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paul 01-10-2005 03:06 AM

How to use an old external flash
 
Any quick tips would be appreciated. I'm clueless about this.

I've inhereted a pretty basic old Braun 366BC flash that slides into the
top of my D70 & it's about 10 times more powerful than the built in
flash. The camera manual gives no clue how to use an external flash & I
know nothing. There is a 'commander mode' setting for wireless remote
flash otherwise no mention of how to work an external flash. I'd guess
that the TTL preflash metering thing won't work.

The flash unit has an automatic setting (doesn't seem to work
differently) or you manually set the distance against your f-stop, I
guess. There seems to be an ISO range on there too & another arrow.

It seems I can just play around in manual & figure it out on a shot by
shot basis, changing f-stop & speed & set the flash to shorter distance
for less light, longer for more. Like I said, it seems incredibly
powerful compared to the built in flash.

I suppose it would be very useful to get a three foot extension cord so
I can hold the flash off to the side or bounce off the ceiling & such.
I'm not likely to get into much tricky studio work it's just that I have
this thing & the built in flash is pretty bad, the few times I've tried it.

Marius 01-10-2005 08:16 AM

Re: How to use an old external flash
 
Be careful when using 'old' flashes on new cameras!
The strobe trigger voltage of your flash has to fit in the range that your
camera tolerates.
http://www.botzilla.com/photo/strobeVolts.html
Your type of flash unit isn't in the list.

Cheers

Marius



mvr fu 01-10-2005 11:01 AM

Re: How to use an old external flash
 
Hi Paul,

I used some ancient flashes (back to Bauer B250) on (and off) my D70 but not
the one, you mentioned. But let me give you some hints:

1) Measure your trigger voltage on older flashes. The D70 is really tough on
this and holds up to 240 volts or so BUT some of the elder flashes have the
wrong polalrity. I used also flashes with wrong polarity on the D70 but only
up to 8 volst so more in wrong direction may damage the trigger chip in your
Cam.

2) Looks like your flash has a switch for appreture. May me with two or
three colored marks. On the slide you could not only read the appropriate
distance range for given ISO. You could also see the right appreture setting
for your cam. Using ths setting, the flash adjusts its burning time to match
the appreture setting of your camera to get right exposure. But this only
works right if the flash is in the hotshoe and no other flashes let the
metering go courious.

> shot basis, changing f-stop & speed & set the flash to shorter distance
> for less light, longer for more. Like I said, it seems incredibly


If I understand the auto mode right, then it will adjust its power so your
will always get the same exposure even if you change the distance. The only
ways to change it is to change the appreture setting of the flash or to set
it to manual mode and then change the distance (or - for scientific
correctness - in auto mode to change the distance beyond the maximum
distance for a given auto setting).

2b) With multiple flashes you would be lucky, if your flash has manual
settings for full 1/2 1/4 1/8 and so on or - tadaaa - it uses Nikon creative
lightning system which triggers and meters remote flashes driven by the
D70-circuits Non of the TTL things will work on D70 - only the new iTTL
which is reported to be (one of) the best flash metering methods for digital
now.

What ever you do with your flash, hold in mind that in auto mode the optical
sensor controls the burn time and so the ammount of light. So if you use
multiple flashes it is verry tricky to avoide influence of other flashes to
the burn time.

3) Yes it is more fun to use it off camera. No flat images, better shadows.
If you do not want to mess around with your cord, try one of the simple
optical fired remote triggers. They are also simply home made with some
soldering skills. Only one thyristor (depending on trigger voltage) one
photodiode (or better solar panel) and one capacitor or coil.

4) If you want to use the flash mounted to the hotshoe and your flash does
not provide special Nikon-compatibility it might be best to set the camera
to flash off.

Have fun

Mike*




paul 01-10-2005 06:38 PM

Re: How to use an old external flash
 
Marius wrote:

> Be careful when using 'old' flashes on new cameras!
> The strobe trigger voltage of your flash has to fit in the range that your
> camera tolerates.
> http://www.botzilla.com/photo/strobeVolts.html
> Your type of flash unit isn't in the list.



