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Old Aug 20, 2010, 2:57 PM   #1
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Default Need help using external flash with HS10

I recently bought a Vivitar Auto Thyristor 2800-D on ebay, after researching that it works with the HS10. Now that I have it, I am a bit confused about how to use it.

It works with the camera, I've been able to test fire some shots; but I need help with the settings.

I was able to find a manual for the Vivitar 2800, but not for the 2800-D which has slightly different controls on the back (see image and questions below).



I have turned External Flash ON in the camera, and set the ISO of the Flash to match the camera (ISO 200). But now what?

When set to A1, the Flash indicates that I can use f/2.8 within the range of 6-10 Ft, and A2 at f/5.6 within the range of 3-20 Ft.

Questions:
  1. Do I need to shoot in A mode and set the Camera aperture to what the Flash indicates?
  2. If so, do I let the camera set the shutter-speed?
  3. What if I want to set a different Aperture for a specific look?
  4. Or want to set a specific shutter-speed to capture an action?
  5. Does the HS10 fire the Flash at all shutter-speeds or only at specific ones (such as: 1/125 or 1/250)
  6. What's the best mode to use an external Flash, PAS or M?

Other questions:
  • Is it best to use Alkaline batteries in the Flash or will re-chargable NiMH work as well? I ask because I used NiHMH and it was firing inconsistently--didn't have any Alkalines around to test.
  • What does Auto Check do? The amber light at the bottom right comes on when the Flash is turned on, but I haven't seen the Auto Check come on yet.
  • When I mount the Flash in the hot-shoe, it does not go all the way in, there are two pins at the bottom that stay out. Is that a problem?

I'm a complete novice at this and need some basic info and step-by-step guide to using the Flash. Any help would be greatly appreciated.

P.S. I've had some help from gjtoth (Thanks gary), but I don't want to keep bugging him with more questions

Thanks,
raj

Last edited by 2raj; Aug 20, 2010 at 3:01 PM.
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Old Aug 21, 2010, 12:54 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 2raj View Post
I recently bought a Vivitar Auto Thyristor 2800-D on ebay, after researching that it works with the HS10. Now that I have it, I am a bit confused about how to use it.

It works with the camera, I've been able to test fire some shots; but I need help with the settings.

I was able to find a manual for the Vivitar 2800, but not for the 2800-D which has slightly different controls on the back (see image and questions below).



I have turned External Flash ON in the camera, and set the ISO of the Flash to match the camera (ISO 200). But now what?

When set to A1, the Flash indicates that I can use f/2.8 within the range of 6-10 Ft, and A2 at f/5.6 within the range of 3-20 Ft.


Questions:
  1. Do I need to shoot in A mode and set the Camera aperture to what the Flash indicates?
  2. If so, do I let the camera set the shutter-speed?
  3. What if I want to set a different Aperture for a specific look?
  4. Or want to set a specific shutter-speed to capture an action?
  5. Does the HS10 fire the Flash at all shutter-speeds or only at specific ones (such as: 1/125 or 1/250)
  6. What's the best mode to use an external Flash, PAS or M?

Other questions:
  • Is it best to use Alkaline batteries in the Flash or will re-chargable NiMH work as well? I ask because I used NiHMH and it was firing inconsistently--didn't have any Alkalines around to test.
  • What does Auto Check do? The amber light at the bottom right comes on when the Flash is turned on, but I haven't seen the Auto Check come on yet.
  • When I mount the Flash in the hot-shoe, it does not go all the way in, there are two pins at the bottom that stay out. Is that a problem?
I'm a complete novice at this and need some basic info and step-by-step guide to using the Flash. Any help would be greatly appreciated.

P.S. I've had some help from gjtoth (Thanks gary), but I don't want to keep bugging him with more questions

Thanks,
raj
Can't help you but can say I am in the same boat as you. Recently bought a Vivitar 285HV and finding it a tad interesting to get results. I bought a cheap diffuser from ebay and just turned my flash right down and pointed it at the ceiling. Getting ok pics but obviously there is so much work in flash photography. I have a low ceiling in my flat so I suppose I'd need to up the power elsewhere??
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Old Aug 21, 2010, 1:03 PM   #3
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You'll want to use Manual Exposure on the camera, setting the camera and flash to match for ISO speed and Aperture (your f/stop). You don't want to use Aperture Priority, because then the camera would try to expose for ambient light only (it's not going to know you're using a flash), using very slow shutter speeds that would result in blur from subject movement and/or camera shake. Use Manual Exposure instead. Perrsonally, I usually go either rechargeable NiMH or Lithium AA batteries for a flash. Some users like the newer Eneloops for a flash. But, how well a given battery type works is going to vary by flash model.

For shutter speed, I'd try around 1/100 second for starters in most indoor conditions if you're shooting a lower ISO speed settings. The idea is to make sure your ambient light exposure is 2 or 3 stops down from what would be required to expose without a flash. That way, the flash can freeze any subject movement, since the subject would be underexposed/dark without the flash, and the flash burst is very short (usually 1/1000 second or faster), because the subject would only be properly exposed during the very short flash burst. Shutter speed has no bearing on how much light from the flash the camera sees (as long as your shutter speed isn't faster than the flash burst length, or isn't faster than a camera's x-sync speed. Shutter speed is only used for dialing in how much ambient light you want to contribute to the exposure.

However, one thing to keep in mind is trigger voltage. It appears that flash may have a very high trigger voltage (or, at least that's what I'm seeing from user reported measurements with the non-D version of it), and with some cameras, you risk damaging the camera's electronics using a flash with a trigger voltage that high.

