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Jim Last
11-02-2004, 11:32 AM
Hi,

Was wondering if any of you have suggestions for external flash for use with the FZ20?

Are you best to mount on the provided hot shoe or get a mounting bracket to hold flash to the side?

lumixfan
11-02-2004, 12:50 PM
Many people in the forum recommended Sunpak 383 Super.
If you search externl flash and sunpak 383 and panasonic fz20, it will bring a few websites.

I ordered one from BH for $ 70 with an omni bounce as well. I will let you know after I try it for a few shots.
I am mainly going to use for baby shots. I liked the swivel and tilt capability. Did not want direct flash light as in internal flash to be on baby's face.

Jim Last
11-02-2004, 12:56 PM
Thanks Lumixfan :)

Which company does BH stand for? Based in the UK, but happy to buy from anywhere, especialy with favourable exchange rates :D

lumixfan
11-02-2004, 01:12 PM
It stands for a NY based store. http://www.bhphoto.com

Specifically the flash is listed at
http://www.bhphotovideo.com/bnh/controller/home?O=productlist&A=details&Q=&sku=52799&is=REG

Do more research based on your needs and let us know your decision.

Also just curious, what type of photography do you plan to do with flash ? In other words how will you use external flash

Jim Last
11-02-2004, 01:19 PM
A mix of some general indoor portrait, evening parties and indoor historic building (churches, etc)shots.

Jim Last
11-02-2004, 01:21 PM
Also looking at getting the WCON-08B and noticed that it is reccommended to use an external flash as the lens cast shaddow with built in flash.

FZ20knowitall
11-04-2004, 03:07 PM
Ok, I first purchased Panasonics recommended flash (FL-28 I believe). First off, the quality of the picture is not as high as the built in flash. The colors weren't as saturated. Next, there is no way of telling the flash what ISO you are using, so I figured out that the flash just assumes you are using an ISO of 100, so you are locked in at that ISO unless you wanna go manual. Also a big shame on you goes out to Panasonic for not making a TTL flash for a camera that boasts so much. So either way, you are getting an auto flash, which means that the camera can't communicate with the flash telling the flash how bright to fire.

With the cons out of the way the two pros are: you can fire this flash for three consecutive shots which I find to be very useful. The built in flash it is only one shot at a time. The second, which may not be a big deal for most is that you can use the flash as a slave, in other words, if another flash fires, it will automatically set this one off.

The Sunpack 383: A very good flash, but it is a very old design, it is almost twice the bulk of the Panasonic flash, and it takes longer to recharge (I was using Ni-MH batteries) and you can't usually get the flash to fire more than once. The camera will take up to three consecutive shots but the flash usually won't fire on the second on. Picture quality is excellent with the Sunpack, better than the built in flash. Of course, it is also auto, which means there is no TTL capability (but that is more the FZ20's fault).

And finally, the Sunpack I think is half the price, I might have paid $160 for the Panasonic flash, and I got my Sunpack at B&H Photo in NYC-usually the best place to buy anything b/c of their reliability and esp. price.

I didn't return the Panasonic FL-28 flash b/c I love the size of the thing, and I love taking consecutive pics, but if these aren't issues for you, definitely go for the Sunpack.

Jim Last
11-04-2004, 03:19 PM
Interesting reading :)

Everywhere you look there is someone reccommending the Sunpak 383.

I have now got a list of possible suspects:

(1) Sunpak 383
(2) Sunpak 544
(3) Vivitar 283
(4) Vivitar 285
(5) Metz 36C2

Kind of stuck looking at there differences :confused: Also concerned with the triger voltages as listed here. (http://www.botzilla.com/photo/strobeVolts.html)

FZ20knowitall
11-04-2004, 04:12 PM
I just remembered that the FL-28 does angle below 0 degrees to do close up photography. I very rarely see that in a flash. But what the FL-28 doesn't do is swivel side to side and the Sunpack 383 does. It's always a trade-off.

Another way to solve your flash problem is to buy a little convertor made by wein which fits in the hot shoe and your flash will mount on top of the wein convertor and it lowers the voltage to below 6v. This way you can use any flash and not worry.

Jim Last
11-05-2004, 12:45 AM
Interesting. I will look into the Wein adaptor. May be the solution. Thanks :)

FZ20knowitall
11-05-2004, 12:23 PM
if you need the exact model # let me know. I got it at B & H. I think it was about $50.

Jim Last
11-05-2004, 01:15 PM
If you could that would be great! :)

Jim Last
11-05-2004, 01:20 PM
can you also use this if you want to use the flash loose from the camera? using a cable of some sort.

FZ20knowitall
11-05-2004, 06:42 PM
It is called the Wein Hot Shoe to Hot Shoe Safe Sync (HSHSBD). Their website is www.weinproducts.com. There is also a PC sync cord connection so I suppose you could trigger it using that. But try the Wein site, I haven't been there but they make a load of adapters so maybe they have what you are looking for. On the package it says, "The HSHSBD safe sync reduces any PC connected power pack or shoe mounted sync voltage to the digital camera approved safe sync level of 6V. The HSHSBD will safely reduce voltages from up to 400 volts. Good luck. I have two of them and they work perfectly, and they also have a test button so that you can fire your flash w/o pressing the shutter.

Jim Last
11-06-2004, 01:56 AM
Great thanks. Will look at the Wein site :)

pwiles1968
11-06-2004, 02:10 AM
Have seen a Vivitar Digital Flashgun DF200, for £50 looks like good value basic gun with bounce head and slave sensor, anyone know if they are any good?


Edit Just found the Vivitar site and user manual looks like it is a slave only unit does not work from the Hot Shoe.

Jim Last
11-06-2004, 02:19 AM
There is nothing wrong with the make VIVITAR, just make sure that the trigger voltage isn't above 6v or look at FZknowitall thread on the Wein product.

Jim Last
11-06-2004, 02:22 AM
If you are looking on a budget of around £50 then that pushes quite a number of possibilities out. £70 would let you consider:

Sunpak 383
Vivitar 283
Metz 36C2

Jim Last
11-06-2004, 02:26 AM
If you are after a few bits, then you could always consider buying from the US with the favorable exchange rates.

BH Video and Photo in NY deliver throughout the world for about $30/40 p&p £15/20. And whilst the p&p seem high, most items cost the same or less in $ as they cost in the UK in £.

E.g. A Sunpak 383 would be £65 ish ex delivery in the UK but only $69 in the US (£38)

Just a thought :)

pwiles1968
11-06-2004, 02:41 AM
I will Have a look in Jessops they have one of their own Flashes for £60 must be worth a look, There is a Vivitar 283 on E-Bay now 3 hours left, it is £40 which I think is a little steep.

Jim Last
11-06-2004, 02:46 AM
£40 for the Vivitar, I agree is a bit steep, especially when you don't know its history :)

I take it that you mean the 280D in Jessops

Jim Last
11-06-2004, 02:51 AM
The Metz 36C2 is £48.95 from Speed Graphic (http://www.speedgraphic.co.uk) 0845 330 5530 (Jayde gave me the companies details last week) I emailed them for a catalogue as I found it a pain to try an work through all the PDF's

pwiles1968
11-06-2004, 03:07 AM
Yea it is the 280D. I do not think the Mets has a slave sensor? I find these quite useful, to be honest I do not need an expensive flash as most of my photography that is not of the kids will be done under normal light and I will use the Manual white balance. had a quick play last night under the fluorescent light in the kitchen and got very good results.

I may give one of thease a go, I only want something to get a little bounce when taking photos of the kids to calm the harsh shadows down, this is quiute a small slave flash looks OK.

Slave Flash (http://www.7dayshop.com/catalog/product_info.php?manufacturers_id=&products_id=86474)

I ended up sending this back as it was not powerfull enough

Jim Last
11-06-2004, 03:15 AM
let us know how you get on if you go with the Jessops 280D, I had spotted it a couple of days ago.

pwiles1968
11-06-2004, 03:17 AM
missed you while editing

Jim Last
11-06-2004, 03:20 AM
The Vivitar Digital Flashgun DF120 looks OK, prob work quite well with the DF200 you mentioned earlier. You would presume that they would be designed with each other in consideration

pwiles1968
11-06-2004, 03:26 AM
I was thinking more of just a slave to the Pana built in flash, either attached to the camera as a bounce flash or placed in the room on a stand doing the same thing, just to try and get rid of some of the harsh shadow you get with built in flash.

Jim Last
11-06-2004, 03:34 AM
Ok, I understand now :)

Jim Last
11-06-2004, 09:47 AM
Looked at the Jessops 280D today. Looked slightly cheaply made, plastics etc. But apart from that a pretty feature packed flash :)

Bounce tilt
Swivel
Zoom
Sync Lead Included
Side mount bracket Included

All for £59.99

Good spot Paul.

Jim Last
11-08-2004, 09:25 AM
If I am using a WCON-08B for internal building shots, would adding a flash mounted to the side of the camera and using in conjunction with the built in flash, solve the issues of shaddow cast by the WCON blocking part of the FZ20's flash?

pwiles1968
11-08-2004, 11:45 AM
Looked at the Jessops 280D today. Looked slightly cheaply made, plastics etc. But apart from that a pretty feature packed flash :)

Bounce tilt
Swivel
Zoom
Sync Lead Included
Side mount bracket Included

All for £59.99

Good spot Paul.

Guess it would be too much to ask I could find in the Used Equipment section at Jessops.

FZ20knowitall
11-08-2004, 12:54 PM
I have an old Wein adapter and I believe they still make it. You take any flash and slide the adapter on to the hot shoe (adapter) and then the adapter can slide into another hot shoe, or on the bottom there is a tripod mount. This way you can turn any flash into a slave. My adapter is old and there is no model # on it. but it is from Wein.

Jim Last
11-08-2004, 02:32 PM
I have an old Wein adapter and I believe they still make it. You take any flash and slide the adapter on to the hot shoe (adapter) and then the adapter can slide into another hot shoe, or on the bottom there is a tripod mount. This way you can turn any flash into a slave. My adapter is old and there is no model # on it. but it is from Wein.

Does it have a pc sync terminal?

Jim Last
11-11-2004, 03:44 AM
[QUOTE=Jim Last]If I am using a WCON-08B for internal building shots, would adding a flash mounted to the side of the camera and using in conjunction with the built in flash, solve the issues of shaddow cast by the WCON blocking part of the FZ20's flash?[/QUOTE

Or should I just stick to mounting the flash on the hot shoe, using the bounce with maybe a diffuser?

Would really appreciate any opinons on flash use on and off the camera and with slaves :)

Don't see the point of paying money on a flash that offers TTL or dedication to a range of cameras but not Panasonic.

lozw
11-11-2004, 07:46 AM
[QUOTE=Jim Last]Looked at the Jessops 280D today. Looked slightly cheaply made, plastics etc. But apart from that a pretty feature packed flash :)

Bounce tilt
Swivel
Zoom
Sync Lead Included
Side mount bracket Included
QUOTE]

Did it have any power level settings?
And how many F-stop settings did it have?

