How to use an old external flash

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by paul, Jan 10, 2005.

  1. paul

    paul Guest

    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.
     
    paul, Jan 10, 2005
    #1
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  2. paul

    Marius Guest

    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
     
    Marius, Jan 10, 2005
    #2
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  3. paul

    mvr fu Guest

    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*
     
    mvr fu, Jan 10, 2005
    #3
  4. paul

    paul Guest

    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, Jan 10, 2005
    #4
  5. paul

    paul Guest

    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*
    >
    >
    >
     
    paul, Jan 10, 2005
    #5
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