Hey, thanks for all the great advice. I sure didn't expect this to be so complicated.
I was specifically hoping to set up a portrait with short side lighting by holding the flash (with diffuser) out at arms length to one side with a reflector on the other. This would be intended to be used at little family get-togethers with impatient subjects who are mildly annoyed but indulgent of the crazy uncle with the ridiculous old camera. The key drivers would be simplicity, quickness and having little to carry. Basically, I want to get something much better than those typically gawdawful phone shots.
Edit to add: I want to keep the use of ttl metering which seems pretty reliable. I'm just not confident enough yet to be calculating flash exposure on the fly in these kinds of situations.
You may find great success with any of the many flashes employing Thyristors in their circuitry.
Very simple, and these thyristor equipped flashes work very well.
All you need do, is place the flash at an indicated distance from the subject (taken from the distance scale guide on the flash unit), and then using the guide's shutter and aperture settings based on your ISO/ASA speed.
When enough flash reaches the subject, or reflects-back into the thyristor sensor, the flash (specifically, the thyristor) automatically kills/shuts off the power to the zenon flash tube.
When positioned at proper distance and settings, these units also work well as fill-flash units in daylight.
There are many used brands of these thyristor flash units available on the *Bay. Vivitar 2800, 265, & 273 units could be inexpensive entries (to test the waters), as well as offerings from Sunpack.
Go to Butkus Manuals; read the owners/operators manuals for the above mentioned flashes.
You will learn a lot about the capabilities of these flashes.
and don't forget the venerable Vivitar 283/285. They are true workhorses.
The first SLR, coming after the Minolta CLE rangefinder, which used the same TTL flash electronics and flash units. The Metz SCA 331 adapter shoe works with the X-700 and the CLE, and the Metz SCA 307A extension cord allows TTL flash metering with the flash off-camera as the OP wants to do. I've done that with both the X-700 and CLE.
Originally Posted by pbromaghin
According to the chart, the SCA 331 shoe works with the following Minolta camera models:
X300S / X370N / XD / XG / X300 / X370
X500 / X570 / X700
5000 / 7000 / 9000 / MAXXUM 5000 /7000 / 9000
(The Maxxum name wasn't used outside the US)
Oh, so they used the same hotshoe all the way through the maxxums? This shouldn't be that hard to find then.
I am unclear on just what I will need. What does the SCA 331 adapt to? Would I need only the SCA 307A, or both in combination?
Thanks, a lot for posting.
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All the post 5/7/9xxx Minolta Maxxums used a proprietary hot shoe.
Ok, I've looked around and understand a little more. The SCA 300 is a Metzflash and the SCA 307 adaptor allows it to attach to this range of Minoltas.
However, I would be using a Minolta flash that is already compatible with the camera so I would need a cable that is compatible at both ends. I have been unable to ascertain whether the SCA300 is compatible to mount directly on the camera.
The SCA 331 is the shoe that slides onto the Metz flash units and adapts from the Minolta hot shoe to the contacts on the flash unit. The SCA 307A is a cord that slides into the flash unit and replicates the flash unit contacts at the other end of the cable, then the SCA 331 slides into that end of the cord and is used in the hot shoe. None of this will get you the use of a Minolta flash unit off-camera.
Originally Posted by pbromaghin
This page should help finding out what you need. Probably the Cable OC (OC = Off Camera).
Thanks for the link. Rokkorfiles.com is just full of info.