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Thread started 09 Jun 2009 (Tuesday) 20:05
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New Rebel XS with old flash...oops???

3 posts
Joined Jun 2009
Jun 09, 2009 20:05 |  #1

I am new to dSLR and hope I didnt break my new cam.

I had an old, I mean old slr camera with flash (cannon speedlite188a http://www.cameramanua​​speedlite_188a.pdf (external link) ) that I got as a hand-me down.

I never used it but after getting my new cam yesterday, I thought I would try the old flash to see if it would work on my new cam.

Well, it didnt. As a matter of fact, the old flash didnt do anything.

After looking at some posts trying to see if this could work, it seems as though I may have harmed my new cam by doing this. All seems well with it, but I could use a bit of reassurance.


37 posts
Joined Jun 2008
Jun 09, 2009 21:10 |  #2

I also have that same flash, I think from my old ae1. I hooked it up to my xsi when I first got it and as you said, the flash didnt work but my camera still does. you say it seems you may have harmed your new cam, why do you think so? is there something not working right?

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207 posts
Joined Jan 2009
Location: Manhattan, Kansas
Jun 09, 2009 21:17 |  #3

I don't thing that you could have done anything to hurt your camera. I wonder why the 188a's wont work. My 199a works perfectly.

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soft-hearted weenie-boy
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Joined Jan 2006
Location: Alberta, CANADA
Jun 09, 2009 21:17 |  #4

It doesn't work? The old A-series flashes should work. And if I can recall correctly, they sync at low voltages, around 4-5 volts so it's safe to use on your dslr.

I have a Speedlite 199A which I used on my old AE-1, and I've also used it on all of my modern bodies, and it works. But it doesn't work in dedicated mode... you gotta set your aperture on your flash (I think the 188A has only two Auto Thyristor settings) and then set the aperture/ISO on your camera to match it.

If it really doesn't work, then I'd be surprised.

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3 posts
Joined Jun 2009
Jun 10, 2009 06:58 |  #5

Well, the cam works fine. I was just concerned as I read some other posts on other sites about connecting older flashes to newer cams, and this causing problems.

As far as the flash working, I guess my question would be is it really worth it to mess with the old flash or should I just buy something from this century?

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Location: New Braunfels, Texas
Jun 10, 2009 09:42 as a reply to  @ hauchinango's post |  #6

Many of the older, pre-digital flashes used on 35mm film cameras operate at a much higher voltage than the current ones designed for digital use. Which means the potential exists for them to fry the electronics in a DSLR if mounted on the hot shoe.

I do not know if the very old FD body flashes operate at a lower voltage or not. If your camera survived the experiment with no obvious ill effects, you're good. But I wouldn't put it back on your camera. Invest in a new digital flash.

That doesn't mean you should throw away your old flash, though. Pick up a PC port hotshoe adapter (~$14) and an optical slave trigger (~$12) from someone like Flash Zebra and you can use it for off-camera strobist-style lighting. Definitely worth considering.

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3 posts
Joined Jun 2009
Jun 10, 2009 12:21 as a reply to  @ jblaschke's post |  #7

Thanks you very much for the info. Will hold onto it.

34 posts
Joined Apr 2007
Jun 10, 2009 12:48 as a reply to  @ hauchinango's post |  #8

The sync voltage of the 188a seems to be OK according to this site:​m/photo/​ml (external link)

As for it not working, keep in mind that newer DSLR cameras do not support the automatic modes of older flashes.
- First, test that the flash actually works (push the pilot light to test-fire).
- Set the flash to manual mode (move the vertical switch on the left-hand side to its lowest position).
- If necessary, tape over all pins except the centre pin.

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New Rebel XS with old flash...oops???
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