Canon Flash Work w/ Nikon D5100?

Discussion in 'Nikon' started by john_matters, Aug 10, 2013.

  1. I am wondering if anyone knows if I'd have luck using a Canon Speedlite 199A I was just given w/ my Nikon D5100?
  2. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    I don't mean to sound negative, but you need to provide clear definitions for "work" and "having luck" before people can really answer your question.
    If you mount the Canon flash onto the D5100, I am sure the camera can somehow trigger it to flash. However, don't expect any type of TTL flash or protocol between camera and flash.
    Since you already have both parts, why don't you just give it a try? Only you can determine whether you are happy with the results. However, IMO, if you are allowed to sell the flash, you are much better off selling it and use the proceed to buy a Nikon i-TTL-compatible flash, i.e. those SB-nnn flashes with a triple-digit model number, e.g. SB-700, SB-400, and the newly announced SB-300, etc.
  3. I would hesitate using a Canon strobe on a Nikon. Cameras with electronics are susceptible to trigger voltage issues and may cause damage to the camera. I "toasted" a Nikon F3 with an older high voltage off brand strobe. I also used an Olympus/ Sunpack on a DSLR Olympus Evolt-500 and the camera and strobe were totally "confused" thus unable to take the picture. (the pins on the shoe apparently were set up for different tasks)
  4. Sell the Canon flash if you think it's worth it (recently sells on eBay for around US $20), or give it to someone with an older Canon camera.
    Then buy a Nikon flash that is supported by your camera (see manual or specs - also Google "flash for Nikon d5100" or look on eBay for the same).
    The main camera body makers definitely want you to buy their own made-to-fit flashes and they don't make it easy to do much else. I don't know if any of the flash-only companies have designed anything that works with the D5100 or not - check before you buy.
  5. No worries with high sync/trigger voltage. The Canon 199A is under 6V, and the D5100 (as are all Nikon DSLR cameras) is safe to +250V on the hot shoe. No modern shoe mount flash is going to get anywhere near that "hot".
    It's a simple auto-thyrister flash, albeit with some dedicated features for Canon 'A' series FD mount bodies. Nothing complicated, and AFAIK the only automation it offered on Canon 'A' cameras was automatic shutter speed and aperture setting and a ready light indicator. You can certainly use the 199A in any of its three auto-flash modes, or manual mode. But you will need to set the D5100 to manual exposure mode (M) and select the correct sync speed (1/200s or slower) and set your lens aperture to match the 199A auto mode apertures. And you will also need to manually match ISO settings. To be on the safe side and avoid any "mis-communication issues" between the 199A and your camera, you should cover the two small rear contacts on the D5100 hotshoe with some thin tape (Scotch "Magic" tape for example), since those two pins on the flash foot may align with the D5100 contacts.
  6. Canon 199A User Manual (2.1MB):
  7. There's no trigger voltage issue between Nikon cameras and the great majority of Canon flashguns. Nikon have stated that their DSLRs are rated to withstand up to 250v on the hotshoe trigger contact and, if fitted, on the P-C socket. Furthermore, all of Canon's speedlites since the era of the FD are known to have a trigger voltage of 6v or below. Canon flashes are actually renowned for having a low trigger voltage, and their cameras are often criticised for not being able to withstand a high trigger voltage on the hotshoe.
    There's also little risk of any of the other pins on the speedlite making contact with the auxilliary pads on a Nikon hotshoe. The spacing and arrangement of pins and pads is completely different.
    I can personally vouch for having used Canon speedlites on both a D700 and D800 with no harm befalling either camera or flash. However, as Shun stated, there will be very little flash automation. The camera will have to be put into manual mode and you'll have to ensure that the camera shutter is set at the maximum synch speed or longer. According to its manual, the 199a has three Auto-aperture exposure stops available, but no means of manually controlling the flash power. Therefore you'll have to set the appropriate aperture on the camera as well as on the flash to get a reasonably correct exposure.
    PS. Don't believe the stated guide number of 30(m). It'll be nowhere near that! Most of these small consumer level flashes have a real GN of around 22.
    Edit: Apologies for repeating much of what Michael just said - crossed post!
  8. I "toasted" a Nikon F3 with an older high voltage off brand strobe.​
    That must have been a very unlucky fluke Paul. The F3 has a robust mechanical switch to fire its flash. According to the F3 service manual there's no connection between the flash trigger wire and the electronic circuitry of the camera at all. The P-C socket centre pin is also directly wired to the Nikon proprietory "hotshoe" connector. The ready light and TTL pins do connect with the main PCB, but not the trigger pin or P-C connector.
    You can show that this is the case by removing the battery and leaving the camera switched off. It'll still fire a flash using the manual only shutter release. Therefore it would take one heck of a voltage to damage the simple metal strips that form the firing "circuit". Although an abnormally high current might weld them together or burn them away.
  9. I have this flash and yes it'll work if you tape off the electrical contacts on the flash leaving only the center contact to make contact with the hotshoe. Any flash used this way works. However, buy a real flash made for your camera, it's not worth it to jury rig something that might damage your expensive body.
  10. No need to tape off the extra contacts. As previously mentioned the positioning of Canon's and Nikon's additional hotshoe pads are sufficiently different that they don't interfere with each other. In other words, apart from the central trigger, the pins of a Canon speedlite don't touch the pads of a Nikon hotshoe, and the pins of a Nikon speedlight won't touch the pads of a Canon hotshoe.
    Been there, done that, bought the T-shirt. Used speedlights on Canon bodies and speedlites on Nikon bodies. No problems and no tape necessary. As long as John's happy with the limited facilities of a 199a on a Nikon, then why encourage him to spend a shedload more money on an overpriced Nikon flash? The light will look no different.
  11. Thanks for all the feedback, everyone! A new Nikon flash is definitely on my wish-list, but I'm looking for something better than the built-in fluash until I can afford one. I know that this comes with a lot of limitations, but am going to experiment w/ making it work.
    Gotta love the technical advice and experience !!

Share This Page