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-   -   Using an older Flash on a new DSLR?? Pros and Cons please. (

The Mayor Dec 8, 2004 3:04 PM

I have a Vivitar 5500 flash unit thatI have used for some time with my Canon A1 and AE-1's. Anyone have any pros or cons about using it on my new 20D? Sure would save some bucks for now. Any input will be appreciated.


PeterP Dec 8, 2004 3:13 PM

You can't even use a flash from the older EOS cameras like the 430ez on the 10D/20D. They speak a completely different language.

The older units from the FD linedo not understand any of the communication protocols usedby the modern cameras to talk to the flashes. You also have to worry a bit about the flashes trigger voltage doing the nasty to the camera.

But all may not be lost! If the 5500 has a changeable camera dedicated module it may be possible to get a new dedicated module for the EOS10d/20d.

For my old Vivitar 3700 flash the modules cost 30$ each but I have not seen any for modern cameras.

The Mayor Dec 8, 2004 3:23 PM

Thanks for deflating my hopes , Peter!! OH Well it was a good idea. I am going to have to live with the pop-up flash for awhile I am afraid.

PeterP Dec 8, 2004 4:06 PM

Same boat :( I have a canon 420ez 430ez and vivitar 3700. None of any use with the 20D. Have to waittill I scrape enough together for a Metz.

NHL Dec 8, 2004 4:28 PM

The Mayor wrote:

I have a Vivitar 5500 flash unit that I have used for some time with my Canon A1 and AE-1's. Anyone have any pros or cons about using it on my new 20D? [/size]

Actually the flashes on my A1 are all 'Auto', ie the light sensor is on the flash.

The flash can't communicate to the camera to set the shutter speed or exposure when it's ready to fire, but you can always set the 20D on manual to match that of the flash and it'll still adjust the exposure correctly in its 'Auto' mode... It's just not E-TTL but works just as good if not better sometime ;)

The Mayor Dec 8, 2004 4:55 PM

What about potential damage to the camera from the flash? I can do it manually...but if it screws up the 20D I will more than a little pissed at myself!!

PeterP Dec 9, 2004 10:43 AM

Hum the 5500 is not listed in the You can try to test the voltage yourself if you have a multimeter.

Myself I think I will wait till I can sneek out and get a good flash :-)

The Mayor Dec 9, 2004 11:23 AM


It is the 5200 not the 5500....I am having cataracts removed from both eyes over the holidays...Now you can see why!! :shock: I will hold up on any purchases until i really see clearly the anticipated results. Your suggestion sounds like a good idea to me.

Funny how all those years of the A-1 and Ae-1's seem to have faded after a year plus a little using the G3. I really am looking forward to learning (and using) the potential of the 20D. One of my boys coaches Middle School Basketball. I got some good results for his yearbook folks with the G3 last season and look forward to some good stuff this winter.

Also, with 19 grandkids (so far) every family gathering is a chinese firedrill of photo-ops! Yeah this new one will get a real workout.

Thanks again for your candid advice.


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