I have a new toy to play with now. My wonderful and amazing wife gave me a few father’s day gifts yesterday. One of them I expected, the others I didn’t. The fun toy I received was a Vivitar 285hv flash. I had a chance to play with it a bit yesterday and I am sure I’ll be playing with it a lot more over the ensuing weeks and months. I knew about the flash in advance (I ordered it for myself afterall), but the other gifts I didn’t. My wife took some of the negatives that I shot over the last year and had some 5×7’s and an 8×10 printed and matted for me. The pictures were of my wife pregnant with our son (about 7 months pregnant), our son a few hours after he was born, my wife holding our son’s hand, and our son sitting on my wife’s lap.
Back to the toys though. That 285hv gives a very satisfying thumping sound when the flash discharges at full power. I am just figuring out some of the controls on the flash, though they are generally straight forward, but they aren’t second nature yet. The flash distance calculator is also pretty neat (especially since I prefer manual control). The automatic flash modes are very useful for bounce flash, but I think I’ll probably end up with manual control most of the time. The power on the flash isn’t humbling like a few of the really powerful flashes out there, but with the zoom head it does have a lot of reach. At full power and full zoom (105mm equivelent coverage) using iso400 film it has a reach of 70ft at f/4. Taking into account that the power is reduced by a factor of 4 when you double the distance, you can managed 140ft at f/2 with the flash and zoomed. So if you use a fast telephoto lens, such as a 100mm f/2 zuiko lens, you can pretty much shoot at some pretty good distances (think basketball game, well High School basketball game). I’ll try to have a write up on the flash in the next week and probably much more detailed impressions of if later (such as how it works with different shooting styles, bounce, bounce card, omnibounce (if/when I get one), etc).