Electronic flash for modern film cameras

Discussion in 'Modern Film Cameras' started by alan_rockwood, Feb 12, 2011.

  1. Let us have an extensive discussion of electronic flash for modern film cameras. A non-exhaustive list of topics could include what features go with what cameras and how they match up with different flash models, exposure determination (e.g. through the lens or not, film plane exposure monitoring, etc.), FP synchronization issues, and the dreaded high voltage synch signal.
     
  2. Well Nikon's SB800 works fine on the F4 and onwards. :) The simple solution is to buy a flash listed in the camera's owners manual. :)
    Sunpak have/had shoe mount TTL capable flashes with something like a dozen different interchangeable hotshoe modules to work with most modern non AF and AF film cameras.
    You would need an encyclopedia to cover every thing you mentioned, it would be way easier to answer specific questions.
     
  3. OK - rear curtain flash sync
    Nikon F4 - you have to have an SB-24 or SB-26. The SB-28 upwards do not have the "rear curtain" sync switch on the flash that is required by the F4
    Nikon F5 and F6 - models SB-28 on to the SB-800 that use the rear curtain sync setting on the camera body
     
  4. I have the SB-28 for my F100 and have wondered how the latest Nikon flashes would work on it. I've also wondered how the SB-28 compares performance-wise to the latest Nikon units.
     
  5. I don't know about a comparison with the SB28 but the SB600 does work perfectly with the F100.
    But the one I like, mostly because I like it when things are bizarrely inexpensive, is the Minolta 360PX (used on an X700). Mine was about $20, it's badass and it nails the exposure in auto.
     
  6. With prices so reasonable why not pick up a used dedicated flash from the manufacturer of the camera you intend to use. The Sunpak system with dedicated modules is good if you plan to use it with more than one brand of camera. Dedicated flashes should be okay with safe sync voltage. When in doubt borrow a multitester (one with 20,000 ohms/volt sensitivity) and check the sync voltage. Another good bet if you don't care for dedication would be the Vivitar 283. You may still find some NOS. Plenty of power as well as accessories. If your camera has a PC socket you can also use a handle mount flash. I like to use my old Sunpak AP52 flashes with even my late electronic cameras.
    I use a Wein Safesync hot shoe adapter so I can use my AP52 with my EOS Rebel K.
     
  7. Does anyone know if the new Sigma EF 610 (Canon specific models) has any quirks when using the fp synch? The older models had the quirk that if you changed the shutter speed so it dropped below the regular electronic synch setting the flash would then flip out of fp synch mode and wouldn't go back unless the user specifically intervened by changing the shutter speed to a higher speed and then setting it back into fp mode. This little quirk can be rather annoying in the older models, and I wondered if Sigma may have changed it in the newer models.

    By the way, the comparable canon flashes do not have the fp quirk discussed above.
     
  8. The SB-800 is the best all-round Nikon flash if you shoot recent dSLRs along with pre-F6 film cameras (F5/F100/F80 etc.). The more recent SB-700 and SB-900 don't support TTL in any Modern Film SLR except the F6. However, the SB-800 (or SB-600) isn't perfect - you lose the FP High-Speed Synch mode with cameras like the F100 (the new 'Auto FP High-Speed Synch' mode the SB-800 provides isn't backwards-compatible). So if you don't shoot with a dSLR or F6, you may be better off with an older flash like the SB-28 or SB-80.
     
  9. For the Nikon F3: a unique TTL system works only with a few models of flash. Other Nikon TTL flashes will not work TTL, but are fine on auto. Flashes dedicated to other systems may require blanking off the ready-light pin even on manual and auto modes, because they will mess up the shutter setting. Minolta flashes may work, but many third party Minolta-dedicated flashes will not. A shoe adapter with no ready light pin will, of course, solve this. The Vivitar adapter has the pin. I have a Vivitar Series 1 flash dedicated to Canon/Ricoh which operates the sync speed and ready light on the F3 just fine.
    Likewise, Minoltas, at least the X series, will not work with a Nikon dedicated flash on any setting unless the ready pin is blanked out. If, for example, you put a Nikon SB-15 on an X-700 it will set the sync speed correctly and fire but the mirror will not return until you turn the flash off.
     
