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smartelf Aug 24, 2010 11:40 AM

Trigering a ringlight with an Olympus E520
Hope this is a right place to get an answer. I recently acquired a ring light flash (unitron rl80 pictured above) at an estate sale. It works fine, but I don't know how to get the camera to trigger it. I can manually trigger it by connecting the contacts of the cable shown bellow:

I do this by touching the cable to the little metal tab on the flash unit shown below:

here is another picture with the cable removed:

I am hoping someone knows how I could connect it to my Olympus e-520. Maybe there is a hot shoe adapter?

Thanks in advanced

VTphotog Aug 24, 2010 12:07 PM

The connection looks like standard PC sync (or X-sync ((same thing, different names))). Should be easy to find a hotshoe adapter with PC socket.


Bob Nichol Aug 24, 2010 4:02 PM

Check the voltage across the PC sync contacts and if it's over a couple of volts make sure the hotshoe adapter protects the camera from the excessive voltage. Old flash units had several hundred volts there which will fry modern cameras.

smartelf Aug 25, 2010 6:29 PM

went to adorama and bought a hot shoe adapter for $9. Cant seem to get it to work. I tested the flash, and it seems to be at 42 volts.

VTphotog Aug 25, 2010 8:29 PM

42 volts is a bit high. IIRC the ISO spec is only up to 24 volts. You maybe should look for something called a safesync from Wein, or someting similar.
With the cable connected, the flash should fire if you short the center pin to the outside. If not you could have a bad cable.


Bob Nichol Aug 26, 2010 6:00 AM

1- 42 volts, hope that wasn't too high! Does a regular external flash still fire when mounted on the hotshoe?

2- Maybe a bad adapter? Leave the adapter off the camera, plug the ring flash into it then short the adapter contacts. Does the ring flash fire?

smartelf Aug 26, 2010 6:30 PM

Bought a safe sync and the flash fires.
But still have an issue.
My main use for a ring light is to photograph coins and small objects.
Since I am firing the flash onto a flat white surface a few inches away, I need to set a very fast shutter speed. However at about 1/500 the following happens

My image is over saturated on top and dark on the button. This is the lowest flash setting I can set. I am guessing that the flash is firing late. Is there a setting I can set to have the flash fire earlier.


Bob Nichol Aug 26, 2010 7:41 PM

Focal plane shutters consist of two curtains. Up to 1/180sec on your camera the first curtain opens fully before the second curtain begins to move. Faster than 1/180 the two curtains are moving at the same time so you get a moving slit across the opening. You are exceeding the flash X-sync shutter speed of 1/180 sec so the shadow is caused by the second curtain closing during the flash.

You may have to resort to neutral density filters if you can't stop the lens down or reduce the flash power enough.

smartelf Aug 26, 2010 8:08 PM

I am assuming that the flash fires for some interval of time(lets say 100ms). so if the scene is illuminated while the slit is moving, what is cussing the shadow? The only thing I can think off is that the flash is firing after the slit begins to move, and has already passed the black part of the frame by the time the flash fires. So is there a way i can fire my flash before the curtain starts moving.

Bob Nichol Aug 26, 2010 8:22 PM

At 1/180 sec or slower both curtains are fully open.

Keep the shutter speed at 1/180 sec or slower. Shutter speed has little effect in this type of flash environment.

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