Jim Last
11-11-2004, 08:53 AM
Details are here (http://www.jessops.com/search/viewproduct.cfm?Product=JES280D)

Didn't look that closely at the time, most of the features are listed on the Jessops website.

lozw
11-11-2004, 08:55 AM
Details are here (http://www.jessops.com/search/viewproduct.cfm?Product=JES280D)

Didn't look that closely at the time, most of the features are listed on the Jessops website.

Thanks, but I knew that link.
The details I was asking about weren't listed, that's why I asked.

lozw
11-13-2004, 02:38 AM
I went and had a look at the 280D in Jessops.

It has no F-Stop settings, and no variable power - so you can only use at one fstop.

I agree it is very cheaply made too - the plastic quality seems very cheap.

It has a valuable function when used with digital cameras with no hot shoe, but apart from that it seems very overpriced

Jim Last
11-13-2004, 10:24 AM
Sorry, I didn't spot that on my visit. But I was really caught up by the cheap build quality, and as such had dismissed buying it even though the salesman went on and on about how great it was and that is was as good as Metz :rolleyes: Salesmen hey :rolleyes: they would sell your granny given half the chance :)

pwiles1968
11-19-2004, 06:33 AM
Has anyone contacted Panasonic to see what the Max Flash Voltage is that the FZ20 will take?

lozw
11-20-2004, 03:27 AM
Has anyone contacted Panasonic to see what the Max Flash Voltage is that the FZ20 will take?

You don't have to. It's in the manual.
Trigger voltage should be based on ISO 10330 - less than 24v

FZ20knowitall
11-21-2004, 01:31 AM
Don't know if I would take a chance above 6v, though. Sales reps at B&H photo told me the same thing. BTW, the Wein adaptor does have a PC sync terminal.

pwiles1968
11-21-2004, 08:49 AM
Found a link for a Metz Flashes you put your camera details in it will tell you which flash guns you can use. There are quite a few.

Metz (http://www.metz.de/en/photo_electronics/empfehlung.142.html)

pwiles1968
11-22-2004, 10:29 AM
ISO 1330 is this a standard configuration, I.E. are all the generic flash guns Cobra Vivitar etc (with square hot shoe and pin in the centre) compatible, ignoring the hot shoe voltage issue of course! :eek:

Does anyone else know if there are other manufacturers share this hot shoe footprint? I know Minolta is totally different but how about canon nikon or similar do any of thease have the central pin?.

I ask because i have been looking on e-bay for flashes but most people advertise by the camera they have used it with.

I can check on the Strobe (http://www.botzilla.com/photo/strobeVolts.html) website if trigger voltages are ok but I am not sure on the hot shoe/pin configuration. :confused:

pwiles1968
11-27-2004, 11:09 AM
Just found a drawback with the FZ20 and an external flash, as soon as you put an automatic flash on then the camera defaults to F2.8, you can only adjust the speed, this means if you have a fairly powerful Flash, then you are fairly limited on distance, I bought a COBRA 700AF on e-bay and with the settings available in the flash and the limitation to F2.8 the closest I can take a flash photo is about 20 feet :eek: unfortunately the camera also came with a Nikon fitting, and what I thought was an adapter for my camera turned out not to be for the flash at all, it was a PC cord adapter, which means I can now connect a PC cord to the camera but that was about the only positive bit of the purchase.

Anyone want to buy a nice Flash for a Nikon :D

Guess I will be paying the camera shop a visit tomorrow and have to pay full price for a suitable flash :(

Jim Last
11-27-2004, 11:13 AM
So you'll be off to Jessops then :) And the lovely 280D :D

Or do you think that you might look at the Metz?

Still looking for a flash myself :( It's been weeks and weeks now, just can't decide. So many views and opinions, it actually starts getting confusing.

pwiles1968
11-27-2004, 11:41 AM
I may actually Give up and Go for the 280D :o , I will also look at non digital units, I will take a Multi Meter with me and some batteries to Check the Strobe voltage while I am there. Just got some christmas money today so that will soften the blow a little.

pwiles1968
11-30-2004, 10:11 AM
Ok after looking at about 20 flashguns and unless I wanted to spend £150 could not find any that were suitable for the Panasonic, as they have to be able to set F Stop and ISO on the flash as the Panasonic defaults to F2.8 and ISO100 as mentioned in a previous post, so guess what Ended up with the 280D from Jessops, it is fully auto except for the zoom head this assumes the camera it is attached to is set to ISO100 and F2.8 handy high.

OK the paint quality on the bits painted silver is a bit iffy, I assume it is painted in order to match all the silver consumer cameras on the market but apart from that it appears to be built fairly well and with features usually associated with much more expensive units, 28 Meter range zoom, bounce, swivel, slave and PC cord facility.

The metering is pretty good managed to take a picture of a white piece of paper with writing on from 2-3 feet without burning out the image completely, well after I removed my finger from in front of the light sensor :o .

At home I have experimented with the bounce, there is a bit of cut-off of the light when taking pictures close up (less than 5ft), (my son was dark from the waist down) I think this is because the front lens on the flash is slightly inset and has a lip in front of it :confused: , probably so it can take colour diffusers, I soon solved this by attaching an old home made fill in reflector to the flash, may invest in a Sto-Fen Diffuser or similar :rolleyes: .

The the slave function works really well I was sinking right up to 1/1000 did not try above this, the flash comes with a bracket so you can attach it by the side of the camera, not a hammerhead exactly but works very well and this solves the shadowing when taking closer shots (3-5 ft).

Ok so I have only taken a couple of dozen experimental shots with the Kids, but that is all I wanted it for and so far the results are pretty good, much more flattering that the on board flash.

Just realised how long this post is getting so that is enough I will let you know if I have any issues but it looks OK so far :D .

lozw
11-30-2004, 01:59 PM
Take a look at the flash guns on offer at speedgraphic (http://www.speedgraphic.co.uk/html/prodframe.html)

They sell the following models which are suitable for the FZ10/20 as they have a auto mode to control the flash output
Metz 36C2 - £49
Sunpack 383 - £65
Vivitar 283 - £68

All of these are much better than the crap Jessops 280D

Also, remember you can use the FZ in manual mode with a flash - this overcomes the 2.8 ap setting - but you do get a dark viewfinder

pwiles1968
12-01-2004, 09:21 AM
The 280D looks cheap because of the nasty silver paint job, it is actually not badly put together, and has more features than most of these flash guns, for this price you are not going to get a pretty flash with loads of features.

My biggest issue was finding a flash I could buy and take back to the shop if I did not like it when I tried it.

My FZ20 will NOT let me change the aperture when a flash is attached to the camera not even in Manual I have tried repeatedly, you can not program shift the aperture either, it is Fixed at f2.8.

lozw
12-01-2004, 11:32 AM
The 280D looks cheap because of the nasty silver paint job, it is actually not badly put together, and has more features than most of these flash guns, for this price you are not going to get a pretty flash with loads of features.


I can't see how the 280D has more features.
I has one different feature - i.e. a built in slave, but otherwise it is very basic with no way to adjust power levels or use different apertures.

I would also have to add the the Vivitar, Sunpak and Metz flashes have been proven to work reliably in the field for many, many years. Whereas I had a play with the 280D and wondered if it would last 6 months.



My FZ20 will NOT let me change the aperture when a flash is attached to the camera not even in Manual I have tried repeatedly, you can not program shift the aperture either, it is Fixed at f2.8.

The FZ20 WILL let you change the aperture.
See pages 81/82 of your manual - External Flash
Quote
"• [MANUAL]
–When setting to [MANUAL], you can set the aperture value, the shutter speed and the ISO sensitivity on the camera even if the external flash is attached.
–When setting to [MANUAL], set to the Aperture-priority AE or the Manual exposure on the camera and then set the same aperture value and the ISO sensitivity on the external flash. (The external flash cannot control the light adequately due to the change in aperture value on Shutter-priority AE and Program AE.)"

pwiles1968
12-01-2004, 02:12 PM
OK read the manual very slowly and it is in one of those hidden menu’s, in order to set the flash to manual, the flash has to be attached to the camera and switched on before page 4 of the menu can be seen :o .

I will stick with the 280D for now, in the past I have never needed to reduce the power of a flash but I have found a slave function very useful' it was something I was specifically after in a new flash, if it should fail in 6 months, then I will take it back to Jessops and get a new one or exchange it for something else, this is the benefit of purchasing from a reputable store.

Jim Last
12-01-2004, 02:34 PM
Paul, I'll 2nd that :) Jessops that is! They have to be one of the most reputable Photographic dealers in the UK.

You really can try, try and try again and again and again! before commiting on any item. Now there arn't be many others like this surely?

It has now got to the point, I am like a member of the 'Jessops' family :D I think all the manufacturers will need to start launching many many new cameras as I am fast running out of ones to trial :)

The great thing is as long as the camera can be repacked in its entirity and no packaging lost or items marked they will exchange cameras over and over again until you fine the one that is for you! Now beat that for customer care and satisfaction. Theres none of this, play with it in the store, we are talking take it home, trial it in your enviroment for a week or two and if you are not convinced take it back and try something else.

A huge http://www.dcresource.com/forums/images/icons/icon14.gif to Jessops

lozw
12-02-2004, 12:21 AM
Paul, I'll 2nd that :) Jessops that is! They have to be one of the most reputable Photographic dealers in the UK.


I like Jessops too. As well as your comments I can add that they will also price match internet retailers with a bit of haggling. So you can have the best of both worlds - low price, AND good service

However, it doesn't necessarily translate into their own Jessops branded products being on a par with leading manufacturers. Instead they are often cheap, no name, low budget items, with quality to match. the 280D is a good example. I was amazed at just how thin and cheap the plastic felt.

As anyone checked the flash voltage of their units recently?
I note for example that whilst still on sale, the Jessops 280 ABZflash listed at http://www.botzilla.com/photo/strobeVolts.html is well over the 24v spec. But no one at Jessops will tell you that - well they didn't when I asked.

Jim Last
12-02-2004, 01:11 AM
Lozw,

100% correct mate!

Sorry I forgot to mention that. I would ALWAYS use Jessops for Leading Manufacturer Items :)

I fully agree with you that much, if not all, of the Jessops own brand is a tad rough around the edges, and lacks in the level of quality I would want to see from any piece of photographic equipment. And yes I also haggle on anything I buy from them and always go for the known brand when a number of choices is presented, again preparing myself with a fist full of internet prices before shopping :D

pwiles1968
12-03-2004, 05:17 AM
OK I'm taking it back just to end thid thread, you made me feel really bad. :(

Plus I managed to get an old Panasonic (National) Flash from e-bay for under £20.

lozw
12-03-2004, 12:20 PM
Plus I managed to get an old Panasonic (National) Flash from e-bay for under £20.

That looked an OK buy - it was easy to find the auction you won :-)

pwiles1968
12-04-2004, 02:08 AM
That looked an OK buy - it was easy to find the auction you won :-)

WOW that was quick delivery :eek: and more than an OK Flash, a bit bigger than the 280D but it fits in the bag, now I will have to admit this unit makes the 280D look cheap I hate to think how much you would have to pay for an equivalent Flash New, probably half the price of the camera.

From an engineering point of view (as an engineer) I still think for what you get feature wise the 280D was value for money (please no more comments), but am I glad it is going back now :D.

