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04-24-2015, 10:32 AM   #1
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One-Size-Fits-All Flash?

I've got three widely disparate cameras which I enjoy shooting: A Pentax Spotmatic (circa 1968), a Pentax 645N (medium format film); and finally a Canon t3i Rebel DSLR.

My goal is to find a flash which works with all three cameras. I'm looking really hard at the Yongnuo YN565EX ETTL Speedlite. I love the ETTL feature which should work hand in glove with the DSLR and the 645N, which both have AF lenses.

As for my beloved Spotty, I'm reasonably sure I can work the flash manually, plus there is a PC outlet on the unit which will plug into the camera body's "X" and "FP" receptacle. NOTE: I'm a little more concerned with voltage issues here, as I have read that these modern flash units can blow up the electronics (what there is of them; in the Spotty's case, nothing but the light meter) on vintage cameras.

The YN is really priced right. They are virtual Chinese knockoffs of Canon Speed Lites and sell for a fraction of the Canon price. I'm getting really positive feedback in my research on them.

Am I headed in the right direction? I haven't pulled the trigger yet but my finger's getting real itchy!

Bob

04-24-2015, 10:41 AM   #2
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QuoteOriginally posted by Flylooper Quote
NOTE: I'm a little more concerned with voltage issues here, as I have read that these modern flash units can blow up the electronics (what there is of them; in the Spotty's case, nothing but the light meter) on vintage cameras.
It is actually the other way round. Old flashes have trigger voltages that can kill new cameras.
QuoteOriginally posted by Flylooper Quote
I'm looking really hard at the Yongnuo YN565EX ETTL Speedlite. I love the ETTL feature which should work hand in glove with the DSLR and the 645N, which both have AF lenses.
Yongnuo have lots of fans, and for the price they seem quite good. However, I do not think that the 645N will work with E-TTL, I think that is a Canon protocol.

You might also look at the new Cactus units, they are getting good reviews as well.
04-24-2015, 10:59 AM   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by jatrax Quote
It is actually the other way round. Old flashes have trigger voltages that can kill new cameras.
Yongnuo have lots of fans, and for the price they seem quite good. However, I do not think that the 645N will work with E-TTL, I think that is a Canon protocol.

You might also look at the new Cactus units, they are getting good reviews as well.
Yes, I just realized on the ETTL system. I'm partial to the YN, frankly, because of its pricing and because of all the positive reviews. Plus it synchs with the Canon seamlessly. It's my Pentax cameras which I want to work with it.

BTW, I just looked at some of your Oregon photos. Lovely. I'm just getting back into the swing of things. I'm heading to the Oregon Garden tomorrow " on safari" to finish out some film frames. There's a lot outdoor stuff to shoot here, no?

Last edited by Flylooper; 04-24-2015 at 11:04 AM.
04-24-2015, 11:47 AM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by Flylooper Quote
I'm heading to the Oregon Garden tomorrow " on safari" to finish out some film frames. There's a lot outdoor stuff to shoot here, no?
I shot there in early March. A bit too early for good flower shots, hoping to get back there this summer. Shot Hood River pear blossoms three weeks ago, Dalles Mountain Ranch two weekends ago and Crystal Springs Rhododendron Garden last weekend. Not sure where I'm going this weekend. Have to be in Oregon City on Sunday to put some prints in a gallery so might hang out down there someplace.
QuoteOriginally posted by Flylooper Quote
It's my Pentax cameras which I want to work with it.
I'm not familiar with 645 system but I believe the 645N uses TTL. Newer cameras would use P-TTL (Pentax TTL) and Canon uses E-TTL (EOS TTL). So if the Yougnuo flashes support old fashioned TTL then you should be good for the 645N and if they also support E-TTL then they will work on the Canon. The Spotmatic does not support TTL at all as far as I know.

04-24-2015, 12:01 PM   #5
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Though any non-dedicated manual flash will function with the Pentax 645, if you want TTL or Automatic mode calibrated for the different format, the older AF360FGZ would be the way to go. However, it might not give you the features you want from your Canon.

Camera companies went to great lengths to make you use their flash with their camera, hence ETTL vs. P-TTL vs. TTL with Pentax-specific pin placement. You might have a hard time finding something that does TTL for both the Canon and the 645. The Spotmatic provides trigger only (use the X port), so any manual flash would work. Adding a PC-sync adapter to the flash might be necessary, depending on what you get.
04-24-2015, 01:20 PM   #6
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Two models which may be of interest are the Canon 580EX II and the Nissin Di-866 (Canon version, mark I or II). These will be full-featured dedicated TTL models on your Canon, while on your Pentaxes they will give you both full manual and the old style auto flash, as they have a light sensor in the flash body. The 580EX II was pricey when new, but second hand prices are pretty decent. It is a great flash. The Nissin should be available for cheaper and is also good. The auto-flash mode on these models isn't as reliable as TTL, but still better than manual if you're changing your distance from the subject regularly.
04-24-2015, 11:40 PM   #7
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There is possibly one currently manufactured flash that will support all your models. It will come at a price (possibly the most expensive you can buy) and uses SCA adapters. SCA adapters allow you to adapt the flash to a variety of cameras.

May I present Metz Mecablitz 76 MZ-5 digital

In the past there were more SCA based models, but there no longer seems to be a high need for them.
04-25-2015, 01:58 PM   #8
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YIkes!

Oh, sure. I'll just run down to the local photo shop and pick one of those puppies up! Cheapest on Amazon is $650 +/- Plus the adapters? (I'm an aluminum foil and 100 watt light bulb kind of guy. )

I think I'm going with the Yongguo. Pricing and features can't be beat, it looks like.


QuoteOriginally posted by sterretje Quote
There is possibly one currently manufactured flash that will support all your models. It will come at a price (possibly the most expensive you can buy) and uses SCA adapters. SCA adapters allow you to adapt the flash to a variety of cameras.

May I present Metz Mecablitz 76 MZ-5 digital

In the past there were more SCA based models, but there no longer seems to be a high need for them.


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