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03-26-2019, 07:55 PM   #1
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Flash Trigger Voltage for Film Cameras

So my photography professor required a flash, and I picked up flash bracket handle and a Sunpak Auto 322 flash. According to my research, this flash seem to have trigger voltage in the 200V range. I plan to use this flash on all my cameras (Pentax K-S2, PZ-1, LX, ME Super, and SPF; Nikon FE2 and EL2; and Sony/Minolta A7 both film and digital) so I have purchased a Wein SafeSync voltage regulator.

The Sunpak Auto 322 interests me especially because it has a PC cord and with the bracket, I can mount it on my LX even when using the FC-1 finder which lacks a hot shoe. However I have read that high trigger voltage can also damage some film cameras, and I would like to know if it is safe to use the flash without using the SafeSync, especially on my collection of older film cameras.

I am not sure which section to post this, but since this is mainly about flash on my Pentax I decided to post it here anyways. Please move it if it is considered off-topic.

Sincerely

03-26-2019, 08:45 PM   #2
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Flash Voltage

Here is a url that lists voltages to many flash manufacturers. They speculate if the flashes would be safe for use on a Canon EOS. Voltages greater than six are not recommended on Older Canon cameras. If you scroll down your Sun 322 is listed with a very high voltage. Others will be more technical, but this is a start.

Photo Strobe Trigger Voltages

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03-26-2019, 08:49 PM   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by tscip22 Quote
Here is a url that lists voltages to many flash manufacturers. They speculate if the flashes would be safe for use on a Canon EOS. Voltages greater than six are not recommended on Older Canon cameras. If you scroll down your Sun 322 is listed with a very high voltage. Others will be more technical, but this is a start.



Photo Strobe Trigger Voltages



Best Regards
I got my figure for 322 from this form.

My question is: are my cameras capable of tolerating such a high voltage on the PC terminal? I asked because I know that some cameras have different limits on the PC terminal and the hot shoe.

03-26-2019, 09:03 PM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by butangmucat Quote
My question is: are my cameras capable of tolerating such a high voltage on the PC terminal? I asked because I know that some cameras have different limits on the PC terminal and the hot shoe.
It depends on the camera and how the flash sync is handled. Old style with physical contacts can tolerate high voltage/amperage. Electronic timing, not so robust. Unfortunately, it is not particularly easy to determine whether a particular camera's contacts are timed by the shutter mechanical parts or direct timing from the shutter's electronic timing mechanism. The camera manual may offer a clue. If there is a warning regarding potential damage to electronics, that would be a strong clue.


Steve


Last edited by stevebrot; 03-26-2019 at 11:01 PM.
03-29-2019, 01:13 AM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by stevebrot Quote
It depends on the camera and how the flash sync is handled. Old style with physical contacts can tolerate high voltage/amperage. Electronic timing, not so robust. Unfortunately, it is not particularly easy to determine whether a particular camera's contacts are timed by the shutter mechanical parts or direct timing from the shutter's electronic timing mechanism. The camera manual may offer a clue. If there is a warning regarding potential damage to electronics, that would be a strong clue.


Steve
I was doing some further research on this topic, and came across this: Powershot Posts

QuoteQuote:
SOME cameras with electronically controlled shutters and programmed flash still used hardwired tungsten flash sync contacts safe to hundreds of volts, example: Pentax LX.
Does this mean that cameras like LX still uses the old style mechanical contacts?
03-29-2019, 08:19 AM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by butangmucat Quote
Does this mean that cameras like LX still uses the old style mechanical contacts?
The LX is able to sync with no batteries in the camera. That fact indicates physical contacts. The same would be true of other cameras capable of sync without batteries.


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04-03-2019, 04:33 PM   #7
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I would not use the PZ1 with a flash that has 200v trigger voltage,

Older cameras like the ME LX and spotmatics are ok I believe, I used a high voltage flash on my Ricoh XR2s and film KX, but bought an AF500FTZ when I got my PZ1.
04-03-2019, 09:34 PM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by Lowell Goudge Quote
I would not use the PZ1 with a flash that has 200v trigger voltage,
Neither would I. A good rule of thumb is that if a camera does not provide sync with batteries out, the same uses electronic timing for the sync and may not be robust to higher voltage.

QuoteOriginally posted by Lowell Goudge Quote
Older cameras like the ME LX and spotmatics are ok I believe, I used a high voltage flash on my Ricoh XR2s and film KX
That is my understanding as well. All of the bodies on your list have X-sync fired by the shutter's clock mechanism and should be robust. What interests me is that while I predictably have not had a problem with my 150V Vivitar 2600 on any of my cameras having mechanical sync. I also used the same flash for over 20 years on my Ricoh XR7. While the manual describes use of the two dedicated Ricoh-brand flash, it also gave instructions for other flash with no mention of any voltage vulnerability. Apparently the sync timing has an isolated circuit. That being said, I now own a more powerful Vivitar 40D with Sears/Canon/Nikon/Ricoh dedication that was contemporary with the XR7. That flash measures at 6.5V and will set sync speed and flash ready on both my Ricoh XR7 and XR-2s when in Auto mode. Apparently voltages were starting to drop even in the early 1980s.


Steve

04-04-2019, 07:29 PM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by stevebrot Quote
Neither would I. A good rule of thumb is that if a camera does not provide sync with batteries out, the same uses electronic timing for the sync and may not be robust to higher voltage.



That is my understanding as well. All of the bodies on your list have X-sync fired by the shutter's clock mechanism and should be robust. What interests me is that while I predictably have not had a problem with my 150V Vivitar 2600 on any of my cameras having mechanical sync. I also used the same flash for over 20 years on my Ricoh XR7. While the manual describes use of the two dedicated Ricoh-brand flash, it also gave instructions for other flash with no mention of any voltage vulnerability. Apparently the sync timing has an isolated circuit. That being said, I now own a more powerful Vivitar 40D with Sears/Canon/Nikon/Ricoh dedication that was contemporary with the XR7. That flash measures at 6.5V and will set sync speed and flash ready on both my Ricoh XR7 and XR-2s when in Auto mode. Apparently voltages were starting to drop even in the early 1980s.


Steve
Out of all my electronic film cameras, the only one that I know to be safe is the Minolta Maxxum 7, which according to Safe flash trigger voltage on Dynax 7? | ePHOTOzine can take up to 400 volts from the PC terminal, but the hotshoe is way less robust than that.

Most of my cameras are able to sync mechanically (LX, SPF, ME Super, and Nikon FE2), but I do have a Nikon EL2 which has a battery-dependent X-sync speed of 1/125s, and an unmarked fallback shutter speed of 1/90s which is automatically used when the battery is dead. However the EL2 was made in the late 70s, still at a time of high voltage flash and it seems to use a Copal Square focal-plane shutter which predates the ones used on the FE2 so it should be safe too. However I don't want to risk to test my Sunpak on the EL2 at this point.

Last edited by butangmucat; 04-04-2019 at 07:48 PM.
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