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  1. #1
    craigclu's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2002
    NW Wisconsin, USA
    Multi Format

    Which Contax TLA Flashes Are Fully Compatible w/G System?

    I've been building a G system over the past year or so. G1 and G2 bodies and 28, 45 and 90. I have a small TLA 140 flash that is actually surprisingly useful, especially for fill and is easy to pack along due to its size. I've got a number of likely flash units that are generic, non-dedicated units but in checking out the TLA units that Contax has made over the years, I feel like I'm finding conflicting information. I just received a TLA 30 that I found on eBay and while it was a bit bulkier once in my hands than expected, I thought it would serve when I needed a bit more oomph and to also take advantage of the dedicated/TTL features. The TLA 200 makes me a bit nervous with its low relector position and doesn't seem to add much worthwhile power, but?

    In testing it (TLA 30) with a flash meter, it doesn't seem to function in the TTL mode. Does anyone know if it should? It measures slightly weaker (1/2 to 1/3 stop) than the 2 general auto settings and in general, doesn't seem to fit the general quality level expected from things labeled "Contax". Does anyone have a copy of the manual in case I'm overlooking something obvious? Even the thyristor behavior seems a bit suspect as on low level flashes, it seems to need to recover more than I would expect. Can anyone direct me to some information on this that I haven't found or answer from their experiences?

    Craig Schroeder

  2. #2

    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Seattle, US
    I have the G2 with a TLA 200 and TLA 280, that are both fully compatible. The others that I know are compatible are the 140, 360 and 480.

  3. #3
    ContaxRTSFundus's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Crickhowell, Wales
    Medium Format
    I fear you have a fault with your TLA30 as it should function in TTL Auto mode with the G1 and G2 cameras. Although a TTL setting is not shown on the TLA20, it too will provide a TTL capability for your G-series cameras. The only standard Contax flash unit that is not compatible with the G-series (and N-series, 645, etc) is the original RTF540. However, a revised version was produced before the introduction of the TLA360 & 480 which is denoted by a letter 'T' on the serial number plate and when used with the RTF540 TLA Adapter can provide TTL capabilities (other than for the 645). Sadly, the RTF540 T type was discontinued a long time ago but it remains the most versatile flash unit ever made under the Contax brand (it, like the TLA480, was made by National) as it offered slave units and a full set of colour filters as well as a High Voltage Pack and full AC control too. I have 5 of the later RTF540s which I use in a multi-flash set up quite often and when used in Stroboscopic mode, movement in a studio can create some fabulous images. Having said all that, only the TLA140 and 200 were designed with the G-series in mind. As you can pick up the more powerful TLA30 for under £10 these days, I'd junk your existing one and replace it. If you shoot a lot of images with flash, your best bet is probably the TLA360 with the PS220 Power Pack, although as a big shoe-mounted flash, it can make the G1 or G2 feel rather unbalanced.



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