Originally Posted by Nokton48
I have a couple of Norman 200b's, which put out an honest 200 watt-seconds. More than a 283. And I also use the Powerpacks with my Hasselblad Ringlights, which also put out 200ws.
I had a couple of Norman 200B's myself, now I have a couple of 8 pound boat anchors (sigh!).
Forced me to buy a Norman 808M and four heads. Then my Vivitar 283 died. Forced me to buy a Strobonar 682S, and a Sunpak 611. One thing I have found out over the years, is Asians lie about GN's. All the American made strobes I have owned have been accurate, Norman and Lumadyne actually guaranteed their advertised GN's as minimums. Anyway Vivitar 283/285's have an actual GN of 80 (ISO 100). That Sunpak 611, advertised as 200WS GN 160 actually has a GN of 110. And all of them only hit that if you let them charge at least a minute, the ready lights come on about one stop before that.
Then there is the world of dedicated flashes. My Olympus EL-40 their TOL flash from the previous generation? Olympus warns me if I use it on my e420 it will damage the camera.... Oh, I use it all right, with a piece of plastic to block off all the pins, but the sync.
Luckily, most of us here on RFF actually know how to use a camera. Problems like the above are why I love old metal mechanical cameras. You just don't have those kinds of problems with them.
So, you asked for recommendations. I really do not know. The current Norman and Lumadynes are now around a thousand+ bucks. To me when Honeywell quit making the potato masher Strobonairs is when the flash market went to hell (that 682S is labeled Rollei), back in the 80's I had about eight of the 700 series Strobonairs.
If you really liked that 285, you can still buy new ones, of course they are now made in China instead of Japan.