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Vivitar 285

 
 
Gary Eickmeier
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      08-22-2004
I have a new Vivitar 285HV flash for my Oly E20. It seems to be really
off in its thyristor exposure settings. I have followed all instructions
on which f-stop to choose according to which color range I want, and it
is consistently two stops too dark in exposure. I tested it on manual,
by computing the f-stop according to the distance in feet and guide
number, and that worked out just fine. I shot something 10 ft away and
put it on f10 with a 107 guide number, and it was perfect. Then, at 20
ft, I used f5.0, which also worked perfectly. Then, I tried the color
ranges with thyristor control of the flash again, and it was two stops
under. I have been using a 263 Vivitar for a long time, and it seemed to
work OK with the thyristor. But I broke its little foot (again), and
thought maybe the 285 would be a nice improvement.

Anyone else have a 285?

Gary Eickmeier

 
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Hunt
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      08-22-2004
In article <qZTVc.42833$(E-Mail Removed)>, geickmei@tampabay
..rr.com says...
>
>I have a new Vivitar 285HV flash for my Oly E20. It seems to be really
>off in its thyristor exposure settings. I have followed all instructions
>on which f-stop to choose according to which color range I want, and it
>is consistently two stops too dark in exposure. I tested it on manual,
>by computing the f-stop according to the distance in feet and guide
>number, and that worked out just fine. I shot something 10 ft away and
>put it on f10 with a 107 guide number, and it was perfect. Then, at 20
>ft, I used f5.0, which also worked perfectly. Then, I tried the color
>ranges with thyristor control of the flash again, and it was two stops
>under. I have been using a 263 Vivitar for a long time, and it seemed to
>work OK with the thyristor. But I broke its little foot (again), and
>thought maybe the 285 would be a nice improvement.
>
>Anyone else have a 285?
>
>Gary Eickmeier


Many years ago, when they were new, my partner had about six of them. I used a
few on occasion and found them to be reliable and powerful, especially with a
510v battery pack. When I shot them, it was with a Hassleblad 500c and Nikon
F2 and never noticed any problem. We used them on auto most of the time and
checked them periodicly with a Minolta Flash I meter. My partner used them
exclusively for his portrait/wedding business on location. The only problem
that I recall was the aforementioned foot. He had a box of about 12 of them,
and would replace them as required. My usage was limited to grip n' grins for
advertising clients, but they worked fine.

I'd look into the settings you are using, to make sure that something is not
set funny. Next, borrow a good flash meter, and run the tests on the unit. I
cannot recall any of the mechanics, after all these years, so the settings are
long since lost to me. Other than the attachment foot, these were great units
for the $, the weight, and never failed.

Sorry I don't have more direct info for you on the 265's, but think something
is wrong either with yours, or the auto settings.

Hunt

 
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Roger Halstead
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      08-22-2004
On Sun, 22 Aug 2004 02:58:30 GMT, Gary Eickmeier
<(E-Mail Removed)> wrote:

>I have a new Vivitar 285HV flash for my Oly E20. It seems to be really
>off in its thyristor exposure settings. I have followed all instructions
>on which f-stop to choose according to which color range I want, and it
>is consistently two stops too dark in exposure. I tested it on manual,
>by computing the f-stop according to the distance in feet and guide
>number, and that worked out just fine. I shot something 10 ft away and
>put it on f10 with a 107 guide number, and it was perfect. Then, at 20
>ft, I used f5.0, which also worked perfectly. Then, I tried the color
>ranges with thyristor control of the flash again, and it was two stops
>under. I have been using a 263 Vivitar for a long time, and it seemed to
>work OK with the thyristor. But I broke its little foot (again), and
>thought maybe the 285 would be a nice improvement.
>
>Anyone else have a 285?


I have a 285, but never used it on my E20N. Works great on the F4S
and 8008S

I'll have to give it a try on the E20N

Roger Halstead (K8RI & ARRL life member)
(N833R, S# CD-2 Worlds oldest Debonair)
www.rogerhalstead.com
>
>Gary Eickmeier


 
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Gary Eickmeier
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      08-22-2004


Hunt wrote:

> Many years ago, when they were new, my partner had about six of them. I used a
> few on occasion and found them to be reliable and powerful, especially with a
> 510v battery pack. When I shot them, it was with a Hassleblad 500c and Nikon
> F2 and never noticed any problem. We used them on auto most of the time and
> checked them periodicly with a Minolta Flash I meter. My partner used them
> exclusively for his portrait/wedding business on location. The only problem
> that I recall was the aforementioned foot. He had a box of about 12 of them,
> and would replace them as required. My usage was limited to grip n' grins for
> advertising clients, but they worked fine.
>
> I'd look into the settings you are using, to make sure that something is not
> set funny. Next, borrow a good flash meter, and run the tests on the unit. I
> cannot recall any of the mechanics, after all these years, so the settings are
> long since lost to me. Other than the attachment foot, these were great units
> for the $, the weight, and never failed.
>
> Sorry I don't have more direct info for you on the 265's, but think something
> is wrong either with yours, or the auto settings.


