How can I use this flash with a DSLR?

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by Phrasikleia, Mar 20, 2009.

  1. Phrasikleia macrumors 601

    Phrasikleia

    Joined:
    Feb 24, 2008
    Location:
    Over there------->
    #1
    I've already found out that this flash is likely to fry any modern digital camera if mounted directly on the hotshoe. But can I use some converter instead? It has a cord (post connection?). Would a hot shoe to household adapter be what I need?

    [​IMG]
     
  2. Cliff3 macrumors 65816

    Cliff3

    Joined:
    Nov 2, 2007
    Location:
    SF Bay Area
    #2
    Most likely a PC terminal sync cord, providing your camera body supports that connection. A flash doesn't need to sit on a hot shoe to flash - it's getting a firing signal and optionally exposure information through the shoe. If it can accept a sync cord, and this flash certainly looks like it has one attached, then the firing signal can be triggered that way.
     
  3. Phrasikleia thread starter macrumors 601

    Phrasikleia

    Joined:
    Feb 24, 2008
    Location:
    Over there------->
    #3
    Thanks for the reply. My XSi doesn't have that connection, so I know I need some kind of adapter. What would that be called?
     
  4. Phrasikleia thread starter macrumors 601

    Phrasikleia

    Joined:
    Feb 24, 2008
    Location:
    Over there------->
    #5
  5. Cliff3 macrumors 65816

    Cliff3

    Joined:
    Nov 2, 2007
    Location:
    SF Bay Area
    #6
    That cheap one isn't directly connected to the hot shoe, so it will be fine (edit: rather, the shoe isn't - it's a cold shoe). It is taking the signals off the hot shoe and sending them to the sync terminal. You connect the flash's sync cord to the sync terminal and that's the only electrical connection between the flash and the camera.
     
  6. FX120 macrumors 65816

    FX120

    Joined:
    May 18, 2007
    #7
    Ah yes, I forgot that the lower end cameras have the dinky contact closure circuits that can't handle the older strobes high sync voltage.

    If you're electronically inclined, you can build yourself a fairly simple circuit to do the same thing, but it would probably just be easier to buy the hotshoe adapter that does it for you. $40 is a very reasonable price.

    It would still be a problem, because the PC-sync voltage would still be too high for the camera to handle. Higher end cameras with PC sync ports will usually have a bigger mechanical relay to handle the increased voltages from studio strobes or older units, in many cases they are rated for up to 250VDC. In the cheaper cameras, sync is done by solid state device which will easily die if it tries to switch 200VDC.
     
  7. Phrasikleia thread starter macrumors 601

    Phrasikleia

    Joined:
    Feb 24, 2008
    Location:
    Over there------->
    #8
    Ah, thanks. Now I'm wondering if that Wein gizmo (or something like it) might be more useful, though, since then I could attach and trigger two flashes at once. However, I've just popped the battery cover on the old flash and discovered a huge mess of battery corrosion in there. Poor old thing might not even work anymore.

    Thanks for the tip. I'm electronically useless, but my husband is an electrical engineer, so maybe he can whip up some useful solution. Then again, the Wein adapter is priced very reasonably, as you said.
     
  8. Cliff3 macrumors 65816

    Cliff3

    Joined:
    Nov 2, 2007
    Location:
    SF Bay Area
    #9
    I'd be more inclined to put it towards some pocket wizards. Do Canon flashes have built-in wireless like some of the Nikon models do?
     
  9. Phrasikleia thread starter macrumors 601

    Phrasikleia

    Joined:
    Feb 24, 2008
    Location:
    Over there------->
    #10
    Another good idea, but no, I don't think the canon flashes have that feature. I hope someone will correct me if I'm wrong.
     
  10. Cliff3 macrumors 65816

    Cliff3

    Joined:
    Nov 2, 2007
    Location:
    SF Bay Area
    #11
    Possibly, although without knowing which model that flash is one can't say for certain. And now it appears the question is moot. This page contains an interesting list: http://www.botzilla.com/photo/strobeVolts.html
     
  11. Phrasikleia thread starter macrumors 601

    Phrasikleia

    Joined:
    Feb 24, 2008
    Location:
    Over there------->
    #12
    Yeah, that's the page that initially led me to believe that I should not mount this flash on my XSi. The flash is a Popular 25CA, which is not listed, but the one flash by that manufacturer that is listed puts out 61-71V.

    The question isn't quite moot, though. I also have two other old flash guns that I'd like to use: a Rollei and a Noaltron. And I still have some hope for the Popular; I'm going to try to clean up the corrosion.

    [​IMG]
     
  12. Clix Pix macrumors demi-goddess

    Clix Pix

    Joined:
    Oct 9, 2005
    Location:
    8 miles from the Apple Store at Tysons (VA)
    #13
    Why not just use good common sense and buy a current flash unit that is guaranteed to work with your modern digital camera rather than taking chances on frying it by using some old stuff you've got laying around?
     
  13. Phrasikleia thread starter macrumors 601

    Phrasikleia

    Joined:
    Feb 24, 2008
    Location:
    Over there------->
    #14
    I suppose because I've read a lot about how old flashes are still great, if you can figure out how to use them. I have three of them and would like to get them all working together, perhaps in combination with a 580EX II. It seems like a fun project. You don't think it's worth the effort?
     
  14. leighonigar macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    May 5, 2007
    #15
    As far as I know you need a wein safe sync. I think some of the cactus wireless triggers might work too.
     
