430Ex on old camera?

Discussion in 'Lighting' started by steelneck, Mar 24, 2010.

  1. steelneck

    steelneck Member

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    My trusty 30 year old Sunpak 130 has disappeared, i suspect i lost it on my last trip, misplaced, dropped it, whatever, no where to be found. Now i have thought about getting a Canon 430 EX, but will that flash work on old cameras too? I suspect it will but only in full manual mode, right? (only reason i am thinking about the 430 EX is that i also have Canon digital. )

    My old flash also had two auto modes, no fancy TTL, it had its own little metering eye. The 430 EX cannot meter on its own, right? If that is true, can it tell the distance it will reach at some iso-setting and f-number? (i do not like the thought of carry around guide number cheat-tables)

    Any other suggestions regarding a flash that also can be used with different old cameras?
     
  2. viridari

    viridari Member

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    Technically it can work but it might not be ideal unless you really enjoy doing a lot of math in your head with guide numbers.

    I usually use a Vivitar 285HV with my older cameras. Works great & has an exposure calculator wheel on the side, plus some auto levels that are really handy.
     
  3. flatulent1

    flatulent1 Subscriber

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    I've just started using my 430EX on a Minolta XD11. It works, but no idea as yet how well. No doubt it's going to take several rolls of film, some serious experimentation and a lot of note taking to have it do what I want (whatever that is :rolleyes: ).
     
  4. steelneck

    steelneck Member

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    Well of course, it is made for modern Canons.. But using manually i have no problems with since i have never ever used a modern TTL-capable flash. The math part is not necessary with most 30 year old flashes since they usually have some sort of mechanical calculator with f-numbers, distance and iso. I am asking how well the 430 EX works manually, what it can tell me in its display and so forth. Does it have some electronic equivalent to the mechanical calculator? (that is like the basic of electronics, a simple calculator)

    If i shoot iso-100 at f8 and have the flash zoom on 28mm, will it tell me distance at 1/4 power according to that f-stop?
     
  5. wclark5179

    wclark5179 Member

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    My recommendation is to buy a flash that will work on both of your cameras. I run both my cameras and flashes on manual. There are situations where I will use a ETTL flash as either a main or a fill flash but I do that because I need to get things done rather quickly at certain gigs during particular times during the event.

    TTL & ETTL is not always the best way to operate a flash. It can be fooled. But so can I! Ha!

    I'm more in tune with what's going on in front of the camera than the equipment I use. Using the equipment becomes second nature. Just like speaking, the words seem to come out. Maybe that's why, I should spend more time thinking before I speak! Ha!

    Good luck.
     
  6. viridari

    viridari Member

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    There is nothing useful on the display in terms of a calculator. I do have a 430EX but only use it with Canon EOS bodies. From the display you can set the power output in terms of 1/1, 1/2, 1/4, etc. The guide number is not posted anywhere to indicate to you what these power levels really mean.
     
  7. r1ma

    r1ma Member

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    I use my SB-28DX (ca. 1999-2002) on my original Mamiya M645 on the hot shoe.

    The 28DX only works TTL on 90s or later film Nikons and the D1 and D100. Doesn't even TTL on the D70.

    You could just set your flash to auto and forget it. Mine exposes very nicely when matching the film's ISO, matching the f/stop @ 1/60.

    That said, Canon does cripple their flashes - no PC port! Nikon puts them on most their flashes, and flashes from the 90s through 2004 can be found cheaply (local only, usually overpriced on the bay). You loose TTL with your digital body, but you'll gain some functionality.
    Many of these flashes also have an optical slave.
     
  8. B&Wpositive

    B&Wpositive Member

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    I'm not sure what brand of camera you have. If it's a Canon, it is definitely compatible. I tried my 540EZ on my AE-1P, and it worked great (but manual mode only). It even automatically set the camera to the sync speed.
     
  9. B&Wpositive

    B&Wpositive Member

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    SB-28DX works on older cameras just fine.

    I wonder where you got that from. I have an SB-28DX, and it works just fine in TTL mode on my FE-2. Also, I believe that the D70 and D200 both offer DTTL as an option, so the SB-28DX may actually work TTL on these cameras (but not CLS).
     
  10. r1ma

    r1ma Member

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    Really? That's cool. I know it doesn't work on my FM. I know it works on a F4 too, and that came out in 88. But this doesn't matter to the OP :wink:

    All the paperwork I've read says no. But I've never used a D70 or D200 so I have knowledge of it. It won't work TTL on a D50 though.
     
  11. steelneck

    steelneck Member

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    Thanks viridari, that was a useful answer. That disqualifies that Canon flash for me since there are other that will be much easier to use and not get in my way, for just 1/5 of the price. Or that Vivitar 285HV you suggested looks promising, but it would be nice with a flash that can do all the TTL-stuff and still be a good choise for any old mechanical camera. Does such flash exist, for any money? (money is not an object)

    Hehe, i bet Canon put all those "features" there to make it easier to use... hilarious. But i guess i could set it on full power and improve the flash by taping a cheat-table over its display.. yea, that was irony.

    Are there anyone who perhaps know anything about the Seagull SG-300A? That flash also have auto modes, with its own metering for quick without-thinking shots, and it is very chep, just a little more than 1/10 of the 430 EX price.
     
  12. Fotoguy20d

    Fotoguy20d Subscriber

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    Can you use a Vivitar 285 on a modern camera? I have an ancient 283 which I use on my A-1, but I've been told not to use it on the EOS bodies due to the high voltage (which I measured) on the flash.

    Dan
     
  13. r1ma

    r1ma Member

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    Yes, older flashes trigger with something like 300V. New flashes push back about 5V. 300V into a hot shoe wanting 5V will do some damage.

