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Old skool flashes
Old 06-01-2005, 03:27 AM   #1 (permalink)
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I dont use flash much because of my knowledge level with it. But, does anyone know how to use these type of flashes? I can turn it on and it works with my 10d but how do I use the settings? Also, do they sell hot shoe adapters so I can place the flash off-camera with a flash sync cable?

I would buy a 420ex or 550ex(wishful thinking) but I have these laying around the house so I thought I'd make sure its not junk before I buy a new one. Actually I would rather make use of these then spend another few hundred on a new flash.


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Re: Old skool flashes
Old 06-01-2005, 07:49 AM   #2 (permalink)
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(I'm looking at the flash on the left and using it as an example.

If my memory serves me correctly here's what you do:

First, on the flash head (top) dial in the iso that matches the iso you've got set on your camera. Let's assume iso 200 since that's what's dialed in already.

Second, determine (by visual guestimate) the distance to the subject. For arguments sake lets say the subject is 15 feet away.

You'll notice a distance chart. 15 feet is out of range for the red setting, at the high end of the yellow setting and well within range for the blue setting.

So, you can use the blue or yellow setting. What determines which one you choose to use are the little trianges of the same color that point to your f stop number. The blue setting will have you shooting at f/2.8, the yellow setting would have you shooting at f/5.6 and if the red setting was within range you'd be shooting f/11

Once you make the determination - let's say we want to shoot at f/5.6, you'd move the switch on the bottom part of the flash that's got the M (red dot) (yellow dot) (blue dot) to the yellow dot position.

Set your camera's shutter speed to 1/60th of a second.

That's how I used this flash with my trusty olympus OM-1 and it worked fine.

Hope that works for you.
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Re: Old skool flashes
Old 06-01-2005, 10:16 AM   #3 (permalink)
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If you want to know about old school. ask the old guy. The post above is exactly correct on how to use these in auto mode. Keep in mind that this is measured by a sensor on the flash. It cannot be covered by anything (like a softbox). It has to point at the subject. Also keep in mind that it can be fooled by "subject failure." That is a subject that is very dark or very light overall. The accuracy depends on an average subject. Also, it can be fooled if the subject is far from the background, or if the background is highly reflective, like glass. To estimate the "range" these will work in, use a guide number. At full power, the guide number for 100 speed e.i. would be about 110. Divide the distance the flash will be from the subject into the guide number. For example, at full pop, you should be able to use f11 at a distance of ten feet. It is also possible to bounce these off a wall or low ceiling to soften the light. You will lose about two stops that way. The flash can be used on auto bounced as long as the sensor still points at the subject. You should have some type of "confidence" light, maybe a green indicator, that shows immediately after the exposure that you had enough light. You can also use these for a technique called "painting with light." Used in a dark area with a still subject, you simply use multiple pops from many positions to build up your light. You could light an entire building in this way with the small flash. Best regards.
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Re: Old skool flashes
Old 06-01-2005, 10:58 AM   #4 (permalink)
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i doubt this is going to work in any sort of auto mode with your 10d. i could be wrong, but i'm thinking this flash ain't gonna "talk" to the programming in your camera. you should also check the power use: if it exceeds, uhh... i forget how much, you can fry your camera.
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Check the Sync Voltage!
Old 06-01-2005, 12:46 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Before using either flash (possibly again) check their sync voltage. If you don't have a multimeter (electronic testing device that measures resistance, voltage, conductivity, etc.) take them to a place that repairs electronics. Have them measure the voltage between the little silver ball on the bottom f the hot shoe and the little tabs on the side of the hot shoe. If the voltage is over 6v, don't use it without a Safesync. Many older/cheap flashes had high sync voltages. I have a dinky little yashica 1AA battery flash and the sync voltage is over 200v, enough to fry pretty much any digital camera! The flash on the right that has a "C" setting is probably ok because the "C" is for canon and Canon started the 6v max standard back with the AE-1 in the mid '70's (pissed a bunch of people off too). If the flash on the right hand side was manufactured in the late 80's ('87 was the first EOS I think, while features have been added since, the core features haven't changed) it should have some TTL/Auto F stop and Sync speed functions that'll work with your current canon cameras. What should happen is this. Set the flash to "C" mode. Set the ISO and red or blue, the flash (if made for EOSs) will set the F stop and shutter speed.
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Re: Old skool flashes
Old 06-01-2005, 12:48 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Thanks David.. I knew I could count on someone who knew how to use this. [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/grin.gif[/img]
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Re: Old skool flashes
Old 06-01-2005, 01:14 PM   #7 (permalink)
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[ QUOTE ]
i doubt this is going to work in any sort of auto mode with your 10d. i could be wrong, but i'm thinking this flash ain't gonna "talk" to the programming in your camera. you should also check the power use: if it exceeds, uhh... i forget how much, you can fry your camera.

[/ QUOTE ]

your right, it doesnt work on (camera)auto mode. i tried it already.. but now im spooked now that you told me about frying my camera!! [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/blush.gif[/img]
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Re: Check the Sync Voltage!
Old 06-01-2005, 01:25 PM   #8 (permalink)
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James, thanks! Ill make sure to test these babies.. well actually old timers out. I just hope I didnt already cause some damage to my camera if they are over 6v [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/frown.gif[/img] *hits self on forehead* But the 10d seems to be working fine.. *crosses fingers*
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Re: Check the Sync Voltage!
Old 06-01-2005, 01:43 PM   #9 (permalink)
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If you're going to buy used strobes, it makes a lot of sense to get a multimeter and learn how to do it yourself (it's really not that hard). You should be able to find a multimeter that tests voltage for about $20 at the Shack. If you're camera still works and fires a flash it's probably fine, but never, NEVER, put an older flash on a digital camera without testing the sync voltage first. Before the transistor really came into vogue people just weren't afraid of high voltages like we are today, heck a modest stereo in the 60's had between 250-600v cruising through the output tubes! That was also before grounding electronics was "cool". [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/shocked.gif[/img]
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Re: Old skool flashes
Old 06-01-2005, 06:03 PM   #10 (permalink)
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[ QUOTE ]
I dont use flash much because of my knowledge level with it. But, does anyone know how to use these type of flashes? I can turn it on and it works with my 10d but how do I use the settings? Also, do they sell hot shoe adapters so I can place the flash off-camera with a flash sync cable?

[/ QUOTE ]

If it were up to me, I'd put'em all into manual mode, then buy several cheap (less than $20) optical slaves and use them like studio strobes. This is how I started shooting glamour and portraits -- a couple of old Nikon speedlights, a cheap PC cord to one light and all the rest fired via optical slaves. I controled the amount of light with homemade softboxes and moving them closer or further from the subject.

All the shots of Sandra on my website were taken with a D100, two Nikon speedlight, optical slaves and white umbrellas. Here's one sample below.


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