1. Welcome to NikonCafe.com—a friendly Nikon camera & photography discussion forum!

    If you are thinking of buying a camera or need help with your photos, you will find our forum members full of advice! Click here to join for free!

Cheap flash?

Discussion in 'General flash photography, lighting, and technique' started by Spectral, Aug 4, 2009.

  1. So I need a couple of decent but cheap flashes that I can use for my automotive shooting. My friend uses a couple of fully manual flash activated flashes he got for like 70 bucks each.

    Any ideas what I can get for that?
    I am also looking to pick up an sb600 but i want 2 or 3 others that are cheaper.
  2. jerryshenk


    Jan 8, 2009
    I'd really like to see the answer for this question 'cuz I've got it too. Actually, I have an old Vivitar 283 that I have an optical slave for (no how much it cost, I've had it for over 20 years). My son also got me a Sunpak 40X. So, with the combination of those two and the camera's flash, I think I could light things up pretty well. I'm not sure I'd have enough power to fully light a car shot.

    Check out these message thread: https://www.nikoncafe.com/vforums/showthread.php?t=237902 - that one's on shooting product....much smaller than a car;) 
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 15, 2017
  3. The 283 and 285 I was reading up on and they seem like they could do the job pretty well. I want to pick up like 2 right now then one or 2 in a little while.
  4. SB24, SB26, SB28. All great and cheap
  5. mematsu


    May 2, 2007
    los angeles
    Add the Lumopro LP-120s to the list. They're on the high side for a manual flash $130 but include a two year warranty from Mpex.com. < Great customer service!

    The build quality is no where near the SBs but I feel they're adequate for moderate use. They include an optical slave and PC/Mini inputs which are nice to have.

    Here are the specs...

  6. anyone else??
  7. jerryshenk


    Jan 8, 2009
    Charlie, question about the SB24, 26 & 28 - will they "participate" in the CLS groups?
  8. a.dickens


    Oct 6, 2008
    I'm not Charlie, but I can answer. No, the older sb's won't work in CLS mode.. The 26 does have a built in optical slave though.
  9. jerryshenk


    Jan 8, 2009
    thanks, Austin.
  10. The older Nikons flashes are not as cheap as they used to be prior to the Strobist series of articles on them. Previously you could pick them for for 30-40 bucks. Now for the 24, 26, 28 expect to pay $90 to ~$200. A LN SB 26 can run nearly as much as a new sb 600. Also ebay prices on these flashes tend to be higher than KEH prices.

    My advices would if you want cheap e.g. $40 or so would be to track donw some of the older modular system vivitars.
  11. chemisti


    May 24, 2007
    McKinney, TX
    Cheap flashes

    IMHO - Those looking for "cheap used flashes" are fighting two trends:
    a. The skyrocketing popularity of off-camera flash technique.
    b. The huge increase in sales of DSLRs - thus more potential users of old flash units.

    There were only so many older flashes out there - fixed supply, increasing demand.

    I'm not in the market - but you might have better luck looking at garage sales and finding old flashes there - a box of old film camera stuff with accessories...

    If I were starting out today, I would seriously consider the LumoPro units - basically designed from the ground up as a manual off-camera unit (variable power, several sync options, simple operation) and the two year warranty as already mentioned. I have not actually used one - but they are getting decent reviews from the Strobist folks who are constantly scouring the globe for a cheaper and effective flash (and stands, umbrellas, radio triggers, lighting mods, batteries, etc.).

    If you are into DIY, there is a guy in the Strobist group on Flickr who figured out how to alter the desktop stand that comes with the Nikon flashes and turn it into a hotshoe with a sync port... Pretty clever - already fits the flash, has a threaded hole in the bottom, and doesn't require surgery on the flash unit itself.

    Good luck
  12. mematsu


    May 2, 2007
    los angeles
    Add to the statistics that I did have a SB-25 and an SB-26 fail on me in the last two months. Just bad luck but a deciding factor for me on going with Mpex.com and the LP120s.
  13. Ok, so I just pulled out some old film gear my dad had and there is a spectrum 350MD flash. I couldn't find the paper work on it but i think its a vivitar model flash from what i remember pulling it out last.

    does anyone know anything about this? can i use it off camera?
  14. darkside


    Jan 2, 2009
    Orlando, Fl
    as mentioned above, check keh.com, I got my SB24 and SB25 from there, for around $90-$100 each, getting ready to pick up another SB25 as well.
  15. How are the vivtar 283s?? I know my friend reccomended the 285's but there are some 283's ive seen for cheap.

    How are those?
  16. mematsu


    May 2, 2007
    los angeles
    The 283s are great but lack a manual adjustment if I remember correctly. They require an add-on.
  17. so is the 285 a better route?

    the have the 285 and 285HV that are decent as well.
  18. mematsu


    May 2, 2007
    los angeles
    The 283s might work out great for you. The more options the easier it gets. Not better.
  19. Yes the 283 do lack the manual power adjustment like the 285 series does. I have just resurrected a few older flashes that belonged to dad, specifically 2x283s, 1 285, 1 3500 and 1 5300. The 285 also has the added benefit of a zoom head. Pretty much any flash can be used off camera - just need a trigger. The flash you mention the spectrum appears to be a minolta flash - it just couldnt be used on cam.
  20. haha thanks for answering Austin. i hadnt gotten on all day so wasnt able too. But you are right, they will not work in CLS, but the built in optical slave is a great feature for it.
  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.