Question about film/digital flashes

Discussion in 'Photography Beginners' Forum' started by TStorm, Nov 8, 2008.

  1. TStorm

    TStorm TPF Noob!

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    I have a Canon XSi, and I borrowed an old flash that was used with a film camera. It doesn't work on my XSi. Are flashes specific to digital or film cameras? My guess is that the signal from the camera must be different, but if anyone knows anything more, please share!
    Thanks!
     
  2. genital_apparatus

    genital_apparatus TPF Noob!

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    I heard through someone else that flashguns for film cameras could damage digital camera bodies. Something to do with differences in voltages. More than that, I cannot say. :blushing:
     
  3. tsaraleksi

    tsaraleksi TPF Noob!

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    What kind of flash is it that you have?
     
  4. usayit

    usayit No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    *) first thing... make sure the trigger voltage is not beyond the spec of your camera. See manual. Tigger voltages of old flashes can be found here:
    http://www.botzilla.com/photo/strobeVolts.html

    *) Old flashes can be used with digital cameras but will need to be used in manual mode. In other words, there is no TTL metering with these flashes. Some older flashes Auto thristor flashes will work just as they did on older film cameras.

    *) You will need to determine the max sync shutter speed of your camera and stay to a slower speed.
     
  5. TStorm

    TStorm TPF Noob!

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    Thanks! The old flash is a Vivitar 283. Like I said, the camera body is a Canon XSi.
     
  6. PatrickHMS

    PatrickHMS TPF Noob!

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    If you are not sure about the one you have, why not take the one in question, sell it, and buy one that you KNOW is compatible with your camera.

    The diff between the cost of the flash you buy, minus what you sold this one for will surely cost less than another camera if you use an incompatible flash and it doesn't work out to your expectations...
     
  7. usayit

    usayit No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    I use several old and powerful flashes with my digital cameras (again check trigger voltages). If leveraged correctly, they can produce wonderful results (a couple sunpak 422D, vivitar 283, and a larger Sunpak 622). I also use them on stands/umbrella using wireless triggers.

    The Vivitar 283 is probably one of the most popular for strobists (for years even prior to digital). It is also one of the longest running manufactured flashes. The cost of a new Canon is going to be at several times the value of that vivitar sold on the used market. The 283 also has a compatible cord that allows for off shoe stobes with the auto sensor still mounted directly on the camera. Very useful.

    If you do decide to sell, you should have no problem finding a buyer as they are still popular.
     
  8. TStorm

    TStorm TPF Noob!

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    I'd rather not sell the flash just for the effort of selling it... but, I don't know how to make it work with my XSi. If it's possible I'll keep it, but I haven't figured out how to make it work.
    Thanks for all of your help though, I guess I'll have to try until I figure it out!
     
  9. TStorm

    TStorm TPF Noob!

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    Based on the website from usayit, I think I'll give the flash back... looks like the trigger voltage may be unsafely high. But if anyone has experience using the XSi with a Vivitar flash, I'd love to hear their experiences...
     

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