It is a National PE-387S if anyone is interested, trigger voltage is Fine (8.6V), and a fantastic Flash, Old now (Brochure is from the 80’s looking at the Mullets)so only second hand.

ICAA
12-08-2004, 06:54 PM
I recently purchased the Sunpak 383 for use with my FZ20. I was curious what other owners of this combination have been using as their settings on the flash. What F-stop on auto? Auto or manual? I am not familiar with the usage of external flashes so I am learning on the fly. Any tips would also be appreciated.

Thanks,

Keenan

brainnolo
12-29-2004, 11:55 AM
I bought a Starblitz 250-BAZ, highly available here in Italy. Guide number 25. Also there is a stronger model 320-BAZ (32). It has zoom head and 2 auto modes (one for 2.8 @ISO100 and one for 5.6 @ ISO100) and a manual mode. Also is not that expensive, 50€ here

gridge
12-31-2004, 07:36 AM
I recently purchased the Sunpak 383 for use with my FZ20. I was curious what other owners of this combination have been using as their settings on the flash. What F-stop on auto? Auto or manual? I am not familiar with the usage of external flashes so I am learning on the fly. Any tips would also be appreciated.

Thanks,

Keenan

This may be a little late (I just joined this forum), but most everything you wanted to know about flashes (and everything else FZ10/FZ20) can be found at this website:
http://www.cs.mtu.edu/~shene/DigiCam/

Everything is clearly explained with plenty of illustrations specifically for the FZ10/20.

Good luck,

Greg

sgoldste01
01-04-2005, 09:58 AM
What is your opinion of the Vivitar DF-200 flash for the FZ-20?

I'm a beginner, but my understanding is that the DF-200 is a slave flash, which means that it is triggered by the flash from another source (in this case, the camera's built-in flash).

Is this correct? If so, can you use the built-in flash with another flash mounted on the hot shoe, or do you have to mount the slave onto a flash bracket? If you have the flash on a bracket and are also using the camera's built-in flash, do you still get the no-red-eye benefit of an external flash, or does the built-in flash still cause red eye?

plenTpak
01-05-2005, 05:00 PM
Hi, I've never used an external flash before, and I'm pretty new to photography in general, so I was hoping I could get some good advice here. I'm stuck basically between the Sunpak 383 and the Phoenix D92-BZS (although I'm open to other suggestions if there are better choices in the same price range). Since I haven't had much experience with flash, I'm not sure what I would be using it for, although I think bouncing light for nice people pictures will be the main use. The soft lighting effect is just good in general, since harsh shadows from the built-in flash is usually pretty distracting.

This will be used on an FZ20. Thanks for your input!

edit: Removed links to product descriptions, just in case. Sorry, I read the rules late... but better late than never, I guess, right?

sgoldste01
01-05-2005, 07:14 PM
OK, I broke out my multimeter and confirmed that the trigger voltage of my old Vivitar 2500 is 12 VDC (11.93 VDC, to be exact), which confirms what I read on other web sites.

The question is, is that low enough for the FZ20? The manufacturer says it must be below 24 VDC, right? Why not trust this recommendation? Why are some people saying it should be 6 VDC?

plenTpak
01-11-2005, 07:26 AM
Ok, I got a used 433D for about $50 off ebay. This thing is monster huge! It barely fits in my camera bag, and I fear I'll have trouble when I get the adapter tube. The flash is dedicated for a Nikon, and so it has 4 pins on the bottom, but it works just find and dandy on the FZ20.

So far, the results are fantastic, although I have to fiddle with the settings a lot since I haven't gotten the feel for the right intensity vs distance and such. Flash response can be really fast as long as you don't fully discharge the unit. Oh, I haven't tried shooting anything on continuous or bracket or burst mode yet. I guess I'll use it a bit more before saying anything else about the performance.

I'm wondering though whether I should keep this or go with a smaller flash unit. The 433D takes up a full third of the bag's main compartment (with the FZ20 taking up the other 2/3rds). I suppose I'll have to wait until I get the adapter. What do you think?

24Peter
01-23-2005, 09:22 AM
This thread has been quiet for a while but wanted to mention my experience with the Sunpak DS0-20 flash http://www.adorama.com/SUDS20.html

Advantages: very small and lightweight (3.4 ozs [not lbs like the Adorama site says]); works off two (2) AA batteries (I recently got over 100 shots with approx. 3 second recycle time and I think there was plenty of juice left in the batteries); low-cost $35; built-in slave sensor. Someone on this forum suggested using it for a back-light which is what I'll be primarily using it for but I've found that it works great as an external flash on my FZ-20 in small rooms. I esp. love how light-weight it is.

Disadvantages: With a guide no of 59, it's not very powerful; no swivel but it does tilt; power level is not adjustable.

My take is if you're not a pro and are looking for a nice little external flash to augment your picture taking, it's a good deal. My living room is about 35' X 20' and it lights up the entire room no problem. I am getting a Sunpak 383 as my primary flash but for the price and size, I think this is a good little flash.

Related topic: I did purchase an external strobe kit off eBay (which I have since returned) and like with those lights, I have some trouble getting the DS-20 to fire in synch with my built-in on-camera flash. With other external flashes the synch is fine but there is some weird shutter delay when using the on-camera flash with an external slave. This makes such a combination a mostly miss proposition (I mention this just in case like me you were thinking of relying on that as a way to go.) I found that if I bounced the slave flash off a distant wall there was a better chance of getting it right -otherwise, the external flash fired too quickly and the light was gone by the time the shutter released. In fact, sometimes even the on-camera flash would be gone by the time the shutter released when using a slave synch flash (never happens to me when using the on-camera flash alone.) Weird. Anybody else notice this?

StanStan
01-23-2005, 04:05 PM
I have a Sunpak Digital Flash 018ST that the FZ20 does not fire as a slave.
Have not used it on the hot shoe as I do not know the voltage.
How is the voltage measured?

Any ideas anyone?

Need manual!

StanStan

junji98
01-24-2005, 02:59 PM
anybody know where to buy a sunpak 383 here in toronto (or in the GTA)? thanks!

sgoldste01
01-24-2005, 07:44 PM
Ok, I got a used 433D for about $50 off ebay. This thing is monster huge! It barely fits in my camera bag, and I fear I'll have trouble when I get the adapter tube. <snip> I'm wondering though whether I should keep this or go with a smaller flash unit. The 433D takes up a full third of the bag's main compartment (with the FZ20 taking up the other 2/3rds). I suppose I'll have to wait until I get the adapter. What do you think?

I went with the Vivitar 285HV, which I got used (but in like new condition) on eBay for $20. It too is a very big flash (I don't know which is bigger between the 285HV and the 433D), but the results are excellent. I measured its trigger voltage at 7.8 VDC.

With this flash, I had to switch to the camera bag that I used with my old SLR camera. This doesn't bother me too much. If you're going to buy a camera with a big zoom like the FZ20, then you're gonna need a flash that can throw light that far. Small price to pay to get the shot.

StanStan
01-24-2005, 08:08 PM
I went with the Vivitar 285HV, which I got used (but in like new condition) on eBay for $20. It too is a very big flash (I don't know which is bigger between the 285HV and the 433D), but the results are excellent. I measured its trigger voltage at 7.8 VDC.

With this flash, I had to switch to the camera bag that I used with my old SLR camera. This doesn't bother me too much. If you're going to buy a camera with a big zoom like the FZ20, then you're gonna need a flash that can throw light that far. Small price to pay to get the shot.

I have a Sunpak Digital Flash 018ST. How do I measure the trigger voltage?

Thanks

StanStan

sgoldste01
01-25-2005, 03:28 AM
I have a Sunpak Digital Flash 018ST. How do I measure the trigger voltage?

Thanks

StanStan

If you look carefully in the slots on the flash where it slides over the rails of the camera's hotshoe, you will see a little metal contact. Also on the bottom of the flash's mount is a metal nub that makes contact with the hotshoe.

Turn the flash on. Take a voltmeter (set for VDC) and place one lead on the bottom metal nub and the other lead on the metal contact in the slot. If you're using an analog meter and the needle goes negative, just reverse the leads.

Since your flash is made for digital cameras, I'm sure it has low trigger voltage.

StanStan
01-25-2005, 06:30 AM
If you look carefully in the slots on the flash where it slides over the rails of the camera's hot-shoe, you will see a little metal contact. Also on the bottom of the flash's mount is a metal nub that makes contact with the hot-shoe.

Turn the flash on. Take a voltmeter (set for VDC) and place one lead on the bottom metal nub and the other lead on the metal contact in the slot. If you're using an analog meter and the needle goes negative, just reverse the leads.

Since your flash is made for digital cameras, I'm sure it has low trigger voltage.

I measure the trigger voltage as just under 5 VDC.
Thanks for answering my question. [Did not get a warning not to short out the leads. FLASH!!!!] I guess that part works.

My Nikon does not have a hot shoe so I used this as a slave.
The Sunpak Digital Flash 018ST will not flash when set as a slave of the FZ20.

Next question: I need a hot shoe adapter to attach the PC[?] cord to the FZ20. I see them for some $50 which seems a bit steep!

Any comments-anyone.

Thanks StanStan

24Peter
01-25-2005, 08:41 AM
Hey Stan -

http://www.adorama.com/FAHSPCA.html?searchinfo=hot%20shoe%20adapter&item_no=2#Adorama-Hot-Shoe-to-PC-Adapter,-Single-Outlet-without-Connecting-Cord.

sgoldste01
02-01-2005, 12:13 PM
I just want a sanity check on my camera and flash settings.

I'm using a 285HV with my FZ20 (flash purchased on eBay for $18, in excellent condition, with low trigger voltage :) ). I figured that a powerful zoom like the FZ's deserves a powerful flash to support it.

After reading the flash and camera documentation, it appears that the following configuration should work well most of the time:

Camera in Program mode, with f-stop of 2.8, shutter speed of 1/60 sec, and ISO 100
Flash in Auto mode with the thyristor set for Yellow (most powerful) so that the thyristor will have the most opportunity to store excess energy
Flash head pointing straight forward with no bounce angle; WIDE/NORM/TELE settings dependant upon zoom level

These settings seem to give me the most consistent results, but I'm a beginner at this, so I look forward to any advice you can offer.

Thanks!

Steve

gary_hendricks
02-14-2005, 07:19 AM
Hi,

Was wondering if any of you have suggestions for external flash for use with the FZ20?

Are you best to mount on the provided hot shoe or get a mounting bracket to hold flash to the side?

A friend of mine purchased the Panasonic FL-28. Picture quality ain't that good.

sgoldste01
02-14-2005, 12:51 PM
A friend of mine purchased the Panasonic FL-28. Picture quality ain't that good.
Many people here recommend the Vivitar 285HV and the Sunpak 383 as solid choices for the FZ20.

gary_hendricks
02-20-2005, 01:48 AM
Hi,

Was wondering if any of you have suggestions for external flash for use with the FZ20?

Are you best to mount on the provided hot shoe or get a mounting bracket to hold flash to the side?

