Old flash and dslr compatability


SteveT

Link Posted 22/01/2009 - 10:49
I am led to believe that using certain old flash guns can 'fry' DSLR's.

I have 2 old flashguns that I use for underground photography that are triggered manually and so pose no danger. I have used them once on camera to test them without any problems.
However this was before I new of any dangers, since then I have not done so.
I would like to use on camera flash now though and was wondering if there was any way of knowing which flashes are safe and which are not.
I have a Vivitar 285 which is quite powerful and a Vivitar 2500 which is not.

Steve
K20d
DA 12-24 | DA* 16-50 | DA* 50-135 | Sigma 100-300 F4
Lightroom 2, CS3
My FlickR

MattMatic

Link Posted 22/01/2009 - 11:12
Quote:
I am led to believe that using certain old flash guns can 'fry' DSLR's.

Some dSLRs... notably Canon

I've never heard of a Pentax being "fried" Nikon and Pentax appear to have good protection on the flash triggering - around 300V apparently. Nikon actually state the highest safe voltage in the manual (D300), but Pentax, alas, do not - though there was a copy an email on here that specifies 300V too.

If you are paranoid then there are little adapters that include extra protection circuitry (some on here use them).

You can always measure it - carefully - by using a voltmeter between the edge connector (the spring on the side of the flash that makes contact with the main part of the hotshoe) and the centre pin. Just mind your fingers!
(BTW it has nothing to do with how powerful the flash is - it's down to how they designed the trigger circuity)

Matt
http://www.mattmatic.co.uk
(For gallery, tips and links)
Last Edited by MattMatic on 22/01/2009 - 11:13

SteveT

Link Posted 22/01/2009 - 13:17
Matt
Thanks, I have since found some useful info on this link which has test voltages for a large number of flashguns and whether they aresafe for EOS cameras, which apparently are more susceptible to damage.

There is also a link to a post by somebody who claims to have contacted pentax about this which says
Quote:
How much flash trigger voltage can a camera take?

Pentax, in reply to an inquiry I made directly to them last year, says their SLRs are safe up to 600 volts, but I have learned from the College of Hard Knocks that the PZ-1 and SF-10 lock up when used with a Vivitar 2800 non-dedicated flash (300 volts), and won't work again unless the battery is removed and the camera allowed to sit a few minutes for the circuitry to reset.

SOME cameras with electronically controlled shutters and programmed flash still used hardwired tungsten flash sync contacts safe to hundreds of volts, example: Pentax LX.

Gene Poon
CA USA

Unfortunately the Vivitar 285 does not have a test voltage on this list but the 2500 does, so maybe I will take a chance on it.
K20d
DA 12-24 | DA* 16-50 | DA* 50-135 | Sigma 100-300 F4
Lightroom 2, CS3
My FlickR

mikew

Link Posted 22/01/2009 - 13:35
I have a Japanese made Vivitar 283 and I tested it at about 300v.

Allegedly the Vietnamese made 283's are 20v

I think the 285 is closer to the 283 in its deign.

Personally I use a wireless adapter to trigger the Vivitar - who wants the flash on the camera anyway - well you might for your application I guess.

Mike

SteveT

Link Posted 22/01/2009 - 13:39
Mike

I dont want it on the camera, I should have said camera triggered I suppose. I wish to use them on the end of a cable
K20d
DA 12-24 | DA* 16-50 | DA* 50-135 | Sigma 100-300 F4
Lightroom 2, CS3
My FlickR

mikew

Link Posted 22/01/2009 - 13:45
Why note wireless? The Pentax shop on this site can flog you a system for £16 I think that will use a radio trigger. It worked fine with the 283 but oddly not with my Pentax flash for which I bought an optical trigger so it can be a slave. The Vivitar needed to use a short cable from the wireless receiver to the gun - I have no idea why it just did.

I think you may find a cable is more expensive in the long run.

Mike

gartmore

Link Posted 22/01/2009 - 13:59
wireless (radio) is good. No cables to trip over and as Mike says they are inexpensive. I think my 16ch one cost about £10 which is cheaper than cables. Tx sits on the camera hotshoe and the Rx has standard and mini jack as well as pc connections.
Ken
“We must avoid however, snapping away, shooting quickly and without thought, overloading ourselves with unnecessary images that clutter our memory and diminish the clarity of the whole.” - Henri Cartier-Bresson -

beakynet

Link Posted 22/01/2009 - 14:01
While searching for slave flashguns, I came across this Site. It's not as cheap as the £16 option but might be right for your needs, since it appears to have a caving origion!

