real small hotshoe flash

Discussion in 'Lighting Equipment' started by mathilde_mupe, Jan 22, 2009.

  1. Pro camera like 5D and others lack an internal flash. That's pro. And that also ignores the fact that build in flash is great to make daylight street photo's 'pop'.
    Since I'm interested in buying pro gear I will also need and external flash, usable to be all the time on camera during long walks. It may be connected either by sync cable or hotshoe.
    I'm not interested in swivel heads, mega distance blazing light. Those I have gathering dust in a box.
    A bit of light intensity control would be nice, either manual or e-ttl. Flash power maybe limited to 4 meters. Small is also important, because it is less impressive while shooting street life.
    I found Sony had some ultra lightweight (52grams) Sony HVL-HFL1 for video and photo. Perfect for 5DII . Ofcourse it has Sony contacts and not Canon. I'm not afraid to tweak hardware but I doubt the possibility to make a conversion plug.
    So any suggestion for a matchbox sized flash?
    Or suggestion for a matchbox sized flash that can be adjusted to sync contact?
  2. not exactly matchbox sized ... but how about Canons speedlight 220ex ?
  3. Read your 5D camera manual and see list of compatible flashes, and that is what I would recommend first.
    If you are already a flash expert?, then you could venture into other non-compatible, or less compatible flashes, and manual or non-TTL automation modes.
    For what you seems to look for is that you will drop the Canon E-TTL II compatibility this way.
    There were many small flashes from Hannimex, Vivitar, Sunpak, Focal, Spiratone, Sigma, Minolta, Pentax, and others. In manual mode perhaps important to you would be some form of Vari-Power setting to match and adjust manually fill-in light amount, but unfortunately most small flashes do not have this feature.
    Let's just hope someone has the golden solution for or visit a good photo camera store and try some used or new flashes that match your size criteria and features.
  4. The XLF-50 may suit your needs. I've never seen it in person, don't know how well it works. It says Quantaray which scares me. But it looks to be about the smallest one I've seen. If you do buy it ask what the return policy is for sure and test it, test it, test it.
    I use a 220EX on a 40D and it does the trick, not too bulky either. TTL only but can be adjusted +/- in the menus.
  5. The flash Dan describes is made by Sunpak and their model designation is RD-2000. I have seen forum postings from people who use it on their 5Ds as the 'missing' pop up flash. It is ETTL compatible and people seem to like it, however, there have been reports that it doesn't fire on the 5D II. Apparently, Canon has done something to the flash implementation that makes this flash not work.
    I have an old Sunpak 1600A auto thyristor which is small. However it only has a basic manual mode and 2 auto apertures. It also has a sync voltage more than 6 volts but less than 250, but is very cheap used, and even has a tiltable head.
  6. Thanks. This helped to narrow down my search. (And gave me some google on for Europe exotic brands).
    I will share my finds;
    The most leightweight for Canon is Starblitz 120 mini 50 grams, gn 12. Alas no on flash regulation of output power.
    6 ~ 8 sec recycle time is a bit much. But he, the weight is cute with only 1 AA battery.
    More interesting is Olympus FL 20, 74 gram, gn 20, 2 xAA and output power regulation 1/8 upto full, manual and auto. I like this one but no specs on Olympus hotshoe contact points.
    Yes it should be usabable with a bit of isolation and 2 contact connection. No info of recharge time.
    Does anyone have a link with Olympus hotshoe electronic information?
    Sunpak PF20XD , 100 grams, 2 x AAA sounds also good with 1/32 upto full power regulation . But I'm not sure if this is only a slave...Anyone an answer on this?
    I'm a bit suprised that flash device industry is so conservative. There is a great choice of small / ultra small slave flashes with output regulation. But somehow they do'nt dare to publish such as 1' flash for pro gear? There are no hotshoe conversion 'bla' thingies between Sony/ Olympus / Canon/ Nikon and so on.
    Well 2 contacts will work for me.
  7. The Starblitz is similar in form to my Osram Sunny Boy. I don't think the Olympus can be used with Canon cameras--it is only Olympus TTL capable--however, I am a dummy when it comes to electronics.
    I think the Sunpak is hotshoe capable. I looked at several pictures of the back of the unit and one of the switches is to control X sync as opposed to slave mode. 3 auto apertures and manual partial power control sounds very good. Plus one of the sites showing it had a user review which mentioned using it on a DSLR.
    Here is a post about it.
    You might also want to check out some used Rollei flashes, such as the one below. I have one and they are small.
    I would check sync voltage though.
  8. Just to let you know;
    I found the Osram Sunnyboy secondhand. This tiny flash shouted from the pile of junk; Take me home!
    It is indeed smallest flash I ever have seen; Less than 1/2 sized cigarette box.
    According to internet sources; trigger voltage is 188V too much for most average digital camera's. My camera specs only state that x-sync can handle up to 250V (no word about hotshoe voltage) . To be safe I use it with x-sync.
    Power supply 1 AAA battery.
    Weight with battery 54 gram.
    Weight with battery and x-sync shoe 65 gram.
    No ttl, no intensity. The only user preference with this flash is on/off, (not even a strobe test button :)
  9. I own several small flashes. My favorite is a Sunpak Auto 500. Two auto settings and a manual, with bounce capability. Powered by 2AA's. I use a hotshoe voltage protector, since I don't know its voltage. Thing works like a charm. The key to the usability of any small flash for fill is having a pro-level body that synchs at 1/250 or higher. `

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