July 1 2011 - Photo Jottings

July 1 2011


New flash review.

Check out the first flash review, covering the inexpensive Vivitar DF-293-SON.  This little flash has five adjustable power levels, four zoom settings, along with a wide angle diffuser and bounce card!  It works very well in manual or auto mode with Sony Cameras, the only drawback is you have to remember to manually adjust the zoom range when changing focal lengths.

Why this flash?  I wanted to add a few inexpensive flashes to my bag for those occasional times when I need extra lights, such as really big, multi-level, open style buildings etc.  I have eight flashes now, but sometimes that’s not enough.  I was specifically looking for an inexpensive flash unit that had basic features such as adjustable zoom and power levels, and worked well with Radiopoppers™ triggers.  I’m a manual control freak, so I don’t need, or normally use fully automated flashes like you would get from Sony, those come at a higher price, and any additional cost can be problematic when you’re looking at buying half a dozen flashes.  The Vivitar DF-293 flash unit is about the least expensive you’ll find that works well for off-camera use, like interior photography etc, but still gives good automated results¹, so it can be used for a walk-around flash as well².  It’s similar in power and zoom range to the old Minolta AF4000 flash, but it’s smaller and has the proprietary Sony hotshoe so you don’t need an additional adapter to mount it.  It also won’t shut down completely, it just goes to sleep, and wakes up with a shutter press or flash button press, even after a long period of non-use, that’s really important because you don’t want your flashes to completely shut off (like the Minolta AF4000) when you’re in the middle of a time sensitive shot, or are far away from the flash unit.  ¹If you want perfect automated flash control, stick with Sony flashes for Sony cameras.
²You must manually set the zoom range.

The flash reviews won’t be about how to use the flash, just as the lens reviews don’t cover how to use the lens.  However, they will cover the flash features, included items (like bounce cards, stands and diffusers), charge times, all specifications, actual output power, quirks, and other essential information.

On the Nav bar is a new page called “Flashes etc” which has links to all the flash related items so far, (ok, only two right now), but the reviewed items will rapidly expand.

Let me know if the first flash review has enough information for you.  Remember; I’m not showing you how to use flash, it’s about the features, characteristics and performance of the flash unit.

Click for review
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