Old Flashes with New Digital cameras: Problem?

Discussion in 'Photography Beginners' Forum' started by xibo, Nov 24, 2006.

  1. xibo

    xibo TPF Noob!

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    I've come across a few articles where people have mentioned that some old flashes can "fry" newer digital cameras when used on the hotshoe. Something to do with too high a voltage. Is this true? How do you know which flash is okay to use on your camera?

    I'm using a Pentax ist DL.
     
  2. Big Mike

    Big Mike I am Big, I am Mike Staff Member Supporting Member

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    You need to know what your camera will handle. That usually isn't listed in the manual AFAIK...but you should be able to Google it.

    Then you can try to find out the trigger voltage of the flash unit in question. This site...has a list of flash units with 'sent in' voltage readings. It was meant for older EOS cameras with a limit of 6v or 9v...so just look at the number and see if it's lower than your camera's limit.
     
  3. mysteryscribe

    mysteryscribe TPF Noob!

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    If all else fails you can read the trigger voltage of your flash. Some 283 (ones made in korea before a certain date) had a very high trigger voltage and I mean high. All the ones made in japan and later ones made in korea had 6 volts. To test the trigger voltage take a volt meter short the flash with the probes and read the max voltage. It should spike at no more than six volts.

    I'm not saying this is fool proof and not even saying you can make it work but it always did for me. I had one high voltage 283 but it was being used on an old mechanical camera so I didn't worry much. I did put a red mark on it so I would know not to hook it to a modern camera.

    Im pretty sure that it was because the korean model lacked a relay that triggered the capacitor. Instead it triggered it directly which gave the full hit back to the camera. It was before the modern slr digi or film, so nobody thought anything of it.
     
  4. xibo

    xibo TPF Noob!

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    Okay, the flash that I have was given to me by a friend. It's old. I don't know when he bought it. I've never heard of the make before. It's an Astral CB-21. I googled it and can't seem to come up with anything.

    I'll try to find someone who has a volt meter.
     
  5. mysteryscribe

    mysteryscribe TPF Noob!

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    I have no idea how you plan to use it but you might consider an optical slave triggered by the on camera flash. that way the trigger voltage means nothing.
     
  6. Mad_Gnome

    Mad_Gnome TPF Noob!

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    You might also want to consider just buying a relatively inexpensive third party flash for your camera. It depends on how much you value your time I suppose. You can find a TTL bounce flash for the Pentax *ist and K line on eBay for anywhere between $40 and $400, depending on the features you're looking for.
     

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