Vivitar 383 good Optical Slave?

Discussion in 'Lighting Equipment' started by hank_parker, Aug 5, 2009.

  1. Looking to add another optical slave unit (I would prefer flash with this feature built in) for shooting with umbrella. I do more portrait stuff. The Vivitar would also work well with my D90 (backup) if I wanted to mount it on the shoe. Or would a good used SB-25 or SB-26 be a better option... or I am open to other options/suggestions :)
    I did a search and couldn't find too much talk about the 383 on the forum.. is it that bad, or that new?
  2. There was never a Vivitar 383. Do you mean the ancient Vivitar 283? Or the newish Sunpak 383?
    I don't know if the Sunpak unit has an optical slave sensor. The Vivitar 283 didn't.
    Personally I'd be inclined to get a Nikon SB unit, since it gives you both automated flash and manual flash.
  3. This is Vivitar's update of the 283/285 to include a built-in optical slave, TTL and an AF assist lamp and to swivel as well as tilt. Haven't tried one yet but the 283/285s were the best value ever made in a shoe-mount flash and have been a standard for many photographers for more than 20 years. If this is made as well, it will hopefully carry on the tradition. If you don't need the new features, you can put a $20 Wein Peanut onto the 285, which is still made and sells for about $90. but then you're within $10 of the 383 and might as well pay the extra money and have the latest.
  4. Well, isn't that interesting? Yes, it looks like this DF 383 is a post-Sakar rebranding of an inexpensive Tumax DPT388AFZ flash unit. That is to say, the old company named Vivitar is basically no more and its name is being used by a company called Sakar as a branding tool to sell a variety of products.
    This DF 383 is therefore completely unrelated to the classic Vivitar 283 and 285 models. That doesn't mean that I think they're good or bad; just that they don't have anything to do with each other.
  5. thanks guys. ..and very interesting NKGuy, I'll dig around some more on that.
  6. I too had considered the 383, but not too sure of it since it is so new. I'm waiting for them to build their reputation back up myself. You might also consider the LumoPro LP 120 manual flash...though it too is pretty new. Myself, I bought a couple of 285's (not HV) off ebay on the cheap and added Sonia optical triggers and they are working great for me.
  7. Kirk Tuck, the Austin based photographer and author, indicated on his blog that he is using the Vivitar 383 (the Olympus version) and he seemed pleased with it. I have two of the newer 285HV and one is kaput...I will probably replace it with a 383....but for 50 bucks more I could have a Calumet Genesis 200....New equipment and the never ending debate!
  8. I've been using this flash since February, and gotten great results with it. ( -- most of my newer shots were with the Viv. Sorry I can't pinpoint a few examples, I'm at work and our internet filters don't like MM.)
    That is to say, I was using this flash up until 2 days ago when it died on me in the middle of a shoot. Now I'm looking for the paperwork to send it in for warranty repair, and going to B&H to order another one. Hey, it's a really good flash... a GREAT flash for the money. I'll upgrade to better gear when my budget isn't quite so tight.

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