Flash VS Comparison

Strobist Flash Most Powerfull Zoom Nikon Canon Pentax Sony-1

There are thousands of flashes out there and with the high cost of the top new ones, the question gets asked “are there cheaper old flashes?” Most flashes will either not work on the new digital DSLR’s or they will mess with your camera. However with the increasing amount of off-camera strobist photographers out there, many of us don’t bother with on camera flash that often.
Off camera wireless radio systems make it possible to use these older flashes off camera without worrying about frying your camera. With the really low cost of these flashes it is now possible to use many of them all over as rim lights, gelling walls, cars, windows and whatever you can think of.
 There are three main things that I care about when looking for flashes:

1. Power- I am always seeking flashes with a ton of power. I find the more ideas I have for photos the more power I need to accomplish them. With the newer speedlights this usually comes with a high cost. It seems I never have enough. If you have too much power from your flash you can always dial it down in the flash or use ND gels.

2. Light fall pattern- Good flashes will have even coverage across the whole area lit and not have many light patterns or hot spots. Some flashes have uneven lines running in all different directions causing uneven light patterns. Zoom flashes are really bad for this and some are just junk. Hot spots are usually in the very center which will blow out the center while the rest will be darker although lit. On zoom flashes they will sometimes also pinch light on the top or sides. Also watch for color differences between flashes. This may or may not be something you care about.

3. Cycle Time- I don’t cover cycle time in the review because I was mostly interested in the power and light fall. I usually only care about cycle time if I’m on the job and would only bring my newer speedlights. But when out playing around I don’t care as much. Most of the older flashes were really slow cycling so you can expect to wait a bit.
I will be continually adding to this page as I test more flashes. All of the flashes were shot with the same settings in the camera and flashes.

The flashes were shot at 1/1 full power with no gels or add on wide of Fresnel panels unless stated otherwise. You can roll your mouse over each focal length for the flashes that zoom.

All of the flashes were organized on this page from what I could tell being the highest power output to the lowest running down. Most of the fixed focal flashes were usually locked around 28-35mm so when I compared them with the zoom flashes I compared mostly 35mm and or 28mm if I had to.

Photos were taken 7ft from my ceiling pointing at a central spot being the fire sprinkler. So far it has not gone off he he!

Photos taken with Canon 5D Mark ii at 100th/sec, 100iso, Auto WB, Tokina 16-28mm at f/22.

Metz 45 CT-4


Sunpak Auto 522 Thyristor


Canon 580EX ii


Nikon SB-26


Canon 420EZ

24mm | 28mm | 35mm | 50mm | 80mm


Canon 430EZ


Vivitar 285HV Zoom Thyristor Vari Power

28mm | 35mm | 80mm

Vivitar 283 Auto Thyristor

Vivitar 283 Auto Thyristor Flash Strobist VS Power Nikon Canon-1

Sunpak Auto 443 D Thyristor

Sunpak Auto 443 D Thyristor Flash VS Review Power Pentax-1

Vivitar 273 Auto Thyristor

Vivitar 273 Auto Thyristor Flash 35mm vs power-1


Starblitz 3200BT Twin S

Starblitz 3200BT Twin S Flash VS Review Nikon Canon-1

Sunpak 422D Auto Thyristor

Sunpak 422D Auto Thyristor 35mm Power-1

Vivitar 636AF Auto Focus Illuminator


Vivitar 4600

Vivitar 4600 System Auto Thyristor Flash Strobist VS Power-1

Minolta Auto 25

Minolta Auto 25 Flash VS Review Comparison-1

Pentax AF280T

Pentax AF280T Flash Test Photo VS Comparison Shots 28mm-1

Canon 300EZ Speedlite


Minolta Maxxum 2800 AF

Minolta Maxxum 2800 AF Test Shots Powerfull-1

Minolta Auto 280PX

Minolta Auto 280PX 280 PX Flash Review Power-1

Canon 580EX MKi Speedlite


Achiever 260AF Dedicated AutoFocus


Braun 2000

Braun 2000 Flash 35mm Strobist-1

Vivitar 110

Vivitar 110 Flash Review Comparison VS-1

Vivitar AF Zoom 730AF


Kako Auto 702SD Twin

28mm | 35mm | 50mm | 85mm


Simon Phototechnics TSi 224 Thyristor

Simon Phototechnics TSi 224 Thyristor Flash Review Nikon Canon-1

Hanimex TZ-236


Vivitar 550FD Auto Thyristor

Vivitar 550FD Auto Thyristor Flash Strobist Review Test-1

Minolta Auto 200X

Minolta Auto 200X 200 X VS Comparison Shots Power-1

Pentax AF200T

Pentax AF200T Flash 35mm Review-1

Sunpak Auto 321

Sunpak Auto 321 Flash Test Photo VS Comparison Shots 35mm-1

Promaster FTD 5200

Promaster FTD 5200 Flash Power VS Comparison Power-1

Focal M500TS Zoom Thyristor


Nikon SB-3

Nikon SB-3 Speedlight Flash Review Test sale-1

Canon Speedlite 155A

Canon Speedlite 155A Flash Power VS Review-1

Image CZD 70


Simon Phototechnics TSi 224 Thyristor

Simon Phototechnics TSi 224 Styristor Flash Review-1

Vivitar 2500 Zoom Thyristor


Olympus T20

Olympus T20 Flash 35mm T 20 Review Power-1

Canon Speedlite 200E

Canon Speedlite 200E Flash 35mm Speedlight Strobist-1

Vivitar 28

Vivitar 28 Flash 35mm Review-1

Vivitar 2800 Auto Thyristor

Vivitar 2800 Auto Thyristor Flash VS Comparison-1


Vivitar 2000 Automatic Electronic With Rotatable Head

Vivitar 2000 Automatic Electronic Flash Rotatable Head Review Comparison-1

Vivitar Auto Thyristor SMS 20D

Vivitar Auto Thyristor SMS 20D Flash Review Nikon Canon-1

Vivitar 2000 Automatic Electronic With Fixed Head

Vivitar 2000 Automatic Electronic Flash Fixed Head Review Comparison-1

Pentax AF160

Pentax AF160 Flash 35mm AF 160 Review Power-1

Canon Speedlite 160E

Canon Speedlite 160E Review test shots VS Nikon-1

Vivitar Auto 202

Vivitar Auto 202 Flash VS Review Nikon Canon-1

Braun Hobby 140B

Braun Hobby 140B Flash 35mm Power VS-1

AGFA Agfatronic 200 B

AGFA Agfatronic 200 B Flash 35mm 200B Review Power-1