Can a Flash fry your camera?


Link Posted 02/12/2009 - 08:20
I have a vivitar 285, I ave used it on my K20d a couple of times but have heard of flash guns frying the electronics on digital cameras.
Does anyone have any experience or knowledge on this before i stat usung flash more extensively?
DA 12-24 | DA* 16-50 | DA* 50-135 | Sigma 100-300 F4
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Link Posted 02/12/2009 - 08:37
the problem is the voltage across the firing terminals of some old flashes is several hundred volts. Pentax bodies are apparently more resilient in this regard than some, but reports vary as to maximum safe voltage between a few volts and several hundred.

Use a volt meter to check the trigger voltage on your flash. To do this, power up the flash with fresh batteries and connect a volt meter between the big pin in the centre of the flash shoe and the contact on the side of the shoe. Let us know what you read.
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Link Posted 02/12/2009 - 08:39
There has been much discussion on this subject over the years and I have never heard of anyone frying thier camera, I have also heard that Pentax has the more robust circuitry of any of the major brands, and Canon the worst, weather thats true or not I have no idea.

Some people you talk too say Pentax can handle up too 30 volts and others say it can take 300volts. who knows.

Anyway heres some info that may help you

Vivitar 285
Pentax Lenses:|DA12-24/f4 ED AL|DA35Ltd Macro|FA31Ltd|FA77Ltd|FA50/1.4|F70-210|FA20-35 f4/AL|A*200/f4 Macro ED|A50/1.7|A50 Macro f2.8|1.7xAF adapter|
Voigtlander|125/f2.5SL Macro APO Lanthar|
Sigma Lenses:|EX DG 100-300 f4|2X & 1.4X TC|
Flashes:|AF540FGZx2|RingFlash AF160FC|


Link Posted 02/12/2009 - 10:28
Clarky is (as usual) talking sense. The notion of cameras being fried may be apocryphal. It may be down to manufacturers trying to persuade users to buy their flashes rather than third party offerings.

But who's going to take the risk?


Link Posted 02/12/2009 - 10:35
It does actually say in the K20D manual that some flashes "can damage" the camera.
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Link Posted 02/12/2009 - 10:55
Food for thought. Thanks for the links Clarky, seems the 285 should be okay then (hopefully) I have fired it off a few times in the past and so far the k20d is still fully functional. Suck it and see i suppose.
DA 12-24 | DA* 16-50 | DA* 50-135 | Sigma 100-300 F4
Lightroom 2, CS3
My FlickR


Link Posted 24/12/2009 - 15:33
Just recently I bought a Vivitar 285 (not HV, so it seems it is the 'old' one). I measured voltage - it was about 8V. Works fine with my K20D.
Kind regards,
Michal R. Hoffmann
K20D, DA 16-45mm, A 50mm F/1:1.4, DA 55-300mm; flash Pentax AF240Z


Link Posted 24/12/2009 - 15:57
My old Vivitar 283, made in Japan, checks in at 250+ volts and I wouldn't dream of connecting it directly to a modern camera. Later 283s, made in Vietnam and China, apparently have lower voltages and would be safe. I imagine the same might be true of the 285. The only sure way to find out is with a voltmeter. It does seem hard to track down someone whose camera has actually fried. You'd thing at least one person on the internet would have had this problem if it existed. But I'm not prepared to take the chance.

Season's greetings

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