Your flash can damage your camera!

Discussion in '35mm Cameras' started by me, Oct 18, 2004.

  1. me

    me Guest

    When I found out that some flash units use very high trigger voltages,
    several hundred volts in some cases, I was very displeased. Not that this
    presents any problem for me right now but it might in the future. I
    purchased my camera and flash in 1978 and both look and work like new. But
    if I buy a new camera body I might not be able to use my flash with it. The
    reason for this is that many newer camera bodies have flash trigger circuits
    that can tolerate no more than a few volts without burning out. Six volts
    seems to be the maximum average flash trigger voltage that most current
    camera bodies can tolerate.
    You can blame either the flash manufacturers or the camera body
    manufacturers for this sorry state of affairs, flip a coin and make your
    choice but in either case you should visit this site: for a list of flash trigger
    voltages before you use your flash with a new camera. If you don't find
    your flash's trigger voltage listed then look here: for an explanation of how to
    measure it yourself.
    If you are using (or want to use) any flash that has not been recommended by
    the camera body manufacturer as compatible then you should contact them and
    confirm that the flash you're using (or want to use) will not damage your
    camera. They should be able to tell you the maximum flash trigger voltage
    your camera can tolerate.
    me, Oct 18, 2004
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  2. me

    Jeremy Guest

    Advertising his web site under the guise of posting a helpful article.
    Jeremy, Oct 18, 2004
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  3. me

    me Guest

    Would you rather I steal the information and post it in my message? Did you
    visit the page? The title of the page is "Photo Strobe Trigger Voltages".
    You can read can't you? You have to scroll down quite a way to see it. You
    can scroll can't you?
    me, Oct 18, 2004
  4. me

    Alan Browne Guest

    Thanks for posting that. I had lost the link. Further, I added three new data
    points to the list.

    Alan Browne, Oct 18, 2004
  5. me

    me Guest

    I left out that the trigger voltage of my Sunpak Auto 411 is 192 volts.
    This could be more than enough to fry the flash trigger circuit of some
    newer cameras.
    me, Oct 18, 2004
  6. How exactly is that a troll?????
    It is useful and I would have posted it myself in another thread!
    Chris Loffredo, Oct 18, 2004
  7. Chris Loffredo, Oct 18, 2004
  8. (me) wrote:
    If you don't find your flash's trigger voltage listed then look here: for an explanation of how to
    measure it yourself.

    The site says the Vivitar 2000 is unsafe to use on EOS cameras but I use
    mine on my Rebel 2000 and my other Rebel without any problems. The
    report shows different results from different reporters. I think they
    made the newer one different from the older ones and did not change the
    model number. I think I could use this flash on any camera that has a

    AnOvercomer02, Oct 18, 2004
  9. me

    Colin D Guest


    Lemme see if I got this right. You bought a flash unit twenty-six years ago,
    and you're 'very displeased' that it might not work with a new camera? Well, I
    think I have a similar problem. I got this high-performance 4-barrel
    carburettor that came off my '78 TransAm, and the salesman tells me I can't fit
    it onto my new petrol-injected 4WD Jeep. Boy, am I pissed, or what! Those
    pesky designers, they oughta be fired for making my old junk unusable in the
    name of progress. Mumble, mumble ...

    Colin D, Oct 18, 2004
  10. AnOvercomer02, Oct 18, 2004
  11. To avoid that awful syncing feeling I recommend a Wein Safe-Sync:

    If you do buy a new camera body, though, you _might_ want to compare
    the state of the art today to what you are used to. Did anyone
    _except_ Olympus offer 35mm TTL flash in 1978? IIRC, Nikon didn't
    come on board until 1980.
    Michael Benveniste, Oct 19, 2004
  12. me

    Tony Guest

    So buy a Wein Safe Synch and stop worrying.
    Tony, Oct 19, 2004
  13. me

    Alan Browne Guest

    Don't be so quick to call someone a troll w/o checking the facts.

    The first link provided is one I lost, and now I'm glad to have back. Second is
    to get more input for the list (or at least how to measure the strobe trigger
    voltage for those who don't know how).

