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Sluggish re-cycle times hamper an otherwise neat little flashgun
on 6 January 2015
This small compact flashgun is a re-brand of the Sunpak RD 2000, the concept is a good one even more so with many of the Fuji models being smaller a larger weighty flash isn't ideal when used on a compact or small ILC body.
The flash is a dedicated TTL flash and will work with all the Fuji models out there which have a hot shoe including the HS series super zooms, the X compacts, X-S1 and the SL series too, all of the Fuji X mount models have hot shoes and this is compatible with them.
Operation is simple with a rear panel with 3 buttons the first to power on/off the flash, the second cycles through the EV adjustment range (-1EV to +1 EV in half stops) giving quick access to flash exposure compensation, the last is the flash test button.
A plastic shoe mount is present with a screw section to tighten it up to the hot shoe,. The design allows you to position the main flash head Vertical up to 90° for bounce effect. The mount can also be tucked back into itself to reduce the size when not being used.
On the top section is a wide angle diffuser this allows the use of wider angle lenses (16mm) The flash is powered by 2 x AA batteries very much a "similar" flash to the well known Nikon SB-400 unit (bar the bounce design which is different)
In terms of exposure the flash is quite consistent and at GN20 offers a decent bit more power than a normal built in flash as well as the advantage of being able to bounce off a ceiling. It doesn't have the power of a full size flash but the small size means it's very easy to carry around taking up next to no space.
For me what let's the flash down is the re-cycle times Fuji quote 4 seconds, but even with Eneloop's I'm getting times of over 4.5 seconds at full power if not a bit longer. If you're not flashing at full strength the cycle times are far more bearable. But I'd expect better times by at least a second or so, whilst the time doesn't seem long on paper it certainly does when you are taking photos. For me this spoils the appeal of the flash, and the price is a little on the high side considering it's a Sunpak re-branding exercise.
Build quality is acceptable though nothing special and whilst it doesn't feel fragile the plastics are of average quality I'd prefer a metal shoe myself.
Do note most of the Fuji cameras I use tend to be good at balancing flash with ambient exposures this means if you're not using a fast lens the cameras will increase the ISO to do that (if you let them) if you limit the ISO to lower levels this will increase the flash power and you'll run into the longer charge times it's worth experimenting a bit here to see how it pans out. The flash is powerful enough to bounce off of normal ceilings don't too much from it for very high ones.
Worth a look but make sure you're fine with the re-cycle times that is the one weaker aspect of this flash