Hasselblad 553ELX compatible with Sunpak 555 potato masher flash

Discussion in 'Medium Format' started by john_wiegerink|1, Jan 23, 2014.

  1. I posted this question on another medium format site and haven't had an answer yet so I thought I'd try here. I need to know which Sunpak TTL module to look for so I can connect my Sunpak 555 potato masher flash to my 553ELX. I've searched the web and have come up with nothing. I have an 553ELX on the way and would like to take advantage of the TTL feature of the ELX, but need a connector module/cord to do it. Anyone out there know which module I need for the Sunpak to Hasselblad system? I really don't think it's a module, but more like a double cord which would connect the body to the flash and a sync cord to the lens. JohnW
  2. I don't know whether this one is the right one for the Sunpak 555, but perhaps the bad news is that they are no longer made, so you have to search eBay, or perhaps KEH.
    Besides the HA-2D, there also was a HA-1D, that may fit the 555 if the 2D does not. Or maybe both fit, and the one is an updated version of the other? They both work with all TTL OTF capable 500-series cameras.
  3. Nope, neither the HA-2D or HA-1D will work since they are both for hot shoe style flashes and the 555 is a big handle mount flash. I believe it would be the same for the handle mount 611 and 622 Sunpak also. The 622 was a late model flash and I can't believe it didn't have a cable-coupler cord for the 'Blad since it was Sunpak's "PRO" flash at the time. Yes, I know I'll have to buy used, but just want to make sure I buy the right one. I checked B&H, KEH and eBay, but no luck. I'll keep looking. Thanks, JohnW
  4. According to the manual Butkus has online, these modules (that is: the 1D modules are mentioned) should also work with the 555.
    There is some mention of a cord. Perhaps that goes between flash and module, just like the Metz SCA adapters for Hasselblad are separate units, with shoe mount, that connect to the handle mount units through a connector cord. Whether that is the Sunpak EXT-11 cord i do not know. Yet.

    Yes, it looks like the EXT-11 is what you need. Plus a HA-1D or HA-2D.
  5. You might be right, but I can't believe they would have made it that complicated since I already have a PC sync cord on one side that goes to the lens, all I would need is a cord form the camera to the flash to tell the flash to quench when it has read enough reflected light off the film plane. Should just be a fairly simple cord I would think?
  6. Well, the EXT-11 may well be just that: a fairly simple cord.<br>A few leads that hook the sensor and flash signal both inside the camera up to the circuitry inside the flash.<br>The HA-1D to act as an intermediary that 'translates' between the two.<br>Not that complex. Just adding what that PC-synch cord cannot do.
  7. Yes, I know a sync cord alone will only sync the lens with the flash, but you do need both. You have to have the lens trigger the flash and a body to flash connector to control the flashes output. If you use the EXT-11 it then has to connect to something like the HA-2D/1D and since there is no hot shoe on the camera I guess it just dangles? I don't think Sunpak would design something oddball like that especially when it's not needed. This really has me puzzled and later tonight I'm going to do much more searching.
  8. Well... Puzzling it may seem. But whether we feel it is or not, such is life using these types of equipment.<br>The Metz SCA adapters attach to the accessory rail on the side of the camera, or sits in the cold shoe that slides over that rail Hasselblad also offered.<br>The Sunpak adapter will need that Hasselblad accessory cold shoe.<br>Oddball maybe. But that's what you need to do/get when using cameras without built-in shoes. And flash units that don't need a shoe with adapters that do.
  9. You could very well be right. I don't use flash much anymore since my wedding days are done. I have a studio lighting system for serious stuff and would just use the Sunpak 555 for photos of my grandkid's or parties inside. I'll wait, watch and learn. When something comes up cheap I'll nab it. I just thought it'd be nice to use TTL since the 553elx had it, but I used the Sunpak 555 for years with my 500C for weddings and it worked perfect just the way it was so I can get by for a while.
  10. I can echo that: TTL sounds like a nice thing, but an auto flash using its own sensor works just as well.<br>Only when exposure compensation is required (close up, filters) TTL helps. Though it's not that hard to dial in an compensation on the flash.<br>In close up TTL control would be the better way of doing things because the sensor in the flash will not necessarily still see the important bit of the scene.
