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Thread: Small flash needed

  1. #1
    rpcrowe's Avatar
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    Small flash needed

    I am looking for a small flash for my wife's pld Nikon Coolpix 5400 (yes, we are a mixed marriage - Canon/Nikon).

    She only uses the camera when she delivers a rescue dog to its new home to shoot a picture of the dog with its new family. My wife is quite happy with the Coolpix and it is well within her comfort zone of expertise. The image quality of the 5400 is plenty adequate for her needs which are to put a small version of the image on our website www.americanmalteserescue.org. The only problem with this camera is that the built-in flash (like all built-ins) provides terrible lighting. The camera does come equipped with a hotshoe...

    I would like to find a small hotshoe flash to improve the lighting when she shoots an indoor shot of the dog in its new furever home. It doesn't need to be very powerful.

    Here are the parameters I would like to find if I can:

    1. SMALL - that is the ultimate prerequisite. My wife will not carry a large flash. Heck, I have an old Vivitar 283 which would give fine light but that is too large. I'd prefer that the flash be in the area of my 270EX size. To bad, I can't use the 270EX. (Is there any way I could?)

    2. Bounce capable - but, it doesn't need to rotate. My wife shoots in landscape position all the time.

    3. Auto capable with the Coolpix 5400 - TTL is not required - Thyristor is just fine.

    4. Relatively inexpensive - I'd like to keep it around $50 USD. I am very willing to buy used and to select a non-Canon brand. This is a specialized purchase and will probably be used for only 20-30 images a year.

    The Coolpix manual is worthless regarding flash compatibility because it (obviously) lists only Nikon flash units which were available when the camera was sold. Additionally, many of the flash units that are listed as compatible work with the Coolpix 5400 only in the manual mode.

    In as much as Nikon provided a hotshoe on the 5400, I am surprised that they did not market a flash in a size compatible with the camera. Maybe they did and I just don't know about it.

    If anyone knows a flash unit that is now available (or which was once available) that might fill my needs, please let me know. The closest I have come is the Metz Mecablitz 20.
    Last edited by rpcrowe; 24th November 2011 at 04:38 PM.

  2. #2

    Re: Small flash needed

    Why does she need a flash unit at all? Why not simply use a diffuser like the Gary Fong "puffer," etc.?

  3. #3

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    Lennart Elg

    Re: Small flash needed

    The SB400 only works in TTL mode, does the old Coolpix support this? A neat little flash if it does..

  4. #4
    rpcrowe's Avatar
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    Re: Small flash needed

    I read a review on the Coolpix 5400 and it supports the Nikon SB-50DX in TTL. A bit bigger than I wanted but only $56 USD with shipping used in supposedly minty condition from eBay...

  5. #5
    inkista's Avatar
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    Kathy Li

    Re: Small flash needed

    I'd still up the budget and go with the Nikon equivalent of the 270EX: the SB-400. She's not liable to want to haul a full-sized speedlight with her or to use it off-camera. The SB-400 has the tilting head, and hey, fellow San Diegan Ken Rockwell loves it (there's an endorsement for ya ).

    The SB-50DX would be nicer if she wanted to go off-camera/Strobist, though (has a built-in optical slave).

    Or maybe an SB-30?

    Doubt you could use the 270EX, since it's e-TTL only, and Nikons speak i-TTL. If it had manual power control, maybe.
    Last edited by inkista; 24th November 2011 at 09:05 PM.

  6. #6
    rpcrowe's Avatar
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    Re: Small flash needed

    Actually, the SB400 is worth more than the camera... The reason that I selected the SB-50DX was that it was illustrated mounted on the Coolpix in the review of the 5400 on dpreview.com

    http://www.dpreview.com/reviews/nikoncp5400/page4.asp

    The Nikon Coolpix 5400 belonged to my wife's late-mother and I am amazed that it listed for $800 new about seven years ago. It is only a 5.0mp camera however, it does have a couple of neat additions which I would like to have seen in my Canon 7D.

    It can record an audio snippet to identify the images. I would really like this but, use low resolution video on the 7D for the same thing.

    It has an intervalometer built-in which can provide images at time lapse intervals. The video, although not HD, can also be used in a time lapse mode. That would be a LOT OF FUN... Shooting video on a stadium filling, game being played and the stadium emptying.

    The camera only shot in TIFF and JPEG when it was introduced but there is a free upgrade which I can download that will add RAW capability.

    A cute addition, but not really necessary, is that the user can select a panorama mode which will lock in the shooting parameters and will (and I like this) provide a numbering system for the pano images that are proceeded by the letter P.

    I usually identify my pano strings by taling a shot of my hand with the finger pointed in one direction for the start and the other direction for the end of the pano. Long pano strings are usually pretty easy to identify. However, occasionally, I shoot a two or three frame string intended to be used as a pano and then when I am viewing the images, forget about shooting as a pano and wonder "why did I frame this image in this manner?" I'm getting old, so I can be excused that lapse in memory.

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