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Old Apr 12, 2009, 9:01 PM   #11
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Hi Guys

Many thanks again!! Ok so if it's an older non dedicated flash then I will go to a flash bracket under the camera so the flash is on the side and hook up via the sync plug.

I didn't realise that the deicated shoe was different in size to the normal SLR shoe??

I understand using the camera on manual but surely it's feasible to also shoot with aperture priority??? Since you choose the aperture you should be able to set the flash zone and get a reasonable exposure.????

Admiitedly the dedicated flash IS an easy way out even if it costs as much as your camera!! It does allow you to shoot in auto and the flash (in theory) will produce perfect exposures. (I do wedding video for a living so I use the 7Hi for stills mainly to use for DVD cover images etc etc. Often it's hectic so the auto option would be an advantage. )

Your advice is really appreciated!!

Chris
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Old Apr 12, 2009, 10:33 PM   #12
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Yes, you can use aperture priority, but the camera will set shutter speed for the available light without flash. This may be way too slow, and may also cause overexposure. I generally use a fairly high shutter speed, such as 1/250 or 1/500, to prevent possible motion blur, particularly when using it for fill flash.The 7hi will sync at any shutter speed, so this isn't a problem. The flash (V 285 and other auto thyristor types) has a light sensor built in to it, which determines the flash power to give correct exposure. (it shuts off the flash when the reflected light is sufficient for the program it is set to) I get perfect exposures with mine nearly every time.

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Old Apr 12, 2009, 11:13 PM   #13
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Hi Brian

Thanks for that!!

At the moment I am watching a dedicated Sigma EF500 SG ST unit on eBay and waiting for a seller to confirm whether he has the sync cable for his Vivitar 285 as I suspect (being a Vivitar plug) they will be not easy to find!

I'll keep you updated on the outcome! The beauty about eBay is that if it doesn't suit your needs you can always resell it and you usually get what you paid for it!!!

UPDATE : I got a Sigma SG ST flash virtually un-used for AUS$153 (about US$120) When it arrives from our East Coast (I'm in the West) I'll give you my thoughts. Thanks guys for all the advice and assistance!!!



Chris



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Old Apr 13, 2009, 8:58 AM   #14
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Softweigh wrote:
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Many thanks again!! Ok so if it's an older non dedicated flash then I will go to a flash bracket under the camera so the flash is on the side and hook up via the sync plug.
That should work. Or, if you want to mount one in your hotshoe, just get a Minolta FS-1100 or equivalent adapter and tape the contacts to use it as a cold shoe.

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I didn't realise that the dedicated shoe was different in size to the normal SLR shoe??
Yes, newer Minolta Autofocus cameras use a different shoe design. In their Autofocus lineup, only the original Maxxum 7000 and 9000 models (introduced in 1985) still used an iso standard shoe. All Minolta Autofocus SLR camera models following that use a newer proprietary hotshoe design.

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I understand using the camera on manual but surely it's feasible to also shoot with aperture priority??? Since you choose the aperture you should be able to set the flash zone and get a reasonable exposure.????
It can be done, if you're watching your exposure carefully and using Exposure Compensation to help out (typically using a -EV setting around 2 or 3 stops down from what the meter is reading so that the light from the flash makes up more of the exposure). It all depends on what you're trying to do. When you use a -EV setting with Exposure Compensation in Aperture Priority mode, the camera uses a faster shutter speed. But, you're probably better off just using manual exposure with a non-dedicated flash.

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Admiitedly the dedicated flash IS an easy way out even if it costs as much as your camera!! It does allow you to shoot in auto and the flash (in theory) will produce perfect exposures. (I do wedding video for a living so I use the 7Hi for stills mainly to use for DVD cover images etc etc. Often it's hectic so the auto option would be an advantage. )
I wouldn't assume that you'll get perfect exposure, especially with a 3rd party flash. Flash metering is a bit complicated with digital. Because of the reflectivity of a digial camera's sensor, off the film metering is no longer used. Instead, a digital camera uses a very short metering preflash. Based on the amount of reflected light the camera sees, it determines the length of the flash burst needed. There is no flash metering during the exposure. Depending on the flash, you may see issues. For example, the firmware in some third party flashes may assume the wrong zoom settings and more. With older Sigmas, you sometimes see reports of compatibility problems.

The complexity of flash exposure with digital is one reason some users prefer an Auto Thyristor type flash with it's own sensor. As Brian mentioned, these can measure reflected light during an exposure. This system also eliminates the need for the metering preflash used by dedicated flash models.