Go for the Sunpak 383 Super.

sgoldste01
02-22-2005, 09:20 AM
Go for the Sunpak 383 Super.
I have no doubt, after reading the reviews, that the 383 is an excellent flash. But I couldn't find one used for less than approximately $45. I bought my Vivitar 285HV, used but in perfect condition, for $18 on eBay. Now that's a lot of flash for the money! :cool:

The 383's swivel head is a nice feature that I wish the 285HV had. But better deals are available on the 285HV.

helms
02-25-2005, 09:43 AM
hi guys, i'm new here and kinda new to photography too. a local store here recommended Sunpak PZ40X to be used with my Fz-10. anyone ever used this flash unit before? thanks

brianh
03-03-2005, 05:37 PM
I have recently bought an FZ20 and very happy with it except for the time delay between the red eye flash and the main flash triggering. I find that the resultant shot is not what I thought it would be as between the two flashes the subjects have moved. This and the screen going dark does not allow for good composition.

I am considering fitting an external flash in the hope that this will overcome the problems described above. Has anyone else had the same problem and solved it by fitting an external flash?


Brianh

sgoldste01
03-03-2005, 06:05 PM
I am considering fitting an external flash in the hope that this will overcome the problems described above. Has anyone else had the same problem and solved it by fitting an external flash?
I use an external flash (Vivitar 285HV) and don't experience a delay. I first pre-focus by pressing the shutter button half way, then capture the shot quickly upon pressing the shutter button the rest of the way down.

Of course, you'll gain other benefits, like no red eye, greater flash illumination range, improved camera battery life (since the camera's battery isn't powering the flash), the option of bounce flash, etc. External flash is a good way to go.

eastcoastjoe
03-03-2005, 06:38 PM
I just got my DigiSLave Deluxe3000 today; see my post under slave syncing. It is a great, if expensive, device that functions as an autoflash as well as a slave. As a flash it is pretty powerful with a guide number of 110@100 iso. Well worth a look especially with its added advantage of use as a slave.

ggw2000
03-04-2005, 09:52 AM
[QUOTE=sgoldste01]I use an external flash (Vivitar 285HV) and don't experience a delay. I first pre-focus by pressing the shutter button half way, then capture the shot quickly upon pressing the shutter button the rest of the way down.

Of course, you'll gain other benefits, like no red eye, greater flash illumination range, improved camera battery life (since the camera's battery isn't powering the flash), the option of bounce flash, etc. External flash is a good way to go.

Steve, just purchased a Vivitar 285HV for my FZ20 and received it yesterday. I can not get it working with the camera (will not flash). I took the HV up to the office this morning and put it on a G3 hot shoe and it fired fine? I have set the FZ20 up both "manual" and "preset" but to no avail. Do you have any ideas or something I should know that I am not doing to make this flash work with the FZ20.. Any help would be appreciated.. Thanks, Gerry

24Peter
03-04-2005, 11:19 AM
Gerry - make sure there isn't a litte "X" through the external flash icon in the viewfinder/ LCD (this indicates "forced off"). If so, you can toggle the "X" on and off by using the little four way wheel on the back of the camera by pushing it repeatedly towards the right (towards the little lightining bolt arrow thingy.) Hope that helps.

ggw2000
03-04-2005, 11:50 AM
Gerry - make sure there isn't a litte "X" through the external flash icon in the viewfinder/ LCD (this indicates "forced off"). If so, you can toggle the "X" on and off by using the little four way wheel on the back of the camera by pushing it repeatedly towards the right (towards the little lightining bolt arrow thingy.) Hope that helps.

24Peter, thanks for the quick response! I didn't notice an X last night but the flash icon is pretty small. I will look at that tonight. Thanks, Gerry

24Peter, SURE enough I found a little thin X in the flash icon that I did not see last night. This doesn't make in common sense to me but you hit the nail on the head... Thanks, Gerry

sgoldste01
03-05-2005, 04:31 AM
24Peter, SURE enough I found a little thin X in the flash icon that I did not see last night. This doesn't make in common sense to me but you hit the nail on the head... Thanks, Gerry
Gerry, I'm glad you got your 285HV working. Let us know how you like it. Please let me know what flash settings work best for you. I find that putting the flash in its red Auto mode works best. Yellow causes underexposed shots, and the blue and pink settings are overexposed. I'd like to know if you get similar results.

brianh
03-06-2005, 06:51 AM
A quick (and probably stupid question?)

If I put an external flash on a bracket where do I fit the flash lead to the camera? I cant seem to find an external flash input socket mentioned in the manual.

Brianh

24Peter
03-06-2005, 07:25 AM
Brian - don't be hesitant to ask: questions are like people - none are stupid or unworthy. :)

As far as a flash lead, there actually isn't one on the camera (and I don't think it's mentioned in the manual.) Instead you need a hot shoe adapter. The PC cord attaches directly to the adapter. They're relatively cheap and you should be able to pick one up at a local camera store. I got mine for $12.95 at Samy's Camera in Los Angeles

http://www.samys.com/product.php?ItemNo=SUNP1860

brianh
03-06-2005, 11:21 AM
Peter,

Thanks for that. Will now go ahead and buy the Vivitar 285HV.

Brian

ggw2000
03-06-2005, 05:27 PM
Gerry, I'm glad you got your 285HV working. Let us know how you like it. Please let me know what flash settings work best for you. I find that putting the flash in its red Auto mode works best. Yellow causes underexposed shots, and the blue and pink settings are overexposed. I'd like to know if you get similar results.

I did some informal testing the other night in a dim livingroom. I found that the RED level is the best just like you. At the red level I also found that F5.6 seems to be the best just like it says on the dial (pretty neat). I tried some with the blue setting and the pictures were really blown out.. Gerry
ps: I tried some using the 1/16,1/4 pwr levels and it seems to me that 1/4 is about the same as using the RED setting.. Gerry

sgoldste01
03-07-2005, 05:59 AM
I did some informal testing the other night in a dim livingroom. I found that the RED level is the best just like you. At the red level I also found that F5.6 seems to be the best just like it says on the dial (pretty neat). I tried some with the blue setting and the pictures were really blown out.. Gerry
ps: I tried some using the 1/16,1/4 pwr levels and it seems to me that 1/4 is about the same as using the RED setting.. Gerry
Hi Gerry,
Thanks for posting your 285HV test results, which sound similar to mine.

I prefer to use the flash's Auto mode rather than the fixed power levels. The Auto mode allows the flash to scale back the flash's power, if the varistor determines that the light coming back to it would otherwise be too much. With the fixed power levels, the flash will put out the requested power regardless of whether it's too much or not. Since the FZ20 isn't TTL, I rely on the 285HV's intelligence to monitor what's going on.

ggw2000
03-07-2005, 11:29 AM
Hi Gerry,
Thanks for posting your 285HV test results, which sound similar to mine.

I prefer to use the flash's Auto mode rather than the fixed power levels. The Auto mode allows the flash to scale back the flash's power, if the varistor determines that the light coming back to it would otherwise be too much. With the fixed power levels, the flash will put out the requested power regardless of whether it's too much or not. Since the FZ20 isn't TTL, I rely on the 285HV's intelligence to monitor what's going on.

I was just trying the manual power modes to see what the brightness would be but have no intention of using them when actually photographing something ;) . Gerry
ps: can't remember- did you get a Sto-fen Omni bounce for your flash?

sgoldste01
03-07-2005, 01:21 PM
I was just trying the manual power modes to see what the brightness would be but have no intention of using them when actually photographing something ;) . Gerry
ps: can't remember- did you get a Sto-fen Omni bounce for your flash?
No, I don't have one of those. I've been so happy with the flash's performance without one, I haven't really been thinking about getting one. If you get one and think it makes a visible improvement, though, I'd sure like to know about it.

bracko
03-07-2005, 08:24 PM
okay... i've decided i need one....

what i need it for is nightclub/pub/band shooting, so i would like to have a few things....

small - a lot of the guys that are out regularly have had at least (!!) one external flash ripped off their camera by a drunk punter.... this is not something i would like to have happen to me.

bounce and swivel head - need it for that extra professional look :)

rapid recharge - you usually don't get long to get decent shots, and i don't want to be watching the moment die while it recharges.

would also like a decent distance.... but i can't have everything.

the sunpack and vivitor have to be bought in and i can't really test them out (so does the panasonic).

i have no issues paying the extra for the panasonic, if it does a better job. but would like to have a professional ,good quality unit... price is not really something to be worried about.

dev
03-07-2005, 08:31 PM
I'm thinking of getting one of these flashes as well. The only pic of the 383 I saw attached to an FZ20 looked a bit on the large side to me. Is the Vivitar roughly the same size?

bracko
03-07-2005, 09:11 PM
also.... is there any flashes i can get with an AF lamp fitted... or is this somehting that the single pin mount does not support?

24Peter
03-08-2005, 08:33 AM
My experience: I have both the Sunpak 383 and Sunpak DS 20. For me, the 383 is just too big and heavy to use regularly on-camera, esp. if I use a verticle rotation of the camera (i.e., turn it on it's side.) The flash itself is something like 13oz and then four NiMH batteries brings it well over a pound - about the same weight as the camera itself. But it's not so much the weight as the placement of all that weight in the hotshoe. For me, it throws the whole balance of the camera off esp. when I shoot sideways - which is a lot. The DS 20 on the other hand weighs less than four ounces and takes only two batteries. It's also 1/2 the height of the 383 so for me it is much much more manageable on top of the camera. Now there is no on-flash power control for the DS 20 but what I've done is place two small pieces of .3ND gel over the flash lens to cut down the light. The pieces slip into the groove at the top and bottom of the bounce head so I can easily have none, one or two pieces of ND gel to regulate thel ight. For small areas (like the nightclubs mentioned in the earlier post) the DS 20 has plenty of light. And at US$34.95, it's cheap. I get well over 200 shots on two AA 2300mAh NiMH batteries in it. I used the DS 20 flash outside during the day for fill light for all these photos: http://imageevent.com/24peter/kaiteeelyse

So the DS 20 is cheap, small, lightweight and can be used as a slave off camera. However, it has an internal bounce head but no swivel. The 383 is twice as powerful as the DS 20 - but I've never used it on full power. It tends to blow everything within 20 ft out. I do use the 383 a lot on a light stand with an unbrella or at 1/2 or 1/4 power with a snoot I made out of blackwrap for portrait shots (although again, I took most of these photos with the DS 20 on a light stand with two pieces of .3ND gel as fill light for natural light coming through the window: http://imageevent.com/24peter/carolyndaughterelizabethmother ).

Again, this is just my experience. Your mileage may vary. :D

sgoldste01
03-08-2005, 09:25 AM
My experience: I have both the Sunpak 383 and Sunpak DS 20. For me, the 383 is just too big and heavy to use regularly on-camera, esp. if I use a verticle rotation of the camera (i.e., turn it on it's side.)
I use the Vivitar 285HV, which is also a large flash (probably similar to the Sunpak 383, but I've never compared them side-by-side). I will admit that it makes the camera a little more awkward. But, with practice, I've found a comfortable way to hold the camera/flash when turning the camera on its side. By extending the thumb of my left hand, I can support the weight of the camera and flash at the same time, which works well for me.

