Recommend a cheap(ish), mains powerable, manually adjustable speedlite.

Discussion in 'Lighting Equipment' started by david_killingback, Jun 28, 2010.

  1. Hi,
    I'm looking to buy a few speedlites, I was wondering if anyone might be able to make some suggestions I could research. Here's the spec. I need them to conform to:
    1) Cheap. The price of a used Vivitar 283 would be perfect.
    2) I'm after a few of these for studio use and constantly recharging batteries will drive me insane, so mains powerable would be awesome.
    3) Must be manually adjustable from 1/1 to 1/32, or better 1/128.
    4) Flash duration must be as fast as possible - 1/1000 (t.5) at 1/1 or quicker would be ideal.
    I already have a Nikon SB-800 which is perfect, but too expensive by far to be buying 6 of.
    I'll only ever be triggering these wirelessly, so no problems with trigger voltage. Any suggestions? I'd be quite happy to go with Vivitar 283's if it's possible to get past the batteries.
    Really appreciate any help you might be able to offer.
  2. Fast flash duration, mains powerable and for studio use all says studio lights not speedlights to me - why speedlights? Why do you need 6?
  3. The Yongnuo YN-460 II flash is pretty well respected by the strobist discussion group on flikr. I have one on the way at the moment myself. I don't know what the flash duration is, but it is adjustable up to 1/64, you could always slap on a ND gel to lower the light output even more. I paid about $50 shipped off of ebay, which is the only place to buy them as far as I know.
  4. I have an Elinchrom Ranger RX Speed with 'A' heads for "reasonably" fast flash duration, but the Elinchrom can in no way compete with the 10,000th or 20,000th of a second you can get from a speedlite (or 6). The Elinchrom is not even quite fast enough to freeze water pouring from a bottle.
  5. Hi Trevor, thanks for that suggestion, will look into it right now.
    Looks good, but no mains power option that I can see, unless you know any different?
  6. Have a look at Paul Buff Einsteins. In action mode, "t.1" is 1/13500th of a sec at low power which may still be significantly more than a speedlight meaning you don't need 6 of them.
  7. I'll look into that Mark, thanks.
  8. I second that on the Einsteins. You shouldn't need speeds that fast to freeze a splash or pour though--I've done it with my White Lightnings, and they weren't anywhere near full power, which means the flash duration was longer.
  9. The Einstein is interesting but I'd still be after at least 4 units for directionality and then you're looking at $1700++. I'm in the UK but that'll probably still be £1500uk or so. For £200 I could have 6 Vivitar 283's.
    A mains powered Vivitar 283 would be perfect. Any suggestions?
  10. If you could get the Vivitar SB-4 mains adapter from somewhere in the UK it might solve the problem but they probably won't be easy to find
  11. Wow, never even knew that existed. The chances of getting 6 of them (or the SB-6) seem slim. To say the least. Just wondering if I can get a power adapter from Maplins that will drive a Vivitar 283/285/285HV?
    In fact there isn't even a mention of the power lead necessary to power a SB-800 on Nikons UK site. Wakey wakey Nikon, there are very good reasons for using your speedlites in a studio where batteries aren't needed.
    Thanks for the suggestions y'all, appreciated! Keep 'em coming!
  12. Oops, double post.
  13. Your best bet might be Michael Bass ( who makes just about every conceivable bracket, sync connection etc. for flashes and loves a chance at trying something new. Drop him and line and see if he can help you, he's a helpful guy.

    I guess the issue is that speedlights were designed to be small and portable so mains power has never really been considered. The short flash duration is a coincidence as a result of their design more than a goal.
  14. Thanks Mark, I've dropped Michael a line.
    Any other suggestions anyone?
  15. AJG


    Even if you find a lot of AC adapters, be prepared for long recycling times--I had one for my first Vivitar 285 and it was very slow (15 seconds). If you can live with that, then the 283's should work out.
  16. Vivitar 283's, a 6 volt car battery and some cords to fit the 6 volt socket on the flash. Mains adapters for the 283/285 are not high current devices and take forever to recharge after firing. If you can't find the cords, make some using the aftermarket AA battery inserts available on the bay.
  17. Thanks Andrew and Bob, I'll factor all that info into the equation. Sounding like a couple of 6v car batteries to power 2 to 3 flashes each is the way to go.
    Thanks y'all for your help, very much appreciated!
    If anyone has more info on the topic do chip in.
  18. Hey thanks Wei Wei, would never have come across that option myself.

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