one flash for multiple cameras (and brands)

Discussion in 'Lighting Equipment' started by daniel_joosting, Jun 28, 2011.

  1. Hello,
    I would like to know if it's possible to buy one flashgun for multiple camera's, from different brands and in different formats. Searching on google didn't give a lot of usefull info.
    We don't us flash often, and actually prefer to not use it. But there are situations when it is needed. Although we own a lot of different cameras, we don't want to buy multiple flashes.
    We use both film and digital camera's, from 35mm to 6x6, and would like to invest in a good flash. Our prefered way would be to buy a flash that is dedicated to a certain system (for instance Canon EOS, which we use both as film and digital) but that's also usable on other camera's, maybe only manual.
    Is this possible, if so which flash is suitable for this?
    To give you an idea about what cameras we use, here are some examples
    Minolta MF and AF cameras (film)
    Canon EOS 350D and 550D
    Canon Eos 300, 500, 30, 1N (film)
    Fujiflim S5 Pro
    Sony R1
    Olympus C8080
    Yashica 635
    Pentax 645 (film)
    Fuji TX-1 (Xpan)
    Ricoh 500G
    Agfa Isolette
    Bronica RF645
    Olympus OM series
    Praktica MTL5
    Thanks for any advice,
  2. Older Metz flashes--the ones that use modules, but even these don't cover everything you have. When you don't have modules, you can use the auto thyristor flash metering on the Metz flashes. Or, just use auto thyristor flashes.
  3. Weird first post.
    It kind of sounds like those spam shill posts one sometimes encounters on boards.
    "Does anyone one know of some widget that does x,y,z and a,b,c?", the shill posts.
    And then some patsy poster later posts a link to the shill's website, because they sell The Widget LX, that does all of that asked.
  4. The Canon 580EXII can work in ETTL, non-TTL auto or manual modes. The non-TTL auto mode uses a sensor on the flash to measure the light. This mode or manual mode should work with almost any camera, the only issue might be the extra pins on the flash. The signals from a different camera manufacturer might confuse the camera or flash, you may need to use tape to insulate the extra contacts on your camera.
  5. Metz 54 or 45 series, depending on your wishes. I really do not know if they have adapter modules for all the cameras that you list but they have quite a few. A list of possible adapters can be found on the Metz website and older, out of production, models can be found in the websites of places like KEH.
    I have a 45xxx, something-or-other series and a 54xxx, something-or other series. I can use the same adapters on both. I have adapters for fully manual, Hasselblad, Nikon D and I TTL, Contax-G (and other Contax/Yashica), Rolleiflex, and probably the manual one even takes a pc cord. Quite a number of others are available.
    The Metz flashes take power packs, NiMH batteries (but not any Lithium batteries), alkaline, and Ni-Cd batteries. I have two Quantums and they work just fine. The 54 has a quick-change battery pack that fits into the bottom of the unit and must be there, regardless of any external battery packs.
  6. SCL


    I've been using a Metz 45CL4 for years across camera brands (Bronica, Leica, Canon, Nikon, Ricoh) doesn't do TTL on all of them, but it does fine in the auto or manual mode. And it is pretty powerful, and heavy.
  7. According to the documentation the Metz 45 CL-4 Digital and 76 MZ-5 flashes are compatible with just about everything, even digital.
  8. In the nineties I used a thyristor flash for weddings. In my case it was Vivitar 283s. I used them mostly on Bronica bodies. The flash reads the light based upon your ISO and aperture setting on the flash itself. It has no tie to the body except for firing. I swear I got better, more consistent exposures on those than I have from the multitude of Canon flashes I have owned since then. You have to do a little thinking. If my exposure meter read f8 and I wanted a one stop under ambient flash fill exposure I would set the flash at 5.6 so the flash would think it had one stop more light than it actually had. I used these on all sorts of cameras but mainly on Bronicas. I still see 283s and 285s at camera shows for reasonable prices. I wish I had mine back in some ways.
  9. Be careful about the firing voltages on older flashes. For my studio lights I use a Wein safe sync that protects against over voltage.
  10. Thanks all for the replies.
    Sorry if this seemed to be a weird post, but it is something we were wondering about. As I've mentioned we (me and a friend) generally don't like to use flash, but we are planning a long trip, which will probably have quite a few moments when a flash will be needed. We are taking quite a few camera's, not out of need, but just for fun and we have the room to do so.
    Although our prefered way was a flash dedicated to a certain system, with the capability to be used with other camera's, it is no problem if completley manual flashes are the only way. We just have to spend some time learning how to use those.
    I've looked at the metz with adapters, but those are quite expansive and we would need to buy quite a few of them. Are they only needed to use them in a automatic mode or do you even need it when you want to use the manual mode?
    My apologies if these are dumb questions, neither my friend or myself have any technical knowhow, so a lot of things you guys mentioned sound quite foreign to us.
  11. Dick,
    the Vivitar sounds like something we would like. Can this be used on all the camera's, especially the more modern digital ones?
  12. SCL


    The older Metz I have ( the non-digital version - which I bought used and costs a lot less than the newer digital version) can connect directly to the camera bodies' synch terminal via a simple synch cord and the automatic and manual modes work just fine across the full ranges of no the different modules needed. However, using the modules which connect thru the cameras' flash hot shoes, let one take advantage of certain features inherent in the individual bodies themselves...such as flash ready lights in the viewfinders, automatically setting the shutter's flash synch speed on the camera bodies, letting you know that there is sufficient (flash) light to shoot at a particular aperture, TTL metering, etc, etc. Like Dick mentioned above, I also have a Vivitar 2800 series old thyrister flash and it too works with all my bodies...less powerful than the Metz but quite satisfactory for most uses. You can pick them up for about $15 on sites like Ebay. The only tricky thing with older flashes is you must measure the trigger voltage of the flash unit to make sure it doesn't exceed the camera body's maximum flash voltage specs or you may fry the circuitry. Typically Nikons accept around 240 V max, so almost everything is usable, but Canon made a lot of changes in the late 90's and switched to a max triger voltage of around 6 V.
  13. I cannot state that the Vivitar flashes will work on all bodies because I simply don't know that. They have worked on several of my film bodies. As I said the Wein safe sync fits on the hot shoe and protects against over voltage. I almost bought a 285 a while back and tried it on a digital body with the Safe Sync. If you will do a search on photonet about thyristor flashes you will find some members state they are using it safely on DSLRS. Just search "thyristor flashes on DSLR"
  14. Sorry for the late response guys, but I wnated to thank you all for your contributions.
    I had an accident and had other things on my mind, therefor this is a bit late. At the moment the trip is cancelled, I still need to be treated for some stuff. But I will look into all the advice you given me.
    Thanks again,

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