  11. I finally located my elusive Sunpak 555 flash. It has a Sunpak "Interface Module HA-2D For Hasselblad 500ELX, 503CX, 553ELX Cameras" (that is what is written on the side of the Sunpak box for the HA-2D Module). Plugged into the top of the HA-2D is a Sunpak EXT-11 coiled cord, the other end of which plugs into the underside of the 555 flash head. Two cords come out of the HA-2D module - one with a smallish round plug on the end which plugs into the Hasselblad body and the other has a PC terminal on the end to plug into the Hasselblad lens. So there are 3 cords - one to the 555 flash, one to the camera body, and one to the lens. It has been awhile since I used this with my 500ELX, but I'm pretty sure this is how I plugged everything in and it worked. The HA-2D has a cold shoe on the bottom, I think just to support the weight of it.

    Also included with this 555 is a cord with a 3 prong end which plugs into the 555 head and the other end is a PC terminal. I assume this cord is used in place of the HA-2D and EXT-11 for any camera without TTL capability. Then the sensor on the front of the 555 would read the flash off the subject.
    I'm not sure what the difference is with the HA-1D module. In one picture on eBay of an HA-1D, it appears to not have the PC cord of the HA-2D. Since you have a 553ELX, it may be safer to get the HA-2D.
  12. Len,
    That's that kind of answer I was looking for. A user perspective is always the best information. I understand now how it goes together and I guess the thing that was just throwing me was what to do with the module if you have no hot-shoe. Viola! Duct tape!
  13. John - I seem to remember when I bought my 555 off eBay I didn't really understand what I was getting. The pictures showed a bunch of cords and bits and it was supposed to be dedicated for the TTL Hasselblads. Which turned out to be true, once I figured out the hookups. Now that I have it out of hiding, I need to play with it more. I have a couple of black cats here in my dark house I can use as test subjects.
  14. I used a Vivitar 285HV for weddings when I first started out and then bought two Sunpak 555's. I loved the 555's with my old 500C and 500EL -500ELM's I had since they gave me something to hang onto. I always got near perfect results with the 555's also. I'd use it straight for long church shots and then for the closer stuff I had a velcro'd Omni bounce that was the cats meow. Then I bought a dedicated module for my Nikon FE2 and found life even easier. I just thought as long as the 553ELX I have coming has TTL capability it would be nice to be able to use it. Len, if you could post me a picture of your setup I would appreciate it and that would help me to know what to buy. Thanks, John
  15. A cold shoe attached to a small angle bracket, called the Shoe Adapter III, was included with each new module. It goes into a slot on the flash mounting bracket. Included is a thumb screw which threads into a hole below the slot to lock the shoe in place. That way the module is mounted next to the camera. In the instruction sheet for my BR-1D module (Bronica), it is described in Note 6, and illustrated in Figure 3.
    Maybe you could find one if you don't have it, or fabricate something like it if you're so inclined.
    FYI, if for any reason you want auto flash without using TTL, or if your camera's TTL is faulty, you can use the sensor on the module to control the flash just by switching the flash from the blue dot to the A. The module's sensor will override the flash's sensor. That is useful when the flash is being used off-camera, as in hand-holding it overhead or to the side, especially near to the subject. It allows the flash to be oriented in any direction quickly without concern for where the sensor on the flash is pointing. With the module mounted on the cold shoe on the bracket, the exposure will be correct.
  16. Jeff, thanks for that bit of info on the Shoe Adapter III as that helps clear up the mystery of the dangling module.
    Yes, I knew about using the shoe-mount module for regular non-TTL work. I used my NE-1D on my Nikkormat FT-2 and FT-3 all the time and it worked perfect. It even worked fine on my F2AS with the module slightly off-center of the lens.
  17. [​IMG]
    I forgot what a nest of snakes the cords to hook the 555 to the Hasselblad look like. In this picture, the HA-2D module isn't attached to anything, but it needs to be. Either the Sunpak adapter Jeff mentioned, or the Hasselblad cold shoe which fits the accessory rail on the side of the camera body would be a good spot for the module. I tried mounting it on the cold shoe on top of the prism, but the coiled cord from the HA-2D to the camera body is rather short. In the pictures, this is the larger cord coming out of the front of the module. The PC cord is smaller diameter and come out of the side of the module. The EXT-11 cord comes straight out of the top of the module and goes up to plug into the bottom of the 555 head. This is the slightly out of focus cord behind the others.
    Using the optional single cord between the flash and the lens PC socket would greatly simplify the "wiring", but then it wouldn't be reading TTL. For general flash use, the sensor on the front of the flash head probably works fine. However, I bought this flash with the idea of using if for macro and shooting through diffusers where the on-flash sensor wouldn't work.
    John - There is an HA-2D module ending on eBay tomorrow morning. Search under Sunpak 120J which I think is the non-US designation. The module in the eBay picture shows it labeled HA-2D. You will still need an EXT-11 cord, but I suppose those are available. I didn't check KEH for Supak bits and pieces.
