high trigger voltage flash and manual nikon film cameras...

Discussion in 'Nikon' started by jonathan_reid, Feb 14, 2017.

  1. Hi
    Has anyone had any problems using high trigger voltage flash guns with fm, fm2 or f3 film camera bodies?
    My vivitar 283 gun is producing 112v to the hotshoe mount.
    I've heard that this may cause problems with the elecronics in some cameras.
    Thanks in advance.
  2. The flash synch circuit in those old film cameras is entirely mechanical - i.e. a simple switch. There are no electronics to blow.<p><br>
    BTW, you'll find the synch voltage on that Vivitar gun is more like 330 volts if you measure it properly with an electrometer and not a cheap multimeter.
  3. The fm and fm2 are fully mechanical, but the f3 has an electronically controlled shutter. Would this make any difference?
  4. Duplicated post
  5. Triplicated post
  6. Oooops, what a mess. Don`t know what happens. My excuses.
    Last edited: Feb 15, 2017
  7. If the voltage reducing wein safe sync modules were reasonably priced (which they aren't), I would buy one of those.
    What about using a cheap radio trigger on the hotshoe, with the flash on a separate mount?
    I've seen them on ebay for £10 to £15.
  8. Oh my God, my post (the good one) has been deleted... !
  9. It''s ok. I recieved it as an email.
  10. I have recovered it from my computer. Hope it may be useful for others.
    According to Nikon, about their full DSLR camera range up to date, voltages higher than 250V could damage the camera circuit.
    As Rodeo said, fully mechanical cameras (that is, with a shutter mechanical contact) are know as safe with any voltage.
    Cameras with electronic, transistor based circuits (like the F3) may be damaged. According to Nikon, the F3 is a "low voltage type" camera, so high voltage type flash may damage the circuitry.
    If you look at Nikon SB`s units from the F3 era, most of them run at voltages lower than 24v. So I`d never use such well know circuit fryer (the 283) on my beloved F3.
    Even so, I have read comments from reputable users (like Leo Foo at MIR) that refers to their luck not having problems with their F3s... but the used flash heads are not mentioned.
    I suspect I fryed one of my Mamiyas with this high voltage issue, and I feel so stupid to let it happen. Never ever, a low voltage head is way cheaper than a camera.
  11. I've heard that the chinese made 283s have much lower (less than 10v) trigger voltages.
    Presumably these are safe to use with any film camera if I can find one?
  12. If they actually work at less than 10v, I think it may be ok, but I have not checked it so I cannot assure it. As mentioned above, there are reports that say third party units work fine, but they usually don`t mention which ones.
    I have some Nikon SBs, the F3 dedicated SB-17 works at less than 5 volts. My big Metzs for the F3 work at less than 5 volts with their SCA adapters. The small Metzs I have for Nikon (F3 era) work at 5 volts. I suspect my Mamiya was fryed with a big Metz (no SCA adapter), but I cannot assure it.
    If you already don`t have a flash unit, why not to look for the right one? (That is, near 5v range?)
    There are online lists that specify flash voltages. Like this one.
  13. I have a vivitar 283 which I've measured the voltage across the shoe mount poles with a good quality multimeter.
    It came out as 112v.
    I also have the variable control unit for this flash gun?, which I intend to use for very carefully balanfed fill flash (i.e. so subtle that it isn't obvious that flash was used).
  14. As I said in my first post, the F3 has a mechanical switch for flash synch, as can be seen from the repair manual. It consists of a simple pair of spring contacts that are closed by a cam as the shutter rollers rotate. No transistors or other electronic components are in the flash trigger circuit. So basically there's nothing to "blow".
    The only electronics in the F3 are used for metering and shutter control. The shutter is a standard mechanical "roller blind" type, with its slit width and timing controlled by electromagnets. Those magnets are the only connection between the shutter and its controlling electronic circuit.<p><br>
    The F3 was Nikon's flagship professional camera, and as such was expected to be connected to studio flash as well as speedlights. Some studio flash of the time used trigger voltages of several hundred volts. It would have been stupid of Nikon to fit a delicate flash trigger circuit that could only withstand a few volts.<p><br>
    In short: The trigger circuit of the F3 is practically bomb-proof. However the Vivitar 283 can be easily bettered in every way by an SB-24 or 25, both of which can be bought used at a very reasonable price.<p><br>
    As I said before Jonathan, measurement with a multimeter will give a false and low reading of those old flash trigger voltages. The trigger circuit has a resistance of several megohms (millions of ohms) in series with it. This forms a potential divider when attached to the typically 10 Megohm input resistance of a multimeter. The real trigger voltage is much higher than 112 volts.
    Last edited: Feb 15, 2017
  15. I've just had a quick look at ebay, there are a few sb24's going for £40 to £50.
    However, I haven't used flash for about 15 to 20 years and I've just come up with challenge of trying to learn to fill flash in such a way that it balances a photo without it looking as though flash was actually used, I decided to see if I could set up on the cheap.
    I recently bought the 283 on ebay as untested, and actually only paid just under £4, although it works fine.
    This works well with my theory of try it cheap and I've lost nothing if it doesn't work out. So I won't be buying a Nikon flash just yet...
    Thanks for all of the advice, it's really appreciated.
    I think I may go for a £10 radio trigger, that way I know that there is absolutely no risk to any of my cameras. No matter which one I choose to try flash with.
  16. You should be able to use your Vivitar 283 on the F3 without a problem. First if you 283 is of a later version made in China then it has low voltage trigger. Second I have used my F3 with various high voltage flashes like Metz 45CT1 and 60CT2 without problem. Third I verify that the F3 has dry contact and not a solid state switching device.
    If you buy another flash I would recommend the SB-16 with both the foot A and B. Foot B for all other cameras and foot B would mount on the F3.
  17. Thanks.
    That's really helpful.
  18. Just to ad more confusion, I have found another source which refers to the idea of avoiding high voltage units. On The Nikon Compendium (Hillebrand-Hauschild), there is a specific remark to this issue. Basically, they specifically refer to lack of issues up to the F2 but possible problems from the F3 on, one of them the early contact degradation by oxidation due to that high voltage, amongst others.
    Electronics are not my department, so after reading your opinions I wonder if it is not an old Nikon`s wave tale to make people buying their Speedlights.
  19. You're in the UK I presume Jonathan. In which case I'd recommend going to one of the many camera fairs. You can usually pick up flashes of all kinds for not much money, certainly cheaper than the optimistic prices asked on ebay.<p><br>
    I now own 5 SB-25s; all bought at camera fairs, and the most I've paid for one was £25.<p><br>
    By all means buy a radio trigger kit for off-camera use. I can recommend the cheap ones sold by "ishoot", but if you want something a bit better the YongNuo 603 iiN transceiver triggers are extremely good and have better build quality.
    Jose, obviously it's better to use a low trigger voltage for reasons of safety, if nothing else. And the contacts in the F3 do look thinner than those in the F2. However, contacts can corrode and oxidise even when unused, and electrical "burn" is due to high current rather than voltage. In any case I don't think it's an issue for amateur use. Maybe after several hundred, or even thousands, of flash pops the contact reliability might be compromised. People can be very over-cautious with these things. Basically it's a camera and a picture-making tool. Use it and wear it out - don't cosset it!
    Last edited: Feb 16, 2017
  20. Having considered everything that people have said, including the very conflicting results of my own internet research on the subject, brings to mind one of the reasons why I've preferred the simplicity of manual camera, prime lens and no flash all of these years...

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