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FORUMS General Gear Talk Flash and Studio Lighting 
Thread started 16 Oct 2006 (Monday) 13:25
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Is my old flash unit safe for my new camera? Here's how to find out.

 
Curtis ­ N
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Oct 16, 2006 13:25 |  #1

This page on flash trigger voltage (external link) is very educational for those considering using an older flash unit. It explains the importance of knowing your flash unit's trigger voltage, has a long list of user-contributed voltage measurements of various flash units, and also explains how to measure the voltage yourself.

One caveat: The web page linked to above has not been updated since 2004, and many cameras introduced since then have higher tolerances for trigger voltage. Not all EOS cameras today have 6 volt limits. Check your camera's instruction manual for more information. Here's a section on trigger voltage  (external link)limits with EOS cameras from photonotes.org.

Before attaching an old flash unit to your camera, click the link above so you can determine if there's any risk.


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brivett
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Oct 16, 2006 16:29 |  #2

The problem is that there is SO much bull**** around about this. many people have been misled wildly by people wanting to sell them shiny new lights.

As an example - If you own a 20D, 30D, 1D mkII or 5D...(plus other that I have not seen personally) Canon have been good enough to print in your manuals that their sync sockets are safe for flashes with sync of up to 250V ! It's there in print !

Any camera who claims a ISO hotshoe is safe for upto 24V on the centre (trigger) pin....

Yes, there are old Vivitar 283's ,and 20 year old studio heads that exceed these numbers... so, be carefull but don't believe everything people tell you about all Canon digital cameras being limited to 6 volts.


Barry Rivett

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Nick_C
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Oct 16, 2006 17:06 |  #3

Thats true what Barry has said, I know a Powershot Pro1 doesnt like anything higher than 6v but I dont think DSLR's are as fussy.

If you really want to play it on the safe side you could get a Wein Safe Sync.

Nick :-)




  
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brivett
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Oct 17, 2006 11:47 |  #4

Moderator : This "Sticky" should be removed. The page is links to is wildly missleading at best and just plain untrue in many cases. Canon have stated in print 250V for many of the EOS range, yet this shows lights as not "EOS safe" at just 15V (e.g. Bowens traveller)

I'd expect a legal case if I was hosting this information.....

Let's only be experts about what we know about and let's not assume everyone else on the web is an expert because they can type.


Barry Rivett

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Jon
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Oct 17, 2006 12:12 |  #5

brivett wrote in post #2131883 (external link)
Moderator : This "Sticky" should be removed. The page is links to is wildly missleading at best and just plain untrue in many cases. Canon have stated in print 250V for many of the EOS range, yet this shows lights as not "EOS safe" at just 15V (e.g. Bowens traveller)

I'd expect a legal case if I was hosting this information.....

Let's only be experts about what we know about and let's not assume everyone else on the web is an expert because they can type.

All well and good, if you don't happen to have a D30, D60, 10D, G1, G2 G3, . . ., which will be fried by excessive voltages. The linked page is clearly dated 2004. Removing the warning could be seen as at least as actionable, especially as someone acting in good faith on the lack of a generalized caution (that a hazard may exist) and who possesses a "low-voltage" camera will suffer actual equipment damage. For that matter, are you prepared to post your contact information so that, should we follow your advice, we can direct all litigants to you?


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brivett
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Oct 17, 2006 15:05 |  #6

Surely it's not your legal responsibility to post a "generalised caution" but by posting links to blatently incorrect information you devalue all of the other information that is acurate. You could of course post a generalised caution - This link is not generalised... It clearly states some model lights as harmfull to all EOS digital cameras. Not true.

It's your call as whether you wish to remain as a respected source of information or just another internet scare mongering rumour mill......

The real funny thing is I actaully have a finnancial interest in selling protection devices to those scared by the information on the page which is linked to.... I just chose to be honest about the threat and not to take advantage of those with less information. So yes.. keep the link... I need a new HiFi ! I'm also a sponsor of this site and totally believe in it... until now.

