Compact flashes

Discussion in 'Leica Accessories' started by usayit, Apr 22, 2013.

  1. usayit

    usayit Leica Place Regular Subscribing Member

    122
    Mar 31, 2013
    Northern NJ
    I find that a lot Leica shooters have this notion that flash should be avoided at all costs or take some pride in "natural light" photography... I personally think that's a bit narrow but hey whatever. So here's a thread for the few that don't shy away from flashes.... and may be looking for suggestions.

    My default have been Sunpaks 422D's (I have 4 of them, 1 with zoom head) with TR-Pak battery pack ( two of them) that have been modified to take RC batteries. The modified batteries provide very fast recycle times. Often with the Nikon SC-17 sync cord when used with the camera. The same set doubles with two basic umbrellas and stands with Cactus V triggers. On occasion, I need something really powerful with the umbrellas and I will bring along a Sunpak 622 pro (high trigger voltage!) using the same batteries. I've been using this set of 422Ds with all my cameras not just with Leica for a very long time. Cheap to find. Reasonable trigger voltage. Replaceable shoes without any tools. EXT-09 remote cord keeps the thryster over the camera. Auto and Manual to 1/16th. Available manual zoom head. Twist and tilt flash head. Runs on 4 AAs or TR-Paks. The 422Ds are missing the battery carriers that make it quick and easy to replace the AAs. They are smaller than many compact flashes of the same time period BUT they still feel large on a Leica M. My kit gets even more bulkier since I prefer to use them with the TR-paks.... which provide more than enough power and cycles.

    Next... the Leica SF24D. Small, compact, powerful enough, uses CR123A batteries (more on that later). It feels at home on a Leica M size and weight wise. At $350USD it doesn't bring a whole lot of value to the table... then again Leica's other flash is $600USD+. The SF-24D is TTL capable with the M's but I find it barely usable. The preflash is slow enough that it can cause subjects to blink when the exposure flash fires. In Auto mode, it works fairly well... controls can be slow on the back. Head doesn't not tilt nor swivel. Their choice of battery is a double edge sword. The CR123A batteries give more cycles and more power than the typical 2 or 4 AA's configuration of compact flashes AND they allow for a smaller unit. VERY NICE! On the other hand, make sure you are carrying an extra set... not as readily available as the AA batteries. There are some rechargeable CR123A batteries available via Ebay and impossible to find locally US. Mine work well enough.... I often use this flash off camera with the same SC-17 cord.

    Next... The Olympus FL-600R (just got it so still learning it). Close to perfect for the Leica M (oddly enough). Its smaller than most of the older style compact flashes since it was designed for the smaller micro 4/3 cameras. Its used in Auto or manual mode. Tilt and swivel with electronic zoom head w/ wide panel All of the custom functions and controls are easy on the back. It has the option to set the focal length readings to FF rather than the 2x crop so you don't get confused. Uses AA batteries yet still manages to be small. Powerful enough. Manual mode using GN with a recommended range readout. Even has a built in optical slave mode. For those with the new M 240, it even has a steady video light built right in as well. On the missing side of things.... It doesn't seem to have an option for a high voltage/capacity battery pack. Unfortunately, mine was dropped (yes.. on the second day of getting it used.. grr) and although I have repaired its shoe the unit no longer swivel's its head.

    So if you are a strobist, I say the 422D's are a good option. The well known Vivitar 285HV are also a good option (still available new) albeit the head doesn't swivel. If you are looking for a single flash with more options, the FL600R is surprisingly very well featured. I'm keeping an eye out for another FL-600R as I would like to have mine swivel.
     
  2. chalkdust

    chalkdust Leica Place Regular

    78
    Apr 3, 2013
    Thanks for the reminder. I do not use flash often enough. But for some family get-togethers where granddaughters are running around to fast for focus, I use a 24 or 25 mm lens set to about f/8 and my SF24D on auto mode on my M8.2. I zone focus for everything within the size of the room. I know it turns the Leica into a point and shoot. But it is a really nice point and shoot. At least I do not miss the shots that way! And besides, these shots are not intended for fine art. They are for catching and keeping the moment!
     
  3. swamiji

    swamiji Leica Place Rookie

    22
    May 17, 2013
    Earth
    I have a variety of flash solutions. My travel flash is the sf24d, unless I am expecting the need for more power then I bring the sf58. If I am doing studio work, then I bring out the PocketWizards, portable umbrellas, and an odd assortment of Metz and other flashes, that picked up over time. I set all on manual and trigger them with the PW. What makes this work is my sekonic 758dr light meter, triggers the flash so I can pre-test the lighting and get a good reading before turning on my camera.

    It's also very portable, the extra Tripod takes up more space than the PWs, flash, etc.
     
  4. TraamisVos

    TraamisVos Leica Place Regular

    50
    Mar 30, 2013
    Zack Arias and Eric Kim rave about the new Yongnuos too.
     
  5. CaptZoom

    CaptZoom Leica Place Regular

    56
    Apr 11, 2013
    I thought about getting a couple of them. They're do cheap! But I'm waiting to see what Lumopro releases in July.
     
  6. CaptZoom

    CaptZoom Leica Place Regular

    56
    Apr 11, 2013
    usayit
    Does the Oly sit securely on the M9? I use Einstiens quite a bit with my M, but until last weekend had never used a hotshot flash. I borrowed a Canon 580 EX ii, and used it in manual mode. I got the flash ten minutes before the event, and had no time to learn it. It was easy enough to set it to manual and control the out put. I didn't even know it had an automatic mode! In any case, the flash did not fully fit the hot shoe. There was quite a bit that I couldn't get to fit. I hear the Nikon SB800s fit real well in the Ms, and the SB900 series do not, which is why I ask about the Oly. Canikon on camera flashes seem to be abhorrently over priced.
     
