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Can I use an old speedlight “for Canon” universally?
Posted by: deckeda
Date: February 28, 2019 11:08AM
Tempted to say yes since I’m aware some people use old Nikon SB-26’s this way on other brand cameras. Obviously I don’t care about TTL.

So I guess my question is regarding the contacts on the “Canon” speedlight vs something else, like Panasonic or Fuji cameras. Is there some electrical conflict that would hurt either? I never tried using it when I had a Canon DSLR (I had a modern Canon speedlight).

The flash is a Sunpak auto 433D. Yeah, from the film days. It has a mechanical calculator. You set the ASA ISO, select a distance range and it tells you what aperture to use. Assuming you set the sync speed right it handles the appropriate output using its sensor. And its got a full manual mode where the mechanical calculator has scales you line up for aperature/distance, with your chosen power level being the variable tou manipulate there.

Bonus questions:
Is there an inexpensive hot shoe adapter + cord that would let me shoot off-camera? Or is there an inexpensive adapter that would turn the flash into a (reliable) slave, fired from the camera’s pop up flash (if desired)?

Can’t spend real money on this since cheap universal flashes are well under $100 today.
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Re: Can I use an old speedlight “for Canon” universally?
Posted by: freeradical
Date: February 28, 2019 12:01PM
The only possible problem I can think of is the flash voltage on an older flash.

On an old film camera, there is a mechanical switch in the camera that the voltage from the flash gets routed through.

On a modern camera, even some film cameras, flash voltage is routed through the camera electronically. If you use a high voltage flash with a new camera, you will damage this flash circuitry inside the camera.
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Re: Can I use an old speedlight “for Canon” universally?
Posted by: deckeda
Date: February 28, 2019 12:17PM
Interesting. I'll do some more research.
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Re: Can I use an old speedlight “for Canon” universally?
Posted by: MEG
Date: February 28, 2019 12:22PM
What Free said - you have to be wary of the flash (trigger) voltage. For instance, most of the point&shoot canons and Rebels the trigger voltage must be a max of 6V. With the "pro" bodies (5D, 1D, etc) i've read they can handle up 250V (ymmv, don't take my word as gospel, yadda yadda yadda).

I did find a page that said the Sunpak 433D was measured at 4-14V (http://www.botzilla.com/photo/strobeVolts.html)

If the camera you want to use it on can safely handle more than 6V, it should work fine.
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Re: Can I use an old speedlight “for Canon” universally?
Posted by: deckeda
Date: February 28, 2019 12:39PM
Thanks!

I also learned that a slave adapter can be very inexpensive ($10) to safely trigger the flash from the camera's built-in flash. Of course, there would be plenty of times I wouldn't want to do that, as the built-in would be trying to handle exposure on its own, unaware of the additional light? ... and if I put something over the flash to reduce its output the external might not fire ...

I also see the safe-sync (from Wein and others) but as that approaches $30-$50 I'm better off not bothering with this old flash.

I might try a cheap slave anyway if we're only talking $10. Seems I could use it with any flash old or new.
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Re: Can I use an old speedlight “for Canon” universally?
Posted by: mrbigstuff
Date: February 28, 2019 02:01PM
I'm tempted to say that I think a lot of that voltage concern is internet legend. I've used my k vivitar 283s with Nikon and Lumix cameras and not noticed anything weird.
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Re: Can I use an old speedlight “for Canon” universally?
Posted by: deckeda
Date: February 28, 2019 02:37PM
According to that old site mentioned above (botzila) only the post-1987 283's are safe to use for digital cams that can't take high voltages.

I think that's part of the appeal of the old SB-26 being recommended by The Strobist and others. It only sends back around 2-5v.
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Re: Can I use an old speedlight “for Canon” universally?
Posted by: DP
Date: February 28, 2019 03:28PM
There was a device called a Wein Safe Sync for reducing the voltage. Not sure if it's still around...





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