Regarding the flash being too powerful and blowing out objects in close range, I don't have this problem. I put the 285HV in its red Auto mode, and the varistor/sensor circuit detects when the illumination is correct. With this arrangement, I can take a flash shot of something less than 10 feet away, then immediately refocus on something else 40 feet away, and get proper illumination in both shots. I'm guessing the 383 provides this varistor functionality too.

ggw2000
03-08-2005, 09:50 AM
No, I don't have one of those. I've been so happy with the flash's performance without one, I haven't really been thinking about getting one. If you get one and think it makes a visible improvement, though, I'd sure like to know about it.

I do have the Omni bounce and at this point i really don't know what to do with it. It extremely (2.5X) reduces the light output. It will take at lot of testing to figure out what it is going to be good for. Maybe fill flash-don't know at this point... Gerry

ggw2000
03-08-2005, 11:27 AM
My experience: I have both the Sunpak 383 and Sunpak DS 20. For me, the 383 is just too big and heavy to use regularly on-camera, esp. if I use a verticle rotation of the camera (i.e., turn it on it's side.) The flash itself is something like 13oz and then four NiMH batteries brings it well over a pound - about the same weight as the camera itself. But it's not so much the weight as the placement of all that weight in the hotshoe. For me, it throws the whole balance of the camera off esp. when I shoot sideways - which is a lot. The DS 20 on the other hand weighs less than four ounces and takes only two batteries. It's also 1/2 the height of the 383 so for me it is much much more manageable on top of the camera. Now there is no on-flash power control for the DS 20 but what I've done is place two small pieces of .3ND gel over the flash lens to cut down the light. The pieces slip into the groove at the top and bottom of the bounce head so I can easily have none, one or two pieces of ND gel to regulate thel ight. For small areas (like the nightclubs mentioned in the earlier post) the DS 20 has plenty of light. And at US$34.95, it's cheap. I get well over 200 shots on two AA 2300mAh NiMH batteries in it. I used the DS 20 flash outside during the day for fill light for all these photos: http://imageevent.com/24peter/kaiteeelyse

So the DS 20 is cheap, small, lightweight and can be used as a slave off camera. However, it has an internal bounce head but no swivel. The 383 is twice as powerful as the DS 20 - but I've never used it on full power. It tends to blow everything within 20 ft out. I do use the 383 a lot on a light stand with an unbrella or at 1/2 or 1/4 power with a snoot I made out of blackwrap for portrait shots (although again, I took most of these photos with the DS 20 on a light stand with two pieces of .3ND gel as fill light for natural light coming through the window: http://imageevent.com/24peter/carolyndaughterelizabethmother ).

Again, this is just my experience. Your mileage may vary. :D


I went and looked at the DS20 as maybe a second flash that is lighter than the Vivitar 285HV and could be used sometimes. I can't seem to decipher from BHPhoto or Adorama if this unit has a "hotshoe" on it or not. does it? Thanks, Gerry

24Peter
03-08-2005, 08:55 PM
Gerry - the DS 20 is a good choice for a second flash. It is hot shoe mountable (on camera) or can be used as a slave (it has a built in sensor) though not with the FZ20's (or any other digital camera's) built in flash. Instead get one of these to synch with a built in flash that pre-flashes:

http://www.adorama.com/SUDFK.html?searchinfo=sunpak%20flash#Sunpak-Digital-Flash-Kit,-with-Compact-Flash,-Flash-Stand,-Tripod,-PC-cord-&-Batteries.

It looks identical to the DS 20 except it has a delay so the pre-flash on most digital cameras won't trigger it when it is used as a slave.

And just to clarify - the Sunpak 383 flash power is very adjustable. So blowing stuff out at 20ft is more my inexperience than a function of the flash.

ggw2000
03-09-2005, 06:57 AM
Gerry - the DS 20 is a good choice for a second flash. It is hot shoe mountable (on camera) or can be used as a slave (it has a built in sensor) though not with the FZ20's (or any other digital camera's) built in flash. Instead get one of these to synch with a built in flash that pre-flashes:

http://www.adorama.com/SUDFK.html?searchinfo=sunpak%20flash#Sunpak-Digital-Flash-Kit,-with-Compact-Flash,-Flash-Stand,-Tripod,-PC-cord-&-Batteries.

It looks identical to the DS 20 except it has a delay so the pre-flash on most digital cameras won't trigger it when it is used as a slave.

And just to clarify - the Sunpak 383 flash power is very adjustable. So blowing stuff out at 20ft is more my inexperience than a function of the flash.

24peter, i should have worded my question better. Besides having a foot on the bottom of it, thus the DS20 have a "firing" pin that is activated directly by the camera like the 383 or 285HV? thanks, Gerry

24Peter
03-09-2005, 07:36 AM
Yes. The foot is a piece of removable plastic. You can take it off and the flash is identical to all other hot shoe flashes (like the 383).

blueorb
03-09-2005, 02:01 PM
http://www.7dayshop.com/catalog/product_info.php?manufacturers_id=&products_id=72552

i have just ordered this, once it arrives i will let you know what its like

eastcoastjoe
03-09-2005, 03:26 PM
Blueorb,

I think you'll like the Vivitar. I used my similar DigiSlave last weekend and was able to get an evenly lit room and the ability to use ISO80 and at f5 or so. It was just what I needed and produced great shots with minimal practice. With a little testing you should be able to get most of the indoor shots you ever wanted with good light and minimal hassle.

I'm looking forward to using it at an indoor soccer arena for distance and increased shutter speed. The FZ series syncs at high speeds and the combination of the two flashes should be enough to get good shots of a kids match.

Good luck with your Vivitar; I'm sure it will work out great.

bracko
03-09-2005, 09:45 PM
is there anything wrong with the vivitar DF200??

sgoldste01
03-10-2005, 03:30 AM
is there anything wrong with the vivitar DF200??
I can't speak from personal experience, but it has a low rating of 2.5 stars on Amazon.com. That was enough to keep me from buying one....

ggw2000
03-10-2005, 07:20 AM
Yes. The foot is a piece of removable plastic. You can take it off and the flash is identical to all other hot shoe flashes (like the 383).

Thanks for the answer, I couldn't find anything that actually told me that or maybe I was having a "senior" moment :D . Gerry

dev
03-10-2005, 07:32 AM
Can anyone tell me if the Vivitar 2800 works well with the fz20?

andyn
03-10-2005, 08:14 AM
It certainly works - I've been using one for three months - well over 100 flash shots. Seems to work fine. But since discovering on: http://www.botzilla.com/photo/strobeVolts.html
that it's on the danger list I've stopped using it and it looks like its not to be recommended unless someone can test and prove OK. Its a shame because I had it from years ago and it was nice that it had a new (if short) lease of life. Hope I've not done any damage through using it already!

dev
03-10-2005, 11:06 AM
Thanks for the heads-up, andyn. I'm going to a Radio Shack tonight to check it out, so I imagine they should have a voltmeter handy.

junji98
03-10-2005, 11:35 AM
we will be anxiously awaiting the result of your visit to radioshack. pls post your findings. thanks!

junji98
03-10-2005, 03:22 PM
i got me a sunpak ds20 today. 24peter, i was wondering what the gel/plastic you put on the flash was? do you have a picture of it?

thanks!

dev
03-10-2005, 06:35 PM
Back from the Shack. The magic number: 144 :eek:

24Peter
03-10-2005, 09:39 PM
Hi junji - It is very unscientific really but you can buy at most photo shops different types of gels to change the color (white) balance of lights, etc. (blue, orange, so on.) There are also "neutral density" (ND) gels similar to ND filters people put over their lens to reduce the amount of light entering the camera. Typical levels of ND filters are .3, .6, .9, 1.2 and they correspond in ascending order to the amount of light that is blocked from lowto high by the gel. ("Rosco" and "Tiffen" are two of the brand names.) The gels come in sheets - 12"X12", 24"X24" or rolls but all you need are one or two tiny pieces to cover the flash lens itself. The hot ticket is to go to a photo store and ask for one of the packet of samples some of the manufacturers give away for free and use the ND gels from there. Short of that you'll pay about $7 for a 12X12 sheet. I got one sheet of .3 ND and find that two pieces (= to .6 total) usually works well if the flash is within 10-15 of the subject (though obviously your camera apeture, ISO and EV settings will affect how sensitive the camera is to light from the flash. Interestingly shutter speeds generally do not affect the flash exsposure since the flash itself is so fast.) I literally tuck the ends of the little pieces of gel into the top and bottom of the bounce head and pop them in and out of the bottom as needed. I'll see if I can post a pic or two of my setup on line this weekend.

http://www.bhphotovideo.com/bnh/controller/home?O=productlist&A=details&Q=&sku=185686&is=REG

andyn
03-11-2005, 12:06 AM
Back from the Shack. The magic number: 144 :eek:

Many thanks Dev, I was afraid that might be the case....

junji98
03-11-2005, 03:45 AM
thanks for the reply peter. i do hope you can post pics of the setup. and yes, it would be great to get "free" samples of the stuff. doesnt anyone have some extra pieces they could mail? :D

dev, thanks for the info. thank god i did not buy the 2800. the guy at the photo shop was really pushing me to buy it, saying it was 100% compatible with the lumix! :eek:

dev
03-11-2005, 10:02 AM
Yeah this guy was sure it was compatible with any camera with a hot shoe, digital or not. I took my manual and instructions on how to check the voltage with me, ready to buy if it came up ok. I don't think he was too happy that it didn't. One of the other employees said a couple of times, "But it's impossible for four 1.5 volt batteries to put out more than 6 volts." I didn't have a real good answer to that one.

pschooley1
03-11-2005, 07:08 PM
I bought a Vivitar 283 & 285 from an eBay auction. Both have low voltages (6 & 7.5 respectively). I have found the red setting good with both for portraits and the like.

The application that has posed the greatest problem is macro. I got a Stofen Omnibounce which helped but I still was getting too much light for my preferences. I just got a filter kit for the 283 and have been impressed with the ND filter for macro - nice balanced light and it drops the exposure by 2 stops so that flash dial is now in an adjustable range for the macro:i.e. with the Stofen I was getting one flash setting that was close but not quite right, with the ND filter I can now use 2-3 adjustments on the dial - great for fill flash with outdoor macro work.

I am now thinking of selling the 285 and getting a second 283 - with a Vari-power module.

gary_hendricks
03-12-2005, 08:04 AM
The Sunpak series of external flash units are the best.

propwash
03-12-2005, 08:12 AM
I bought a Vivitar 283 & 285 from an eBay auction. Both have low voltages (6 & 7.5 respectively).

Make sure you are measuring your voltage properly. Just because your 283 takes four AA batteries does not mean that its trigger voltage is 6 volts. My 30 year old 283 measures over 250 volts at the contacts. What you need to do is to turn the flash on and wait until the ready light glows. Then put an accurate voltmeter between the two contacts on the bottom of the shoe and take your reading there. I know that some of the newer 283's have a lower voltage than my old antique, but I wouldn't want you to to ruin your camera by exposing it to an excessive voltage. Good lulck.

pschooley1
03-12-2005, 09:31 AM
Make sure you are measuring your voltage properly. Just because your 283 takes four AA batteries does not mean that its trigger voltage is 6 volts. My 30 year old 283 measures over 250 volts at the contacts. What you need to do is to turn the flash on and wait until the ready light glows. Then put an accurate voltmeter between the two contacts on the bottom of the shoe and take your reading there. I know that some of the newer 283's have a lower voltage than my old antique, but I wouldn't want you to to ruin your camera by exposing it to an excessive voltage. Good lulck.

