using my dads old strobe, external flash on my d40?

Discussion in 'Beyond the Basics' started by austriker, Aug 29, 2009.

  1. austriker

    austriker TPF Noob!

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    okay so my dad gave me his old external flash (vivitar 550 FD M/P/O) that he used his old pentex SLR and i was wondering if i can use it on my d40. i have heard that they might like overload the voltage but i am not sure where to check this out... i googled but couldnt find much on this external flash, i suppose its real old..

    also it is a "M/P/O" model, which means its not for nikon, however i loaded it on my mount and it does work with the shutter.. however i do not know how to work it, i just pressed the shutter release and the flash worked with that...

    help!! thanks!!
     
  2. Derrel

    Derrel Mr. Rain Cloud

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    I checked the famous botzilla web site for trigger voltages, and the 550's trigger voltage is quite low; units seem to vary, but all were from 4 to 10 volts, which is a VERY safe range for a D40. The M/P/O stood for Minolta Pentax Olympus.

    With a bit of testing and practice, you can probably get decent results using the flash and your D40; after all, the D40 has a built-in exposure proofing system,right on the back of the camera.
     
  3. austriker

    austriker TPF Noob!

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    i found that site too but i thought i read it was for EOS which i assumed was canon cameras; so i left it.. but i guess i did not dig enough.. thanks for your help. i will bring it to school with me and start experimenting (i have no idea how to work one :lol:)
     
  4. austriker

    austriker TPF Noob!

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    please explain, is this the AE-L button? i know my camera wholey except for this button. also could you explain how to use the flash? i suppose i just set it on Auto1 and let it rock n roll. i have been reading stuff on strobes and how different will all this information for me b/c mine is quite old?
     
  5. Derrel

    Derrel Mr. Rain Cloud

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    Sorry about my comment. What I meant to say is that with the LCD on the back of a d-slr, it's rather easy to take a photo at a particular flash power level,and using the "blinkies" and/or the histogram, to look at a shot and to decide if you need to open the aperture up wider, or to close the aperture down a bit, or to either lower or elevate the ISO setting to get a good histogram reading.

    On most older flashes, there is a small switch that has 1 or 2 or maybe 3 different positions, and each position corresponds to what is called an AUTO-aperture setting. Those auto apertures are usually related to a particular ISO setting, like 100,200,and 400,and the relationship/settings are usually printed on a small chart or dial on the flash itself.

    Here is an on-line PDF manual for the 550 FD. http://www.cameramanuals.org/flashes_meters/vivitar_550_fd_n.pdf

    It has A1 and A2 auto f/stops, plus Manual mode. A1 is for larger(wider hole) f/stops and A2 is for a smaller f/stop (smller hole, higher f/number value). Set the ISO speed you have, and read off the A1 and A2 values. Set yuor shutter speed in Manual mode to 1/200 second or slower, and use the suggested fs/top setting across from A1 or A2.

    Shoot. Evaluate exposure. Adjust the lens to a wider or smaller aperture, OR adjust the ISO setting up or down 1/3 or 2/3 or 1 whole ISO value to get the exposures perfect. The system is an old technology, but it works quite well!
     
  6. andrew99

    andrew99 TPF Noob!

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    The D40 can take up to 250V, so it should be ok.

    You'll have to shoot in manual mode (and turn off Auto-ISO). Then with a bit of trial and error, find the right aperture to give you the correct exposure.
     
  7. boogschd

    boogschd TPF Noob!

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    AF/AE-L is used to lock the focus/exposure :)
     
  8. Big Mike

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

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    As mentioned, put the camera into manual exposure mode. Put the shutter speed at 1/200.
    The things we use to control the flash power/exposure are; the lens aperture, the flash power setting, the ISO and the distance from the flash to the subject.

    Play around with these things and see what you can get.
     

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