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Old Mar 13, 2007, 2:23 AM   #1
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Having read that because of high trigger voltages one cannot use many older flash guns with digital cameras, I looked for a solution to the problem, as I have a Sunpak 611 that I bought new some 30 years ago. It is in perfect condition, except for the battery pack being dead after all these years. It also puts out over 100 volts. At least mine does.

I checked out the Wein "Hot Shoe to Hot Shoe Safe Sync", which sits on the digital camera's hot shoe, between the camera and the flash. It absorbs the high voltage from the flashgun, reducing the voltage from over one hundred volts to just over 6 volts. My camera (Panasonic DMC-FZ30) says it can handle up to 24 volts.

The only negative comments I saw about the Wein were related to its not having a means to tighten it onto the camera's hotshoe, and in some cases not being tight enough.

I ordered the Wein ($53 with postage), along with 4 new sub-c nicads ($10, with postage) to rebuild the battery pack, and I couldn't be happier with the results. For just under sixty five bucks, I have my old flash back, and it works beautifully.

The auto thyrister sensor of the 611 is the unit that actually connects to the hot shoe; the 611 itself is a "potato masher" that attaches to the camera's tripod socket with a metal bracket. So the weight on the camera is minimal, and the slight sense of looseness is immaterial. There's virtually no stress on the camera body from the sensor, and of course there's no need to worry about a flash unit falling off.

The camera's computer accepts the external flash and adjusts itself accordingly. The auto exposure feature of the 611 works perfectly and the proof is in the pictures. The exposures are right on.

I had considered junking the 611 and buying a new flash designed for digitals, but for the money, I'd not get anything that would compare to the 611.

The Wein device is a bit pricey, but if you have a quality old gun that otherwise is perfectly ok, it is a viable alternative to buying a new one. It's available pretty much anywhere...just google it.
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