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07-21-2009, 12:26 PM   #1
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What happened to the PC connector?

I've recently started shooting again as I want to get "back in the saddle". I have a Pentax SF! (film camera) that I used for years in a semi-professional mode. Oddly enough, I never used flash on that camera. The only work I used flash on were weddings and I shot all of those with a different piece of gear.
I just noticed that the SF! does not have a pc connection on the camera at all! It's got an onboard flash and a hot shoe, but no pc connection.
I have a couple of Sunpak 522 flash units and slave units that still work like new that I'd like to utilize. If I acquire a hotshoe to pc unit to install on the hotshoe I'm sure the Sunpaks will fire, my question is exposure? Will the onboard metering work thru the hotshoe connection, or will I need to do everything in a "manual mode"?
Calculating the exposure manually isn't a problem for me. Hell, I did it that way for 20 years! I'm just curious how the "auto exposure" function would work with such a setup.
And "Why no pc connection anyhow?" I'm thinking about moving to a K20. Doe anyone know if they have a pc connection?
Thanks in advance.

07-21-2009, 12:45 PM   #2
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The K20D does have a PC socket and you can also get the hot shoe adapter for the SF-1 but unless I'm mistaken it's going to be manual only. Just a firing pin to trigger the flash.

I will caution though. Your Sunpaks need to be checked for trigger voltages. Almost all brands of DSLR's use an electrical circuit board to trigger flash that are made for 30 volts or less. Old mechanical triggers of the film era could handle a lot more juice and some older flashes can put out 600 volts at the trigger. One shot like that and you will cook your camera. Use a multi meter to test the trigger voltage of the flash and unless you have Wein Safe Syncs, don't use a flash that puts out more than 25 volts.

the reported trigger voltages here for Sunpak 522's vary wildly. I'd check yours yourself to be sure.
07-21-2009, 12:46 PM   #3
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Hey Bob,

I assume by "onboard metering," you mean the light sensor on the flash, not in the camera.

If that's the case, get a hotshoe-to-pc adapter. Things will work exactly as if the pc connector is on the camera.

Better yet, get a remote sensor for the Sunpak 522 (model RS-005, Sunpak part number 651-787). It's only $5 + shipping from KEH, or here is a FleaBay listing. The remote sensor is attached to the camera's hotshoe, and will make your 522 much more flexible.

From what I know, the Sunpak 522 (at least some of them) has voltage trigger of about 180V. That's not a problem for the SF1, but is not good for DSLR. You can add a little circuit (cost: $2) to the remote sensor to bring the trigger voltage down to a safe level. Let me know if you'd like more details of this operation.

Editted to add:

Here is my post of reducing the trigger voltage of the Sunpak 611. The 522 is even easier because there's more empty space in the RS-005 remove sensor for the circuit to be added.

Last edited by SOldBear; 07-21-2009 at 12:53 PM.
07-21-2009, 12:58 PM   #4
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SOld Bear,
What you've described above confirms what I thought it would be. The Sunpak 822 has it's own "auto exposure" in the flash head itself, so no problems there.
Good to know about the DSLR problems though. I would like to know a little more detail about the operation you've descirbed regarding adding the circuit to bring the voltage level down to safe levels.
Thanks to both of ya'll for the info.

07-21-2009, 02:03 PM   #5
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As mentioned above, here's my post as what I did to the Sunpak 611.

The article I quoted in that post has been removed, this is the sketch of the circuit:



Bob, because you were in the service, I make you a deal: send me your mailing address, and I'll drop a remote sensor RS-005 in the mail to you. It has been modified to reduce the trigger voltage to 7.5 V. If we have a chance to meet, you'll pay for the coffee and donuts, and we call it even.

What do you think?
07-21-2009, 07:53 PM   #6
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Interesting tidbit: I read in the K-7 brochure: they say they put some voltage safety in the PC terminal on there. I recall people wondering if this was so with the K20d, but no one seemed to know.
07-22-2009, 07:53 AM   #7
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RatMagic Lady,
That's exactly why I posed the question....at some not too distant point, I'd like to move from film to digital. I am currently considering the K20 as the K7 is currently beyond my spending limit.
07-22-2009, 08:26 AM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by Ratmagiclady Quote
Interesting tidbit: I read in the K-7 brochure: they say they put some voltage safety in the PC terminal on there. I recall people wondering if this was so with the K20d, but no one seemed to know.

Yup, I remember the presenter talking about it in the Pentax K20D promo video.

