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Old Oct 3, 2009, 12:44 PM   #1
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I've just ordered the Olympus E-420 and this is my first Digital SLR. Will I be able to use my trusty Vivitar 2800 flash with this camera? Are there special considerations when switching from my old 35mm (Pentax Spotmatic F and Konica Autoreflex T) to digital? What are the advantages of the new external flashes specially made for this camera?
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Old Oct 3, 2009, 1:10 PM   #2
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I'd avoid using that particular flash on a newer dSLR model, as the trigger voltage appears to be quite high from some of the results I see measured by users of it:

http://www.botzilla.com/photo/strobeVolts.html

The hotshoe on most dSLR models is designed for flash models with much lower trigger voltages (i.e. TTL level), and you'd risk damaging the camera's electronics by using a flash with high trigger voltages. Note that you find products like the Wein Safe Sync that are designed to reduce trigger voltages to an acceptable level. Here's a listing for one:

http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/produc...t_Shoe_to.html

But, you'd probably end up paying as much or more for the voltage protection than you would for another used flash of that type (i.e., you could buy a newer used auto thyristor type model with a lower trigger voltage). For example, I got a used Sunpak 333 Auto for only $25 a while back from the used department at B&H, and bought a smaller Sunpak 222 Auto for only $7 from the used department at KEH.com. Both of those have relatively low trigger voltages compared to some of the older Vivitar models. The trigger voltage of some of the newer non-dedicated Sunpak models (383 Super, etc.) is even lower.

Compared to the Auto Thyristor type models like these, the main advantage of newer dedicated flashes designed for your camera would be that they're aware of your camera settings (so that you don't need to set the camera and flash to match for ISO speed and aperture). Some dedicated flash models also support FP mode (a.k.a., HSS/High Speed Sync) so that you can use a flash at shutter speeds faster than the camera's x-sync speed (which is 1/180 second with the E-420). Another benefit to some of the dedicated flash models is that you can use them wirelessly off camera (using the camera's built in flash to trigger them).
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Old Oct 3, 2009, 3:29 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DeDutchman View Post
I've just ordered the Olympus E-420 and this is my first Digital SLR. Will I be able to use my trusty Vivitar 2800 flash with this camera? Are there special considerations when switching from my old 35mm (Pentax Spotmatic F and Konica Autoreflex T) to digital? What are the advantages of the new external flashes specially made for this camera?
I have a 2800-D that I still use on occasion but that could be considerably different than the 2800. I'd check the voltages just to be sure.
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Old Oct 3, 2009, 3:37 PM   #4
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The 2800D appears to have a lower trigger voltage from some of the results I've seen reported.

http://www.botzilla.com/photo/strobeVolts.html

If you've got the D version, I'd make sure to check it's trigger voltage with a high impedance (not a cheap one that may not register anything) digital volt meter to see how it tests.
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Old Oct 3, 2009, 4:48 PM   #5
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Thanks, JimC, not what I wanted to hear but great advice. I checked out the botzilla site and then measured the voltage on my flash... 170V. Guess my next purchase should be one of the recommended dedicated flash models.
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Old Oct 6, 2009, 8:23 AM   #6
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DeDutchman-

I have found the Olympus FL-36 to be a very handy size and very dependable in performance. You often find them on E-Bay well priced. That is where I purchased mine. I have had it for a year and it has been absolutely trouble free.

Sarah Joyce
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Old Oct 7, 2009, 11:16 PM   #7
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DeDutchman-

There is an Olympus FL-36 at less than $150.00 now on www.ebay.com. lest anyone ask, I have attempted to give you a good "heads-up."

Sarah Joyce
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Old Oct 18, 2009, 3:37 AM   #8
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A good home made safe sync is a batteryless design that can be made in a couple if minutes. Consists of a Triac, diode, resistor, 5v Zener diode, capacitor and a small plastic case. The snag is obtaining the male and female flash to camera fittings.
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Old Jun 26, 2010, 5:40 PM   #9
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I also have a 2800, and a solution noone has mentioned. Get a slave and use off camera for fill. Trigger either with the camera's pop-up or a dedicated flash designed for the camera. While settigs would have to be manual (or should be) make sure the slave is capable of recognizing the metering pre-flash and responding only to the actual flash.

Using it that way, still getting some use out of the older flash. Potential uses include hair light and background lighting removing shadows created by the primary flash. Lot of possibilities.
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Old Jun 26, 2010, 11:16 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tizeye View Post
I also have a 2800, and a solution noone has mentioned. Get a slave and use off camera for fill. Trigger either with the camera's pop-up or a dedicated flash designed for the camera. While settigs would have to be manual (or should be) make sure the slave is capable of recognizing the metering pre-flash and responding only to the actual flash.

Using it that way, still getting some use out of the older flash. Potential uses include hair light and background lighting removing shadows created by the primary flash. Lot of possibilities.
I tried that setup for my old Vivitar 2800. Works pretty good except I have to play around to get the exposure correct. No E-TTL and stuff like that. Good old fashion manual mode.

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