  10. Later guns (up to the SB-800/SB-600) will apparently work in TTL mode with the F3 if you buy the AS-17 TTL Flash Unit Coupler. However, it's a pretty expensive gadget, presumably because it has to 'translate' between the current system and the unique F3 system Matthew mentions. A nice secondhand F100 can be had for not much more...
     
  11. Indeed, I'm not sufficiently interested in TTL flash to invest in the AS-17. I have the very nicely made but mysteriously pinned Vivitar adapter which B&H sells at a nice price. This has, in addition to the pin for the ready-light and shutter setting, another pin, presumably for TTL, and came with a little slip saying it was only for Vivitar dedicated modules. I suppose that somewhere there's a Vivitar flash with an F3 module, but I have never seen it.
     
  12. I did a little digging and found a bit more information about the Vivitar stuff for the F3 at the end of this thread:
    http://www.photo.net/nikon-camera-forum/009KeW
    Could be a cheap TTL option for F3 users.
    It seems rather odd that the AS-17 only seems to have been introduced at some time in the last decade (a 2004 post calls it 'recently introduced'), which must make it about 15 years late. Someone's pet project at Nikon, perhaps?
     
  13. For the F3, the Sunpak flashes, 622 and similar that use the hotshoe plugin modules work perfectly with the NE-3D module for TTL flash metering.
    The AS-17 was introduced when/after Nikon discontinued the SB16 flash that supported the F3 TTL adapter.
     
  14. Metz produces a whole slew of SCA adapters for their flashes to allow use on virtually every camera - but I wouldn't rely on their manuals to find out if specific features (like HSS (FP sync)) will indeed work with a specific camera and flash. Metz seems to be moving away from this system now in favor of "system" flashes whose firmware can be upgraded - but I am not sure how backwards compatible those flashes are with film cameras.
    http://www.metz.de/fileadmin/fm-dam/Download/Homepage_Englisch/Photo_Electronic/SCA_Archiv_GB/SCA_Adapter_Archive_GB.pdf
    As to the F3 - I really don't think it's worth the effort to make an ISO flash work with that particular camera; on account of the 1/80s flash sync speed, the F3 never was a good camera to use for flash photography.
     
  15. Lorne Sunley [​IMG][​IMG], Feb 13, 2011; 12:23 a.m.
    OK - rear curtain flash sync
    Nikon F4 - you have to have an SB-24 or SB-26. The SB-28 upwards do not have the "rear curtain" sync switch on the flash that is required by the F4​
    I am looking to pick up a flash for my F4. I have been considering an SB-600. It was my impression that the 600 would be fully functional with the F4. Is there an issue with the rear curtain with this flash that I should be aware of?
     
  16. Dieter, not much effort or cost to make an iso hotshoe flash work on a F3 these days. SB-16As are $40 from KEH, or an AS-7 iso hot shoe adapter for $12, and just add almost any thyristor auto type flash. The NE-3D module was all of $9, besides the F3 x sync speed is a little faster than an F or F2. It must have had something going for it as it was a current product for 21 years. :)
     
  17. the F3 x sync speed is a little faster than an F or F2.​
    Same 1/80 listed for all three.
     
  18. @Bill - I was really disgusted when I found that I could not get rear curtain sync on my F4 with the SB-800 or SB-600 or SB-28. I found a couple of SB-26 units and bought those to use. The F4 needs a flash with a "rear curtain" sync switch, otherwise you only get front curtain sync. The SB-600 will do just about everything else. Turns out a used SB-26 is about 1/3 the price of an SB-600.
     
  19. Slight correction, KEH.COM has an SB-26 from $89.00 to $139.00 depending on condition
     
  20. "Same 1/80 listed for all three."
    The F sync speed is 1/60.
     