Thanks for the warning but I am aware of the trigger voltage concern and how to measure the voltage correctly. My 283 is made in China and does read 6 volts across the contacts with fresh batteries and fully charged capacitors ready to flash. The first 283 I won from eBay was an earlier, made in Japan, version that tested a whopping 275 volts. I resold that one. I tested both flashes before connecting them to my camera to confirm they were below the 24 volt limit Panasonic stipulates in the user manual.

propwash
03-12-2005, 12:58 PM
Glad to see you got a "safe" model. I was quite disappointed to read the high voltage on mine. There are slave flash brackets, however that allow me to use it with no problems.

JLFitzpatrick
03-12-2005, 01:59 PM
So I've read the 13 pages, which I thank you all for your time to explain your Flash experiences with the FZ-20. :) I take it that the Sunpak DS-20 is good for all around close ups, and either the Sunpak 383 Super (currently back ordered) or the Vivitar 285HV are both good choices for distance flash units. I also found a Quantaray Q383 by Sunpak, which I assume is still the 383 Super, only for $30.00 more but in stock at Ritz. Anyone know anything about this one? Personally I like the appearance and power of the Vivitar 285HV better, but my question is for those of you who use either the Sunpak 383 of Vivitar 285HV, is having swivel capability really necessary? :confused:

Shenook
03-12-2005, 06:04 PM
I got a decent price on a Vivitar 285HV. I had a few questions as I'm am a beginner here.

Earlier in this thread they say to put the flash in auto red mode. Does that mean switch the vari power to the red color? Also what do I set the dial on the side of the flash to? It has a bunch of numbers I do not understand and it only turns 180 degrees I think?

My other questions are as follows:

What's the red button on the bottom?

It came with a sinch inch cord that plugs into the bottom of the flash what is it?

I ordered a battery holdster cause it came with a cord that plugs into an external power supply I guess this is ok to use with lithium ion AA batteries?

Do I need anything else to get this working on my fz20?

To whomever has my answers thanks ahead of time as it's a lot of easy questions I'm Sure. :confused:

pschooley1
03-12-2005, 07:13 PM
I got a decent price on a Vivitar 285HV. I had a few questions as I'm am a beginner here.

Earlier in this thread they say to put the flash in auto red mode. Does that mean switch the vari power to the red color? Also what do I set the dial on the side of the flash to? It has a bunch of numbers I do not understand and it only turns 180 degrees I think?

My other questions are as follows:

What's the red button on the bottom?

It came with a sinch inch cord that plugs into the bottom of the flash what is it?

I ordered a battery holdster cause it came with a cord that plugs into an external power supply I guess this is ok to use with lithium ion AA batteries?

Do I need anything else to get this working on my fz20?

To whomever has my answers thanks ahead of time as it's a lot of easy questions I'm Sure. :confused:

- The red button is called the "Open Flash Button" and it fires the flash; this is important for forming the capacitors. The manual on page 4 describes the forming process - in a nutshell:
1. Set flash mode dial to "M"
2.Turn on flash
3. Allow the light to glow green for 15-20 seconds; repeat this discharge process 5 times - the capcitor is now formed and you are ready for shooting.
The manual states this should be done with a new flash or whenever the flash has not been used "for a period of time" to enhance the capacitors ability to store electrical energy.

- The sync cord is for use with cameras that support TTL flash control, the FZ20 does not support TTL and so you do not need the cable.

- The dial is used to set the flash to the film ASA speed being used; this is done by rotating the outer dial until the indicator arrow points to the correct ASA (the ASA is listed at the outermost set of numbers). The inner numbers and color bars indicate suggested settings for various camera f-stop settings.

I find it best to set the ASA on the flash and then do some test shots, the suggested settings indicated by the dial do not always work. The red color bar on the Vari-Power sensor is a good starting point.

- The manual does not make any mention of lithium ion AA batteries.

Shenook
03-13-2005, 06:59 PM
Appreciate the input. still a bit confusing but answered most my questions. Now the sync cable I need not worry about.

For the dial on the left what do most fz20 user find optimal?

Grog
03-13-2005, 07:10 PM
This company must of gone by by as I can find nothing on it. Photo Srobe trigger voltage dosn't even list as well. I tested the trigger voltage 4.6 volts and sent it to them but have still not seen it listed. The one I have and used on my Pentax ZX50 has Module PX AF written on it. It has a switch that selectes ISO speed also has a switch that has M & Auto above the switch and 1/16 full & TTL below the switch. Has any one used one of these or heard of them?
I got the external flash unit with a camera I no longer own but keep it as it worked fine on my Pentax. I have not used it on the Nikon N80 or FZ20 yet but it does have the TTL setting so have thouht of using it on N80.

brianh
03-16-2005, 03:05 PM
Thanks for the warning but I am aware of the trigger voltage concern and how to measure the voltage correctly. My 283 is made in China and does read 6 volts across the contacts with fresh batteries and fully charged capacitors ready to flash. The first 283 I won from eBay was an earlier, made in Japan, version that tested a whopping 275 volts. I resold that one. I tested both flashes before connecting them to my camera to confirm they were below the 24 volt limit Panasonic stipulates in the user manual.


I have just received a Japanese made Vivitar 285 bought on e-bay.

I have measured the voltage when the green ready light shows and the reading is 8.41v - should therefore be ok.

But, I am concerned that during recharging (when the light is red) the voltage rises to 399v before settling down to 8.41 when ready to fire (green light). My concern is that, if I use the multiple exposure mode on the FZ20 it might fire off the second or third flash before the flash gun is ready and then the tigger value could be as high as 399v. Is this a valid concern or is there a mechinism that would stop the flash firing before the green ready light is lit?

Any one else have this type of reading??

Brianh

qwkslvr
04-06-2005, 01:50 PM
hi all,

has anyone ever tried the Canon Speedlite 155A Flash from
tha Canon AE-1 SLR Camera on their FZ20?

I have one of these lyin' around, just wanted to know if I can use it
on my FZ20?

thanks for any help!!

Mikko
04-08-2005, 09:21 AM
Hi

Lot of reading, but i didnt find mention of Nikon flashguns.
I have a SB28 and since it has been excellent with my Nikon 35mm SLRs i would like to use it with digital too. Do you know what is the voltage readings for it, and is it safe to use. I dont have a voltmeter.

dev
04-08-2005, 09:59 AM
"SB-28
and
SB-28DX

Yes

1.5V, per Bharat Mistry
a bit higher — 3.48V — from Patrick Hopkins —
Jeff Macwright got 2.8V from his SB-28DX"

Mikko
04-09-2005, 11:18 AM
Thanks for the answer! I'm happy that i can use my SB-28!

coni
05-02-2005, 02:58 PM
A local camera store suggested using a Promaster 5550 with my Panasonic Z20. Has anyone tried this flash before? I am having trouble deciding which flash unit to go with. I would like one that swiveled and also tilted. I also like doing a lot of macro. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

Shenook
05-02-2005, 03:07 PM
I could be wrong but the Promaster 5550 is TTL and the fz20 doesn't support it.

It's a nice looking flash though.

I have the sunpak 383 and vivitar 285hv.

I have used these both and both are great. I get a slightly better pic with the 285hv but the 383 has both swivels you are looking for. The sunpak is slightly smaller too and looks newer. But if you can get a 285hv for a real good price it's not going to be a waste of money. The 383 is being sold below.

http://www.bhphotovideo.com/bnh/controller/home?O=productlist&A=details&Q=&sku=52799&is=REG

road_rascal
05-03-2005, 11:03 AM
I have a Promaster 5550 and it works great. You have to get the proper module for it. If you ever get a dSLR, you can get another module and the flash will work TTL.

coni
05-03-2005, 01:10 PM
Thanks Road Rascal for the info on the ProMaster 5550DX. If your happy with it I will trust your opinion and go with this flash unit since it is also the one my local store carries and can back it up. Thanks again for your quick reply.

coni
05-04-2005, 12:10 PM
I went back to the camera store yesterday to get the Promaster flash but they couldn't locate the module needed for my camera in order to use the Promaster 5550DX. Road Rascal where did you find the module to fit yours? Thanks.

road_rascal
05-12-2005, 09:06 PM
I purchased the flash and module at National Camera and Video in Burnsville, MN.

ssidlov
05-14-2005, 03:43 PM
I use an external flash (Vivitar 285HV) and don't experience a delay. I first pre-focus by pressing the shutter button half way, then capture the shot quickly upon pressing the shutter button the rest of the way down.



How do you have the flash setup? Do you use the Auto settings on the flash? What setting for flash do you use on the camera? If the camera is set for red-eye does the flash unit shoot more than once? Three times for the Slow Sync?

Does any flash other than the Panasonic understand the signals from the camera ?

Why do I ask? I'm not the only one using the camera it's one thing to get someone to use one of these external units, but to tell them to manually set them based on....they just don't want to know.....

jjmead
05-21-2005, 05:56 PM
>Does any flash other than the Panasonic understand the signals from the camera?

There are no signals from the camera (other than the trigger sig). The Panasonic strobes don't work any better, in that respect than a 383 or 285HV
--------
adder

jjmead
05-21-2005, 05:59 PM
>Does any flash other than the Panasonic understand the signals from the camera?

There are no signals from the camera (other than the trigger sig). The Panasonic strobes don't work any better, in that respect than a 383 or 285HV
--------
adder

grenadier
05-22-2005, 01:04 AM
All of the forums seem to favour the use of the Sunpak 383 Super Flashgun for use with the Panasonic FZ20 Camera.

I suppose this is a good choice for those with a liking for antiques.

It has old fashined mechanical scales, 3 Auto settings, but only 2 are usable with the FZ20 and 5 Partial Light settings from 1 to 1/16th.
It has been in production for so long that the tooling is completely worn out. It is no longer listed by Sunpak and has probably been sold off and is now manufactred by some other company.

I returned my recently purchased Sunpak 383 because the mechanical scales jammed and each time jamming occurred I was obliged to spend several minutes trying to get them to move. The mechanical scales were a sloppy fit and didn't line up properly with the viewing window. This is a clear sign of worn out tooling and or poor assembly.

My new flash is the metz 54 MZ-4, with 12 Auto settings from f/1 to f/45, it caters for all the FZ20 f/stops. Partial light settings number 25 from 1 to 1/256th in 1/3 increments. EV settings are available +/- 3.
The head zooms and has a bounce and swivel head with a secondary reflector along with a bounce flash macro setting. With Stroboscopic mode, Modelling light function, and Fill-in flash, it covers all the bases.
The standard foot is used to suit the ISO accessory shoe used by the FZ20. Other feet are available to suit the major Camera Manufacturers when all the TTL settings become available.

