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11-09-2011, 03:04 AM   #1
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safe to use flash

Hi everyone,i am new to forums so tell me if i am doing something wrong.
i am looking at buying a new kr shortly and i wish to know what i can use from my old film mz50.
i have just read that my sigma EF430st flash is not the best but is it safe to use until i can afford something else.
also i have all of my lenses i used on mz are they suitable to use(they are AF lenses) any help would be great.

11-09-2011, 04:35 AM   #2
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With regards to the flash, do a search for trigger voltage and your model.

With regards to the lenses, just be aware that the field of view changes as the sensor in any Pentax dSLR is smaller than a film frame. A 50mm on the dSLR will give the field of view of a 75mm on film and that 28mm wide angle is no longer a wide angle but closer to normal.
11-09-2011, 05:35 AM   #3
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I have an old Achiever TZ250 flash which was from the film era, and it works fine with my K-r. It has an annoying yellow tone, but the flash itself works fine. Modern pentax have some sort of voltage regulation so old flashes won't fry them anyway, as far as I'm aware. Not like some horror stories you hear.

You should be fine using it until you get a new one; I hardly do flash photography, and new ones are horribly expensive, so I've not bothered yet.
11-09-2011, 06:17 AM   #4
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This is a chart to check for trigger voltages.

11-09-2011, 09:19 PM   #5
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re using flash & lenses

thankyou everyone for your help and advice
11-11-2011, 05:06 PM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by Kona Quote
I have an old Achiever TZ250 flash which was from the film era, and it works fine with my K-r. It has an annoying yellow tone, but the flash itself works fine. Modern pentax have some sort of voltage regulation so old flashes won't fry them anyway, as far as I'm aware. Not like some horror stories you hear.

You should be fine using it until you get a new one; I hardly do flash photography, and new ones are horribly expensive, so I've not bothered yet.
Do you have a source for the "old flashes won't fry them anyway" comment? You're the first I've run across with that view and it would help if we can verify its accuracy or correct it. Opens up some choices I (and others) have discarded if true.

Please remember that over-voltage is not necessary apparent right away. Like power surges, each flash may very slightly damage some component in the camera - until the ultimate happens.

For background, surge protectors do their best work gradually sacrificing themselves to small voltage spikes, spikes we may not notice as they may be micro or nanoseconds at moderate amperages. That's why good protectors have an indicator that tells you if their metal oxide varistor (MOV) has degraded to the point that the surge protector needs replacement.

Last edited by glanglois; 11-12-2011 at 11:15 AM.
11-11-2011, 05:51 PM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by Kona Quote
Modern pentax have some sort of voltage regulation so old flashes won't fry them anyway, as far as I'm aware. Not like some horror stories you hear.
QuoteOriginally posted by glanglois Quote
Do you have a source for the "old flashes won't fry them anyway" comment? Your the first I've run across with that view and it would help if we can verify its accuracy or correct it. Opens up some choices I (and others) have discarded if true.
The problem with this claim (high trigger voltage damaging camera) is that it's difficult to prove one way or another. On one side, noone has presented a camera damaged by high trigger voltage. On the other side, as glanglois stated, the damage, if any, is not instantaneous.

Most, if not all camera makers warn about this; but none (except for Ricoh) has stated how high is "too high." Ricoh states in the GX200 Users' Manual:

"When using a commercially-available external flash, make sure the flash has the following specifications.

• It must not have a signal terminal other than an X contact.
• The polarity of the X contact must be positive (+).
• The voltage of the X contact must not exceed 20V."


(The first item is not really true. I use flashes with multiple data pins without any problem to my GX200).

Since there is no solid proof one way or another, it's better to err on the safe side, especially when flashes with low trigger voltage are not difficult to find, and used ones are available at reasonable prices.
11-11-2011, 06:07 PM   #8
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I don't actually remember where I saw it now, as I've been absorbing a lot from many sources over the past few months. It may have been on this site, or some other photographic site when I was looking in to it.

My K-r manual says "Flashes with reversed polarity (the center contact on the hot shoe is minus) cannot be used due to the risk of damaging the camera and flash" which may be the only thing that matters, but it probably warrants further investigation for people who feel uncomfortable about it. Seeing as I hardly ever do flash photography (and popup is usually fine when I do) it's kind of a non-issue to me personally. Pentax flashes are far too expensive for me to consider getting, probably ever. I was given this old one and it works.

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