In addition to a non-dedicated model like a Vivitar 285HV or Sunpak 383 Super, you can also find models from Metz that have the best of both. For example, some of the MZ series Metz flashes can understand the camera settings for aperture and iso speed, while still using their own built in sensor to measure reflected light during an exposure. The Metz 54MZ4 is one example. These have an interchangeable flash foot (with an SCA3302 foot available that lets one work on a Minolta camera like your 7Hi). Just make sure you get an SCA3302 foot with a relatively recent firmware version for a digital camera model if you want maximum usability in more modes (and not all Metz MZ version flash models support preflash metering if you wanted to use one that way).

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UPDATE : I got a Sigma SG ST flash virtually un-used for AUS$153 (about US$120) When it arrives from our East Coast (I'm in the West) I'll give you my thoughts. Thanks guys for all the advice and assistance!!!
Let us know how well it works on your 7Hi.


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Old Apr 13, 2009, 8:19 PM   #15
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Thanks Jim

You are a goldmine of information.

I actually would have prefered going manual (cheaper too!!) but on the only 285 I found the seller came back to me and said that the proprietary sync cable is missing!

I'll give the Sigma a fair trial and as mentioned, I can always put it on eBay if another flash comes up. The only Metz units I could find were the very old off-camera models (I think CT-45???) with a fixed head and have their own flash bracket.

I'll keep in touch and thanks everyone again!

Chris


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Old Apr 13, 2009, 9:13 PM   #16
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Softweigh wrote:
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I actually would have prefered going manual (cheaper too!!) but on the only 285 I found the seller came back to me and said that the proprietary sync cable is missing!
The cables are cheap, and some of these flashes (Vivitar 285HV) have trigger voltages that are OK for use in a hotshoe on a camera like yours, but you'd need to measure one to find out.

You've got lots of other choices, too. For example, I only spent $48 for a flash system to use with my Konica Minolta Maxxum 5D (and that included two external flashes).

* $16 for a third party adapter to give me an ISO standard hotshoe.

* a Sunpak 222 Auto with tilt and two aperture ranges for a smaller flash unit (GN of about 72 feet at ISO 100) for $7.00 from KEH.com (and they even threw in a nice, coiled PC Sync Cord with it).

* a Sunpak 333 Auto with tilt, swivel and zoom head with multiple auto aperture ranges, as well as better manual settings (full, 1/2, 1/4, 1/8, 1/16). GN runs from 86 feet to 120 feet at ISO 100, depending on the zoom head setting. I got this one for $25 (like new in box in 10 condition from the used department at B&H).


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Old Apr 13, 2009, 9:33 PM   #17
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Softweigh wrote:
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At the moment I am watching a dedicated Sigma EF500 SG ST unit on eBay and waiting for a seller to confirm whether he has the sync cable for his Vivitar 285 as I suspect (being a Vivitar plug) they will be not easy to find!

Sync cables are not specific to camera or flash models. You can get the cables as separate items from nearly any camera store.

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Old Apr 13, 2009, 11:08 PM   #18
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Hi Brian

Thanks!! According to the seller the sync cable is the usual plug on the camera end on this one but has a different "Vivitar" plug at the flash end and he couldn't find one locally. That's why I gave it a miss but I'm sure I could ripa cheapflash apart and bypass the plug and solder the flash end cables direct to the PC board.

I'll try the dedicated flash next week and if I'm not happy I can always sell it again on eBay as it also supports the common Nikon and Canon cameras so they are always in demand and buy another thryistor based manual unit..I'll just have to make sure it has the normal "same each end" standard sync connectors and the voltage is less than 400.

Chris


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Old Apr 14, 2009, 7:00 AM   #19
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Softweigh wrote:
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I'll try the dedicated flash next week and if I'm not happy I can always sell it again on eBay as it also supports the common Nikon and Canon cameras so they are always in demand....
A dedicated flash like that Sigma is specific to a camera brand (you can't switch the same dedicated flash between different camera brands if you want it to work). The commands used by each digital camera manufacturer to communicate with a camera are proprietary to a camera brand.

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Old Apr 14, 2009, 8:32 AM   #20
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Hi Jim

According to Sigma the EF500 DG will work with Sony/Minolta and other brands too!!

Are you saying that they actually produce a different version of the EF500 SG for each camera??? Like one for Canon and one for Sony etc etc ?????

Their website merely says it's compatible with various systems including Sony, as does the Dyxum compatibility list.

Can you clarify a bit for me????? I just bought a Sigma EF500 SG ST flash without any special prefixes etc etc. If it's wrong I'll just put it back on eBay but I would appreciate advice on which is the correct one to buy???

Thanks

Chris
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