Looking to buy first camera flash for film!

Discussion in 'Lighting Equipment' started by carlin_plumb, Dec 4, 2017.

  1. Flash new guy alert..

    Hello everyone, I'm looking for a compact flash to pair with my olympus pen s. I've never bought a flash before and was looking for some suggestions. I have a big old flash that I was given, but I haven't really used it and its too bulky to carry around with me most days. I'm looking for something that has a sync port, not a hot shoe (no idea if most flashes have a sync port). If possible something that's kinda flat and runs horizontal to keep my olympus pen nice and compact. Looking for something relatively feature rich, but portability is key here.

    Also feel free to impart any flash wisdom, because I've got no bloody idea!
  2. I own a sync port to hotshoe adapter for my elderly cameras. - amazon link - That way I can use any odd flash on them. - Sorry, I can't recommend any current small flash. - I scooped up mine during the past decades from bargain bins and flea markets and can't predict if a used copy you 'll buy will break next week or next year or be dead on arrival. (My pessimism might be exaggerated.)
    I assume if you want small, it will run on 2 AA cells?
    I'd look for something offering an autothyristor mode. - If it is just for one aperture, that is probably fine, considering the lack of power in such a small unit. If it has a tilting reflector it might be nice to have but maybe not really usable considering the lack of output?
    One example of what I am talking about. - That unit even has a built in sync port cable stored on it's left side. Auto mode aperture is f4 with ISO 100, promised max reach 4.5m. It is slightly thicker but shorter than a box of cigarettes. Similar vintage products come flatter, aligned with your film plane not lens axis like that one. They will be pretty cheap used, since sync Voltages are (frequently) too high for a lot of modern digital or electronics stuffed cameras.
    To power flashes, get Eneloop cells. <- Slowly self discharging rechargeables. Absolutely worth it!

    If your current big unit has auto modes and a tilt and swivel head, I recommend getting used to it. - Bouncing your flash from walls or ceiling tends to improve the look of your pictures drastically, compared to something small in your hotshoe aimed at your subjects. A next step would be off camera flash but as great as it is, I don't recommend learning it's usage shooting film. - I'm not bashing film. - Something DSLR with lens can be had for less than 150 Euro/$ and should provide instant feedback, when you are trying to rig up sophisticated studio lightings with flashes on lightstands. Once you have an idea what you are doing you can return to film.
  3. Sandy Vongries

    Sandy Vongries Moderator Staff Member

    Google Olympus Pen S Flash attachments. There seem to be quite a number of small inexpensive flash attachments available that will fulfill your requirements. I would find an Olympus brand flash if possible. Stay with small and simple, read & follow the instructions for using camera and film with flash as well as instructions of the flash and you should be fine, particularly with color print film.
  4. Small flashes mounted on small cameras are a sure recipe for red-eye! They're also going to be quite underpowered for bouncing unless you use a fast film. Small flashes also use smaller batteries, or less of them. This means poor battery life and/or lengthy recycle times (time between the flash firing and being ready for the next shot).

    Really, there's no substitute for size when it comes to flashes. If you want something that puts out a reasonable amount of light, and keeps that light a suitable distance from the lens, then you have to think bigger.

    Metz manage to make some relatively small and lightweight flashes that also have a reasonable amount of power. They're not cheap however.

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