Thanks. I just wish you were using it with a modern digital camera, or
that you had more recent experience with it. As I said, I have carefully
followed all instructions on the settings, and in every range it
underexposes. I will measure it with a meter, but the point is, the
histogram shows the underexposure clearly and consistently.

Gary Eickmeier

 
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Gary Eickmeier
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      08-22-2004


Roger Halstead wrote:

> I have a 285, but never used it on my E20N. Works great on the F4S
> and 8008S
>
> I'll have to give it a try on the E20N


Yes - please do. I am thinking that digitals are a lot fussier about
exposure, which means we need something that will be accurate for us. I
don't want to have to be calculating f-stops during a wedding or
something, so I want to be able to trust the auto (thyristor) settings.
It seems that the flash itself is powerful enough, but the thyristor
measuring system or the dial's settings are in error by two stops.

Yes, I set the secondary dial to "Full" and the flash head to Normal.
Then, all there is to do is rotate the main dial to put the ISO (80)
opposite the white pointer, and look at the f-stop opposite the color
you have set on the thyristor dial. I don't see much room for
misunderstanding or misreading of the instructions there - been thru it
many times.

I tried to E-mail Vivitar from their web site, but found it impossible.
When you punch up the "E-mail" tab, it gives you the phone number! So I
will eventually call them, but so far no answer from Vivitar yet.

Gary Eickmeier

 
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Canongirly
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Posts: n/a
 
      08-22-2004

>
> Yes - please do. I am thinking that digitals are a lot fussier about
> exposure, which means we need something that will be accurate for us. I
> don't want to have to be calculating f-stops during a wedding or
> something, so I want to be able to trust the auto (thyristor) settings.
> It seems that the flash itself is powerful enough, but the thyristor
> measuring system or the dial's settings are in error by two stops.
>


Just a thought but ....if you know it habitually is going to under expose by
two stops adjust the iso dial accordingly.

 
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Jerry Shaw
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      08-22-2004
Gary,

Gary Eickmeier <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote:

>I have a new Vivitar 285HV flash for my Oly E20. It seems to be really
>off in its thyristor exposure settings. I have followed all instructions
>on which f-stop to choose according to which color range I want, and it
>is consistently two stops too dark in exposure. I tested it on manual,
>by computing the f-stop according to the distance in feet and guide
>number, and that worked out just fine. I shot something 10 ft away and
>put it on f10 with a 107 guide number, and it was perfect. Then, at 20
>ft, I used f5.0, which also worked perfectly. Then, I tried the color
>ranges with thyristor control of the flash again, and it was two stops
>under. I have been using a 263 Vivitar for a long time, and it seemed to
>work OK with the thyristor. But I broke its little foot (again), and
>thought maybe the 285 would be a nice improvement.
>
>Anyone else have a 285?


I have a 285 that I use exclusively. I have been using 285's for at least 25
years. I bought another one a couple years back, when I "upgraded" my camera,
in case my 25 year old one was out of calibration.

I have never had a problem with it (but see below). The exposure is right on,
to the extent that I use the Auto settings and back off 2/3 stops on the lens
to give me a little more saturation (like I used to do with slide film).

First, unplug the sensor and plug it back in again (it unplugs). It may have a
little dirt or corrosion on the contacts, that may be causing your problems.
Make sure you plug it back in tightly, as it is a snug fit.

If the manual exposure is OK but the auto is off, I would suspect the sensor,
as I believe the exposure compensation is in the sensor. The problem I had
with one of my older 285's (after several years of use), was that the auto
ring got dirty, and it wouldn't hold the settings. Sometimes it would fire
full power, and other times minimum.

Another hint that it is in the sensor is that the difference between the
minimum power (yellow) setting and the next setting (the red) is exactly two
stops, the amount you said it was under. Try a few shots at the yellow setting
with the ring turned as far as possible toward the yellow. The internal
detents may be off, stopping it in the wrong place. That will be most evident
when using the red range, as it will still look red when it is actually making
contact with the yellow range.

If you are still having trouble and suspect it is bad, go to a camera store
and see if they can test it for you, just with one of their flash meters. try
it at all of the exposures, both auto and manual. If they have another 285,
ask them to try it at the same auto setting and compare their readings with
yours. You can also try to exchange the sensor with the camera shop's, to see
if it improves the exposure. If that helps, the problem is in the sensor, not
the body. If yours is off on any of the settings, return it or contact Vivitar
for a repair (if it is new, it should still be under warrantee).

