Good day to all.
Even at school, I became interested in film photography, and since then, no, no, yes, and my hands are reaching for the camera. After buying a digital camera, I still couldn’t get a flash, but lately a situation has arisen more and more often when the built-in one is not enough. So once again, after thinking, I decided to buy this device, which is undoubtedly important for photography. To begin with, I decided to opt for a manual flash, and if I later buy TTL, then this one will not disappear either, I will use it to illuminate the background when shooting indoors.
I bought a flash on TaoBao at the time of purchase, the price was $ 31.
Delivery of the parcel took a month and a half, taking into account the time for the formation of the parcel by an intermediary.
The flash came to me in a branded cardboard box. Additionally, the seller put a plastic diffuser cap.
Brief characteristics of the flash:
- Compatible cameras: universal
- Type: Manual without TTL.
- Guide number: 33
- Min. reload time: 0.4s
- Max. reload time: up to 5 s
- Pulse Width: 1/1050
- Power control: 1/1, 1/2, 1/4, 1/8, 1/16, 1/32, 1/64, 1/128
- Modes: M, Multi, slave first second pulse
- Display: yes
- Display backlight: yes
- Mount: hot shoe
- Min. number of operations from one set of batteries: 90
- Max. number of operations from one set of batteries: 650
- Battery type: AA x 4 pcs.
- Autofocus light: no
- Swivel head: yes
- Up Angle: 90
- Horizontal rotation angle: 270
- Auto Zoom: No
- Wide Angle Diffuser: Yes
- Manual power adjustment: yes
- Front curtain sync: depending on the camera
- Rear curtain sync: camera dependent
- Master flash mode: no
- Remote flash mode: yes
- Dimensions: 18x 7.5×4.8 cm
- Weight 350 g
Inside the box, in addition to the flash itself, there is also an instruction in English and Chinese, a warranty card, a soft bag for storage and carrying, and a stand for mounting on a flat surface or mounting on a tripod.
Outwardly, the flash looks like a professional one and has almost all the parameters that more expensive flashes have, with the exception of its main difference, completely manual control without any connection to the camera. But the flash will work with almost any camera that has a hot shoe, even with an old Zenith.
The only exception is Sony cameras, which have a very specific hot shoe format, but you can use this flash with them if you use the appropriate adapter. Since the flash is manual, its hot shoe is extremely simple, one central contact, and a small pin for fixing in the socket. There is a plastic ring around the shoe, by twisting it you can additionally fix the flash on the camera, or fix it where there is no place for a pin.
On the left side of the flash, behind a rubber plug, there is a connector for connecting an external power flash or a battery pack and a round connector for connecting a sync cable. The entire right side is occupied by the battery compartment. The flash is powered by four AA batteries, it is possible to use both alkaline batteries and rechargeable batteries, the latter is preferable, since the flash has a significant consumption and one set of inexpensive alkaline batteries can take no more than 20–25 frames at full power.
On the back of the case is a display and buttons to control the flash.
The flash head can pop up 90 degrees and rotate 180 degrees to the left and 90 degrees to the right. Thus, the flash can be easily directed in almost any direction.
The flash can work in three modes:
manual mode — when the shutter is fired, the flash gives one pulse of a given power. Power can be set from 1/1 full pulse to 1/128 of full power, 8 steps in total. When switching power, there are additionally two intermediate values between steps of ±0.3 and ±0.7, so 22 power values are obtained. In my opinion, such a number of steps is somewhat redundant and would make sense with the support of TTL mode, but not at all with manual flash.
Slave Mode — in this mode, the flash fires as a slave, I use my light trap to set fire to it. When choosing the Slave mode, it is possible to set whether the flash will fire on the first pulse or skip the evaluation pulse and fire only on the second (main) pulse of the master flash. , when the trap is oriented towards the object being filmed and at a distance of 7–8 meters, when the trap is facing the camera.
Strobe mode — allows you to make a series of several pulses of a given power with the specified equal intervals between them. The number of pulses in a series depends on the set power and the time between, the stronger the pulse and the shorter the time, the shorter the series will be. The strobe mode is often used for shooting at slow shutter speeds and allows you to get very beautiful photos.
For example, this is how it looks in promotional photos on the product page on TaoBao.
Unfortunately, this mode does not work correctly for me. To work out the stroboscope, it is necessary that the camera continues to keep the contacts connected in the shoe all the time while the shutter is open. And my Panasonic doesn’t do that, so instead of a strobe, I get just one pulse. I don’t know if this is a feature of my camera or flash, but, alas, it exists as it is. Fortunately, the strobe works, there is to hold down and hold the button for the test flash release, so I managed to take at least some picture with the strobe, and although it does not shine with genius and beauty, it quite allows you to understand the meaning of the mode.
The manufacturer in the manual writes that the flash has autofocus illumination, but in fact it does not. There is a button, when pressed, the flash emits a series of pulses that practically merge into one, a couple of seconds long, of course, it can be used for backlighting, but it is terribly inconvenient to do this, you have to press the button on the flash with one hand and the shutter release on the camera.
And its one drawback that I noticed when using the flash, it has a rather narrow beam angle, so when shooting at close range, the light spot border is very sharp, the diffuser helps to cope with this a little, but not completely.
A few words about delivery. Since TaoBao does not directly deliver goods outside of China, I had to look for an intermediary. I must say right away that delivery from China is not at all cheap, for 1 kilogram of a parcel, including the weight of the package, they ask from $ 20 and this is not counting the services of an intermediary. For me, the YoyBuy website acted as an intermediary and delivered my parcel with a total weight of 1.3 kg — the delivery price, including intermediary services, is $ 30. Flash weight 350 grams including package weight. When ordering, you could save a little if you refuse cargo insurance, the cost of insurance was $ 3, for new users there is a $ 10 discount coupon.
Small conclusion: In general, I got exactly what I expected, the work upset me a little, or rather, not the work of the strobe, but I was not going to use it often. The flash, of course, is not at all intended for reportage shooting, or for photographing any dynamic scenes, but it is quite suitable for home photography or even for a small studio as a secondary light source. It can even be used as the main flash, but only if there is confidence that it will be possible to make a second, third, fourth and … take.