What does this switch do? (Flash gun question)

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by Phrasikleia, Dec 21, 2008.

  1. Phrasikleia macrumors 601

    Phrasikleia

    Joined:
    Feb 24, 2008
    Location:
    Over there------->
    #1
    We have this Noaltron flash gun and are trying to figure out how to use it. The bottommost switch with the little colored dots is particularly puzzling. Something to do with color? Anyone know what we would use that switch for?

    [​IMG]
     
  2. OreoCookie macrumors 68030

    Joined:
    Apr 14, 2001
    Location:
    Sendai, Japan
    #2
    It regulates the power output of your flash. The three parameters here are ISO (aka ASA and DIN which is equivalent to ISO, but uses different units), distance of the subject and aperture.

    I believe the bottom-most switch changes the temperature of the light emitted by the flash.
     
  3. Phrasikleia thread starter macrumors 601

    Phrasikleia

    Joined:
    Feb 24, 2008
    Location:
    Over there------->
    #3
    Thanks. The top slider switch is the only one that is obvious to me. Well, OK, the On/Off switch didn't make me scratch my head too much, either. ;)

    If the bottommost switch changes the color temperature, I wonder what the color dot combinations designate. Presumably two red dots would be the warmest. Any ideas?
     
  4. OreoCookie macrumors 68030

    Joined:
    Apr 14, 2001
    Location:
    Sendai, Japan
    #4
    I think so, I vaguely remember seeing one on my mom's old (read: very old) flash that she used with my dad's Zeiss Ikon Contessa (rangefinder, still works like a charm!).
     
  5. Narcosynthesis macrumors member

    Joined:
    Dec 21, 2008
    #5
    Working from the top down:
    The top slider does nothing electronically, but is a calculator to let you figure out what aperture to use to get a correct exposure at various distances.
    Below that on/of, and I am guessing a test fire hidden behind the plug where it says "auto check".
    M/A to choose the obvious would be manual/automatic power, except that it is quite likely that the flash has no proper automatic mode, I have an old flash with a button like that that seems to do nothing as both settings still rely on you setting the flash power and aperture manually...
    The three dots on the bottom are the manual power settings, 1/1, 1/2 and 1/4 probably and are colour coded to link up with the calculator slider above.

    Colour temperature will be fixed, as that is dependant on the flash bulb, so you cannot change that in any standard electronic flashguns - the flash will be balanced to daylight, and if you want to compensate for
    ambient lighting you will need to gell the flash with a colour correction filter.

    The flash you have is a fairly old manual flash designed before Auto-thyristor and TTL flashes and so on, so they give you a calculator on the back to work out the correct combinations of aperture and flash power so you can set everything to get a correct exposure. To work the slider/calculator - set the camera to whatever shutter you desire (most modern cameras will sycn with the flash at anything below 1/200) - bearing in mind here that the exposure is based on the flash power and aperture, as the flash duration is fixed shutter is pretty meaningless relating to the flash, but you can use it to balance ambient light with the flash.
    Here I will work using the white labels and the bottom switch set to the white dot, if you set it to the other colour then you will use the corresponding colour on the slider. You need to line up the zoom setting you are using (either W, N or T) with the ISO speed you are using (ASA being the same as ISO) - so in the picture it would be set up for using the normal zoom at ISO100. With this all lined up you just read off the aperture from teh scale based on yor subject distance, so if the subject is 3m away, you will want to be using an aperture of f16 for a correct exposure, or at 11m away an aperture of f4.

    One other point - because this is an older flash, it might use a higher sync voltage than acceptable in new flashes. Older flashes used voltages of 300v+ to fire themselves which was fine for the cameras of the day. Modern cameras on the other hand are designed for a voltage of around 6v, so to put the old flash on a new camera could damage the flash circuitry of the camera. Some old flashes are ok, but I wouldn't put it on the camera until you can confirm it is safe.
     
  6. Phrasikleia thread starter macrumors 601

    Phrasikleia

    Joined:
    Feb 24, 2008
    Location:
    Over there------->
    #6
    Narcosynthesis, thank you so much for your help!! I hadn't even noticed that the colored dots are keyed to the slider at the top! I'm really excited to try out the flash, but so far have no way to trigger it with the camera. I can get it to flash by pressing the test button, but I don't have a hot shoe adapter to connect its cable to my Canon XSi or to my husband's Pentax K100D. However, it sounds as though perhaps that would be a bad idea anyway, if it really is capable of frying a modern camera. So am I out of luck with this flash?
     
  7. Fiasco macrumors regular

    Fiasco

    Joined:
    Dec 1, 2007
    Location:
    New York, NY, USA
    #7
    Honestly besides the fact that it may possibly fry your camera, that flash has a rather low guide number of 45, so I wonder if it even puts out enough light to be practically useful.
     
  8. Narcosynthesis macrumors member

    Joined:
    Dec 21, 2008
    #8
    Without the model number I can't really say anything, but hopefully googling it should give you the information you need.

    You are looking for the 'sync voltage' - an XSi is rated for a voltage of 6v, so you need it to be around that mark - a lot of older flashguns can be 300v+, which will damage the camera

    Should the flash be a high voltage one, there are still options out there. I can't remember exact items, but I know there are adapters or off camera triggers available that will let you use it with a modern camera.
     
  9. Narcosynthesis macrumors member

    Joined:
    Dec 21, 2008
    #9
    A guide number of 45 is a fair amount of power for an on camera flash...

    To put it in perspective, the Canon 430ex has a guide number of 43, and the top model in the range 580ex has a guide number of 58, so 45 is definitely not lacking. If you look at the internal flash on a modern DSLR you are looking at a guide number in the ball park of 10/13ish
     
  10. compuwar macrumors 601

    compuwar

    Joined:
    Oct 5, 2006
    Location:
    Northern/Central VA
    #10
    That totally depends on if the guide number is in feet or meters. I've never heard of Noaltron, but my money would be on the GN in feet.
     
  11. Narcosynthesis macrumors member

    Joined:
    Dec 21, 2008
    #11
    It is in meters :)

    Reading the scale on the flash in the picture posted again, at f2 you have an effective range of 22m at full power. The guide number tells you the distance away from the camera you can get a correctly exposed picture at f1, iso 100, so at f1 rather than f2 you will get the 45m range.
    If you look at the scale, it is marked in both feet and meters, with f2 corresponding to 72 feet.
     

Share This Page