flash.

Unless I got the math wrong . But even if I did the 283 is not a hugely powerful flash that you'd expect F/8. Maybe if you had a Metz 45

I have seen the Metz 45. I will have a look at it. The only thing with this flash is it doesn’t tell you how far away to be to get the right exposure.

OP brandon77 Regular Member • Posts: 254
Re: Which flash to use?

brandon77 wrote:

NickZ2016 wrote:

brandon77 wrote:

I have just bought myself a pretty cheap Vivitar283 flash which is very good, However with the settings it also takes me 9-12 metres away from my subject, shooting at 5.6-8 at a rating of 320 on portra 400.

A

GN is 20 metres. 10 metres away means F/2 at 100. Or F/4 at 400 but you're at 320.

That's straight on. No bounce. No diffuser or filter over the flash.

Unless I got the math wrong . But even if I did the 283 is not a hugely powerful flash that you'd expect F/8. Maybe if you had a Metz 45

I have seen the Metz 45. Do you own or have you used this flash?

Overrank Senior Member • Posts: 2,421
Re: Which flash to use?

brandon77 wrote:

Overrank wrote:

brandon77 wrote:

Overrank wrote:

If you haven’t already, read the manual ( it’s amongst this list https://www.butkus.org/chinon/vivitar_flashes/vivitar_flash_units.htm ). In particular read about the various automatic modes ( yellow, red, blue and purple ).

I am using these, to get my readings

Put it in red mode, at f/8 that gives you a range of 1.2m to 9m with 400AsA film.

Whereabouts do you see between 1.2 m and nine? All I can see is F8 and 9 m

page 24 of https://www.cameramanuals.org/flashes_meters/vivitar_283_larger.pdf

OP brandon77 Regular Member • Posts: 254
Re: Which flash to use?

Overrank wrote:

brandon77 wrote:

Overrank wrote:

brandon77 wrote:

Overrank wrote:

If you haven’t already, read the manual ( it’s amongst this list https://www.butkus.org/chinon/vivitar_flashes/vivitar_flash_units.htm ). In particular read about the various automatic modes ( yellow, red, blue and purple ).

I am using these, to get my readings

Put it in red mode, at f/8 that gives you a range of 1.2m to 9m with 400AsA film.

Whereabouts do you see between 1.2 m and nine? All I can see is F8 and 9 m

page 24 of https://www.cameramanuals.org/flashes_meters/vivitar_283_larger.pdf

Oh Thankyou. I didn’t even know that existed. I wonder with that kind of range, what the chances are that you’ll get the right exposure. Have you worked with this?

Overrank Senior Member • Posts: 2,421
Re: Which flash to use?

brandon77 wrote:

Overrank wrote:

brandon77 wrote:

Overrank wrote:

brandon77 wrote:

Overrank wrote:

If you haven’t already, read the manual ( it’s amongst this list https://www.butkus.org/chinon/vivitar_flashes/vivitar_flash_units.htm ). In particular read about the various automatic modes ( yellow, red, blue and purple ).

I am using these, to get my readings

Put it in red mode, at f/8 that gives you a range of 1.2m to 9m with 400AsA film.

Whereabouts do you see between 1.2 m and nine? All I can see is F8 and 9 m

page 24 of https://www.cameramanuals.org/flashes_meters/vivitar_283_larger.pdf

Oh Thankyou. I didn’t even know that existed. I wonder with that kind of range, what the chances are that you’ll get the right exposure. Have you worked with this?

I’ve used “computer” (automatic exposure) flashes in the past, but I think I had the 285 rather than the 283.   I use a Nikon SB-15 on my Nikon FM and use the automatic exposure settings and they work OK.  In the end it’s a single on camera flash so you can only really bounce it, you’re not going to do much in the way of light modifiers etc.

NickZ2016 Senior Member • Posts: 2,270
Re: Which flash to use?
1

brandon77 wrote:

brandon77 wrote:

NickZ2016 wrote:

brandon77 wrote:

I have just bought myself a pretty cheap Vivitar283 flash which is very good, However with the settings it also takes me 9-12 metres away from my subject, shooting at 5.6-8 at a rating of 320 on portra 400.

A

GN is 20 metres. 10 metres away means F/2 at 100. Or F/4 at 400 but you're at 320.

That's straight on. No bounce. No diffuser or filter over the flash.

Unless I got the math wrong . But even if I did the 283 is not a hugely powerful flash that you'd expect F/8. Maybe if you had a Metz 45

I have seen the Metz 45. Do you own or have you used this flash?

I've had a couple of Metz 45 over the years. Mostly used in TTL mode. The Metz 45 is a couple of levels above the Vivitar (at least) but if you aren't using TTL or auto mode figuring out exposure is just math. GN divided by distance equal F/stop.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Guide_number

"Guide number = f-number × distance"

Just use the GN in metres if you think in metres . The higher feet number is only if you're measuring in feet.

You need to think about bounce. Bouncing off a high ceiling lowers output a lot.  The diffuser you're using. A wide angle diffuser lowers the GN.

