Flash will work on film camera but not digital?

Discussion in 'Digital Cameras' started by DaveC, Apr 16, 2012.

  1. DaveC

    DaveC Guest

    Is there any reason an "economy" flash (Achiever 630AF) will work on a film
    camera but not on a digital camera. I've been told this but see no reason for
    it to be so.

    The destination camera is Canon PowerShot G9.

    DaveC, Apr 16, 2012
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  2. DaveC

    J. Clarke Guest

    Check the voltage between the center post and the flat part of shoe on
    the flash. If it's over 6 volts it's possible that it can damage your
    J. Clarke, Apr 16, 2012
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  3. There are plenty of old flashes that work fine on the older film cameras
    (older as in "Pentax K-1000" vintage) but will fry the electronics of
    newer cameras.

    Ryan McGinnis                         @bigstormpicture
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    Ryan McGinnis, Apr 16, 2012

  4. As mentioned by J. and Ryan, some older flashes were directly fired by a
    mechanical switch contact in the camera. They may have too high an
    open-circuit voltage or short-circuit current for use with cameras that
    fire the flash electronically.

    If you do a web search for that specific flash, you may find
    specifications for it. It might have been sold as being compatible with
    a particular camera. If it claims to be compatible with Canon EOS
    cameras, it probably would work with the G9.

    What if it is safe to use, but does not communicate with the G9's
    electronics? If the flash is claimed to be "automatic", you can
    manually set your camera's f/stop according to a calculator on the flash

    You also might be able to use it in completely manual mode. Set the
    camera's shutter speed to something less than the maximum flash sync
    speed. Then calculate the camera's f/stop based on the flash guide
    number, camera ISO setting and the distance from flash to subject. The
    flash may have a calculator for that too.

    Fred McKenzie, Apr 17, 2012
  5. DaveC

    Guest Guest

    if it's designed for a film camera it probably has an older and no
    longer used ttl system and that won't work with newer cameras.

    you may be able to get it to work if it has a fully manual mode or an
    automatic mode where the sensor on the camera adjusts the flash, no ttl
    at all.
    Guest, Apr 17, 2012
  6. Yep.
    Apart from the voltage on the contacts:
    - the flash may depend on OTF-TTF (Off the film, through the
    lens) metering. Sensors reflect very different from film,
    so metering *during* the flash is not supported: there
    needs to be a pre-shot metering flash.

    - If the flash was designed and built before the protocols
    for telling the flash "flash only a small flash" and "now
    fire a 1/4 flash" etc. were designed, the flash wouldn't
    know how to talk to the camera nor understand the camera
    (nor have the smartness to stop the flash on it's own).

    - Since the flash doesn't know how to properly talk to the
    camera, it'll only work on
    - full power only
    - manual control (if available)
    - "computer flash" with manually set aperture (basically the
    flash detects how much light has been reflected and shuts
    off based on that and the aperture) --- if available.

    None of that is what most people expect from a flash (to
    'just work' usually) ...
    If the voltage is OK and you're willing to understand and really
    *work* for the flash shots getting right, you should be fine.

    If the flash is a "computer flash" with inbuild sensor, and you
    fix your aperture, you might be able to be happy even with snap
    shooting with little restrictions.

    But if you want comfort and automatics, that's not really the
    flash you want.

    Wolfgang Weisselberg, Apr 17, 2012
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