You would also be able to use two of these devices to trigger two separate flashguns.
Bodies: K5IIs, K7, MZ5n, LX, MV
Lenses: DA*16-50, DA18-55WR, DA18-135, DAL35, M50 F2, A50 f1.4, FA50 f1.4, DA*50-135, DA55-300, Tamron 70-300, DFA 100 WR Macro, M135 f3.5, Sigma 120-400 APO DG HSM, Tokina 500 f8.0
Flash: Metz 58, Metz 48
Accessories: BG4, Pentax right angle finder, Pentax mirror adaptor lens, O-ME53 Viewfinder Loupe
Auto 110 System: Auto 110, Winder, 18mm, 24mm, 50mm, 70mm, 20-40mm, AF100P, 1.7x telecon
Last Edited by beakynet on 22/01/2009 - 14:04

SteveT

Link Posted 22/01/2009 - 17:13
I emailed Pentax asking what the safe trigger voltage was on the K20d
This is their answer

Quote:


thank you for your enquiry.

Please contact the manufacturer of the flash guns, because we do not recommend to use lenses or flashs from other manufacturers on the PENTAX devices and are not able to provide you with the requested informations. Please contact the manufacturer and make sure that the flash guns are compatible with the K20D before you are going to use them. Please note that the device will not be covered under warranty if the camera gets a fault because of the foreign flash guns.

We recommend to use original PENTAX devices instead.

I hope that your question has been answered to your satisfaction. Should you have further questions regarding this matter, please do not hesitate to contact us again.

When replying, please make sure this email is included.

With kind regards
Bianca Hoekstra

Well, not altogether a satisfactory answer imo I accept what they say but they could have answered the question
K20d
DA 12-24 | DA* 16-50 | DA* 50-135 | Sigma 100-300 F4
Lightroom 2, CS3
My FlickR

Hazza

Link Posted 22/01/2009 - 22:00
Thats strange, when I e-mailed them last year about trigger voltage for the K10D, the reply I got said that it was safe up to 30v but the decision would be mine and the warranty would be invalid should damage occur, as they could only recommend Pentax equiptment.
I'm not sure where the 300 volt safety came from but I don't think I would risk it. I have safely used an old Metz 45CT1 for some time, but the early ones were 250v, so made sure that it is a later model. I can't remember when they were updated but after a certain serial no. they had a trigger voltage of around 7 volts so quite safe.
I also know that Fuji are quite tollerant of high trigger voltages, but I guess tht this doesn't help.

Harry

MattMatic

Link Posted 23/01/2009 - 07:41
See this old thread - Pentax USA said 300V for the *ist-D As the K20D has a PC socket, I think it's unlikely they'd reduce the protection limits... might be worth phoning them in the US

As has been indicated, using a cheap light-triggered slave cell is definitely an option - you'll just need a plain manual or "A" mode Pentax flash to trigger it (the AF160 can be bought for under £10. There's not much control on it, but it'll do the job, especially if you diffuse its flash too)

HTH!
Matt
http://www.mattmatic.co.uk
(For gallery, tips and links)
Last Edited by MattMatic on 23/01/2009 - 07:41

gartmore

Link Posted 23/01/2009 - 07:55
I've mentioned this before, the Pentax AF400t has a trigger voltage, according to the rating plate, of 100V. No problems using it at all but would my warranty have been invalidated for using a Pentax flash?
Ken
“We must avoid however, snapping away, shooting quickly and without thought, overloading ourselves with unnecessary images that clutter our memory and diminish the clarity of the whole.” - Henri Cartier-Bresson -

Hazza

Link Posted 23/01/2009 - 17:18
An interesting read Matt, I wonder why they quoted me only 30 volts?
I guess that there is no definite answer coming out of Pentax, or at least not that I know of. I wish they would quote safe voltage handling in their specs. then we would know for sure.
Harry

womble

Link Posted 24/01/2009 - 00:18
Perhaps by scare-mongering they hope to sell more Pentax units?

On Matt's advice I got a AF160 to trigger the 360 in slave mode. Using the built in flash is unreliable as the pre-flash triggers the slave and then there is no omph left for the main flash. I found that the AF160 was better than the built in flash for naff snapshots too even though they are nominally about the same guide number I believe.

Cheers, Kris.
Kris Lockyear
It is an illusion that photos are made with the camera… they are made with the eye, heart and head. Henri Cartier-Bresson
Lots of film bodies, a couple of digital ones, too many lenses (mainly older glass) and a Horseman LE 5x4.

My website

rhayles

Link Posted 05/02/2009 - 21:25
Has anyone tried using pentax AF 280T flash with the K10. I remember reading that there is a voltage issue that could damage the K10. Reading the above would perhaps indicate that there would be no problem.
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