  18. Len,
    Thanks so much for the picture and as they say, "It's worth a thousand words". I was just on the "bay" and saw the HA-2D you were talking about just before I checked back here. I think I have a EXT-11 cord packed away somewhere and will do me a search tomorrow for it. I'll get it going one way or the other. Thanks guys for all your help, JohnW
  19. What mystery about a dangling module, John?<br>There is that accessory cold shoe that slides over the accessory rail i mentioned four days ago.
  20. Q.G., I think the mystery was why Sunpak would produce a product which was not complete- that is, leaving no way to mount the module anywhere. That was cleared up by me explaining that there was a cold shoe, designed to mount onto Sunpak brackets, that was included with each module when purchased new.
  21. The mystery was that I couldn't believe Sunpak would design a system that would even require a cold shoe for the Hasselblad. Q.G. I understand what you explained, but it just sounded so unpractical that it also seemed unbelievable. I almost think some of the things I cobble-up to get by are designed better than this. I guess if that's the way it is then that's the way it is.
  22. Well, Sunpak will have known about the fact that you can mount 'cold footed' equipment on Hasselblads, even it they don't have a shoe on top. (I had explained that you can earlier, Jeff, though instead of the Sunpak thing i mentioned the Hasselblad thing.)<br>They may have also assumed that people spending much money on a Hasselblad would not find it a problem to get the appropriate Hasselblad part (something which may be less true now, now that these cameras have moved into another market segment). They may also have thought it an opportunity to sell yet another part they made themselves.<br>Metz too made their Hasselblad adapter with a foot. They did incorporate a way of mounting that foot on the camera without needing the accessory cold shoe. But still, it has that foot.<br><br>But anyway, the thing that matters is that you know that you need to get going, John.
  23. Q.G.,like you say, "They may also have thought it an opportunity to sell yet another part they made themselves".
    Yup, I think that was the driving motive. Money, money, money!
  24. One Hasselblad do-dad I don't have is the body side mount cold shoe attachment. But holding the module beside the ELX body makes me think that would be a good fit. I have a box somewhere of assorted cold shoe adapters for light stands. I think I can mount one of them on the flash bracket rail to capture the module.
    I was curious regarding the wiring of other Hasselblad TTL flashes. A quick look on eBay shows the Metz modules look very much like the Sunpak, with 3 cords coming from the module. It appears the Hasselblad D40 flash builds the module into the flash so there are just two cords from the flash to the camera body and lens. However I don't know how far away from the camera the D40 can be used (limited by cord length). With the Sunpak 555 where the module stays near the camera, the coiled cord from the module to the flash head will stretch out to a couple of feet or more. I have no idea if flash extension cords may be available for any of the different make Hasselblad TTL systems.
    Does anyone know if Sunpak made a smaller flash than the 555 which gives TTL with Hasselblad? I'm thinking of something smaller and easier to carry for macro photography where enormous amounts of light aren't needed.
  25. Yes, I think flashes like the 120J and 444d ttl. I'm sure there are more. JohnW
  26. Sunpak did sell (perhaps still do) a ringflash unit that's TTL compatible with Hasselblad cameras. (That's why i have a Sunpak HA-1D or HA-2D (or even both?) adapter somewhere deep inside a box stored somewhere i can't remember.) It's been a long while, and i don't remember the type number either. 12R or something like that.<br>I replaced the thing with a Metz dedicated twin flash. Liked that idea from my Olympus kit, so when Hasselblad sold a similar kit i wanted it.<br>But that contraption, with brackets, heads, unit etc. is a bit big. Not fun. Maybe a ring flash ins't that bad after all for MF macro... perhaps i'll have to try to remember where i put that stuff.
  27. John, the Shoe Adapter III was the standard mount for the module on handle mount flashes, as many cameras had no shoe, at least with some finders. That includes 35mm along with MF. For example, my Bronicas have no shoe on any finder, nor does the Nikon F3, (except the DE-5 prism on the F3P variation), and the Pentax LX has no shoe on any finder except two eye-level ones. The F3 would require the Nikon shoe adapter. Hasselblads frequently are used with a WLF, so there is no shoe if you don't have the Hasselblad accessory one.
    The module having a standard foot means that it can be mounted in a shoe where available, and as it constitutes the lower part of TTL shoe-mount flashes, it makes complete sense for it to have a standard foot. Sunpak had to come up with a standard way to adapt their flashes to many different cameras, and their modules to different types of flashes, and I think they did it well.