Hope any of this helps,

>Gary Eickmeier


Jerry
 
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Gary Eickmeier
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      08-22-2004


Canongirly wrote:

> Just a thought but ....if you know it habitually is going to under expose by
> two stops adjust the iso dial accordingly.
>

Terrific thought, but... aren't you bothered at all by a manufacturer's
product that is off by TWO stops?

Gary Eickmeier

 
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Gary Eickmeier
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      08-22-2004


Jerry Shaw wrote:

> I have a 285 that I use exclusively. I have been using 285's for at least 25
> years. I bought another one a couple years back, when I "upgraded" my camera,
> in case my 25 year old one was out of calibration.
>
> I have never had a problem with it (but see below). The exposure is right on,
> to the extent that I use the Auto settings and back off 2/3 stops on the lens
> to give me a little more saturation (like I used to do with slide film).
>
> First, unplug the sensor and plug it back in again (it unplugs). It may have a
> little dirt or corrosion on the contacts, that may be causing your problems.
> Make sure you plug it back in tightly, as it is a snug fit.
>
> If the manual exposure is OK but the auto is off, I would suspect the sensor,
> as I believe the exposure compensation is in the sensor. The problem I had
> with one of my older 285's (after several years of use), was that the auto
> ring got dirty, and it wouldn't hold the settings. Sometimes it would fire
> full power, and other times minimum.
>
> Another hint that it is in the sensor is that the difference between the
> minimum power (yellow) setting and the next setting (the red) is exactly two
> stops, the amount you said it was under. Try a few shots at the yellow setting
> with the ring turned as far as possible toward the yellow. The internal
> detents may be off, stopping it in the wrong place. That will be most evident
> when using the red range, as it will still look red when it is actually making
> contact with the yellow range.
>
> If you are still having trouble and suspect it is bad, go to a camera store
> and see if they can test it for you, just with one of their flash meters. try
> it at all of the exposures, both auto and manual. If they have another 285,
> ask them to try it at the same auto setting and compare their readings with
> yours. You can also try to exchange the sensor with the camera shop's, to see
> if it improves the exposure. If that helps, the problem is in the sensor, not
> the body. If yours is off on any of the settings, return it or contact Vivitar
> for a repair (if it is new, it should still be under warrantee).


Thanks Jerry. I don't need a camera shop to take flash meter readings
from it, but I agree with you that it might be in the sensor. Just that
it is a brand new unit, and I have read another user who said his was
doing the same thing. Maybe I could wrangle another sensor out of
Vivitar. Two of them can't be bad or doing the same thing... could they?

No camera shops locally have a 285 to play with.

Gary Eickmeier

 
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Hunt
Guest
Posts: n/a
 
      08-22-2004
In article <uu1Wc.50887$(E-Mail Removed)>, geickmei@tampabay.
rr.com says...
>
>
>
>Roger Halstead wrote:
>
>> I have a 285, but never used it on my E20N. Works great on the F4S
>> and 8008S
>>
>> I'll have to give it a try on the E20N

>
>Yes - please do. I am thinking that digitals are a lot fussier about
>exposure, which means we need something that will be accurate for us. I
>don't want to have to be calculating f-stops during a wedding or
>something, so I want to be able to trust the auto (thyristor) settings.
>It seems that the flash itself is powerful enough, but the thyristor
>measuring system or the dial's settings are in error by two stops.
>
>Yes, I set the secondary dial to "Full" and the flash head to Normal.
>Then, all there is to do is rotate the main dial to put the ISO (80)
>opposite the white pointer, and look at the f-stop opposite the color
>you have set on the thyristor dial. I don't see much room for
>misunderstanding or misreading of the instructions there - been thru it
>many times.
>
>I tried to E-mail Vivitar from their web site, but found it impossible.
>When you punch up the "E-mail" tab, it gives you the phone number! So I
>will eventually call them, but so far no answer from Vivitar yet.
>
>Gary Eickmeier


Gary,

I've been thinking - damned dusty back in recesses, though. Isn't the sensor a
plug-in unit on the 285? It seems that there were a couple that were offered,
but I cannot conjure up what each was used for. Could you have a specialized
sensor in your unit, or could it be that the unit itself is bad. Do you have
access to a pro-photo shop? Maybe swap the sensor for a new one for an in-
store test. Oops, all visions of 285's have faded. I'lll try agian tomorrow.
Sorry for so much input, but so little help.

Good luck,
Hunt
>


 
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