Reviews for Vivitar 285-HV Flash with Zoom Thyristor

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Product Reviews (7)

This flash is durable, dependable,...

Strengths: Powerful flash, extending head for 28mm to 210mm telephoto. Good use of battery life and fractional power ratings to 1/16. Great all-around unit for megaphotos

Weakness: requires manual adjustments, Only vertical bounce flash.

This flash is durable, dependable, a high-quality unit that lasts a long time on 4 AA alkaline batteries or rechargable NIMH. For my money, the best non-dedicated flash available. That zoom head is tremendous for sports and the fractional power is essential for fill flash needs.

By Buzzwilco - Feb 3, 2004

Oldie but Goodie

Strengths: Built like a brick, nice medium range, tried and true product from over 30 years of testing

Weakness: Segmentation of flash power very limited (1/16 to manual in 1/4 stops); recharge time long

This is an awesome flash. Let me say it again. This is an awesome flash. Ever since it was released 30 years ago, professional photographers wanting manual control over their strobes have relied on the 285HV. Even with E-TTL, I-TTL, and pretty much any other x-TTL you can think of, this is still an enormously popular flash.

Why? One, it's built like a Sherman Tank. I've dropped it and it just keeps on humming. It provides almost as much power as a 580EXII but costs about 1/6 as much. I'd rather have 6 of these for the same price, and some professional photographers do exactly that: they buy a half dozen of these and model beautiful light.

Right now I've been shooting with one of these for a year and just got another. Get one, you will not be disappointed. Hey, get two and some optical triggers and you're good to go.

By maudlinjester - May 3, 2008

Vivitar 285HV

Strengths: price, power

Weakness: bulky

I bought this unit to experiment a little with off camera flash. As a beginner I'm still learning, but I like the ability to adjust the power and the zoom. It does take a while to recharge, but maybe that would improve with a wall power unit.

By a.guenin_1091717075 - Jun 23, 2007

Vivitar 285HV Auto Professional Flash

Strengths: There are so durability, reliable in function, accuracy in distance, strong powerful, adjustable zoom and wide angle. It comes with style vintage in it’s out look, and last thing for this product is reasonable price.

Weakness: It is not a big mistake or serious problem in terms of every thing has pro & cons, if you can accept the Bulky, still heavy with 4 AA alkaline, No swivel, don’t even think about finding accessories. Still take a bit time for recharging to take a next shot

I have a panasonic DMC-FZ50 digital cam. in my own. Before I bought this flash, I tried and studied a couple products such as Panasonic DMW-FL360 Flash,a very expensive flash for $299.00,and a digi slave flash, a no name flash for $129.00. Between those prices, do you think which one I should pick up? Finally, I end up with the Vivitar 285HV. Unbelievable it is compatible with my camera. By the way, I like the style that looks professional even I am not.

By sawasdee1971 - Dec 3, 2007

Stay away from the last 285HV model

Strengths: Cheap, consistant flash when it works

Weakness: Very low quality of the latest model. Warranty is not respected by Vivitar

Stay away from the last 285HV model

While old variations of this flash could easily survive more than a decade of heavy use, the renewed model can not even survive the warranty period.

It is not easy to get your flash get serviced under the warranty. After a week of trying to recieve a reasonable reply from Vivitar, I still have no clue where to send my flash for the repair.

For more details you might want to do a search for 285HV problems on flickr.

By alex_il - Mar 7, 2008

No customer support from Vivitar

The 285HV is a powerful, although bulky & heavy flash. But don't expect any (underline any) tech support from Vivitar. E-mails aren't answered, telephone support - they say the new company that bought Vivitar doesn't support the old companies products.

By Redblood on Adorama - Sep 8, 2009

Powerful, compact, everlasting-the best for the money

Strengths: 1. Well built 2. Reasonable price 3. Low trigger Voltage 4. Removable Sensor 5. Useful and simple calculator dial

Weakness: 1. Packs 1/8 power setting in Manual mode. 2. Flash recycle time at full power is about 7 seconds, I wish it was faster. 3. No swivel 4. Hard to find accessories 5. No support from Vivitar 6. Propriet

This flash first came out over 30 yrs back and is still in production today. Need I say more? I use the flash in Manual mode all the time, and get consistant exposures. The flash recycle times are reasonable, a bit slow at full power but good at fractional power. Also, I was unable to trigger this with Wein Peanut Slave (tried two different slaves). Wein HS Hot Shoe Slave worked fine. I wish this flash had a built in optical slave.

By ajny - Apr 3, 2007