Can vintage Minolta flash perform as a backup on Nikons.

Discussion in 'Lighting Equipment' started by japster, May 9, 2008.

  1. Hello to all.

    I have a ? , if we have any hotshoe flash experts out there.

    I just acquired a vintage Minolta Auto 200X automatic hotshoe flash. It came with a
    Minolta XG-7, so its from that time period. The unit was a little dirty, but otherwise
    in good working condition. A few nicks and scratches, but nothing fractured or
    broken. There was also a modest amt of battery terminal corrosion under the
    (slideout) battery cover, but (as far as I could tell) no dirt or corrosion at all inside
    the unit itself. I spent an evening and cleaned away the corrosion, and repolished
    the battery contacts. I loaded (4) fresh-charged AA Ni-Mh re-chargeables to test
    it, and it appears to be working fine. I test fired the unit about 10 times, with a
    couple seconds rest between each shot, (using the red button), and it fired fine.
    No problems, no hesitations, just good clean flash and very fast recycle time
    (maybe 1/2 second). So, i think I have a used but still good flash here. I also went
    out on WWW and found a free copy of the original owners manual, and
    downloaded that back to my system. So I can study all the manual notes.

    My question is: Can I use this model flash as a "backup" flash with my "modern"
    SLRs? My modern SLRs would be: a) Nikon d300 D-SLR, b) Nikon N80 35mm
    Film Slr, c) Nikon N75 35mm Film SLR, and d) Sigma SA-7N 35mm Film SLR.

    If I could use this unit as a good "backup flash", that would save me from having to
    spend $200 or more on a new backup flash from a retailer. This is an automatic
    flash, so if it can be used in automatic mode with these automatic cameras, so
    much the better. My prime flash is a new Nikon SB800.

    So, can we rig this vintage Minolta flash to work like a main hotshoe flash, on
    Nikon equipment, in a "backup" situation?

    Thank you for your expert advice.

    Best regards,

    Atlanta GA
  2. Hi Allan, i have used many flashes on my Nikons - older Metz Hammerheads, a lot of
    long forgotten units like the National PE-3057 or the Agfa 302 CSi. I even used a Leica
    SF-20 on top of a Nikon. I never had any problems - except bad akkus. The Minoltas
    Auto 200X sync-voltage is reported to be low. High sync-voltage is the only problem
    with the older flash-units - some of them may damage the complex electronics of
    todays cameras. But if You discover the wonderful features an off-camera SB-800
    offers (Nikons CLS is great - try it) You might end with a second CLS-compatible
    Speedlight as backup. Have fun and please excuse my terrible English, georgs.
  3. Can anyone tell me what "bad akkus" is? And thank you George for the enthusiaatic information! :)
  4. Allan, bad akkus - i was trying to tell You that the rechargeables i grabbed from the
    bottom of the deepest pocket of my camerabag didnt have the juice (amperes?)
    anymore to power the flash up. georgs
  5. Thanks George. I'm still learning all these photographers lingo. :)

    Thank you again for responding, and sharing your insights.
  6. A 200X manual can be found here:
  7. Thank you J.E.B., I also found an electronic copy at Mike Butkus's camera manuals site. I'll be reading up in the manul to see how this new (old) flash operates.
  8. Um, y'r new flash is made to communicate with some Minoltas, not with Nikons or a Sigma. You can use the flash in manual mode or, if it has a little eye so that it can turn itself off when it sees enough light reflected from the subject, in "auto" mode.

    It will not tell any camera but the right kind of Minolta to set itself to the flash sync speed. You'll have to do that yourself.

    No camera but the right kind of Minolta will control in in "auto TTL" mode, if it has that mode. I don't think it does, but since its your problem you can look up what it has and hasn't.

    If your camera will not run in full manual mode (you pick shutter speed and aperture, it doesn't second guess you), you can't use y'r new flash with it.

    FWIW, I've used a number of Minolta flashes on a variety of completely manual Nikons. IMO, Minolta flashes stand out for reliability -- they just don't die -- and claimed GNs that are usually very close to actual.
  9. Hello Dan. Thank you for your insights.Yes this is an auto flash, it does have the front side "eye" to sense light from the subject. So looks like i'll have to manual set the shutter speed on the camera to its flash sync speed. And yes, all the cameras mentioned support the usual automatic modes as well as fully manual.
  10. Well, this is an update. Last night I tried out the vintage Minolta Auto 200X automatic flash on my Nikon N80 camera, and it worked great. No problems whatsoever. Even works in Automatic mode. I put the camera in Aper Pref Automatic mode, then followed the instructions in the flash manual, and everything seems to work OK. Looks like I can use this as a backup flash if I go out and do a job.
  11. Almost any flash can be used with almost any camera as long as you stick to manual mode or plain vanilla automatic (where you set the aperture on the lens to match what is set on the flash and the flash takes it from there) and maybe use a Wein Safe Sync if sync voltage is questionable. Hot shoes contacts may or may not work but you can connect almost any flash to almost any camera with a PC cord. If you camera doen't have a PC contact get an adpator that plugs into the hot shoe. The Wein Safe Sync has the adaptor built in. As for TTL and the flash telling the camera what speed to sync at, those are nice frills that can make the job easier but are by no means necessary.
  12. Thanks Craig. I tried the Minolta flash out last night by sticking it on a Nikon N80 using a Nikkor G type lens and Fuji HQ Color ISO 200. Took about 9 test pictures in my living room. Set the Minolta flash in Auto mode, Yellow, and ISO 200. The flash dial said pick Aperture F8. Since the Nikkor G lenses dont have external aperture ring, I just switched to Aperture Preferred Automatic on the N80, then used the front command dial to dial in F8 on the camera. The camera accurately picked up the flash ready signal from the Minolta flash, and automatically set shutter to 1/60th. I'll be picking up the sample prints later to see how the test photos turned out.

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