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09-06-2008, 10:51 PM   #1
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Old Flash, New Bodies

I am considering using the Vivitar 285 HV flash I purchased in the late 90s to compliment my ZX-50 on my new K10D. I have read in magazines such as Popular Photography these flashes may do severe harm to modern D-SLRs because of the trigger voltages these flashes generate. I have read the manual up and down and it does not give any type of warning of such with the use of this awesome camera. There is even an X setting which suprised me because it reminds me of that same said setting on my K1000. The manual says use this setting, which sets the shutter at 1/180 sec., on flashes that do not automatically change the shutter speed. Would this apply to old flashes such as the Vivitars? I am on a budget right now but I do intend to purchase a Pentax TTL flash eventually. Will this flash harm my camera? I am planning on using it off camera with the wired remote removable sensor setup to those of you who are familiar with these old flashes.

09-07-2008, 12:20 AM   #2
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According to Photo Strobe Trigger Voltages your flash might have trigger voltage from 8 to 33 volts. I wouldn't guarantee that it wouldn't damage your camera in the long run, though I'm not sure what's exactly a safe trigger voltage with Pentax DSLR's. Some sources say they can sustain several tens of volts and some say you shouldn't use anything that has trigger voltage of more than 8-10 volts. If you have a multimeter, I'd suggest you to measure the voltage yourself with fresh batteries in the flash.

I'm using an old Carena SCA 40 flash which has a low trigger voltage (less than 5 volts if I recall correctly) on my K100D and it's working beautifully.
09-07-2008, 02:59 AM   #3
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The HV is the modern release and therefore ALL safe for digital Pentax.
The 283 and 285 are the ones that need to be checked with a multimeter. My 285 Zoom is a constant 8.3V

Somewhere in these fora I once wrote the accepted trigger Pentax in Utah had recommended.

In any case if you're unsure get a MultiMeter AND call Pentax.
09-07-2008, 10:35 AM   #4
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I also read a post on another forum that said if you use the flash inserted into the hot shoe, thats when the damage from excessive trigger voltage could occur. I have no such intentions since I will be using this flash in combination with a strobofrabe flash bracket. I will be using either the remote sensor setup or the 12 inch pc cord thet came with the flash via an adapter in the hot shoe. Would the trigger voltage some how be reduced by using this off camera setup? Like having a Wein Safe Sync?

09-07-2008, 11:48 PM   #5
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The Safe Sync solves the voltage issue (gotta love aptly-named products ), but I can't offer any advice on the PC cord. So, if in doubt...

Supposedly...and I use that word with the caution that you should test it yourself...the newer, China-made (ugh) flashes are lower voltage, if you do decide to use it in the hotshoe. Not sure if the late-90s is "new" enough though, since these flashes were put back into production a few years ago.
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