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Old Jun 11, 2008, 12:49 PM   #1
TDN
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I'm lookign around for some older flash units to use for some experimenting with strobist lighting.

Some of those have trigger voltages too high for a digital camera circuit.
So, since I don't want the risk of burning my camera, I borrowed a voltmeter from my university. (studying computer science has its advantages)


Now I have this little Starblitz 160M that I have used before with my *ist DL before I got my Sigma 530 DG ST, just assuming it was safe since it was such a small flash, with a guide nr. of only 16




Since it has a built in pc-sync port I thought it could be used as a small flash to ligth the background, so I tested it with the voltmeter.

Boy, was I surprised! Turns out this little bugger puts out a whopping 270 Volt!!!!:shock:

But like I said, I have fired this thing off the hotshoe of my ist DL before, and everything still works! (won't try it again though...the risk is too great)

Pentax must really make their circuitry robust. I'm 90% sure a Canon would not have survived it...


The big morale: Test your flash units, no matter how small they are, or you could fry your camera!

Tom


P.S.: Maybe useful info to some others: I tested a few other units:

Sigma 530 DG ST: obviously safe, since it was made for digital: 4,6 Volt

Cobra 700AF: Made for analog cameras, but safe: 4,7 Volt

Pentax AF-18: A small flash unit, NOT safe: approx. 40 Volt
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Old Jun 12, 2008, 3:28 AM   #2
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Hi Tom, This site has plenty ofuseful information, may be of use to you.

These high sync voltage flash units can be safely used as slaves, usingthe fairly cheaply available optical triggers. I have a couple I've used this way.... Jack

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

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Old Jun 12, 2008, 8:09 AM   #3
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jachol wrote:
Quote:
Hi Tom, This site has plenty ofuseful information, may be of use to you.

These high sync voltage flash units can be safely used as slaves, usingthe fairly cheaply available optical triggers. I have a couple I've used this way.... Jack

http://www.botzilla.com/photo/strobeVolts.html
Yes, I've got that one bookmarked too Very useful when looking around auction sites for used flash units.

the page they link to for pentax users has a post which would confirm my findings. One of them claims the pentax system can take voltages up to 600V...I wouldn't recommend it though...

Still, the fact that my ist DL survived multiple exposures with a 270V flash, must mean that it's pretty rugged.


I've been thinking about getting a few of those slave units, or a wein safe sync unit.

Tom
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Old Jun 15, 2008, 3:31 AM   #4
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Just bought an old Vivitar 285 and tested it.

Looks like I'm lucky It only went up to 8.11 Volt!

(do keep in mind that you should always test these older units. Some have much higher voltages)

Which means it's safe to use, and will be triggered by the Cactus V2s (theyve been reported not to trigger high voltage flashes.)

Awesome, a good manual flash, and I only payed 10 euros for it
Got a Nikon SB-20 on the way aswell. That should at least get me started.

Tom
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