Flash gun compatability

(Roger Thomas) #1

Just managed to get my hands on a Nikon D3300 with a 28-105 zoom dslr and have been reading the instructions ( 300 pages! I really need to get a life). Back when I was taking photos with clockworkTLR's and SLR's, the only choice I had was hot shoe or a sync cable none of this TTL metering and adjustable coverage gubbins, now can any one of my vintage tell me, can I use my beloved Vivitar 283 (single central contact) on Manual without blowing all the electronic stuff or do I need to lay out €200 for a pukka Nikon flash which I will not be able to use off camera?

(Steve Petty) #2

Got to second you on this recommendation Alan.

Lightroom is not too expensive unlike many of ADOBEs' products, and you can really feel that it is user friendly. As they say………. "designed by photographers for photographers".

(Al Rogers) #3

Many thanks for the welcome, Stuart. I'm hoping to to move to France in two or three months and hope the scenery and different culture will get me out and about a camera a lot more. Look forward to following this group.

(Stuart Wilson) #4

Welcome to the group Al and thanks for the info.

(Al Rogers) #5

I realise this is quite an old thread but thought I'd add a note of caution about using old flashguns on modern cameras. The trigger voltage of the Vivitar 283 can run into hundreds of volts, which would fry modern electronic cameras. I metered mine at 250+ volts, which was fine with older cameras that used mechanical switches to trigger the flash but would be bad news for the integrated circuits that now do this job.

Apparently the earlier 283s marked "made in Japan" (as mine is), are the most risky. Later models made in Vietnam or wherever reportedly have a lower trigger voltage. There's list on the internet of the measured triggered voltages for most flashes, and it's worth consulting.

I was reluctant to scrap my splendid 283 and bought THIS ADAPTER to reduce the trigger voltage to a safe level for my DSLRs. It has the added advantage of switching the "reversed" polarity of the trigger signal bizarrely used in some older flashes such as the Achiever TZ 250, making them compatible with modern cameras. The Wein Safe Synch is another good adapter, but considerably more expensive and the unit I bought seems to do the job perfectly.

(Alan Proudfoot) #6

Have you kept your Mamiya? I got a load of RZ67 gear when I lived in Japan and that certainly took standard flash. Bear in mind that old flashes were designed for cameras with very little battery power (until I guess autofocus came in) so in general from a compatibility perspective I would have expected the trigger voltage/power to stay low.

Great shame no-one came out with a digital back for the 67s.

(Stuart Wilson) #7

Hi Roger

You might want to look at Nissin or Yongnuo. I have a Nissin 622 that I can fire from the built in flash in command mode from the D90 and the D610 in TTL, and I can control the power from the camera in manual command mode down to 1/128. IThe built in flash fires but does not show in the image becasue it fires before shutter is open and there is a delay to the off camera flash.

I have also just ordered two Yongnuo 568 flashes that can high speed sync when used with their triggers. You can also use the Nikon CLS (Creative light system) with them. I'll let you know how they work out. The Nissin is around 170€ but is more than powerful enough and very versatile.

(Roger Thomas) #8

Now post processing is another subject I will need to bone up on !

I have come up with a fix for the 283 and thats to cut the output from the built in flash down to 1/32 which should? be enough to trigger a slave taped to the 283 thus I will not need a yard of connecting cable. reading elsewhere it seems that the triggering voltage of my old gun may well exceed the capabilities of the new Chinese Nikon, never had that problem when my Practika came from East Germany! and even my Mamiya's from Japan were OK.

Light is dull and miserable here ATM but I did have a look at a lemon flower struggling with the Autumn.

struggling against Autumn

(Alan Proudfoot) #9

Hope you enjoy it. France is a wonderful country photography-wise!

Presumably you understand that you MUST shoot in RAW format to get the best out of your shots; cameras are very poor developers/printers. I would VERY VERY strongly recommend Adobe Lightroom - it is one of those very rare programmes which is genuinely fantastic and despite being pro-level it is affordable and incredible value for money. Works far better than Photoshop Elements other than when you really do need to "Photoshop" seriously. I do probably 99.9% of my work in Lightroom and the balance in Photoshop - for which you can still get Elements or another cheaper programme for that usage.

(Roger Thomas) #10

Thanks Alan, as you may have guessed I've only just come back to photography having been happy snapping with a coolpix for four years. but became frustrated with the lack of control. I would love to be able to use many of my old and tried accessories like the Vivitar, its so handy having a longish extension lead so that fill can be off centre and using the four 'auto' settings, variable too. And the Slix 88 tripod is going to be dusted off!

(Alan Proudfoot) #11


I would be pretty confident about being able to use it. Plus you should be able to use the flash's auto mode since it's presumably not TTL. That would be one proviso - if it is shoed with additional connection for TTL camera control and it's not Nikon the don't use it. If it's the real old type as you say and it fits the camera the should be no problem. Try using it for fill flash or a weak level if you're worried.

The Nikon flashes are expensive but very good - I used a couple for a wedding and they were great. However you can probably get a very serviceable other brand with dedicated Nikon shoe somewhat cheaper if you do want to upgrade to TTL shooting. However it depends whether you really need it and will carry it around "just in case".