  21. The F sync speed is 1/60.​
    Oops, guess you're right.
     
  22. The comparability of dedicated flashguns of dedicated marque and independent flash gun models for various cameras is so complex a topic it would be a good subject for a Ph.D. thesis
     
  23. Thank you Lorne. So, if I understand correctly, the SB-600 will work with the F4 but will not have a rear curtain sync function? I guess I am unclear as to what the rear curtain sync function accomplishes.
     
  24. @Bill, Rear Curtain Sync makes the flash fire just before the shutter closes. When you are taking a picture where the subject is moving and there is sufficient ambient light to show the subject motion blur, rear curtain sync will show the blur leading up to the final subject position captured when the flash goes off. Front Curtain Sync will show the subject capture by the flash and then the motion blur leading away from the capture position.
     
  25. Thank you for that explanation Lorne. I can see where that would be advantageous. I suppose a used sb-26 is probably my best choice if I want ttl flash with the F4. I'm also waiting to see what transpires with Nikon over the next few months. I have been considering a D7000. Without overpolluting the Modern Film Camera thread with digital questions, do you know if it (the sb-26) is compatible with a D7000 or should I be thinking more sb-600 and up.
     
  26. If it is a digital camera you have to look at the SB-600 SB-800 (both work with film TTL) or the SB-700 or SB-900 (digital cameras only) For the record, the SB-600 flash is the only current Nikon unit that is still compatible with the film TTL used in the F4 and up.
     
  27. Correction to SB-600 being current, I saw on another thread today that the SB-600 has been discontinued, best get a new one while you can.
     
  28. I spent a half hour digging around the house and this is all I could come up with:
    Books related to Nikon Flash

    Nikon AF Speedlight Flash System 2007
    Simon Stafford Magic Lantern Guides 288 pages
    covers SB-28 to SB-800 very comprehensive theory of flash

    Nikon Creative Lighting System Digital Field Guide 2007
    J. Dennis Thomas Wiley Publishing 202 pages
    covers SB-600 and SB-800

    The Nikon Flash Guide 2001
    Thom Hogan Silver Pixel Press 376 pages
    covers SB-1 to SB-29 and cameras F3 to N80 and everything in between

    The Nikon Field Guide 1st Edition 1998
    Thom Hogan Silver Pixel Press 256 pages
    covers SB-25 to SB-28 and FN2n, F70, F90, F4, F5

    The Nikon Field Guide 2nd Edition 2000
    Thom Hogan Silver Pixel Press 288 pages
    covers SB-25 to SB-28 and adds F90s, F100, F60 to above list

    The Advanced Nikon System 1993
    Michael Huber Magic Lantern Guides 216 pages
    covers SB-11 to SB-25 and most in between and F3 to F90

    Nikon F4 and F3 1994
    Moose Peterson Magic Lantern Guides 176 pages
    covers F3/SB-12 and F4/SB-24, 25, 26

    Nikon SB-24 Flash System 1992
    John Clements Hove Foto Books 138 pages
    covers SB-11 to SB-24 and Nikon F to F4 and everything in between

    Nikon System System Handbook 5th Edition 1998
    Moose Peterson Silver Pixel Press 184 pages
    covers SB-1 to SB-28 and Nikon F to F5
     
  29. That's all you could come up with? What, no online tutorials by scantily clad female flash instructors?
    Actually James I just spent the last two hours reading various websites on everything between the sb-24 and the sb-800. I'm more freaking confused now than I've ever been. I was fantasing I could pick up a flash that would be fully compatible with everything from a Nikkormat Ft2 to whatever Nikon will be building by the time we land men on Mars.
    I think I'm down to picking up an sb-24 or 26 and either an sb-600 or 800 with the 800 ahead and stretching it out at the clubhouse turn.
    Just so you can be assured that your evening foray into the dark reaches of your library weren't in vain, I'll probably be picking up a couple of the titles you suggested,....thanks.
     
