Help! I have a Sunpak and know nothing about it!

Discussion in 'Lighting' started by gnashings, Jun 7, 2005.

  1. gnashings

    gnashings Inactive

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    As the title implies, I am a third generation hand me down owner of a Sunpak flash (AutoZoom 3000 Thyristor is all it says on it).

    I am fairly greren in the realm of flashes, but this one in particular, seems like it would do a decent job once I learn what all the dials and switches do... Is there a owners manual I cold down load, or could someone give me some hints as to what all the controls do? I know when my uncle and then my dad used this flash, it had a sort of calculator around the dial (which seems to affect how powerful the light is - the dial, that is). This panel has long since peeled off and fell away...the dial still works and lights up even! There is also a colour coded switch on the front that also seems to affect the strength of the discharge...

    The flash has given me some great results when I got it right - but also some "nuclear bomb test sight" looking photos when I didn't...its very hit and miss since I don't know how to operate it. I searched the web for owners amnuals but with no luck. Any help would be very much appreciated!

    Thanks in advance,

    Peter.
     
  2. Nick Zentena

    Nick Zentena Member

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    I'm asssuming this is an auto/manual flash. In general with auto flashes you turn the dial to match the F/stop you want. The flash will then fire until the sensor on the flash receives enough light.

    You need to set the film speed on the flash some how. Dial of some sort.

    You need to set the F/stop. Usually this dial will show a distance in feet and meters. This is the max distance at that F/stop.

    It likely has a manual mode to. Manual is full power. If you're lucky it'll have some lower powered manual modes to. If you use manual mode you'll have to use guide numbers.

    The sensors have the same problems reflective meters do. White wall will fool the sensor and so will black ones. So if it's a white wall and you want to use F/5.6 tell the flash F/11. Do the opposite for black. Plus if you're too close the sensor won't see the light the lens will. Closeups and TTL are much easier then using auto mode.

    If you're lucky the sensor stays put when you tilt the head. It's more accurate if the sensor points in the same direction the lens does not the direction you tilt the head.

    You can do fill flash using a auto flash by just adjusting the F/stop you tell it. Say it's a F/5.6 day and you want a little fill flash. Tell the flash you're using F/2.8 or F/4 [depending on the amount of fill you want]

    Auto flashes are pretty simple but if the all the decals have worn off I'm not sure what you could do. Spend some time testing with a flash meter?
     
  3. gnashings

    gnashings Inactive

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    THanks so much, this was the kind of flash 101 I needed - as you could probably tell, I am very green in this area (more so than in others even!).

    I don't know if the flash has a sensor or not, but it does have a head that can be pointed just about any direction (it has 180 deg of rotation in two axis). So far I have had the best results by turning it at the ceiling and setting it on what I figure to be full power... I guess I will have to keep searching for a manual - is sunpak still around? Maybe I could contact them...
     
  4. Nick Zentena

    Nick Zentena Member

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    Yup Sunpak is still around. They're one of the bigger non-camera company flash providers. I forget who handles them. All I remember is the USA distributor starts with a T. I think-)

    The sensor will look like a little eye. Should be on the front of the flash so it can receive the light it measures. Unless this flash is REALLY old it's likely got an auto mode.
     
  5. Bob F.

    Bob F. Member

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  6. gnashings

    gnashings Inactive

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    Thanks guys, I really appreciate the info. And yes, this flash is pretty old - I would say 20 years +. Most modern flashes have little red sensors - this one seems to have a small hole (+/- 4 mm or so) in the front. Could this be the meter? There are two swithes on the back - on/off and a/m (I am assuming auto/manual?) as well as two LED's labelled Auto Signal and of course Ready/Test (that one can be pressed to test the flash). The dial on the side has two concentric rotating parts - one to dial in film speed, and one that dials in something... in increments from 1/32 to "FULL". On the front there is a switch that is labelled using coloured squares: blue, green, yellow and red. Those colours correspond to parts of the scale on the dial described before... I am at a loss wether the dial, the switch or both have to be used in auto mode, or are they just for manual settings, or what combination thereof? The flash works like a champ - impressive ability to repeat, over and over with no wait time it seems once the initial charge up is done, just right now its smarter than its owner, and that's not good :sad:

    I have used the "Contact Us" feature on the web site, we'll see if they can be of any help! Thanks again,

    Peter.

    EDIT:
    Ah! I just noticed something - the hole in the front must be a meter of sorts, and the colour coded switch (located below it) seems to cover it with different...surfaces of varying "opaqueness"(?) - the red setting being least translucent, the blue being completely clear. Hmm...
     
  7. Nick Zentena

    Nick Zentena Member

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    Does the dial that reads Full to 1/32 have F/stops on it to? The F/stops are for auto mode. Full to 1/32 are manual modes. No idea about those filters on the front. It could be range settings? Something like so many feet. If that's the case I'm guessing it's a manual flash with some sort of "flash computer". You set the film speed then you do something with those buttons on the front which will tell you how to set the other dial. Does that little hole light up? My guess is it lights up for an indicator light of some sort.
     
  8. gnashings

    gnashings Inactive

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    The hole thingy does not light up - it just seems to have a tiny little photo cell in it (I shone a flash light into it). The switch in the front seems to have colours corresponding to the dial, and "obscures" the cell with screens of sorts...
     
  9. Smudger

    Smudger Member

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    Sunpak Auto 3000..

    I had a look in the workshop last night and found my dear,dead SP az3000.
    Man,I loved that flash.. For many weddings, it was the ideal fill in light.
    So, I have the full,dead unit, complete with Instructions.
    Post, on this thread if you would like to know more.
    Cheers, Ian.
     
  10. gnashings

    gnashings Inactive

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    I would love to know more! I don't even know where to start. There is a sticker that goes around the dial which fell off, and I suspect contained some markings that made sense of the whole deal. What are the little coloured squares on the front for (rather the switch beneath them)? There is also a plug of some sort on the front left (the part that rotates with the light unit) that I have no clue about. Frankly, I would be interested to know how much you would want for the remnants of your AZ3000? If you could be bothered to ship it off to Oshawa, Ontario, Canada...:wink:

    Never mind, I didn't notice the New Zealand part.. its probably beyond ridiculous... But I wold still love to pick your brain about it!
     
  11. Smudger

    Smudger Member

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    Sunpak Auto 3000..

    Gnashings - it has apparently eluded our American cousins, but big ships and airplanes daily carry stuff globally, mainly,in my experience, without problems.
    I will re-read this thread again,when time permits, but I think the bits you need, plus the Book, could be sent without problems.
    - Cheers,
    Smudger.
     
  12. gnashings

    gnashings Inactive

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    He hehehehe...

    Take your time, any help you can offer would be great. I just wonder if shipping the items would be extremely, extremely expensive. I appreciate it.

    Thanks,

    Peter.