Why Vivitar’s new and improved 285HV flash is something to get excited about
The HV is a very important part of the name. The original Vivitar 285 is not safe for your digital camera, the newer 285HV is. The most important difference is the now lower than 6-volt synch voltage in the new version. The 285HV ($90, street) offers a normal, wide or zoom setting (slide the front of the flash out). Yes it looks like your father’s flash, but its simplicity is also its beauty.
Set the aperture and the ISO (ASA on flash) and the dial does the rest. The wheel shows the f-stops with color wedges, set the mode selector dial to the color and you are set and so is the flash. With the new version you receive a panel to adjust the flash for wider coverage. For batteries, you can use four 1.5 volt AA alkaline batteries. You also have the option of using NiCad rechargeable batteries for faster recycle time. The flash unit comes with a short synch cord that you use to connect to your off camera trigger. The cord has one end that fits the synch jack on the side of the flash, the other end you will need to connect with different things depending on what you are using to trigger.