You will note that all of my contact information is available as part of my profile... I'm just saying let's not miss-lead the readers.... Bizzare


Barry Rivett

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Curtis ­ N
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Oct 17, 2006 16:09 |  #7

I have added a caveat to my original post concerning the somewhat dated nature of the linked page and the fact that more recent models have higher voltage tolerances. Since there are more than a few flash units on the list with reported voltage readings exceeding 250v, it still contains a lot of valuable information.

My purpose for posting this thread was to provide a relatively simple (though admittedly not completely definitive) way to answer a frequently asked question.


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brivett
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Oct 17, 2006 16:22 |  #8

Hi Curtis... Good move...

Thanks


Barry Rivett

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tiha
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Oct 17, 2006 16:27 as a reply to  @ brivett's post |  #9

Are 20D, 30D etc. safe up 250V only on sync socket or on hotshoe too?


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picturecrazy
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Oct 17, 2006 16:38 |  #10

The 250V rating is for the PC sync socket, not the hotshoe. The hotshoe is what the 6V rating is for. I wouldn't be scared plugging in an old light into the PC socket (I plug a 300V light into my 20D), but the hotshoe is a different story.


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Big ­ Mike
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Oct 17, 2006 16:51 |  #11

The hot-shoe and the PC socket are connected on the same circuit (AFAIK)...so the rating is for either one.

I don't see the need to get worked up about posting a site like that. There is plenty of false information on this, and every other forum...and plenty of web sites. I don't see anything too wonrg there. As far as I know, the botzilla list was started as a list for film EOS cameras...which I assume were mostly rated at 6V. Hence the warning for anything over that. Using that list with new DSLR EOS cameras rated at 250V can hardly be dangerous...if it was a maybe at 6V...surely 250V is safe. If anything worries me about that list...is that some units get wildly varying ratings.

Either way, the updated warning is a good idea.


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Curtis ­ N
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Oct 17, 2006 22:53 |  #12

The first attachment below is an excerpt from the 20D instruction manual. The second is from the 350D manual. Both say not to use a high-voltage flash unit on the hotshoe. Neither one defines what "high voltage" means. One might assume that it means "higher than 250v" judging by what it says about the PC cord socket, but it is, at the very least, ambiguous in the 20D manual, and totally undefined in the 350D manual.


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"If you're not having fun, your pictures will reflect that." - Joe McNally
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brivett
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Oct 18, 2006 03:55 |  #13

Also bear in mind that when a manufacturer refers to the hot shoe voltage it can mean any of the various pads. If Canon limit the dedication pads to 6volts that will not affect their compliance with the ISO standard for at least 24v on the centre trigger pin. |t would make perfect sense for the dedication pads to be limited to TTL (as in electronics not photo) levels... but this has zero importance to users of fire and forget studio lights.

Note on the scans above... in neither case do Canon suggest or warn that damage may occurr or warranties be affected...


Barry Rivett

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Pamela107
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Oct 20, 2006 08:43 as a reply to  @ brivett's post |  #14

So are you saying that I can use my Sunpak 422D with (canon AE-1,A-1,etc) module , that it is safe?

Is this problem just with non DSLR's ?

I have checked the trigger voltage , which shows 5.99.
I have the flash attached to my stroboframe, with a Sunpak ETX-09 extension cord to the hotshoe, on my Canon Rebel xt.

But , I havent tried using this as yet, until I know that it wont damage the rebel.

It would be interesting to find out what voltage is put out with any of the Canon flashes.


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Curtis ­ N
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Oct 20, 2006 09:33 |  #15

Pamela,

Unfortunately it's hard to get a straight answer.

Your measurement of around 6v agrees with a few others reported. And I have read that the RebelXT can handle 250 volts, but it is second-hand information. I haven't found any official documentation from Canon that specifies a voltage limit.

My cynical guess is that your flash will not harm your camera, and Canon refuses to be specific, just to scare people into buying new Speedlites. But that's just a guess.


"If you're not having fun, your pictures will reflect that." - Joe McNally
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Is my old flash unit safe for my new camera? Here's how to find out.
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