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10-16-2009, 06:11 PM   #1
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Old flash and digital camera question

I have Vivitar Electronic Flash 2000 that I used with my film camera. I tried it once on K20D and it worked but then I read on forum that old flashes should not be used with digital cameras because of high trigger voltage. I was lucky that I tried it only once and I didn't fry anything. So after long internet research I could not find the actual or even close trigger voltage of this particular flash and the K20D. So I am asking here if anybody has any information about this.

I shoot mostly in manual so I don't need expensive flashes with TTL or PTTL or whatever they come with.
I use it with longer exposures that allow me enough time to trigger the flash manually by hand of camera but I am afraid to mount it again on K20D for shots that use short exposures.

10-16-2009, 06:44 PM   #2
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Sorry, wrong section
10-16-2009, 08:46 PM   #3
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You dodged a bullet http://www.botzilla.com/photo/strobeVolts.html. If you want to use it, you can get something like a Wein SafeSync or some optical triggers and use it off camera.
10-16-2009, 09:09 PM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by Nelepl Quote
Sorry, wrong section
Moved.
In future, instead of posting that you made a mistake, please use the reporting system (red flag at bottom left of post) that way the moderators are made aware of it. I just saw this by chance.

10-17-2009, 04:08 AM   #5
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Now you guys have me worried. I picked up a Pentax AF280T, which just arrived, based upon the recommendations in a thread on this site. Is this unit safe to use with my *ist DS?
10-17-2009, 07:17 AM   #6
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I use an AF280T all the time with my DS's. It works perfect, and the voltage is safe.
10-18-2009, 04:20 PM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by Nelepl Quote
I have Vivitar Electronic Flash 2000 that I used with my film camera. I tried it once on K20D and it worked but then I read on forum that old flashes should not be used with digital cameras because of high trigger voltage. I was lucky that I tried it only once and I didn't fry anything. So after long internet research I could not find the actual or even close trigger voltage of this particular flash and the K20D. So I am asking here if anybody has any information about this.

I shoot mostly in manual so I don't need expensive flashes with TTL or PTTL or whatever they come with.
I use it with longer exposures that allow me enough time to trigger the flash manually by hand of camera but I am afraid to mount it again on K20D for shots that use short exposures.
You can check the trig voltage of a suspect flash with a "multi-meter".
You have to set it to the DC setting and set it to 250V to have a large leeway on voltage.
Touch the black (ground) tip of the probe on the side of the contact of your flash and the red (+) tip of the probe on the middle contact of the flash hot shoe.
The flash should be turned on (before you touch the probes) at full power and the use regular 1.5v batteries and not the rechargeable as the rechargeable would post a lower voltage reading.
You would want to test the flash at its highest voltage setting.
If the multi-meter doesn't register a voltage reading (of the flash) at 250v setting, then turn it down to 50v, then 10v setting as I have done on the example as I have the Vivitar 285HV where you can see it reading only a trigger voltage of even less then 4 volts, although I'm using eneloops here.
Even with a regular 1.5v alkaline battery, it's (Vivitar 285HV) reading would still be below 5volts.
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10-18-2009, 05:16 PM   #8
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I use a Sigma EF 430St on my K100D and it hasn't fried the camera yet.If it does,it will give me an excuse to upgrade to the K7!!!

10-18-2009, 06:09 PM   #9
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Trigger voltave

QuoteOriginally posted by raymeedc Quote
Now you guys have me worried. I picked up a Pentax AF280T, which just arrived, based upon the recommendations in a thread on this site. Is this unit safe to use with my *ist DS?
AFAIK, all Pentax flashes are safe.

If you get another old flash, it is easy to measure the trigger voltage. All you need is an inexpensive digital multimeter. These can be purchased for $10 or less and are handy to have around the house, so its not a wasted investment.

Set the meter on DC volts, 200 volts or less. Charge the flash unit until the ready light glows, and touch the two meter leads to the center pin and the connector in the side of the hotshoe slot. Then, just read the voltage off the meter. The lower, the better, but anything under 25 volts is probably safe. Most modern flashes are below 10 volts.

I've read that analog meters, with a needle that swings through an arc, do not have a high enough impedance and can trigger the flash and give false readings. I've never tried one, though, so I can't vouch for this from personal experience.
10-19-2009, 06:06 PM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by noblepa Quote
I've read that analog meters, with a needle that swings through an arc, do not have a high enough impedance and can trigger the flash and give false readings. I've never tried one, though, so I can't vouch for this from personal experience.
It doesn't trigger to flash the Vivitar 285HV as per my experience.
I just tried it with my above post too as you can see from the photos.
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