Steve Thuman (Yahoo!, FZ10 group, 13 November 2004)...
One of the cool uses for the 383 is to point it straight backwards. The light bounces behind you and back to the subject all diffused very nicely. You can get flash shots that don't look at all like flash shots. Try it sometime and see what you think. You may have to bump it up to the yellow or red range to trick it into giving enough light however.An example of using the Sunpak 383, bounce-flash and FZ-20 camera can be found in Zim family cockers web-page.
Paul Milholland (Yahoo!, FZ10 group, 16th and 17th January 2005)...
A couple of tips for when you get the Sunpak 383...
First of all, change the EXT FLASH option in the camera's Menu setting from `Preset' to `Manual'. To do that, you'll have to have the flash mounted in the camera's hot shoe. The flash doesn't need to be turned on at that point: the fact that it's in the hot shoe will change the EXT FLASH option from being greyed-out to active.
Making that change will allow you to shift the aperture value in P mode using Program Shift. This will allow you to fine-tune your flash exposures in 1/3-stop increments, meaning you can dial things in just the way you want. One of the joys of shooting digital is the ability to check the exposure right away, and make any necessary adjustments.
You'll probably do most of your indoor flash shooting in P mode because that will keep the LCD and EVF bright enough for you to compose. The default shutter speed for flash is 1/60, which is fine for most indoor situations. I'd try leaving the flash in the Green A mode, and fine-tune the exposure by changing the aperture with Program Shift.
You can probably shift to Yellow A mode for outside situations where you can stop down more, but the fact that it's a 2-stop difference between Green and Yellow means that the flash output is significantly different. I wouldn't worry too much about having the camera's f-stop match the one that the flash says to use. An easier approach is to do a few test shots, check the results with the Review function, and make the adjustments you need to.
The flash is capable of putting out the same amount of light on each of the colored `A' settings, so you are not actually adjusting the power output. What you are changing is the sensitivity of the light sensor in the little green circle at the base of the flash.
On the Green setting, it assumes that you're using a large aperture that lets more of the flash get to the film or CCD. Based on that, it shuts the flash off sooner than it does on the other settings, trying not to overexpose the scene. In some situations, that'll give you the underexposure you're describing.
On the Yellow settings, it assumes that you're using an aperture 2 stops smaller than the one for the Green setting. That's a significant difference in terms of flash exposure, so it leaves the flash on longer to get more light back through the smaller lens opening. If you keep the same aperture you used for the Green setting, the scene is going to be overexposed.
On the Red setting, it assumes an aperture that 4 stops smaller than the one for the Green setting. That's a huge difference, and it leaves the flash on for a relatively long time, giving you massive overexposure if you use the aperture you used for the Green setting.
...the sensor on the flash has a 15-degree angle of view, which is roughly equivalent to a 4X zoom setting on the camera lens. If you're at a wider zoom setting, the flash will be measuring the light in the center portion of the scene. If you're zoomed out farther than 4X, the flash will be `seeing' more of the scene than you are. If there's something fairly dark and unreflective that it's seeing, it may leave the flash on longer than you want; if there's something fairly bright, or very reflective, it may turn the flash off sooner than you want it to.