    Wein makes something called a safe sync which steps down the voltage to a safe voltage for most modern cameras.

    However, some of the 285s were/are made with the lower voltage. I don't know how to tell the difference without a multimeter though
     
  14. steelneck

    steelneck Member

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    The voltage issue.. As i mentioned when starting this thread, i had an old Sunpak 130. In the eighties i bought it together with a Chinon CE-4 (still have the CE-4 and use it almost every day), and later i bought a cheap EOS 5000, then EOS 300, then the first digital EOS 300D, then a 400D. One time i borrowed it to a friend with a Nikon too. After a year or so with the 300D i read on the net about that voltage issue.. My flash did put out a whopping 250 volts, but since i used it on all those EOS bodies over the years, and today it has been 7 years on DSLR without the slightest issue, why even bother?
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 25, 2010
  15. Wolfeye

    Wolfeye Subscriber

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    The voltage "warnings" people often tout aren't the whole story. The real number you need is power, which is voltage times current. if you put 5v in a circuit with 1 ohm resistance you get 5amps of current. 5amps times 5v = 25watts of power. Likewise, if you put 300v in a circuit with 1 ohm resistance you get 300amps, which means 90000watts of power. If a flash actually was putting that much power through ANY electronic circuit it would melt. The current simply isn't as high for the high-voltage flashes.
     
  16. viridari

    viridari Member

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    The newer 285HV model has a low voltage sync that is compatible with newer cameras. I've used mine with the digital toys safely but primarily use it on Mamiya TLR gear.
     
  17. Fotoguy20d

    Fotoguy20d Subscriber

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    Yes and no. Your point about power is well taken, but voltage could be an issue. To save on size, discrete components typically will be rated for the maximum voltage (with perhaps some margin) they should see. So, if a modern flash needs 6V, those devices in your camera might only be rated for 10V or 25V or maybe 50V. 250V across them will cause them to fail, if not immediately then over time.

    Dan
     
  18. steelneck

    steelneck Member

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    Did some searching.. The Sigma EF-530 DG Super seem to be a competent flash. From what i just read, i can set iso, zoom, aperture and a distance that the flash adjusts its output to (called distance priority). Or set its power and it calculates the correct distance in the display according to set aperture/iso/zoom.

    This flash is also compatible with Canon high speed sync so it can be used at any shutterspeed on new EOS cameras. Now i am close to order one..

    Anyone with hands on experience with this flash on old mechanical cameras?
     
  19. John Koehrer

    John Koehrer Subscriber

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    New flash, old camera=no problem.
    The old camera simply doesn't see all the new gee-gaws on the shoe, it only uses the center contact.
     
  20. steelneck

    steelneck Member

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    I ended up buying the Seagull 300A. So far it seem to be working good, its built in metering in the auto-modes seem to be correct and it does what it should, it also have a good ol GN-table at its back, but i sure miss my old Sunpak that was both a lot smaller and more powerful. The Seagull flash have zoom and its guide number 30, it is of course measured at max zoom (105mm), at the wide 28mm position its GN is 22, my old Sunpak did not have zoom and that had a GN of 30 and was good down to 28mm. The head of the Seagull turns 270 degrees and tilts 90, so it can be pointed backwards over my head to bounce above/behind. Voltage? No idea, but my digital EOS do not complain.. Price? A bargain, 45€ or about 61$
     
  21. Ralph Javins

    Ralph Javins Member

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    Good morning;

    Wolfeye's comment is instructive, but not fully imformative. He does allude to one of the main qualities of the equipment being discussed; their current handling capability, which is roughly related to the physical size of parts involved. Another quality of interest here is the what some might call the "insulation" value for the parts inside. This also might be thought of as the "physical strength" to resist the voltage or force being applied to the camera flash control circuit from the electronic flash firing circuitry. If you apply sufficient force or voltage, you can "crack" the part. If you have sufficient force and a low impedance source with sufficient capacity to provide the energy or power, you can "crack" the part and displace the little pieces just a little, or a whole bunch depending on how much power (force and energy) you have applied. In terms of what we might see and hear, did it go "pszzt" with a small blue spark or perhaps even a blue flash, or did it go "KA-POW!!" with a great flash, some smoke, and a tingling sensation or numbness in the hand that was holding it?

    Want another analogy? Did you tap on it with an 8 ounce ballpeen hammer, or did you smack it with a 10 pound sledge hammer? In both cases, you will break it. In the second case, not only will you break it, you will also smash the pieces.

    The warnings about the possible damage to the late model camera flash circuitry are not just idle threats. There is a real danger to the camera where the circuitry inside the camera now merely must meet the ISO standard of being able to work with a flash firing circuit voltage of no more than 24 VDC. (We can talk about how this was interpreted.) The Wien SafeSync device, or equivalent, will move the high voltage insulation requirement for the actual flash circuit switch, from inside your camera out to a device that is much cheaper and easier to replace if required, than it is to have your camera repaired.
     
  22. Steve Smith

    Steve Smith Member

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    Mot really relevant for a flash. A fairly basic flash trigger circuit consists of a small value capacitor which is charged via a high value resistor connected to the main high voltage capacitor. The camera's shutter contacts discharge this small capacitor into the trigger transformer which causes the flash tube to conduct. The flash tube is connected permanently to the high voltage supply but will not conduct until triggered. The high current drawn by the flash tube does not pass through the camera's shutter contacts or electronic equivalent.

    I personally think the low trigger voltage requirement stated by some manufacturers of modern cameras to be a bit of a myth for the purpose of selling new 'compatible' equipment.


    Steve.