Flash. A-ha. Saviour of the Universe.


That is the sound of money, hemorrhaging out my wallet across the pond to the YEW ESS of AYE, where these bad boys were purchased;

Vivitar flash boxes

Not the boxes silly, but the stuff in the boxes. In nerd parlance, these are two Vivitar 285HV flashes, and two Morris hot shoe optical slave units. In normal speaky they are bright lights what flash when you press a button on a camera… Oooooooh.. Like this! Flash! AHAAA!

Vivitar flashes fired off camera

Mistake one. Looking directly at these and firing off the shutter hurts my eyes. The blindness eventually subsides, which is a relief I can tell you. On to a more advanced test; Here you can see the flashes illuminating stuff, which is basically what they are designed for. Those grey things at the bottom are record decks – remember when I said I used to not be a SuperStar DJ – these are leftover from them days.

Vivitar flashes lighting up stuff

These flashes, or flashoids as I want them to henceforth be known, are pretty much all manual so you have to do actual working out before you use them. This seems primitive but then I remember I’ve been playing with a Holga for the last few weeks, and then these suddenly are elevated to space-age technology status in my addled little mind.

This white dial here is for the worky outy stuff;

Vivitar flash dial

And this here ‘Vari Power’ dial controls how badly you are going to blind someone. It’s physics Jim, but not as we know it.

I call it the Blind-O-Meter. Set it to stun!

Vivitar Vari Power dial

Anyone that is still reading this is a glutton for punishment, so I will punish you with more nerd speak.

The Morris optical slaves seem to work well – although my tests so far are limited to indoor work in low light. The Vivitar flashes seem to be quite powerful, which is great – the above were all shot at 1/16th power, triggered by an Nikon SB600 in the hotshoe of my D200, which was set at f/22 and 1/250th.

Punishment ends.