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Author Topic: Old Flash and New Cameras  (Read 1375 times)

Rob C

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Old Flash and New Cameras
« on: September 07, 2012, 04:32:07 am »

Discovering that my ancient studio monoblock - a Courtenay Sola 8 Mk 111 - still works, I was intending to use it with my D200 and D700 until this morning when I discovered this on the Internet, referring to another model in the Courtenay stable (I assume they are all the same idea under the skin) and I quote:

"They have a NEGATIVE polarity synch. lead and should not be connected to any digital camera - especially consumer digicams with purely electronic shutters - without using an isolating flash synch. box."

Has anyone heard of this before, and would that indicate that a remote Wizard(?) thing is the only safe way to use old flash?

I'm sure that I once tried the thing out with the D200, but it might have been my Metz 60 CT instead. However, the Metz definitely doesn't work right now - won't charge - so I suppose that a new battery is in order.  Whichever flash that I did use, I noted no problems with the camera afterwards.

Any knowledge would be useful!

Rob C

Ken Bennett

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Re: Old Flash and New Cameras
« Reply #1 on: September 07, 2012, 02:48:16 pm »

I would not physically connect a new digital camera to any studio flash more than five or ten years old. Nor would I put an old manual shoe-mount flash in the hot shoe. I've lost a couple of shutters that way.

A radio trigger like the Pocket Wizard will work perfectly, and has the additional advantage of being much easier to use than a sync cord.
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Equipment: a camera and some lenses.

Jaffy

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Re: Old Flash and New Cameras
« Reply #2 on: September 07, 2012, 02:57:44 pm »

Hi Rob,
If you have a bit of time spare these are worth a read. The info is old but still valid.
http://www.botzilla.com/photo/strobeVolts.html
A Courtenay is mentioned but query about polarity.
Info at the bottom in green and pink is useful.

http://www.botzilla.com/photo/g1strobe.html
How to test. Again the bits in green are useful.

Do a  search on “strobe trigger voltages” and your camera as there is lots of info out there.

I’ve got a couple of slave units plugged into ancient flashguns that are triggered by a flash from my camera’s onboard flash. You have to switch off pre-flash or use an old non-pre-flash lens. Manual settings on the camera, the thyristor circuitry works on the flashguns but you might want to diffuse/turn down your onboard flash or tinfoil-direct it towards the slave units, and you’re good to go.

If you  are slightly electrical-savvy  you can find an old phone charger of the right voltage/current and use it instead of  batteries.

Good luck.
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Rob C

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Re: Old Flash and New Cameras
« Reply #3 on: September 07, 2012, 03:19:03 pm »

Thanks for the replies. The flash unit must be more than 35 years old, and hasn't been used almost at all during the past 31! It looks in perfect condition, but that's clearly not the possible problem which is what it might shoot through the camera itself. One flash at a time, not including the camera, is enough!

Looks like the Wizard is the trick.

Again, thank you for the advice and time.

Rob C

Rob C

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Re: Old Flash and New Cameras
« Reply #4 on: September 10, 2012, 12:09:35 pm »

As an aside to the original post: I also have a Mecablitz 60 CT 1/2 and I had wondered whether it, too, was dangerous for the D200 and D700. I received a reply from Metz today telling me that it is perfectly safe to use this flash with both cameras, and that they recommend use of the synch. cable. Apparently, it uses a "low voltage-ignition (ISO 10330, max. voltage 24v" and that's okay. I hope so! At least I have an official e-mail to that effect!

On the matter of Wizards: I discovered that Bowens also makes a variety of transmitters and transceivers at lower prices than Wizard. I'm currently awaiting a reply from them.

Again, thanks for the information.

Rob C

DaveOls

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Re: Old Flash and New Cameras
« Reply #5 on: September 15, 2012, 05:49:11 pm »

    I think that Nikon digital cameras, at least, can not be used with a flash that has a trigger voltage of more than 5V.  I have an old Kako that has a voltage of 250V which would fry the electronics in a digital camera.  There is a website to look up these voltages.  Someone here must know what it is.  Just found it!  It is at botzilla.com/photo/strobeVolts.html    It is called the trigger voltage.  It may not have all the flashes, but it has a lot.
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