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Old Nov 1, 2010, 10:48 AM   #1
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Default Sunpak SP140 question

Hi everyone,

I'm new to this forum so I wasn't sure where I'd post this, but here goes...

I recently bought a Fujifilm S7000 bridge camera off one of my friends for $100 (dirt cheap) and it came with a bunch of accessories as well. One of these accessories is an external flash unit.

The flash unit is a Sunpak brand, model SP140. It has a hot shoe connection and connects to the hot shoe of my S7000. I assume that the old owner used it quite alot since there are wear and tear marks both on the shoe connector of the flash unit and the camera itself.

Heck, i even had to disassemble the flash unit to clean the battery contacts cause he forgot old batteries in there which oozed this blue stuff onto the terminals.

Anyway... when I set the camera to external flash, the sunpak flash unit triggers and goes off without a problem. I have taken multiple pictures myself using this external flash unit... but then one of my friends said I need something called a "safe sync" adapter?

what is this safe sync thing and do i need it or not?

Thank you.
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Old Nov 1, 2010, 11:08 AM   #2
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That Sunpak's trigger voltage is very high (measured at 180 volts by one user). That could easily fry the electronics in many modern digital cameras (and sometimes damage is cumulative, so it may work temporarily).

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

However, it appears that the Fuji S7000 may be able to handle 400 volts from what some users claim (google for s7000 trigger voltage, and you'll find a number of forum posts about it on the net).

A Wein Safe Sync is designed to reduce trigger voltage to a safe level for most modern digital cameras (reduces it down to under 6 volts). Here's one:

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

But, you may not need it for your Fuji (and even if you did, I'd be more inclined to buy another flash with a lower trigger voltage instead of spending that much on a Safe Sync, since the flash isn't worth much anyway).

For example, you could buy a much better flash like a Sunpak 333 Auto (more powerful, with tilt and swivel, a manual zoom head, and a lower trigger voltage) for around $30 used if you shop around (which is less than the Safe Sync would cost you). Of course it's also larger. I've got one of those (Sunpak 333 Auto). Here's one:

http://www.keh.com/camera/Sunpak-Fla...000088120?r=FE

Or, go with something like a smaller Sunpak 222 Auto instead. I bought one a while back for only $7 from keh.com, and it also has a relatively low trigger voltage, with tilt for bouncing (but, no swivel or zoom head like the larger Sunpak 333 Auto).

However, you may not need to worry about that anyway, from what I can see of posts claiming the S7000 can handle up to 400 volts.

BTW, here's a thread on the subject (it's the "Sticky" thread at the top of the forum this post is in):

http://forums.steves-digicams.com/fl...l-cameras.html
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Old Nov 1, 2010, 11:17 AM   #3
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P.S.

I see this is your first post here, so Welcome to Steve's
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Old Nov 1, 2010, 11:27 AM   #4
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Thanks Jim.

I did some quick research on gogole, and yes some other users have stated that the S7000 can handle up to 400V trigger voltage.

But, as you said, lower is better... so i looked for a wein safe sync... and that costs $70 AUD.

So, i ebayed S7000 flash, and ran across this one...

http://cgi.ebay.com.au/SLAVE-FLASH-F...#ht_5575wt_905

It's cheaper than a Wein safe-sync and I believe it's much better than my current Sunpak.

The brand is Bower, which I believe is American. Doing some further search, this company has been around since 1949, so i'm guessing they are good quality.

then i saw this at the bottom... "X-Synch Voltage : ‹ Or = 6V"

This is talking about the hot shoe sync voltage right?

Thanks.
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Old Nov 1, 2010, 12:22 PM   #5
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You may want to e-mail fuji tech support and see what they tell you.

As for Bower, I've never used any of their flashes. They're known for inexpensive Slave Flashes. If you search some of the vendor sites that sell them, you can find some customer reviews. For example, here:

http://forums.steves-digicams.com/fl...l-cameras.html

Most users seem to like it. Although I do see more than one comment about a poorly designed battery compartment and flimsy construction (then again, it's cheap for a new flash).

From what I can see of it's manual, it's Auto mode is designed to work at f/2.8 and ISO 100. That would probably be OK with an S7000 (since your lens is an f/2.8-3.1 lens and you wouldn't need to worry about recalculating the correct ISO speed as you zoom in more, like you would with some other cameras using that type of flash. IOW, if you were using a camera with a dimmer lens that only had f/5.6 available, you might need to use ISO 400 to get proper exposure with it.

A better flash usually has multiple aperture ranges available (like the Sunpak 333 Auto I mentioned) and/or manual power settings for more flexibility. But, that one might work OK with your Fuji if you set your ISO speed to ISO 100 and aperture to around f/2.8.
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Old Nov 1, 2010, 2:54 PM   #6
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I believe Bower has their flash units made in China, as do many other brands. With shipping considered, you might be better off looking for a HK seller for a similar unit.

Since the original owner has used the Sunpak quite a lot, and you have also had no trouble with it, I would consider it pretty thoroughly tested, and continue with it. If there were a voltage compatibility problem, it would have shown up within the first 10-20 uses.
If you are looking for a better flash, look for one which works with the ttl exposure system of your camera - it will be more useful overall.

brian
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Old Nov 1, 2010, 6:28 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by VTphotog View Post
If you are looking for a better flash, look for one which works with the ttl exposure system of your camera - it will be more useful overall.
There isn't one for that camera. It uses a single pin non-proprietary shoe, so a generic Auto Thyristor type flash is probably the best bet with it.



Although most Fuji dSLR models can use Nikon flash systems (and third party flash systems compatible with Nikon dSLR models, since Fuji dSLR models are based on Nikon dSLR body technology); Fuji's non dSLR models like the S7000 only have a standard shoe with a center pin only to trigger a flash, with no way to communicate with an external flash (other than for triggering purposes).
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Old Nov 1, 2010, 8:20 PM   #8
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Thanks for that info. I knew about the DSLRs, and just assumed the digicams would use the same type. This could also explain why the flash operation system is more robust, not using the low voltage data lines. Score one for Fuji.

brian
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Old Nov 2, 2010, 2:19 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JimC View Post
You may want to e-mail fuji tech support and see what they tell you.
I contacted Fujifilm Australia by phone just now and they emailed me a document about flash units for the S-series of cameras.

This is what it said:

Please note our guidelines for the S series Consumer range of cameras is
as follows:
1) As long as the flash unit you purchase has manual adjustable settings
that can change with the camera modes
2) Flash needs to be capable of metering by itself.
3) Have a Syncro terminal with 400 volts or less.
4) Centre Pin Contact
5) Guide number of at least 24
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