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E1 with Vivitar 283 or 285



Could anyone tell me whether they have used the Vivitar 283 or 285 flashes with an E1 and if so what success they have had. I previously used a 283 with an E20 and that was fine.


New Member
I've used the 285 with the E1 and had no problems. I've tried shutter speeds up to 1/160 and 2nd curtin synch -- works fine. People had told me not to use 3rd party flashes in the hot shoe of this camera, but I checked with Olympus and they assured me it would be ok.
Please help me understand the attraction of using a 25-year-old flash on a camera like the E1. I had a 283 when they were new, and I thought it was a terrible piece of gear, even compared to other flashes of the '70s. Most of the European brands like Rollei, Osram and others had much larger and clearer scales and controls than the Viv's confusing little dial. These days, now that we know the term "user interface," an LCD panel does an even better job of communicating with the user. You can have dedicated TTL flash, with exposure comp, wired or wireless. Flashes have gotten so much smarter and more flexible. Yes, I love film, manual focus, TLRs and the rest of the vintage scene, but I draw the line at flashes. Especially this one. But I see web chatter about the 283 all the time. What am I missing in this picture?


Well-Known Member
Allow me to suggest that many people have difficulty with flash - getting it to do precisely what they want it to do to give them the effect they want. So when they find a piece of gear with which they over time develop a good relationship, they stick with it for the long haul. Kind of like marriage. :)


New Member
I think BD Colen may be right. It's rather like an old and trusted
relationship. Seriously though, when I bought my E-1 outfit, I was a little
reluctant to shell out $450 (US) for the FL 50 when I already had several similar units.
I have since done that and love the features of the FL 50, particulay the high speed sync for outdoor
fill flash. However, the old Vivitars still have a place in my bag. There
are some reasons why they are still being made after 25 years (although I
haven't been using them that long) They are lightweight, powerful,
reliable, simple, and inexpensive (about $70US). It's also very easy to
vary the power output with a simple adjustment of the dial. Three of these
and you have a mini-studio lighting setup that costs less than $200 and
weighs only 2.5 lbs. (and runs on AAA batteries).

In addition, I like to use flash off camera for most things. I've had a
problem figuring out how to do this with the FL 50. Olympus makes a 3 foot
cord that attaches to the camera flash shoe and gives you the abilty to move
the flash about arm's length from the camera, but they do not seem to make
anything longer that will give you off camera capability. Maybe some of the
folks in this forum can help me with this. Currently, I am using the
camera's pc connector with --you guessed it--the Vivitar, with no TTL
capablility when I need to get the flash off camera. Any suggestions would
be appreciated.