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Mine Exploration Forum

Author External flash / speedlight?
Vanoord

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Joined: 28/11/2005
Location: North Wales

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External flash / speedlight?
Posted: 22/10/2007 10:43:52
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Can anyone offer any guidance as to what sort of flash unit I should be looking for?

Requirements are:
- suitable for Nikon D80 and Nikon Coolpix 8400
- ability to fit in hotshoe on camera or remote on a wire
- can be triggered when not connected to camera, ie for ambling around a tunnel / chamber
- thus, monstrous light output would be useful, obviously with the ability to turn it down to lower levels
- rechargeable batteries, but does not have to be specific to the unit, ie a bank of AAs would do the trick, although something which comes with its own battery and a charger would be just as suitable, as it would presumably be smaller.

Where I'm a little confused is the difference between the square-looking flash units like this:


...and the bigger, rounder ones like this:


Price, well... obviously I don't want to pay the earth, but I'll recognise that what I'm after is going to cost something. Suggestions on a postcard please!

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Filling space until a new signature comes along...
IP: 81.130.216.241 Edited: 22/10/2007 10:44:22 by Vanoord
grahami

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Joined: 29/01/2007
Location: Telford, Shropshire

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External flash / speedlight?
Posted: 22/10/2007 10:55:00
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I used a big Metz hammer head like the lower one for years. Most of my underground pictures except the very early ones such as Croesor were taken with one. It had a separate battery pack which could be slung over your shoulder or hung on your belt. Took Lead-Acid Sealed cells or big Ni-Cds - I eventually modified it to take motor-cycle batteries which were much cheaper than the originals! It had plenty of punch - most of my shots were taken with a single flash (usually 400ASA film). You could either hand hold the unit or use the "foot" to fasten the camera on with it's tripod bush.

Hope this helps

Grahami

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The map is the territory - especially in chain scale.
IP: 212.219.117.101
ferret

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Joined: 28/04/2007
Location: cornwall

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External flash / speedlight?
Posted: 24/10/2007 16:08:30
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i use both: i have 4 of the big metz 45 guns and several smaller ones but would recommend the metz any day, only drawback is size and weight of the units (though not as heavy as the light cannon), also syncing them can be a pain so i often use then on open shutter, they do work with firefly trigger units but are more reliable fired on a wire of by ambient light slave.
usually i use maybe or two of these with a trigger flash for the camera and a smaller slave for detail work.
hope that helps
ferret.
IP: 141.163.84.1 Edited: 24/10/2007 16:09:34 by ferret
royfellows

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Joined: 13/06/2007
Location: Great Wyrley near Walsall

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External flash / speedlight?
Posted: 24/10/2007 21:16:24
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A lot of people these days are painting in with LED torches or similar, it produces decent pictures but never brilliant ones. Also, if you want really good pictures, forget completely fitting a flash to the camera hotshoe. Remember walking down a lane at night with car headlamps coming towards you, remember how the stones of the walls etc stood out? This the same idea with undergroung photography. Also very high power flashes are not necessarily the answer, too much light in one place 'burning out' the area, and too little in others. Distribution and direction of light are more important. External flash attachment is a must for decent underground photography. Try getting a mate to fire a flash from different directions while you abserve from the camera position the variations in relief and shadow etc.
Bottom line here is that 'dedicated' flashes are a waste of time, you will be using your camera on manual settings anyway.
Buy a few cheap s/h flashes, slave units etc and make up some flash leads of varying lengths etc to experiment.
The better modern digital cameras have shutter speeds up to 30 seconds, you can use the self timer and have time to dodge around in the dark firing multiple flashes from a single unit, you can have a low light source to see where you are going and it wont print if your body is between the light and the camera.
I dont pretend to be an expert, but this is my opinion, for what its worth.
IP: 78.145.182.217
Vanoord

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Joined: 28/11/2005
Location: North Wales

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External flash / speedlight?
Posted: 26/10/2007 09:13:50
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Thank you gents Smile

As of this morning, I'm the owner of thirteen Metz 60 flash guns Shocked


Really!

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IP: 81.136.126.37
royfellows

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Joined: 13/06/2007
Location: Great Wyrley near Walsall

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External flash / speedlight?
Posted: 26/10/2007 10:18:59
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I have uploaded a picture tken in Rampgill last weekend to demonstrate what I am talking about above. Working solo, I used 2 flashguns to fire 4 flashes. Fujifilm S9500 onj tripod, ASA 400, F3.6 and 30 seconds exposure to give me time to dodge about in the dark. A flash is on a ledge over on the right connected to camera with a made up flash lead, other is in my hand and fired over to the right. Next I dive into left hand arch and fire back at camera position, then back out and into the right arch to repeat. As you can see I am not as old as my avatar suggests!



(click image to open full size image in new window)

IP: 78.145.182.217 Edited: 26/10/2007 10:21:21 by royfellows
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