The Little Flash That Could

Nikon SB-30 Flash (Yes, you mount a flash upside-down on a Rollei 35)

From day to day I may go between handful of different film cameras, but there is almost always just one flash that I take with me.

The compact little Nikon SB-30 Speedlight is a true gem of a flash.  It is incredibly versatile, able to work with almost any camera with a hot shoe.

It supports a variety of operating modes including:

  • Balanced Fill-Flash with modern SLRs like Nikon N90, F100, F6
  • Standard Through The Lens (TTL) flash mode with cameras such as the Nikon FE2, FA, F3 or even other brands such as a Leica M6 TTL
  • Non-TTL automatic flash metering with any other camera such as my Rollei 35S, Sprocket Rocket, or a Holga
  • Fully manual operation a full, 1/8th, and 1/32nd power settings
  • Auto and manual wireless slave function (for firing off-camera driven by another flash)

The non-TTL automatic option is great, as you simply dial in the aperture and film speed combination you are currently using and the flash's own forward-facing sensor measures the light bouncing back from your subject and stops the flash output when it has reached the right level.

It has a handy compensation switch built in which allows you to bump the flash power up or down a half stop.  I often drop the power a half stop this way for fill-flash purposes.

Its lower power output matches is compact size, so for serious work you would be better off with a larger flash.  But it is so small you can take it practically anywhere with confidence that you can pop off a flash whenever needed.

My Favorite Camera Straps

Lance, Gordy, and OP/TECH

I am a bit of an accessory fiend.

I love to find accessories for my cameras as much as collecting the cameras themselves. One of the most important accessories is your camera strap and so here are a few of my favorites.

For practical use with serious (read: big) cameras I am big fan of OP/TECH's line of straps.  I use both their Pro Loop Strap and Super Classic Strap (with Pro Loop connectors) with my modern Nikon SLRs.

These straps have great grip and comfort, and with their interchangeable system I can swap straps from camera to camera with ease.  If I don't want to use a strap I remove its quick release and snap the two loop connectors together which can then be used as a short handle.

For vintage, leather style I own several of Gordy's Camera Straps.  I use the non-adjustable strap (without pad) with my light Yashica rangefinder, and the tripod-mount wrist strap with my even lighter, plastic-fantastic Lomography Sprocket Rocket.

The leather was a bit hard initially, but after a few months of use it softened up considerably.  I am happy without a pad using these with light cameras, but for heavier cameras a pad might be needed to better distribute the weight.

My most recent strap addition was a Lance Camera Strap and it has quickly become a fixture attached to my Nikon FA.  It is made out of a woven polyester cord which can fold up into a ball or square into any nook or cranny in a case.

With a 48" non-adjustable strap I can wear the camera across my neck/shoulder and shoot the camera without taking it off my body.  It is so flexible and smooth that I can bring it up to my eye and then slip it back down to my side.

These are my favorite straps for now…  I am always looking out for more accessories!