07-22-2009, 11:39 AM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by hillerby Quote
That's exactly why I posed the question....at some not too distant point, I'd like to move from film to digital. I am currently considering the K20 as the K7 is currently beyond my spending limit.
Interestingly, on my Sunpak 522, the trigger voltage measured at the PC terminal (simple sync cord) is 22V. But the trigger voltage measured at the remote sensor is 184V (without the mod. that is).
07-22-2009, 07:55 PM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by lithos Quote
Yup, I remember the presenter talking about it in the Pentax K20D promo video.
(edit: ) *checking link* Aha! So the PC socket is in fact protected. Awesome. I think I'll test my old unit, anyway, just to make sure nothing crazy's happening, after all these years, but this is good news.

It'd be really convenient if I could just hook up my trusty old 285HV. I like to keep a coiley cord on there at all times. (I keep managing to forget between a friend and I to borrow a voltage tester. )

I think for digital, you'll like the K20d, Hillerby, still has to be the best deal out there, especially for those who like the old school. If you have to use... digital.

Last edited by Ratmagiclady; 07-22-2009 at 08:00 PM.
07-23-2009, 06:26 AM   #11
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RatMagic Lady,
The K20 is probably what I'll end up with for digital. It appears to be the closest to "old school" to me. I don't care how damned big or heavy the rig is as long as I can get the shot! Hell, I've lugged around a 4x5 Speed Graphic .... now that's a load!
I need the digital capability for some of the pro work I'm doing, but I still have several film cameras that I use for certain projects. If I'm doing scenics or landscapes for example I'll load up my 2-1/x3-1/4 Speed Graphic. Digital isn't going to make LARGE prints with the shaprness that the 6x9 negative will give me.
07-23-2009, 07:37 AM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by Ratmagiclady Quote
(edit: ) *checking link* Aha! So the PC socket is in fact protected. Awesome. I think I'll test my old unit, anyway, just to make sure nothing crazy's happening, after all these years, but this is good news.

It'd be really convenient if I could just hook up my trusty old 285HV. I like to keep a coiley cord on there at all times. (I keep managing to forget between a friend and I to borrow a voltage tester. )

I think for digital, you'll like the K20d, Hillerby, still has to be the best deal out there, especially for those who like the old school. If you have to use... digital.
Unless you're a company has a wide range of flashes currently on the market that you're trying force gullible consu- er, that can cater to every single strobist's desire, it's just a simple little thing that can be built into the camera, like what SOldBear's schematic'd up. Probably cost all of about three year to do each K20D...yet some manufacturers don't bother with it.
07-23-2009, 04:03 PM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by hillerby Quote
RatMagic Lady,
The K20 is probably what I'll end up with for digital. It appears to be the closest to "old school" to me. I don't care how damned big or heavy the rig is as long as I can get the shot! Hell, I've lugged around a 4x5 Speed Graphic .... now that's a load!
If you're used to the brutish charm of SF-1, the K20D won't seem all that big/heavy. If you're used to MZ-5n, it does.
07-25-2009, 12:16 PM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by hillerby Quote
RatMagic Lady,
The K20 is probably what I'll end up with for digital. It appears to be the closest to "old school" to me. I don't care how damned big or heavy the rig is as long as I can get the shot! Hell, I've lugged around a 4x5 Speed Graphic .... now that's a load!
I need the digital capability for some of the pro work I'm doing, but I still have several film cameras that I use for certain projects. If I'm doing scenics or landscapes for example I'll load up my 2-1/x3-1/4 Speed Graphic. Digital isn't going to make LARGE prints with the shaprness that the 6x9 negative will give me.
Yep. Much to appeal to the old school. I've remarked on how them just plain putting a PC terminal back on a camera I could potentially afford is what really had me keeping an eye on Pentax before I took the plunge. (Makes a great excuse to want an LX and certain old glass, anyway. )

One of my dear friends has had a 'Baby Graphic' since we were in high school: fond memories, there.

I don't think that K20d presents any size problems: it's actually just about the size of my F-1N to handle: (what I consider a 'good-sized regular film camera: I think of an ME Super as 'teeny' and like an LX as 'smallish.' ) I like the size for being big enough that a battery grip isn't *mandatory* to give it enough heft, and small enough that he doesn't turn into a real beast when you do put one on.

The K20d also represents when digital-I-could-get-hold-of reached a level where I'm pretty much never standing there going, "I can't get this shot without film." (Apart from that I have nicer lenses for the old Canons, of course.)

It's not the *same* as film, but at least I'm not already in a position where something inside is screaming for an upgrade just to get back some of the capabilities I'm accustomed to. Not a bad place to add some digital to an old-school photo bag.
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