Granted, it is Metz's flagship accessory shoe flashgun, it is expensive, large and heavy. My reason for purchasing this flash, after being seduced by it's specification, was to future-proof and have flash facilities to cater for the FZ20. In any event, the FZ20 deserves nice things.

grenadier
05-22-2005, 02:22 AM
ssidlov wrote:

How do you have the flash setup? Do you use the Auto settings on the flash? What setting for flash do you use on the camera? If the camera is set for red-eye does the flash unit shoot more than once? Three times for the Slow Sync?

Does any flash other than the Panasonic understand the signals from the camera ?

Why do I ask? I'm not the only one using the camera it's one thing to get someone to use one of these external units, but to tell them to manually set them based on....they just don't want to know.....
----------------
When an external flash is inserted into the FZ20 ISO flash accessory shoe, Menu settings become available that are only available when using an external flash. These Menu settings are Manual, Preset and Ex.Flash Burst.
Note that not all external flashes are capable of firing more than 1 burst.
(The external flash that I use is so capable, include Stroboscopic, Fill-in and Modelling.)
The Preset fixes the Aperture at f/2.8 and ISO sensitivuty at 100, shutter speed is 1/60th.
The Menu manual setting allows some freedom in the choice of Aperture, ISO sensitivity and shutter speed.
Note that the facility for Forced-On and Forced-Off is also available for some modes when using external flash.

When set to Menu Manual, the FZ20's External Flash shutter speed choices, the shutter speed is 1/60th for all modes except:

For external flash, Modes S & M, can be set from 1/60th to 1/250th.
Scene Modes, Night Portrait, the shutter speed is Auto, (1 to 1/250th)
Scene Modes, Scenery, Night Scenery and Fireworks, the External Flash is Forced OFF (i.e. No flash is available)

The ISO sensitivity available varies depending on the mode chosen.

Be aware that the FZ20 User Guide contains several mistakes.
Page 56, applicable to built in flash, states:

"However, the flash mode can be set to any mode except Slow sync./Red-eye reduction. This is wrong, it is Forced on Red-eye reduction."
Page 60 states:
"The Flash setting is fixed to Forced Off." This is wrong, both Forced-On and Forced-Off are available.
Page 82 is ambiguous in that it refers to:
"When attaching the external flash, the shutter speed becomes 1/60th to 1/250th in Normal mode."

What is meant by Normal Mode?
Are Mode S (Shutter Priority AE) and Mode M (Manual exposure) considered Normal Modes when an external flash can be set from 1/60th to 1/250th?

According to Panasonic,
"NORMAL mode is the default setting for the camera's shutter
speed. In other words, the shutter speed when no special modes such as
PORTRAIT, SPORTS, etc, have been selected."

"When using an external flash, the shutter speed can be anything between 1/60th and 1/250 in any mode except NIGHT PORTRAIT mode. In this mode, the shutter speed range is 1 to 1/250.
When in manual or shutter priority mode, the shutter speed is chosen by the user, but you would normal always use 1/60 or 1/90."

However, Panasonic's response is also ambiguous in that their statement "that the shutter speed can be anything between 1/60th and 1/250th in any mode" when the only modes availabe for varying the shutter speed is Mode S and Mode M.

I guess this means that Normal Mode only applies to the Modes, Mode S and Mode M,as these are the only modes available that have the facility of varying shutter speeds, when shutter speeds can be set from 1/60th to 1/250th.


There are only 3 Auto Flash settings available in the FZ20. these are:
Scenes Mode, Scenery, Night Scenery and Night Scenery, but the external flash is Forced Off for both Scenery and Night Scenery!

Because the FZ20 uses an ISO (Center Contact) flash accessory shoe, Red-eye reduction is not available when using external flash.
Cameras that have the basic ISO flash accessory shoe like the FZ20 only allow for very basic external flash settings.

grenadier
05-24-2005, 09:03 AM
The DMC-FZ20 User Guide, page 82, states,
"When attaching the external flash, the shutter speed becomes in normal mode, 1/60th to 1/250th in normal mode"

What is meant by Normal Mode?
Are Mode S (Shutter Priority AE) and Mode M (Manual exposure) considered Normal Modes when an external flash can be set from 1/60th to 1/250th?

Panasonic's Answer

"NORMAL mode is the default setting for the camera's shutter
speed. In other words, the shutter speed when no special modes such as
PORTRAIT, SPORTS, etc, have been selected."

"When using an external flash, the shutter speed can be anything between 1/60 and 1/250 in any mode except NIGHT PORTRAIT mode. In this mode, the shutter speed range is 1 to 1/250.
When in manual or shutter priority mode, the shutter speed is chosen by the user, but you would normal always use 1/60 or 1/90."

However, Panasonic's response is also ambiguous in that their statement "that the shutter speed can be anything between 1/60th and 1/250th in any mode" when the only modes availabe for varying the shutter speed is Mode S and Mode M.

I guess this means that Normal Mode only applies to the Modes, Mode S and Mode M,as these are the only modes available that have the facility of varying shutter speeds, when shutter speeds can be set from 1/60th to 1/250th.

Mr. Photo!
05-30-2005, 04:33 AM
Dear Jim!

I own from a decade a Sunpal Auto433AF, and it's 100% matched for our lovely Panasonic camera!

Everywhere you look there is someone reccommending the Sunpak 383.

I have now got a list of possible suspects:

(1) Sunpak 383
(2) Sunpak 544
(3) Vivitar 283
(4) Vivitar 285
(5) Metz 36C2

Kind of stuck looking at there differences :confused: Also concerned with the triger voltages as listed here. (http://www.botzilla.com/photo/strobeVolts.html)[/QUOTE]

grenadier
05-31-2005, 10:34 AM
Hi Mr Photo,

Be aware that the Sunpak 383 is a real old antique.
I returned my recently purchased Sunpak 383 because the mechanical scales jammed and each time jamming occurred I was obliged to spend several minutes trying to get them to move. The mechanical scales were a sloppy fit and didn't line up properly with the viewing window. This is a clear sign of worn out tooling and or poor assembly.

My flash is the metz 54 MZ4, set on Automatic at f/8.0, the EV settings can be changed in 1/3 EV steps to match the Cameras f/stop.
When set on Manual, I have a choice of 25 Partial light settings from 1 to 1/256th in 1/3 increments. Beats the hell out of the Sunpak, or any other flash if it comes to that.

dev
05-31-2005, 03:53 PM
For $350 or so (jeez, I hope you didn't pay the $623 MSRP), I should think it would work well. I've had no problems with my new Sunpak.

JandG
06-03-2005, 07:13 PM
Thanks for your explanations above.

I just bought the DMW-FL28 Panasonic flash unit and am trying to learn how to use it. I am new to this and struggle with the manual that came with the flash.
Your explanation got me a bit further on the way of knowing what I am doing when taking flash-shots.
Thanks Heaps

skyrocketfw
06-16-2005, 10:26 AM
Have anyone use Metz 36 C-2? How does it compare to Sunpak 383 super, Vivitar 283 and Vivitar 285HV? What aperture range does Metz 36 C-2 support?

Thanks.

skyrocketfw
06-22-2005, 06:50 AM
What is Sunpak 383 super bounce and swivel range?

What does PC cord do?

Thanks.

tygersclaw
09-07-2005, 10:35 PM
This is not the case 100% of the time, but do a side by side comparison between Vivitar and Sunpak, and many times, you will see they are the same flash. This happened to me when I selecting a flash. Sales dude shows me a Vivatar (2600) and goes to the "warehouse" to get one. None there. So brings out a Sunpak and it is the TWIN of the Vivatar 2600. Even had the Made in Singapore sticker in the exact same spot. :eek:

I bought a Vivatar 2800 which I am now replacing with a Vivatar 285HV before this weekend. Difference in price is $100 but better safe than sorry. Funny part is, Sales guy showed me another Sunpak, and it was the twin of the Vivatar 2800.

So...it appears that...based on this incident....Vivatar and Sunpak flashes are both made by the same factory.

No doubt the voltages etc will be the same as well. Just a matter of cross-referencing model/part numbers to find out which flashes match.

Just thought I'd share.

tygersclaw
09-09-2005, 10:27 AM
Okay...I have a Vivitar 2800 which I am exchanging today for either a Vivitar 283 or a 285HV. However, which one of these 2 is the better one? They both seem popular.

tygersclaw
09-10-2005, 01:45 AM
Well I got a Vivatar 285 HV today (Friday). Been testing with it this evening. I did have a time where no matter what I did, when I took a picture, the flash would not trigger. But, I reset the camera, and it was back working again.

Now to figure out the best settings to use at a wedding reception and especially for the dance portion. Unfortunately, the wedding is today (Saturday) so I have been up all night taking pictures etc. just to test and check things out.

Is just setting on the Auto Red mode good enough, or is there some other tweaks to do as well. Currently I have my flash set for Red Auto, 100ASA, and 1/4 power although I also tested at 1/16th power too.

Real newbie here, so any advice/suggestions appreciated.

jimdel
09-27-2005, 06:07 PM
I have an older vivitar 285 flash that I would like to use on myfz20,but questions have risen about how to check the triggering amperage on it when the hot shoe is all plastic,except the contact itselfe. I am going to use a wein hs-hs safe sync between the flash and camera, so how do I check the voltage on that? The 285 is I believe the forerunner to the 285h/v. trying to find a flash that will work on thefz20 has become a problem, or nightmare of unaccepable magnitude to me, and I hate to do it but it may become just another accessory in the bottom of my camera bag. thanx for any information you can give. jim delaney :eek:

tmae
09-28-2005, 04:47 AM
I was wondering if any has used this flash... looking for a flash has been challenging. I have a FZ20 and I would like to use a slave grip so I can change my lens and still use the flash. Thanks so much...
Tricia

propwash
09-28-2005, 03:25 PM
I have an older vivitar 285 flash that I would like to use on myfz20,but questions have risen about how to check the triggering amperage on it when the hot shoe is all plastic,except the contact itselfe. I am going to use a wein hs-hs safe sync between the flash and camera, so how do I check the voltage on that? The 285 is I believe the forerunner to the 285h/v. trying to find a flash that will work on thefz20 has become a problem, or nightmare of unaccepable magnitude to me, and I hate to do it but it may become just another accessory in the bottom of my camera bag. thanx for any information you can give. jim delaney :eek:

If you use the Wein Safe-Sync, then you don't need to worry about the trigger voltage. As I understand it, they say that this device reduces the trigger voltage of all flashes down to 6 volts or below. If you want to check the trigger voltage on your flash, get a voltmeter and touch it to the two contacts on the flash's hot shoe. One contact will be in the center of the flat part of the bottom of the shoe, and the other will be on the edge of the shoe. Charge up the flash until its ready light is on, and then touch the probes of the voltmeter to the two contacts on the shoe of the flash. It will probably help if you have a digital voltmenter to do this, but it can be done with an analog meter. I was surprised to discover that the trigger voltage on my late 1970's vintage Vivitar 283 was over 250 volts. Panasonic recommends a max of (I think) 24 v. for the FZ20, so I think this flash would fry the camera in short order without a safe-sync. Good luck

Dave6833
09-28-2005, 04:01 PM
I stumbled across this item today indicating that Vivitar has discontinued these two flash units. Can anybody confirm this?

http://www.photo.net/bboard/q-and-a-fetch-msg?msg_id=00DTLN

jimdel
09-28-2005, 05:27 PM
I have an older vivitar 285 flash, not the hv, and would like to check the trigger voltage before using it on my fz-20. one BIG problem I see is that it has a plastic hot shoe mount on it, so how is the voltage circuit completed..I will be using a Wein HS-HS safe sync between the flash shoe and camera. How do I complete a circuit on that????jim delaney

jimdel
09-28-2005, 05:32 PM
I have an older vivitar 285 flash, not the hv, and would like to check the trigger voltage before using it on my fz-20. one BIG problem I see is that it has a plastic hot shoe mount on it, so how is the voltage circuit completed..I will be using a Wein HS-HS safe sync between the flash shoe and camera. How do I complete a circuit on that????jim delaney
Iseem to be having way too many problems finding a flash for thisostrich.