    The coiled cord between the module and the body described by Len and shown in his picture does look rather short. That is surprising to me, as the one for my Bronicas is about a foot long unstretched, which would be handy for a shoe-mount flash on a tall bracket or handheld.
  28. On the Sunpak box for the HA-2D module, only Hasselblad models are listed. I imagine the internal circuit only works for Hasselbads. So Sunpak (and probably Metz) decided you would either mount the module to the flash bracket rail or use the Hasselbad side cold shoe, hence the short cord to the camera body. It might be possible to mount the module on top of a prism and stretch the fairly short coiled cord down to the side of the camera body, but it looks to me like the cord would be somewhat stressed at the body end. Also the shoe on the module has a 1/4-20 tripod thread inside, so it may be possible to just attach it to the bracket rail with a tripod screw, not needing a cold shoe adapter.
    A thread from Flickr on Hasselblad TTL flash http://www.flickr.com/groups/hasselblad/discuss/72157602101171871/ The last post gives some Sunpak model numbers and mentions Quantum having a Hasselblad dedicated TTL flash.
  29. Good point about the thread inside. With an extra attaching screw, that would work.
  30. There is a strong clue in the "HA" in HA-2D, Len. It stands for "Hasselblad", meaning that it is indeed only meant for Hasselblads. ;-)
  31. Len-
    Sunpak made two ring flashes which take the TTL module: the DX12R and the DX8R. I don't know of any others. The GX8R is similar to the DX8R, but takes only an external battery pack, and I don't think it takes a TTL module.
    Several shoe-mount flashes took the module directly if you want to use a regular type flash for macro (which avoids the flatness of ring flash illumination). They are the already mentioned 120J and 444D, and also the 422D, 30DX and 36DX. There might be more.
  32. Just for the fun of it, I took the mounting screw off of another Sunpak bracket I had and put it on the 555's bracket. So that's two mounting screws on one bracket. I attached the module to the second one, and it works perfectly! Very solid. A great idea, Len!
  33. Also, I don't know if this is true of Hasselblad, but if I am using the motor or Speed Grip (thumb winder) on my Bronica, they have a hot shoe that the module could be mounted on.
  34. Hasselblad grips have a (or two - depending on what model you have) cold shoe(s). They however are left hand grips, and sit where a handle mount flash would be. Hasselblad did make a bracket that is mounted on the grip, in the cold shoe, with a clamp to hold handle mount flash units. But i don't know if there ever were people who really liked that arrangement. O.k. perhaps back in the days when handle mount units were just a rod with a reflector on top (i.e. no camera bracket) were attached to cameras like the Graflex.
  35. Got the 553ELX yesterday and seems to work just fine. I put a roll of film in the back and will take a few shot. My HA-2D should arrive either today or tomorrow. I also have figured out several different ways to mount the module, but will wait until it gets here to decide which is best. JohnW
  36. Well, got to wait until tomorrow since the HA-2D didn't make it today. Test time will now be postponed until Thurs. afternoon.
  37. The suspense... ;-)<br>You may find that leaving the thing dangling, suspended by the coil cord, may not be the worst way.
  38. So it would be possible then Q.G. (maybe not desirable), to mount the module in the Hasselblad grip's shoe and mount the 555 (which can be rotated in its bracket clamp) on the right side instead.
  39. Jeff, that's also what I was thinking of trying. I'll know tomorrow and will post a pic or two of the setup. John
  40. Using an EL(...) perhaps, Jeff. You will then have to reach around the flash to operate the focusing ring and set the shutter and aperture.<br>Using a C(...) camera, anything on the right hand side would of course be in the way.<br><br>I don't particularly like the left hand grip as such. It moves the weight out of your hand to the end of an arm, creating a momentum that is constantly twisting your wrist, needing a constant strain to counter that.<br>Using a handle mount flash (i use Metz units) mounted on the left side of the camera, creating something similar to a left hand grip, i still hold and operate the camera as if the flash wasn't there. (Left hand underneath, fingers operating the focussing ring. Right hand free to set aperture and shutter and the release button.) It of course is there, and as a concession, instead of holding my left arm elbow against my side, i raise it up to support the flash, resting the bracket on my lower arm. Works best for me.<br><br>I also don't like the double grip Hasselblad also sold for EL(...) cameras, which would be a very close approximation of what the set up would be using a left hand grip and the flash on the right side.. It may be fine if all you need to do is point the camera at something and push a release button. But both hands occupied holding something that is not any of the few things you need to operate is not good. So i wouldn't try that myself. But perhaps it works for you, and if it doesn't mean spending extra money there's no reason not to give it a try.