  15. Clix Pix macrumors demi-goddess

    Clix Pix

    Joined:
    Oct 9, 2005
    Location:
    8 miles from the Apple Store at Tysons (VA)
    #16
    Frankly.....NO.

    If money is an issue and you can't afford a new, current flash that will work with your camera, then it might be worth tinkering around a bit but you are still taking serious risks with your sensitive digital camera electronics by attempting to use an older flash that was never meant to work with one of these.
     
  16. ChrisA macrumors G4

    Joined:
    Jan 5, 2006
    Location:
    Redondo Beach, California
    #17
    (1) With a Wein "safe sync" there is no way you will "fry" the DSLR. It is not anything like "taking chances".

    (2) Those flash units pictured, at least the three larger units, are very powerfull, high end units. Likely they are produce as much or more light then a Nikon SB800. Likely more. Replacing three for then with modern units would cost over $1,200

    I use a Norman flash unit, like one of these (see link below) but mine was made about 35 years ago. It anything will "zap" a DSLR this thing will. But I've used it with several different medium format and Nikon film camera plaus my Nikon DSLR. If a "Safe Sync" a can work with an older Norman power ppack it can work with a little shoe mount flash

    http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/138055-REG/Norman_P8081200TLC_P8081200TLC_Power_Supply.html

    Those old strobes are great they have everything you need except TTL metring. But now with digital you really don't need the TTL part if you have time to check the histogram display. That histogram is the best flash meter I've ever used.

    That said TTL flash metering is nice if you are doing shots of stufff that moves fast. But if you are doing multi-light studio setups you will be shooting manual mode and metering anyways.
     
  17. Phrasikleia thread starter macrumors 601

    Phrasikleia

    Joined:
    Feb 24, 2008
    Location:
    Over there------->
    #18
    Just to update: everything ChrisA said in his last post turned out to be true. The Wein Safe Sync protects the camera perfectly, even when the big flash gun is plugged into the wall. These old flash guns put out an amazing amount of light (when my husband accidentally triggered one he was holding in his lap, with the bulb facing him, it singed the fleece he was wearing!).

    Anyway, I've just gotten around to playing with them and can see that they will be very useful, especially outdoors.
     
  18. compuwar macrumors 601

    compuwar

    Joined:
    Oct 5, 2006
    Location:
    Northern/Central VA
    #19
    Unlike Pentax (rumored to be 30V) or Canon (newer units are reportedly good to 250V, but older ones are 6V) all Nikon SLRs are good for 250V of flash, while there are a few units that'll put out more than that, they're very rare and the risks are much lower, so a Safe Sync or optical/radio trigger is a necessity for many shooters, but only slightly useful for a Nikon one (In other words, you're not really stretching the voltage envelope with Nikon and MF gear, put it on a Pentax and then you can use the "if anything" phrase...)

    Phras:

    As far as using multiples, you're likely to find the temperatures don't match well, and you'd probably be better off with two or three cheaper Vivitar units that are matched unless you're shooting at high noon outdoors, but in any case, radio triggers will be more useful than not with multiple flashes and have the advantage of taking the trigger voltage out of the camera part of the equation.
     
  19. Phrasikleia thread starter macrumors 601

    Phrasikleia

    Joined:
    Feb 24, 2008
    Location:
    Over there------->
    #20
    Thanks for the tips, Compuwar. Right now I have one specific use in mind. I'll be photographing a number of Greek temples at sunrise and want to have a person positioned within the frame, but not close to the camera, and I want some fill flash on that person. The person also will not be very close to the tripod holding the flash gun. I will probably use only one flash gun at a time, since I currently have no way to trigger them both at once. If I want to use multiples, my only option right now is to put my Speedlight on the Wein Safe Sync and have a long PC cable running out to the flash gun (but since the Speedlight won't be strong enough to make any difference in this case, I probably won't use it). If you have any tips or warnings for me regarding this idea, I'm all ears!
     
  20. jampat macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Mar 17, 2008
    #21
  21. Phrasikleia thread starter macrumors 601

    Phrasikleia

    Joined:
    Feb 24, 2008
    Location:
    Over there------->
    #22
    Thanks for bringing those to my attention. This is the first I've heard of them. For the price, they're certainly worth trying, although I'm very keen to buy a pair of pocket wizards. Then again, I'm a total novice at lighting, so I should probably hold off on purchases like that until I've practiced enough to have earned them. :eek:
     
  22. compuwar macrumors 601

    compuwar

    Joined:
    Oct 5, 2006
    Location:
    Northern/Central VA
    #23
    If you really want to do it right, you'll want a studio strobe and a battery pack, though finding something that'll work in Greece may be problematic. Alternately, you might consider looking at a "Better Beamer"- they're mostly used for wildlife and long lenses, but may be able to give you enough throw to get the job done.
     
  23. Phrasikleia thread starter macrumors 601

    Phrasikleia

    Joined:
    Feb 24, 2008
    Location:
    Over there------->
    #24
    Thanks again. Saving these tips in a note file. I leave for my trip tomorrow morning, so I have no time to purchase anything before leaving. I did get a 20-foot PC sync cable, but my plan got thwarted when I realized that my Rollei flash uses some proprietary battery pack that is no longer available, and the Noaltron is missing its battery compartment cover. I have AC plugs for both, but those won't help much out at an archaeological site. Grrrrr.
     

Share This Page