Ades
10-23-2005, 02:48 AM
I just bought the Metz 36 C-2. And have to say It is really great. It has an aperture range from 2-8 (at ISO100).It has a manual zoom.(28-85mm) You can use it with the Fz20 burst mode (High speed too :D ) It has 3 auto mode presets, and a manual mode. I recommend to use one or two steps higher aperture as the flash sais if you use it with tha Fz20 manual flash mode or the pictures will be dark (at least if you have a white background). That's all for now.

Phill D
12-15-2005, 04:25 PM
A slightly different question now. My wife had an old flash gun (Hanimex CB2200 bounce twin flash) that she used to use with an Olympus OM1 and I was wondering if it was OK to use it with my FZ20. I tried to check the trigger voltage & it gave only 1.2V on an analogue meter. I was a bit suspicious about this reading as it read 6V when I changed the scale on the meter from 10V to 50V and almost 30V when I changed the scale to 250V. Just to check the meter I tried a 1.5V battery which read 1.5V on the 10V scale & next to nothing on the others so perhaps it was working OK. So anyone out there know anything about this flash gun & know if it is compatible with the FZ20 or should I just throw it away & buy a new flash?

PicChic
12-29-2005, 09:08 PM
Hi Everyone,
As a first timer I'm glad to be here...everyone seems to be so knowledgeable!! :)
I'm hoping someone can help me and answer a question that has bothered me for some time now.
My daughter takes figure skating lessons in a small rink and I have never been able to take a good picture of her. I have had the same results with my old film camera as I do with my fz-20..the picture is out of focus (very blurry even when she is just standing there) and usually orangy. Could this be due to the lack of flash? I've been trying to do some reading and it seems I may need an external flash. All thoughts and comments would be GREATLY appreciated! :D

One more question...would I want a dedicated or non dedicated flash?

tim11
01-18-2006, 08:49 PM
Sunpak 383 seems hard to get in Sydney. None of the big retailers have one in stock, while the importer (Maxwell Elec.) doesn't retail them directly to public. It costs around $200 - 250 (Au$). The best I can do is to place an order and wait from 2 to 3 weeks.
What's the next best option? I need to learn flash photography fast for a coming big event. Thanks for any suggestion.

tim11
01-21-2006, 05:31 PM
How hard it is to buy a flash for FZ20 in Sydney. Of 5 major camera shops in Sydney CBD, only one shop (TED's in Pitt Street) has any flash to suit. The best they can do is saying "We can order anything for you" and of course I don't want to wait for 2 weeks. So now I bought a Woctron 2800SC Thyristor and amazed by the difference an external flash can make in term of image quality. I have 45 days to make up my mind if I am not happy with this unit I will exchange it for a Sunpak 383.

Honest Gaza
01-24-2006, 02:16 PM
Here in Sydney, where my Sunpak 383 Auto is requiring repair, the distributor has advised that the 383 has been superceded and they will be replacing the unit with an equivalent model.

Leaves me a litle confused when I connect to the Sunpak home website (Japan) and use their Flash Unit recommendation tool. Advice comes back telling me to get a Sunpak 383 Auto.

??????????????????????????????????????????????:eek :

tim11
01-24-2006, 02:39 PM
If you are in Sydney (or anywhere else in Australia) it can be hard to get a flash for FZ# camera. Don't assume you can just drop in a local camera store and come back with a flash unit so if you'd better prepared well beforehand if you are to cover an important event. The best time you can place an order through the store for Sunpak 383 is 2 weeks.
Of 4 major camera shops in Sydney CBD, only one has anything at all compatible for FZ20 at reasonable price. It's the Woctron 2800SC Thyristor. It's about 3 cm taller than Sunpak 383, I believe, and far from beautiful and well balanced on the FZ20 but the bloody thing works wonder; so I might keep it. It's Au$129.95 compared to Au$220-249 for Sunpak. The next one up costs about Au$400.

Curious George
02-07-2006, 11:30 PM
Very interesting flash there Tim11, I have an almost identical one made by Starblitz. It's a Starblitz 2800DSF, and I can hardly find any information on the net about it.
Trigger voltage is 6v, it recharges very quickly anf makes a huge flash.
I don't know how effective the scale on the back is, I havent used it enough, but for $150NZD, it was all I could afford.

tim11
02-09-2006, 04:29 AM
Hi Curious George,
I don't think I like the look of the monster. But it is powerful. It's a Chinese made unit - I wish they could come up with better name than WOCTRON. I'm not sure if it is more powerful than the widely recommended Sunpak 383 since it is the only flash I ever own. :o
I can't seem to find the info on trigger voltage though it boasts GN28 (metre) and a set of 4 AA rechareged Energizer 2500mAh last for hundreds of shots. Vignette now is thing of the past even I attach standard 72 mm adapter and filter.
Performance? I can bounce off ceiling nicely Indoors and the result is terrific though in larger room it seems to suffer even on max. power. I haven't really tested the distance but if set the camera on manual flash setting, ISO200 and use max power I think it really can reach over 15 metres.
I read a few articles on internet re. genuine FL28 Panasonic flash, even a post in this long thread. They claimed the shots are less impressive than pop-up flash? It is really a shame if true. How can they come up with a miserable flash to use on such a great camera?

Curious George
02-17-2006, 02:38 AM
Tim, to fing the trigger voltage, you need a voltmeter.
Turn your flash on and wait for it to charge
Using the contact leads from your voltmeter measure the voltage between the center contact and the side contact of your flash.
Report back;)
There are several sites on how do do this and results
Here (http://www.cs.mtu.edu/~shene/DigiCam/User-Guide/FZ-10/Ext-Flash/trigger-voltage.html)
Here (http://www.botzilla.com/photo/strobeVolts.html)
and Here (http://www.weinproducts.com/safesyncs.htm)

tim11
02-18-2006, 04:23 PM
Tim, to fing the trigger voltage, you need a voltmeter.
Turn your flash on and wait for it to charge
Using the contact leads from your voltmeter measure the voltage between the center contact and the side contact of your flash.
Report back;)
Report: Still running around finding a voltmeter.

landbridge
02-25-2006, 02:01 PM
Re. Flashguns and the FZ series of cameras and Panasonic or Sunpak flashguns.
I have just bought the FZ 30 and have come across a problem that people on this thread with either either this camera for the FZ 20 and a Panasonic flashgun or a Sunpak 383 may be able to help with. I'm trying to shoot subjects near as a few centimetres away. I normally use external flashes either side of the subject with the camera iris closed down to its smallest aperture. If I set the FZ 30 to aperture priority mode and close the iris down to its minimum aperture and then switch on the external flashes, it immediately reverts to a much wider setting of f11.
Panasonic state that their own flashguns do not do this nor does the built-in flash. As I use two flashguns (occasionally three); buying three Panasonic flashguns will be an expensive option (at &#163;110, about $200 each) . I also do not understand from the blurb whether you can get a second or third flashgun to flash from the flash from the first flashgun. At present I used three contax flashguns connected by synchronising cables. I need the iris closed down otherwise flashes so close to the subject cause a vast overexposure at f4 (the aperture setting it defaults at as soon as the flashes are switched on!). Because I'm filming insects and other bugs close-to in the wild I need the flash illumination at a low illumination level (to be mobile the flashes are attached to brackets so moving the flashes back from the subject is not an option). Does anybody out there who has the Panasonic FL 28 or the Sunpak 383 have any of the answers for example, does the Sunpak 383 also default the camera back to f4 in aperture priority on manual mode? Are connecting cables available for the FL28 or do they automatically fire from each other?
I be enormously grateful for some feedback on this otherwise have got to keep using my film cameras and wonder why I ever bought this digital camera!!
I'd posed this question to Panasonic two weeks back that have no response from their technical department.

photosmarty
06-11-2006, 03:59 PM
Hello...........is anyone still posting in this thread............is there anyone there........?

Well I certainly hope so as I am looking for some kind help please.
I recentley bought a 'multi-dedicated' (woohoo) Cobra MD210 flashgun to fit onto my FZ20. I have tested the volts for this model and was happy to see the reading of 2.85 volts, so hopefully no probems there. Is anyone aware of how to use this flash 'properly' with my panny. I have come from the old school of mechanical SLRs which I dumped quited a few years ago now so I aware of how to set the flash up manually but I would just like to make sure i am doing it right.

First off the flashgun has 6 settings s,o,m,n/r,c,p - which I take mean ?,olympus,minolta,nikon/ricoh,canon,pentax. So from that choice which do i start with or does it even matter, when I did quick (very quick) experiments they all worked some with higher flash values it would seem. I am quite sure the Auto mode is not going to work unless someone is aware of this not being the case!

I take it also that with this flash fitted it is best not to tell the camera about it in the menu settings as this seemed to render it useless! And finally it makes one hell of a click when it flashes, but it only does this while attached to the camera, while it is off the camera and I press the test button it just flashes away silently!?

Thanks in advance for any tips, any help greatfully recieved.
Stuie

eastcoastjoe
06-16-2006, 08:22 AM
Thanks in advance to anyone who has any advice to offer.

I recently tried to use my external flash with my FZ20 the other day and could not get the camera to recognize the flash.

Normally when the flash is attached to the hotshoe, the menus change so that an extra menu item to control the flash appears; this was not the case. I have tried every combination of camera and flash on / off before and after inserting the flash; I have used two different flashes, both of which are working properly and have worked with my FZ before; I have cleaned the hotshoe and the terminal of the flash; I have used the reset in the menu and I have also kept the battery out of the camera overnite.

Nothing seems to do the trick.

Finally, I called Panasonic and their best advice was to go to a BB or CC and try to borrow an AC adapter for the FZ and power it up to see if I can get the menu to change. The customer service rep also said I should consider a change to Oxyride batteries - OK; we KNOW now for sure he knows nothing about the camera as the FZ does not use AAs - I have two genuine Pansonic batteries that seem to be in fine shape. Anyway, if I get the same results when connected to AC power, the service rep said since it is out of warranty I must send it to their repair depot in Ill at a minimum cost of $120.00. Ouch.

The camera seems fine in every other way. Any thoughts, ideas or suggestions? I use it the least amount of time with a hotshoe flash but I do use it from time to time and have even considered a cable to use a hotshoe flash off camera. I guess I can live with it this way but after thirty years the hotshoe on my Minolta SRT still works great so I would like similar options with my (relatively) new digital.

Again, any help offered would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!