Amazon Basics Speedlight - $27.99 - back in stock

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Ok...initial impression time!

They arrived today in a plain brown box with an Amazon Basics sticker sealing the box. Words in different languages reads "Electronic Flash for DSLR Cameras"

Opening the box and you get a manual with instructions in 8 languages. The flash unit itself, a ripstop-like pouch for the flash and a little hot shoe stand. Everything wrapped up in that anti-static type plastic.

The flashes are big. A few millimeters taller and wider than a Nikon SB-26. My SB-28 and SB-600 are much smaller in comparison.

It takes 4 AA batteries. Used Eneloop Pros for the initial test and the flash fired up almost instantly and just popped away, even at 1:1. Manual claims that it could take up to 3 seconds to recharge after a full power pop.
Guide number is listed at 33 @ ISO 100. Power is rated from 1:1 through 1:128 in 1 stop increments.

The flash has a power port for external power, the standard one with 3 metal pins. It also has a PC sync port for off camera triggers. On the back part of the fresnel is a built in wide angle diffuser and a white bounce card.

It states in the manual that the flash will sleep after 5 minutes of inactivity, but can be woke by pressing the test button or by turning on the camera. I will have to test if this will power on by half pressing the camera or by waking the remote flash trigger.

A bit of a shocker, but the hot shoe is metal. I was expecting plastic. While we are on the subject of plastic...this is one of the small let downs of the unit. The plastic seems flimsy, but not sure if that is because of the quality of the plastic or if it is just not supported well with an internal frame of some kind.

All the buttons have a positive press and are labeled well.

There are 3 modes. Manual (M), Slave 1 (S1) and Slave 2 (S2).
Manual is what you expect it to be. You trigger the flash and it goes off.

The slave modes are the interesting part. S1 is a built in optical slave. It fires as soon as it sees another flash fire off.
S2 claims to understand TTL signals and in theory ignores the TTL preflashes and only fires at the "correct" time. I did a quick test with my Ricoh GR II in TTL flash mode and it appeared to do as advertised. I will need to test this a bit more to see if it really does work.

The head does swivel and tilt, however, there is no lock. If you have a heavy mod on the flash, it will not be able to lock into an angled position or stay straight.

I tested the optical slave as well as remote triggers. Radio triggers of choice were the Radio Popper JrX. Flash fired every time with no failures, probably did 20 low power pops and 10 full power pops.

I'll use them on my next photoshoot, report back on that experience and if there are any specific questions, fire away! :D
 
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Nice report. Knowing nothing about flashes, I'm curious what they can't do that the more expensive ones can do? Anything this cheap, I assume there is something missing.
There is no quench pin on the Amazon flash. The Radio Popper JrX triggers have a function where they can remotely control the power of a flash with a quench pin. These flashes would not be afforded this feature. Right now, that is about the only manual flash limitation I can see.
 
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Yesterday, I had a chance to finally use the Amazon flashes on a job.

I eased into it slowly, as the last thing I want to do is compromise the integrity of a client paid shoot. What this means is that I used my Alien Bee's as a key and accent light and relegated the AmazonBasics Flash to hair light. I'll post a few sample pics either tonight or tomorrow from the shoot. I've not yet begun processing the images yet.

So, how did it perform? Very well! Synced with the AB's just fine, very quite. I realized that there is no whine of the capacitors when it recharges, at least nothing in the same level like my Nikon SBs. I can appreciate the simplicity of the interface as well. I just needed to power it on and click the power adjuster. Ready to go.

When I first did a test, I connected the Amazon flash to the hot shoe activator on my Radio Popper trigger. That worked fine. For this shoot, I needed to use the older RP trigger that requires the use of a cable. The PC sync port is tight and has a nice click to it. Unlike the older Nikon SBs where the cable can sometimes pop out...that is not going to happen with teh Amazon flash.

So, real world test number one = success!
 
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Man...got busy! Finally had a chance to finish up the portrait session post processing.

Nothing earth shattering, but here are three images. A lot of subjects had darker hair and the black background was eating their hair, so I used the AmazonBasics Flash as a hair light.
This is the setup I used, quick cell phone snap:
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Butlerkid

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Wow! These are outstanding portraits! And I think the Amazon flashes were a minor contribution considering the skill of the photographer! I HATE having my photo taken (hence my avatar!), but I'd take a chance with you!
 
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Great report, I don't understand much about using flashes, but it looks like that inexpensive Amazon flash worked. Beautiful photos, that's an impressive setup you have.
Not very expensive setup, relatively. 2 Alien Bee 400's, 2 umbrella boxes and a set or Radio Popper triggers. Amazon flash in the back there.... Not too shabby and makes talking the studio on the road little hassle.

I tried a DIY backdrop stand, but hated it as I worried it would not be stable enough, so I didn'the money on that lumopro all metal rig you see in the picture . Well worth the money .
 
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Here are 2 images from the father/daughter dance I shot. Only used 2 AmazonBasics Flashes at 1/4 power. Powerex 2700 mah batteries. same light mods as the portraits from above, which are umbrella boxes.

Shooting info, 1/250, f/5.6, ISO 320

Around 100+ flashes over an hour and a half time frame, no failures with consistent power output. The flashes do go to sleep after 5 minutes of non-use, but a quick test button press from the transmitter wakes them up and they are ready to go.
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