 NickZ2016's gear list:NickZ2016's gear list
Nikon D800 Nikon AF-S Nikkor 50mm F1.4G Nikon AF Nikkor 35mm f/2D Nikon AF-S Nikkor 50mm F1.8G Nikon 85mm F1.8G +4 more
Svein Eriksen Senior Member • Posts: 2,182
Re: Which flash to use?
3

Manual setting is only full power unless you have the manual control accessory you plug in in stead of the sensor for automatic control.

Gesture Veteran Member • Posts: 8,479
Re: Which flash to use?

Thanks. Seemed to remember it being a separate module.

OP: Many ways to reduce the light output of the flash.

This will give you ideas, all of which you can fabricate out of simple materials.  Cheap plastic containers; index cards; fabric; etc.

https://www.ebay.com/sch/i.html?_from=R40&_trksid=p2380057.m570.l1313&_nkw=flash+diffuser&

Svein Eriksen Senior Member • Posts: 2,182
Re: Which flash to use?
2

TTL with a Pentax K1000 isn't possible so you wont get more "integrated" auto than the Vivitar 283 offer. The 283 was an excellent flash for it's time. Fairly powerful with GN 36 in meters at ISO 100 and one of the first with thyristor so it use just the part of the charge that's needed.

One problem with early 283s were high trigger voltage, but that's already been covered in several posts. Another disadvantage were only four apertures too choose from in auto mode and which apertures changed with ISO so increasing ISO wont help for range in auto mode.

OP brandon77 Regular Member • Posts: 254
Re: Which flash to use?

NickZ2016 wrote:

brandon77 wrote:

brandon77 wrote:

NickZ2016 wrote:

brandon77 wrote:

I have just bought myself a pretty cheap Vivitar283 flash which is very good, However with the settings it also takes me 9-12 metres away from my subject, shooting at 5.6-8 at a rating of 320 on portra 400.

A

GN is 20 metres. 10 metres away means F/2 at 100. Or F/4 at 400 but you're at 320.

That's straight on. No bounce. No diffuser or filter over the flash.

Unless I got the math wrong . But even if I did the 283 is not a hugely powerful flash that you'd expect F/8. Maybe if you had a Metz 45

I have seen the Metz 45. Do you own or have you used this flash?

I've had a couple of Metz 45 over the years. Mostly used in TTL mode. The Metz 45 is a couple of levels above the Vivitar (at least) but if you aren't using TTL or auto mode figuring out exposure is just math. GN divided by distance equal F/stop.

How did you find the accuracy with exposure in auto? Watching a couple of videos it seems like it’s quite good

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Guide_number

"Guide number = f-number × distance"

Just use the GN in metres if you think in metres . The higher feet number is only if you're measuring in feet.

You need to think about bounce. Bouncing off a high ceiling lowers output a lot. The diffuser you're using. A wide angle diffuser lowers the GN.

NickZ2016 Senior Member • Posts: 2,270
Re: Which flash to use?
1

The Metz? Metz 45 auto mode is very good but some of those flashes are I think forty + years old. Heavily used by wedding pros and others .

There are also I think at least six versions of the 45. The newer CL models and the older CT models. From what I remember the 1 (Metz 45 CT-1 or CL-1) are auto only. The 4 (CT-4) you could get modules for but good luck finding a module these days.

 NickZ2016's gear list:NickZ2016's gear list
Nikon D800 Nikon AF-S Nikkor 50mm F1.4G Nikon AF Nikkor 35mm f/2D Nikon AF-S Nikkor 50mm F1.8G Nikon 85mm F1.8G +4 more
peripheralfocus Veteran Member • Posts: 4,685
auto flash exposure works fine within its limits
1

brandon77 wrote:

Oh Thankyou. I didn’t even know that existed. I wonder with that kind of range, what the chances are that you’ll get the right exposure. Have you worked with this?

There's a sensor on the flash that, when you're in auto mode, reads the light reflecting back from the subject in real-time (i.e. at the speed of light) and stops the flash, in the middle of its firing process, at the proper output level. It's perfectly capable of controlling the flash output to make proper exposures from 1.2m to 9m, consistently and accurately. It stops the flash quickly for lower output when your subject is close, and it lets the flash fire longer for higher light output when your subject is further away.

I've used a dozen flashes like that (known as 'auto thyristor') including the Vivitar 283, and they work fine within their specified auto distance ranges.

The one gotcha is that they are just like reflected light meters (that's what the flash's sensor is, in fact), so they will be fooled by very dark or very light subjects. If your subject is dressed all in black, the auto thyristor will overexpose the picture, and if your subject is all white, it will underexpose the picture.

In those situations, you can correct for the error, by setting a different f-stop on the camera than the one the flash is telling you to use. You mismatch the f-stop on the camera and the f-stop indicated on the flash. To correct for overexposure, set a higher f-stop (narrower aperture) on the camera. To correct for underexposure, set a lower f-stop (wider aperture).

Also be aware that flash exposure controls (the auto modes or the guide number) are calculated based on the idea that you are shooting in the dark and the flash is the only light source. If you're mixing flash with ambient light, you may want to use a lower flash output than the normal exposure standard. Again, you can do that by setting a different f-stop than the one that the flash is telling you to use.

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