Downsized Strobism
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Old 06-21-2007   #1
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Default Downsized Strobism

It's great fun reading Dave Hobby's on-assignment series, and follow his creative meandering. He takes a giant leap today, using his new compact digicam (Canon G7) in Strobist-mode.

Strobist: On Assignment: On Vacation

I perked up when I saw his results, because Nancy owns a Canon a710is, which is the G7's little brother.



I figured I could use its internal flash to trigger an SB800 in dumb slave mode (SU4), but it seemed inappropriate to mate a digicam with a flash that's twice its size and more expensive. Then I remembered the inexpensive optical slave units I bought last summer. I dusted off a Vivitar DF200 and gave it a try.

First I mounted it in a cold shoe, but size 13s take up too much space.



Then I remembered it came with a little stand.



Who says Strobism has to be expensive. The DF200 only cost me $70, and has everything I need in a slave flash.

Guide number of 92 @ a 100 ISO equivalent
4 selectable power levels
Lens coverage from 28mm to 105mm
330 degree swivel and 90 degree vertical bounce
Built in optical trigger

I tried it out on my resident [s]victim[/s] subject, Nancy, holding the camera in my right hand, and the flash in my outstretched left hand.



As you can see from the reflections in Nancy's glasses in this 100% crop, the onboard
flash successfully triggered the remote slave, which sync'ed with the camera's shutter.



Bingo! I have my lightweight vacation rig .

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Old 06-21-2007   #2
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Default Re: Downsized Strobism

I have the exact same flash and have done the exact same thing with considerable success. My little point-n-shoot had no power control so I covered varying amounts of the face of the little flash with with a piece of electrical tape. I continued to use it when I got the 20D. I like that swivel that the Vivitar flash has - you can keep the slave eye pointed in the right direction and bounce the flash off something.
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Old 06-22-2007   #3
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Default Re: Downsized Strobism

That's great. I bought that A710 for my wife last Christmas. It's a fantastic little camera.

Julio
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Old 06-22-2007   #4
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Default Re: Downsized Strobism

Quote:
Originally Posted by ingramimages View Post
I have the exact same flash and have done the exact same thing with considerable success. My little point-n-shoot had no power control so I covered varying amounts of the face of the little flash with with a piece of electrical tape.
Hi, Cliff. The df200 has a slider on the back that can adjust its output power anywhere between full and 1/16th, and if that's still too strong, you could relocate the flash further away from the subject. I don't understand the need to use tape on the face of the flash.
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MF Primes: 20/3.5UD, 28/3.5K, CV40/2, 105/2.5
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Old 06-22-2007   #5
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Default Re: Downsized Strobism

Quote:
Originally Posted by Nikonfreak View Post
That's great. I bought that A710 for my wife last Christmas. It's a fantastic little camera.
Good choice, Julio . My wife wanted a p&s, but I figured I might as well get something with manual options so I could play, too . It works just fine for her in full auto mode. The image stabilization is surprisingly effective, and it's nice to travel light but still have the capability of catching a decent picture. The drawbacks are slightly reduced image quality (narrow dynamic range and traces of noise, even at iso 80), and flash recycle time, which can take forever. But using the internal flash as a trigger, I can set it at it's lowest power, and the recycle time is greatly reduced.

My vote is for the a710is as the best choice for a compact digicam!
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DSLR Cameras: D700, D200,
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MF Primes: 20/3.5UD, 28/3.5K, CV40/2, 105/2.5
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Old 06-22-2007   #6
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Default Re: Downsized Strobism

OMG... another nikon abandonment ... my coolpix 995 is getting a bit long in the tooth and I have been looking at other PnS's to take the roll of eveready rangefinder as well. I'll probably end up using it till it croaks...

I remember reading one of your posts mentioning the strobist site... it is now in my bookmarks and a daily stop on the interweb... thanks for that tip. Being the nutjob that i am, i went and bought some old flash bulbs...I guess when I figure out how to make a firing trigger I will be a "flasher" and not a "strobist"..Oops that doesn't sound right, I'll shut up now

Cheers!
Jeff
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Old 06-22-2007   #7
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Default Re: Downsized Strobism

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OMG... another nikon abandonment ... my coolpix 995 is getting a bit long in the tooth and I have been looking at other PnS's to take the roll of eveready rangefinder as well. I'll probably end up using it till it croaks...
Funny you should mention that, Jeff! I still have my 995, and use it for macro work, like this recent pay-job.



Pretty good image quality for a camera that's been "obsolete" for 3 generations -lol!

I was just reading the manual last night to refresh my memory about using it in manual mode so I can try it with the off-camera flash!
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Old 06-22-2007   #8
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Default Re: Downsized Strobism

Oh sorry - I put the tape on the face of the little built in flash on the camera because IT had no power adjustment. When I got my 20D - it HAS a power adjustment on its built in flash and I could adjust the onboard flash appropriately so I got I good exposure at whatever I needed to set the df200 to. I've flashed that thing off walls, through strung up sheets, and held it over my head with a blow up diffuser velcro'd to it. It was so useful I ended up with three sets of rechargeable batteries just for the flash.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Uncle Frank View Post
Hi, Cliff. The df200 has a slider on the back that can adjust its output power anywhere between full and 1/16th, and if that's still too strong, you could relocate the flash further away from the subject. I don't understand the need to use tape on the face of the flash.
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Old 06-22-2007   #9
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Default Re: Downsized Strobism

Quote:
Originally Posted by ingramimages View Post
put the tape on the face of the little built in flash on the camera because IT had no power adjustment.
Ah, now I understand! That's a good workaround.
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DSLR Cameras: D700, D200,
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MF Primes: 20/3.5UD, 28/3.5K, CV40/2, 105/2.5
Zooms: 24-120/4VR, 70-300VR
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Old 06-23-2007   #10
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Default Re: Downsized Strobism

OK, Jeff, I tried out the off-camera flash trick with my Nikon Coolpix 995. I've kept it because of its macro abilities, and haven't used it for people pics for ages. But I love its image quality, so I gave it a go with the Vivitar DF200.



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------------------------------------
DSLR Cameras: D700, D200,
AF Primes: 35/1.8DX, 60/2.8G, 85/1.4, 180/2.8
MF Primes: 20/3.5UD, 28/3.5K, CV40/2, 105/2.5
Zooms: 24-120/4VR, 70-300VR
M4/3 System: Oly e-pl2, 14-42mm, 20/1.7
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