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06-18-2011, 08:44 AM   #1
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What flash to use?

Hi, I was thinking about buying an old flash to use both on film and digital SLRs, but sadly I don't know much about flashes. I don't think I need TTL or P-TTL because my film SLR is a Spotmatic, and I don't mind using it in manual mode on the K-r. I just need a pretty powerful flash, needless to say cheap, and that won't fry anything on the digital camera. Also, if the flash is dedicated (has an additional pin or more), can it still fit the socket on the Spotmatic, where there's no connection for pins? Thanks.

06-18-2011, 09:14 AM   #2
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How about a Yongnuo YN560? Powerful, fully manual with lots of adjustment and is fully digital safe.
06-18-2011, 10:03 AM   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by kcobain1992 Quote
Also, if the flash is dedicated (has an additional pin or more), can it still fit the socket on the Spotmatic
That is a very important consideration. Not all flashes support a wired PC (that is what it is called...not related to personal computer) connection. As noted by Alan, trigger voltage is important if you want to use the flash on your K-r. Here is a link to a somewhat dated table:

Photo Strobe Trigger Voltages

The voltage is easy to measure if you have a digital (not analogue) voltmeter. Simply turn the flash on and measure the potential between the center contact (+) and the side contact (-). Sadly, both of my Vivitar flashes have high trigger voltages and are not safe on my K10D.


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06-18-2011, 12:25 PM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by Alan Clogwyn Quote
How about a Yongnuo YN560? Powerful, fully manual with lots of adjustment and is fully digital safe.
I agree with Alan.

speedlights.net has good reviews and discussions on many flashes, but see the ones on the YN-560 and YN-460 II. They only work in manual, altho there are versions for Nikon and Canon as well. the 560 has the zoom feature and the 460 doesn't. 560 adjusts down to 1/125 power which is a tiny pulse. the 460II only goes to 1/64 power which is still pretty low compared to the older Pentax flashes you will find around. Low power like that makes them more flexible for strobist work, IMO. Best feature is the prices, only about $45 or the 460II and about $70 for the 560. I'm through with expensive flashes that are expensive to replace if they get damaged.

I do continue to use my Metz 48 flash in Manual, but i can tell you the YN manual flashes are faster and easier to adjust than the Metz, especially in the dark. Despite the numbers, the Metz48, and YN flashes all have equal power at 35mm zoom. For the zoom flashes, the Metz 48 and YN 560, of course, the flash guide number goes up as the zoom goes up.

06-18-2011, 12:44 PM   #5
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Wait a minute, please explain to me what "zooming" does for a flash. The only other flash I have seen was a Russian one that only fired at full power, so that's what I really call manual
06-18-2011, 12:53 PM   #6
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If your Spottie doesn't have a hot shoe, you'll need one of these
Hama HA-6952 Hot Shoe Flash Adapter 2 with pc Sync Cord

With the spottie, any auto-exposing thyristor flash will work, and with your dSLR you simply mimic what you do with the Spottie (keeping that voltage thing in mind). So why not one of the old Pentax flashes, e.g. AF280T (Keh prices $50-80) or smaller and cheaper AF200T... both of which communicate with your dSLR though not enough to do P-TTL or TTL (although they WILL do TTL with a Super Program or 645 film camera)... and they are safe to use
06-18-2011, 12:55 PM   #7
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I presume a used AF-360FGZ is beyond your budget. Very nice flash, aside from the lack of swivel. Will work fine on the Spotmatic. I'm fully familiar with how to use manual flash, but I will say that P-TTL between AF-360FGZ and my *ist film camera is mighty convenient. However, the LCD user interface is rather annoying.

The Pentax AF-280T is really quite cheap used. low sync voltage, and it tilts and swivels. You can use it in manual mode on the Spotmatic or K-r, or in the "automatic" mode using it's photocell. You can't use the TTL mode on either camera, since the Spotmatic is too old, and the K-r is after Pentax dropped TTL in favor of P-TTL.
06-18-2011, 12:55 PM   #8
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It's a SPII actually, forgot to mention that. It has a hotshoe.

06-18-2011, 01:18 PM   #9
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Is $50 a fair price for the AF-280T? Can I find it cheaper?

And what about the AF260? It seems much, much cheaper. What's there to lose, except tilt and swivel?
Here's a link to an auction of the actual item.

Last edited by kcobain1992; 06-18-2011 at 02:39 PM.
06-18-2011, 03:32 PM   #10
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Yes it will work, only it has fewer possible power levels both auto and manual than the AF 280T and AF 200T.

And yes, you should be able to get either of the two T flashes cheaper than $50, I gave the Keh price as a guideline.

To look at the old Pentax flash features, click on TTL and non-TTL
Pentax Flashes and Flash Accessories
06-18-2011, 07:00 PM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by kcobain1992 Quote
Hi, I was thinking about buying an old flash to use both on film and digital SLRs, but sadly I don't know much about flashes. I don't think I need TTL or P-TTL because my film SLR is a Spotmatic, and I don't mind using it in manual mode on the K-r. I just need a pretty powerful flash, needless to say cheap, and that won't fry anything on the digital camera. Also, if the flash is dedicated (has an additional pin or more), can it still fit the socket on the Spotmatic, where there's no connection for pins? Thanks.
The Vivitar 283 is a pretty good bet, although it lacks horizontal swivel for the head. Below is a link to useful discussion, including workarounds for possible high trigger voltage:

http://www.theothermartintaylor.com/moveabletype/archives/cameras/000156.html

Last edited by John Poirier; 06-18-2011 at 09:40 PM.
06-18-2011, 11:39 PM   #12
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i have an af 280t, a vivitar 283 and a vivitar 3700. the 3700 is more powerful than the af 280t and more adjustable than the 283 and you can usually find one on ebay for 10-20 bucks.
06-21-2011, 06:31 AM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by philbaum Quote
I agree with Alan.

speedlights.net has good reviews and discussions on many flashes, but see the ones on the YN-560 and YN-460 II. They only work in manual, altho there are versions for Nikon and Canon as well. the 560 has the zoom feature and the 460 doesn't. 560 adjusts down to 1/125 power which is a tiny pulse. the 460II only goes to 1/64 power which is still pretty low compared to the older Pentax flashes you will find around. Low power like that makes them more flexible for strobist work, IMO. Best feature is the prices, only about $45 or the 460II and about $70 for the 560. I'm through with expensive flashes that are expensive to replace if they get damaged.

I do continue to use my Metz 48 flash in Manual, but i can tell you the YN manual flashes are faster and easier to adjust than the Metz, especially in the dark. Despite the numbers, the Metz48, and YN flashes all have equal power at 35mm zoom. For the zoom flashes, the Metz 48 and YN 560, of course, the flash guide number goes up as the zoom goes up.
Yes.YN-560 is good for spotmatic because it has PC socket,which can be easily connected into Spotmatic camera's X socket(pls make sure shutter speed is 1/60s or slower).Also as Philbaum said YN 560 has very strong functions and very good price.I just got a spotmatic film camera and my YN-560 can be used properly.
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