  7. TraamisVos

    TraamisVos Leica Place Regular

    50
    Mar 30, 2013
    Will Lumopro release a flash in a similar price range in July?
     
  8. CaptZoom

    CaptZoom Leica Place Regular

    56
    Apr 11, 2013
    The previous flagship Lumopro was about $150, and there was no TTL of any sort. It did however have excellent controls and four different ways of syncing (the flagship Leica Flash has only one-via hotshoe and no other sync of any sort). The new one is a brand new design. I don't know much more than that about it.
     
  9. TraamisVos

    TraamisVos Leica Place Regular

    50
    Mar 30, 2013
    hmm.... that does sound interesting, the Lumopro.

    The Leica flash sounds very .... Leica.
     
  10. CaptZoom

    CaptZoom Leica Place Regular

    56
    Apr 11, 2013
    Where the Leica flash lacks sync options, it excels in working admirably on camera/lens combo that transmits NO distance information to the flash. This in itself is remarkable. The flash just doesn't fit what I'm looking for at the moment.
     
  11. usayit

    usayit Leica Place Regular Subscribing Member

    122
    Mar 31, 2013
    Northern NJ
    Fits fine... no problems with mine. It uses a lock lever rather than a screw wheel.
     
  12. CaptZoom

    CaptZoom Leica Place Regular

    56
    Apr 11, 2013
    Thanks.
     
  13. Lawrence A.

    Lawrence A. Leica Place Regular

    76
    Jan 17, 2014
    New Mexico, U.S.A.
    Larry
    I assume if the Olympus flash works well on the Leica M's then the SF24D will work on the Olympus E-M5. I have a large unit to use on a bracket, but for casual use the SF24D is the best small unit I have. I just don't want to fry the innards of the E-M5, so I've held off testing it until I can get an answer from someone with more flash knowledge than I. For off camera work I have some speed-light like units that work fine with the E-M5. It's those time when I need more than the tiny flash that comes with it and less than a powerhouse, that I'd like to use the SF24D on it. Anyone know if it is safe?
     
  14. aaronz28

    aaronz28 Leica Place Regular

    63
    Dec 17, 2014
    how about the SF26? i'd really like to get one for my M9 - but details are sketchy...
     
  15. usayit

    usayit Leica Place Regular Subscribing Member

    122
    Mar 31, 2013
    Northern NJ

    No problems using the SF24D on my EM5.
     
    • Appreciate Appreciate x 1
  16. VINCETAN

    VINCETAN Leica Place Top Veteran

    709
    Aug 19, 2013
    I got to admit that I am one of those who think M shooters should never use a flash. For over 25 years, I've been shooting that way. Even with the fast 400 ASA film back in the good old 90s.

    Well, last week, I bought a Leica SF 58 to go with my M 240. I was getting tired of dark face because of the positioning of the sun or the time of the day. Plus, shooting mostly my kids, I have a short window to shoot them before they are off to another adventure. I had a SF24D before but that was a total disappointment. With the 58 and the TTL-HSS, what a difference. I am really liking it and might just carry it with me all the time. The only complaint obviously is the size. But sure is nice to have a little more control.

    Here a shot taken with the SF-58. Great for fill light. I have not really use it for night time shot yet.

    18507784466_33a5b2f638_b. L1002449.jpg by VINCE, on Flickr
     
    • Agree Agree x 1
  17. asiafish

    asiafish Leica Place All-Pro

    Aug 9, 2013
    Bakersfield, CA
    Andrew
    Very nice, no "deer in the headlights" in that shot.
     
  18. rflove

    rflove Leica Place Regular Subscribing Member

    180
    Jul 13, 2014
    This is an old thread, but maybe I can still get some guidance here. I've been trying to use a flash with the M240 for fill in and slow sync, etc. As it happens I have the FL 600 R flash (along with my EM-1, lenses, etc.). Anyway, for some reason I could not get the flash to fire at all, and finally somehow I got it to fire but it's so dim or maybe firing at the wrong time that the photos are totally dark...

    Anyway, with some trepidation I've attempted to use other old flash units I have but have not had success with them either. Perhaps I'm missing some crucial settings to the camera or who knows what. I would dearly love to get some guidance and help so I can use the flash with the M240. I am a great fan of using natural light or ambient light but to get good results in challenging light situations, I think the flash is the way to go.

    BTW, I just ordered a Photix Ares transmitter and receiver to use the flash off camera. However, I'm thinking that until I can get success with the flash on the shoe of the M240, I'm not likely to have success with any additional accessories.

    Thanks very much for any input you can provide.
     
  19. VINCETAN

    VINCETAN Leica Place Top Veteran

    709
    Aug 19, 2013
    I have not tried any third party flash with the M240 yet but have read somewhere that you can use old style flash like the Vivitar 285 or 283. I decided to just get the SF58 because it allows me to use the HSS-TTL mode. I am able to use this outdoor at sync speed up to 1/4000th which is perfect for fill light. You can tell it how much light you want and it figures out the rest. Pretty easy interface also. I started with the SF24D but did not really like that it will not do HSS-TTL.
     
  20. rflove

    rflove Leica Place Regular Subscribing Member

    180
    Jul 13, 2014
    I figure the SF58 would do, but I really hate the price... Like I said, I got the FL 600r to fire, but there is something wrong and it wont shed light on the subject (pardon the pun). Maybe I just don't know how to set up the M240 and/or the flash.