Question about external flashes

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Question about external flashes

Postby Mark Ostrander » Nov 4, 2014 4:15 pm

Maybe I just got lucky, but when I use an external flash for some in-cave photography, it is a Vivitar 285 which happens to have a little button on the stem that allows me to manually fire the flash. I typically put my camera in Fireworks mode, have everyone turn their lights out, press the camera button and then have someone fire the flash while the shutter is open. While this works fairly well, the V285 is kinda big. I was wondering if I could find another flash that could be manually fired like that and that wasn't so big. When I tried searching on-line, I found that I couldn't tell if a particular unit had that little red button that allows me to manually fire it. Is it just a test button, or does it have a name? Also, if anyone has any suggestions about a flash this would be consistent with what I'm doing, I would appreciate it. Thanks.
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Re: Question about external flashes

Postby Chads93GT » Nov 4, 2014 4:25 pm

Big as in physically or by too powerful? I use the same flash, bit bulky. Had a canon flash once that was much smaller but I drowned it. It didn't have a red button as it was a canon, but it did have a manual flash button.
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Re: Question about external flashes

Postby NZcaver » Nov 4, 2014 7:56 pm

Most flashguns have a manual trigger (test) button. I have the Sunpak 383 which has similar intensity to the Vivitar 285 but slightly more compact (doesn't have the bulky wheels on the front and side, and the lens is slightly smaller). I also have a much smaller Sunpak 1600A with a tilting head that works great with a point and shoot for cave photos, either manually fired or connected to a slave trigger. I usually keep it connected to the trigger and sealed in a pocket-sized flat Tupperware container. These flashguns can be found fairly cheaply on eBay.
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Re: Question about external flashes

Postby Dave Bunnell » Nov 13, 2014 6:42 pm

You can get smaller units with a test button, for sure, but of course they are not as powerful. One of the best small flashes I have found is the SunpakPF20XD. It's about a third the size of the Vivitar, has variable power, and a slave mode. runs on two AAA. And as a plus, its test button even glows for easy finding in the the dark.
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