I don't know what the limit is for your camera. But, you may want to research it to see if Fuji has published any specs for it.

See this thread for more info, links to how to measure trigger voltage, etc.

http://forums.steves-digicams.com/fl...l-cameras.html
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Old Aug 21, 2010, 1:32 PM   #4
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According to this page, the trigger voltage limit for the HS10 is 50 volts.

http://www.fujifilm.ca/x2161.xml

I'd measure the trigger voltage from that flash using a good high impedence volt meter and see what you get before using it. If it's higher than 50 volts, I'd get a different flash to prevent damaging your camera's electronics (as it would probably be less expensive to buy a different used flash with a lower trigger voltage than to go to the expense of using something like a Wein safe sync with it). Here's a page showing you how to measure it:

http://www.botzilla.com/photo/g1strobe.html
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Old Aug 21, 2010, 5:38 PM   #5
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Jim - Thanks for the explanation and the additional info. I have the 2800-D, and all the articles I've read indicate it has a trigger-voltage within the 50V limit of the HS10.

The issue I am facing is that the flash is not firing consistently. Sometimes it fires and sometimes it doesn't. Haven't been able to figure-out why. I thought it was because I was using NiMH and it was taking too long to re-cycle, but that doesn't seem to be the case.

Is the fact that it doesn't slide completely into the hot-shoe and two of the rear pins stick out a cause for the problem?

From what I can see, the center pin and the contact with the outer rails is all that’s needed to fire the flash. The other pins do not have any place on the hot shoe to make contact. I think they only work on the cameras that can do TTL with this flash unit.

Is the Auto Check light supposed to come on? it never did. The other amber light always stays on when the flash is turned on. I am also able to press it to test fire the flash unit.

Any other way to check if the Flash unit is good or defective?
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Old Aug 21, 2010, 6:19 PM   #6
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The Auto Check light should light up green if the flash sees adequate return light for your subject range when you use the flash test button to fire the flash (using one of the Auto modes on it). If it's not lighting up, you may be trying to shoot something outside of the flash range for the selected auto mode (and bouncing will decrease flash range).

As for the firing issues, are you sure you've got it mounted properly? Even if the extra pins are not used, they shouldn't be sticking out of the mount unless the mount is a non-standard size (unlikely). Vivitar flash models usually have a lock/unlock lever on them. Make sure it's in the unlock position and slide it all the way into the shoe. Then, move the lock/unlock lever to the lock position to tighten it down. If there is no lever, some models have a wheel on them that serves the same purpose. In that case (wheel versus lock/unlock lever), make sure the wheel is loosened so that the flash slides all the way into the shoe before tightening it down with the same wheel so that it's snug.

Note that in some cases, extra pins can short out in some shoes and may need to be taped over. But, if you can see pins on foot sticking out with the flash mounted, it sounds more like you don't have the flash foot pushed into the hot shoe far enough. It will need to be all the way into the shoe, then tightened down snugly (moving the lock/unlock lever to the lock position if your model has a lever; or using the wheel on the foot to accomplish the same thing, depending on your flash design).
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Old Aug 22, 2010, 11:43 AM   #7
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I have an old Vivitar Auto Thyristor 550FD that seems to work fine with the HS10 - I was at a wedding awhile back and took about 300 shots, mostly in auto or SR auto and got about 220 keepers. I used A1 or A2 with the flash aimed up as needed. Make sure you set the HS10 for external flash. The mount was pretty tight at first, but it has to go all the way in.
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Old Aug 22, 2010, 4:51 PM   #8
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Jim & Lakensea -

Thanks for the additional tips. I have the camera set to external flash.

The 2800-D has a wheel lock. I did loosen it and pushed the flash unit into the hot-shoe as far as it could go. But maybe not far enough.

Will try again and give it another go.
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Old Aug 24, 2010, 11:01 PM   #9
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Default HS10 and Black's STD-50

I may be the only person in the world using this flash with an HS10, but...

I'm using an STD-50 from Black's Photography (circa 1983) which is an auto-thyristor model with tilt-swivel and a fill-in flash. It has (had?) TTL compatibility modes for certain Olympus, Nikon, Canon and Minolta models. But it also has a Standard ("S") flash setting. The auto-thyristor modes allow you to choose the ISO setting and then either 2.8 or 5.6 aperture.

Using a cheap digital multimeter, I measure the trigger voltage as 11.0 volts in "S" mode, regardless of the auto-thyristor setting. (I got readings of 7.3 to 12.1 volts in the compatibility modes.)

I've tested it with the "Green" auto-thyristor mode (f5.6) and it seems to work acceptably. I'm not using the "Red" auto-thyristor mode since the HS10 only achieves f2.8 at 24mm focal length--full wide-angle.

There is a pretty substantial lag between depressing the shutter release and the picture being taken. The subject is bathed in red light while the flash figures out its settings. However, even in very low light, the flash is ready to take another picture well BEFORE the camera!

Craig
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Last edited by PvrFan; Aug 24, 2010 at 11:02 PM. Reason: typo
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Old Aug 25, 2010, 12:32 AM   #10
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Update: I was able to push the flash foot further into the hot-shoe, so the rear two pins were are as well (they don't have any place to make contact). Looks like this fixed the problem with the inconsistent firing. Now the flash fires every time.

Thanks for all the help

Last edited by 2raj; Aug 25, 2010 at 12:37 AM.
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