Thanks for the warning. I tested the voltage & it looks like 10v. This
is where I confess that the full name of the unit is Braun Hobby 366BC
and that page lists the Braun Hobby at 250v!

paul 01-10-2005 06:57 PM

Re: How to use an old external flash
 
Thanks Mike. Here is the unit:
<http://www.edgehill.net/1/?SC=go.php&DIR=Misc/photography/cameras&PG=1&PIC=3>
I don't know if this is really crappy or what a fancier flash would do.

It doesn't seem to have speed control for 1/2 1/4 1/8 etc. The only real
setting is ASA film speed from 25-400 & you read the chart from there to
get f-stop from distance.

The link mentioned above about voltage has another page with some tips
on using an old flash with a Canon digicams & DSLRs
http://www.botzilla.com/photo/g1strobe.html & it sounds like manual is
the only option but that's not too bad, just slower & takes some test
shots. They suggest assuming a shutter speed of 125, I'll have to play &
see if that pans out. In any case, I'll probably adjust the brightness
also regardless of f-stop or ISO for the amount of flash desired. I
assume I'd want to keep ISO 200 on the D70 with flash and set the WB to
flash.

> If I understand the auto mode right, then it will adjust its power so
> your will always get the same exposure even if you change the
> distance. The only ways to change it is to change the appreture
> setting of the flash or to set it to manual mode and then change the
> distance (or - for scientific correctness - in auto mode to change the
> distance beyond the maximum distance for a given auto setting).


I don't see that auto does anything but the only thing I can imagine is
it reads the aperture from the camera, I don't know how it could get the
distance from the AF system. It does not have anything but power on the
hot shoe. Hmm, it does have what might be a little light meter in the
front so maybe it just flashes more in dark settings. I'd still have to
manually determine my camera settings though. In fact this auto metering
would make it impossible to predict without trial & error (I think).




mvr fu wrote:

> Hi Paul,
>
> I used some ancient flashes (back to Bauer B250) on (and off) my D70 but not
> the one, you mentioned. But let me give you some hints:
>
> 1) Measure your trigger voltage on older flashes. The D70 is really tough on
> this and holds up to 240 volts or so BUT some of the elder flashes have the
> wrong polalrity. I used also flashes with wrong polarity on the D70 but only
> up to 8 volst so more in wrong direction may damage the trigger chip in your
> Cam.
>
> 2) Looks like your flash has a switch for appreture. May me with two or
> three colored marks. On the slide you could not only read the appropriate
> distance range for given ISO. You could also see the right appreture setting
> for your cam. Using ths setting, the flash adjusts its burning time to match
> the appreture setting of your camera to get right exposure. But this only
> works right if the flash is in the hotshoe and no other flashes let the
> metering go courious.
>
>
>>shot basis, changing f-stop & speed & set the flash to shorter distance
>>for less light, longer for more. Like I said, it seems incredibly

>
>
> If I understand the auto mode right, then it will adjust its power so your
> will always get the same exposure even if you change the distance. The only
> ways to change it is to change the appreture setting of the flash or to set
> it to manual mode and then change the distance (or - for scientific
> correctness - in auto mode to change the distance beyond the maximum
> distance for a given auto setting).
>
> 2b) With multiple flashes you would be lucky, if your flash has manual
> settings for full 1/2 1/4 1/8 and so on or - tadaaa - it uses Nikon creative
> lightning system which triggers and meters remote flashes driven by the
> D70-circuits Non of the TTL things will work on D70 - only the new iTTL
> which is reported to be (one of) the best flash metering methods for digital
> now.
>
> What ever you do with your flash, hold in mind that in auto mode the optical
> sensor controls the burn time and so the ammount of light. So if you use
> multiple flashes it is verry tricky to avoide influence of other flashes to
> the burn time.
>
> 3) Yes it is more fun to use it off camera. No flat images, better shadows.
> If you do not want to mess around with your cord, try one of the simple
> optical fired remote triggers. They are also simply home made with some
> soldering skills. Only one thyristor (depending on trigger voltage) one
> photodiode (or better solar panel) and one capacitor or coil.
>
> 4) If you want to use the flash mounted to the hotshoe and your flash does
> not provide special Nikon-compatibility it might be best to set the camera
> to flash off.
>
> Have fun
>
> Mike*
>
>
>



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