New (gross) photo toys! (Bag-o-flashes) [updatedx2]
AkioOhtori last edited by AkioOhtori
Long story short, I drunkenly decided to buy new remote flash triggers for my camera. One of my old Cactus units (the cheap but reliable option back when I bought them 1000 years ago) had gone bust while I ignored it for years and replacements aren't really a thing, so for a minimal outlay I got one transmitter and 4 receivers for like $45.
Only one problem: I only own two flashes.
Ok well... not really a problem so much as an opportunity to spend more money, and who doesn't like doing that? Poking around Amazon the "cheap flash" options were surprisingly bleak. I don't remember the details (see: drunk) but the tl;dr was the best option was a $45 flash from Neewer.
Ok. How about eBay? (on noes!)
I quickly discovered that you could buy one flash for $40 or 10+ flashes for $30. Needless to say I didn't need 10+ flashes, but also why the hell not!? My "primary" two flashes were both $100+, good flashes in their day, so having a few junkers to throw in wells or whatever to get the shot seemed like a win? Plus it might be fun to pull apart any that don't work and see how they tick. Last weekend I won the aution for a lot of 11 old flashes and they came in today.
Tale as old as time: OMG THEY STINK.
Not like... in the colloquial sense. Like all cheap items off eBay, these smell like an estate sale. Stale cigarette smoke and decay. Hooray! I quickly unpacked them all, took a quick picture, and threw them outside to de-stankify.
Quick inventory says I have the following:
- Sunpak 344D
- Vivitar 1800
- Focal DA-2000
- RCA CL010 10W (video light)
- Canon ????
- Beseler Toshiba 440
- Vivitar 273 (missing battery cover)
- Lenmar 42FMD
- Vivitar 252 (broken shoe)
- Vivitar 550FD
- Focal 320 BS (not shown)
So preliminary analysis says there are only two (three if you count the video light) that are broken. A couple rely on cable triggers rather than hot shoe, which doesn't really work with my triggers without another cable, which is a pass.
Overall... sort of underwhelmed TBH. Of this gross, dirty collection of old flashes the one I think is the most charming, the Vivitar 252, is borken, and the two that seem worth anything (Sunpak 344 and the Canon mystery flash) are gross and jankity, respectivly. The Canon either has a lot of miles on it or demonstrates the build quality of Canon gear, as it is very... loose.
Luckily: NO BATTERY GOO! I'm shocked, but happy none have these appear to have been lost to battery leaks!
Either way, my enthusiasm is only lightly dampened. I'll sit down with a bottle of goo-gone, bumper polish, and armor-all and get these guys looking spiffy again. Then I'll do a function test and see who still works. (ok maybe the reverse of that order) Lastly I'll see if any of these are worth re-eBaying individually. Not holding my breath on that last one.
Unsure what the fate of the two broken ones is. The Vivitar 273 with the missing battery cover could likely be repaired... but I won't. While I love watching build threads of people fixing old gear, the idea of designing, printing, and installing a new battery cover for an old flash just seems... unreasonable. The Vivitar may live on because I think it is cute, but TBD.
I might do a build thread later... or I might just... pretend this never happened.
UPDATE - 1PM
Alright over lunch I threw batteries in a few of them and have some news. Most worked, a few didn't. Of them the Canon and Sunpak are the only two that are with a damn and somehow the Canon is the only one that offers a manual light control option (1/2, 1/4, 1/8, etc). Unfortunatly, the Canon also has a broken foot and no sync port That said, I think there is enough meat left to get a trigger attached, so I'll try that. Otherwise the Canon is pretty nice, sporting a backlit LCD and auto-flash zoom.
UPDATE - 7PM
Cleaned a few and tested them all. Want to guess how many actually worked?
Two. But on the bright side they were the two nice ones!
Well this was a "fun" experience, but one I'm unlikely to repeat.
I did take one of them apart but was sort of... over it.
facw last edited by
@akioohtori That Vivitar 550 looks quite familiar, I think my parents had something quite similar for their Canon when I was a kid (possibly still have it, I think they kept their old cameras when they moved last summer).
Had a photo buddy years ago who was awash in Vivitar 283s.... always swore they were The One True Reliable Flash.