    There's nothing commercial about either of the two pages presented, just a
    discrete link at the end.

    This definitely falls under 'public service', unlike the bozo of a couple months

    Alan Browne, Oct 19, 2004
  14. me

    Alan Browne Guest

    Fact is that some old strobes have pretty high trigger voltages (200 - 300V) and
    some of the cameras we're seeing can't take it. I'm happy the poster put up
    thse links ... I had lost the link from my bookmarks (and was too lazy to hunt
    for them again).

    Alan Browne, Oct 19, 2004
  15. me

    Alan Browne Guest

    He mentions it on that page, Tony, which you should have bothered to check
    before your dumb reply.
    Alan Browne, Oct 19, 2004
  16. That's how electronic flash tubes work. Remember, good high-voltage
    thyristors (for low-voltage electronic switching) did not exist when
    electronic flash was first invented.
    Or simply connect a voltmeter to the flash contacts while the flash is
    turned on and ready but not on the camera.
    Michael A. Covington, Oct 19, 2004
  17. me

    Colin D Guest

    Yes, that's reasonably common knowledge, but I think to *expect* such an old flash
    to work on modern electronic cameras is a bit much. The same poster considers his
    camera and flash 'work like new'. The gear is 26 years old. Capacitors in the flash
    gun will be at least partially dried out, reducing the capacitance and the GN, the
    tube will undoubtedly have leaked gas over that period, resulting in changed
    color-temperature output (probably gone blue). The camera will need a CLA to be
    anything like its new condition - if he can get it done on a camera that age. Is
    the lens still pristine, or has it got fungus? The gear might work, sure, but is it
    'like new'? I doubt it.

    IMHO it is unreasonable to expect that technology has stood still for a quarter
    century so he can use his old flash on a new camera.

    Colin D, Oct 19, 2004
  18. I tend to think it would have been better engineering if they had changed
    the connector type when they started requiring lower sync voltages. Maybe
    modify the hot shoe in some clever way so that it will still work on an old
    camera, but a newer (low-voltage-requiring) camera will only make contact
    with the newer-style hot shoe.

    Unfortunately this was not done.
    Michael A. Covington, Oct 19, 2004
  19. me

    Colin D Guest

    Well, it depends on how you look at it, IMHO. The designers sit down with the
    engineering brief and design the system, camera, matching flash etc. Is it
    really their responsibility to ensure that no other flash unit can be fitted to
    their camera? What about responsibility regarding production costs, blown to
    hell with providing anti-everything they haven't designed, just for the oddball
    who might try a near 30-year-old flash? Does a car manufacturer ensure that
    dangerous mods cannot be done to his models? Imagine what that would cost. I
    think a degree of responsibility is called for from users of modern systems,
    and not spit the dummy 'coz their legacy gear won't - and shouldn't - work with
    new equipment.

    Repeat, all IMHO.

    Colin D, Oct 19, 2004
  20. me

    Alan Browne Guest

    Don't you expect your tv to work whe n you plug it into the old wall socket?
    Especially when cameras have a standard hotshoe, mechanically and electrically
    the same for decades, it is reasonable to expect them to be comaptible. Same
    for the sync cable.
    I have a 30 year old Sunpack. Little thing that I use for hairlights and such.
    Works fine. The age of the flash is not so relevant and cap aging isn't as
    universal as everyone likes to point out. A fellow I know is selling a pak
    studio strobe set that is well over 20 years old. Works fine (has it dropped in
    o/p, yeah, probably, but still delivers f/16 in the studio via umbrellas).
    If the strobe is really bad I believe it will go yellow, not blue, but that
    would take really bad caps... for example, if you fire studio strobes set to
    1/32 of their power, they still output nominal (daylight) color, not cooler
    (note that studio strobes charge the the caps to needed power, not discharge
    partially in the manner of thyristor controlled flashes).
    New, schmew. If it is clean and works it makes photographs, cosmetics and age
    I disagree wherever a standard connector set is maintained within a genre of

    But for everything else, the shoe sync pin is in the same place and the
    mechanics are the same. They should work without damaging the camera.

    Alan Browne, Oct 19, 2004
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