  30. I think I'm down to picking up an sb-24 or 26 and either an sb-600 or 800 with the 800 ahead and stretching it out at the clubhouse turn.
    Bill, I would get a SB-600 while you still can. I have only used it with a Nikon D90 so far, but it proved to be fool proof in either direct or bounce flash mode and is compatible with quite a few film cameras. I wish I could access a few of the books I listed online, but the best I can do is if you list a few cameras you are interested in, and can show what flash guns are compatible, or conversely list what cameras are compatible with a few flashguns. I have every film Nikon that I want except the F6, and I personally would not pursue flash with the F, F2, or F3 mainly because they do bot have hot shoes, and the flash interface appears to me as Rube Goldburg.
    The SBs that I own are the SB-20, SB-80 and the SB-600 and they cover most of the Nikons that I would use flash with.
     
  31. @Bill If I were you, I would pick up the SB-24 or SB-26 and the SB-800. The SU-4 mode in the SB-800 makes it a good TTL controlled remote flash to use with the SB-24/26 on camera. I have to admit a bit of bias, I have the SB-26 for the F4 and a couple of SB-800 and some SB-28 flashes. I use SU-4 flash control units with the SB-28s to get remote TTL control with the F4, as well as using SU-4 mode on the SB-800s. The SB-600 does not have SU-4 mode so it is only useful as an on-camera flash or as a CLS controlled remote. I have a couple of SB-600 units that I use as CLS remotes.
     
  32. I have a F80 Nikon with a SB 27 which quite frankly is more flash horsepower then what I need or intend to use it for (indoor family gathering snapshots). I'd like to get something more compact and less technically challenging. I like the size and simplicity of the SB 400 but I understand that it is not for use on film camersa. Any suggestions?
     
  33. According to Thom Hogan, the preferred flash for the N80 are the SB-28 and 27, but you can use TTL with the SB-20 thru 29, plus the 15 and 16B.
     
  34. Here's what I've learned about the Nikon film bodies and Nikon Speedlights I've recently acquired.
    Nikon film body set-up 1:
    Nikon F6 + SU-800 + SB-800 + SB-600:
    The Nikon F6 is the only film body to support Nikon's current i-TTL/CLS flash system. I recently bought a used F6 body because I couldn't figure out any easier way to shoot both film and digital, using the same multiple-Speedlight, CLS set-up.
    Nikon film body set-up 2:
    Nikon N90s + SB-27 + SB-23: Both Speedlights support film-TTL (OTF-TTL).
    Nikon Speedlights: additional notes.
    The Nikon SB-800 and SB-600 are the most forward- and backward-compatible Speedlights in Nikon's line-up, each supporting both film-TTL and i-TTL, in bodies which support these features. The newset Nikon Speedlights, the SB-900 and SB-700, do not support film-TTL (OTF TTL). However, the SB-700 does support "SU-4" mode (as does the SB-800), while the SB-600 does not. The SB-600 is likely soon to be discontinued, and can be currently found selling at a discount at certain retailers. Both the SB-800 and the SB-600 have higher output, and smaller form factors, than their newer counterparts, the SB-900 and SB-700. Corrections, addendums, and comments are most welcome. Looking forward to pushing a brick of Tri-X through my new F6, with full, wireless-CLS control over all of my Speedlights!
    00YRIM-341346084.jpg
     
  35. I have a F80 Nikon with a SB 27 which quite frankly is more flash horsepower then what I need or intend to use it for (indoor family gathering snapshots). I'd like to get something more compact and less technically challenging. I like the size and simplicity of the SB 400 but I understand that it is not for use on film camersa. Any suggestions?​
    I can only suggest the SB-600, which is compatible with Nikon film-TTL SLRs, such as the F80/N80 (I actually misread your post, and thought for a moment that you wanted a more powerful flash than the SB-400).
     
  36. I have a F80 Nikon with a SB 27 which quite frankly is more flash horsepower then what I need or intend to use it for (indoor family gathering snapshots). I'd like to get something more compact and less technically challenging. I like the size and simplicity of the SB 400 but I understand that it is not for use on film camersa. Any suggestions?​
    I forgot . . . the SB-23 is the perfect little flash. It's film-TTL compatible with your F80. I bought mine for about $30, used, for my N90s. The only problem is that its flashhead doesn't tilt.
     

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