  41. Well, the Sunpak HA-2D finally got here. Well, play this weekend, but it sure looks like a clobbered up mess.
  42. I also have the DX8R to try with the 553ELX so it'll be a busy weekend. Johnw
  43. John - I'm looking forward to seeing how you get along with you new gear. "...looks like a clobbered up mess." is unfortunately true, but I guess the only way Sunpak could adapt the 555 to a Hasselblad was using 3 cords and the separate module. At least it is light weight. Do you have the Sunpak head to PC connector cord? It would be an interesting experiment to do the same shot with that cord, relying on the sensor in the front of the flash head, and a comparison shot with the module for TTL flash sensing. I suspect at distances of 8 feet or more there may not be much difference between the two systems of sensing. I had hoped to do this test myself during the week and finish a couple of rolls of film, but there is always something else that comes up.
    When I got my 555 a few years ago I searched online for information on using it with a Hasselblad. At that time there was almost nothing except the instruction book. The question you posted here and all the answers is sort of "writing the book" on the subject.

  44. At the time that Sunpak made these machines and adapters, you could get all the info you would need from Sunpak.<br><br>I don't quite see any of the "clobbered up mess - unfortunately" and "the only way ... - at least it is ..." aspect.<br>It's a bit like complaing that stairs, though quite useful, consists of steps ordered one above and a little behind the other, in a succession going on until the difference in level between one floor and the next is bridged.<br>What else would you have expected?
  45. Well Q.G I'm no rocket scientist or designer, but if I were working for Sunpak at the time I could have certainly come up with a less clustered mess and much more compact. I'm speaking of a "professional accessory" for a professional camera like the Hasselblad. Sunpak could have made a one-piece module that plugged into the head right where the EXT-11 plugs in and then had two coil-cords(one to the camera and one to the lens). Dangling cords are much easier to wrap than a dangling module. This setup looks like some kind of after thought or something. I do understand that this is what we got and have to live with it, but I still think it's a very poor design for a professional arrangement. 'yust me own opinion of course. John
    I'll post pics taken with the two flashes tomorrow since I have to process the film yet and let it dry before I scan it.
  46. John - I Initially had the same thought about having the module plugged into the flash and eliminating one cord. My guess is the Sunpak engineers may have felt the attachment point on the 555 wasn't strong enough to support the size and weight of the module and the strain of two cords pulling on it. I think the module predated integrated circuits, so it must have a small circuit board and can't be made smaller. Also, the two cords would have needed to be made much longer for use with flash off the bracket.
    The 555 instruction book on Butkus doesn't mention the Hasselblad module which lead me to think fitting the 555 to TTL Hasselblads was an afterthought to the existing system. So the Sunpak engineers made a possibly arbitrary choice on how to do it best. Maybe they just looked at Metz using the separate module and 3 cords and decided that was a workable way to solve the problem. It sort of amazed me Sunpak bothered with adapting the 555 to medium format TTL cameras. They probably didn't sell in huge numbers.
  47. Just hung the clothes to dry! The film is now drying and I'll scan and take so pictures of the outfit tomorrow. But, there is a fly in the ointment! I noticed when I was doing the macro shots that I pushed my DOF lever on the 80mm 2.8 Planar and it would not stop down all the way. When I was done shooting I checked it out and found out that I have a lazy diaphragm and when I stop down to f8 or so the shutter has already opened and closed before the aperture has hit f4. This really won't hurt the TTL shots, other than a shallower DOF, but all other shots will be over exposed. I noticed the last few times I had used the lens that some of the exposures were off and now I know why. I spent the afternoon tearing into it and now it's running like a fine Swiss watch. I'm going to burn my last roll of Arista EDU 200 tomorrow and test it out. Just from looking at the hanging film I'd say the camera, back and TTL system work like a charm. I bought the 553ELX, A12 back and 45 prism for under $150.00. To me that's almost unbelievable! But being older I have a habit of living in yesterdays prices and this same system back then would have cost me an arm, leg and left testicle. More tomorrow so stay tuned. JohnW
  48. Remember, John-- Sunpak did not design it to have "a dangling module". The shoe adapter was included with each module and a place just for it was provided on the flash bracket.

    If you get a second attachment screw, or even just a 1/4-20 screw of the right length with a washer (a fender washer would work very well, but a standard one will suffice), then you can attach the module to the bracket directly, which I found to be a very solid method. I like that Sunpak decided to use a metal insert for the thread in the foot.
    Under $150? What a fantastic price for your setup!

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