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.