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Using old flashes off-camera

Discussion in 'Lighting Forum' started by agentlossing, Dec 9, 2014.

  1. agentlossing

    agentlossing Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Jun 26, 2013
    Andrew Lossing
    I've now got a few working older flashes, and wondering how to trigger them remotely. I think I've figured out that none of them trigger when I use the pop-up flash (is this called slave mode?), so is there a convenient way to trigger off-camera with M4/3 bodies? Specifically the GX1.

    In case you haven't figured it out, I know zip about flash photography.
     
  2. Wisertime

    Wisertime Mu-43 All-Pro

    Aug 6, 2013
    Philly
    Steve
    Yes, it's easy. get some triggers off ebay. Work great.
    http://www.ebay.com/itm/Pixel-Pawn-2-4GHz-Wireless-Flash-Trigger-TF-363-Remote-Shutter-for-Sony-/191108976664?pt=Camera_Camcorder_Remotes&hash=item2c7efb9018

    I have a set like these and have had others in the past. These can also be used in reverse to remotely trigger the shutter wirelessly, since there is no IR remote in m43.

    I think you can also get them on amazon and maybe adorama etc

    Also, you're not hindered by having line of site flash to trigger...they can be behind you or behind a wall etc.
     
  3. barry13

    barry13 Super Moderator; Photon Wrangler

    Mar 7, 2014
    Southern California
    Barry
    Which flashes are you using?

    Barry
     
  4. agentlossing

    agentlossing Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Jun 26, 2013
    Andrew Lossing
    Thanks! Nothing exciting, and I'm away from home at the moment, so I don't know the models. There's a non-articulating Chinon (which despite its age is very clean and new) and a couple Thyristors. I would want to find very cheap triggers, since a new Yongnuo would barely cost more than many of the triggers out there.
     
  5. barry13

    barry13 Super Moderator; Photon Wrangler

    Mar 7, 2014
    Southern California
    Barry
    Yongnuo makes triggers; 2 for $20 or so.
    Search this forum for the right model.

    The reason I asked which flashes you're using is that many older flashes need different trigger voltages and may not work with all triggers.
    It is also reportedly possible for a very high-voltage flash to damage the trigger or camera it's attached to.

    See http://www.botzilla.com/photo/strobeVolts.html for a partial list.

    Barry
     
  6. pellicle

    pellicle Mu-43 All-Pro

    Feb 10, 2010
    Southport, OzTrailEYa
    pellicle
    Hi

    when you say "older flashes" can you list the models?

    there is a difference between flashes, the most important relates to what voltage it puts out on the "hot shoe" as some older ones (pre -80's) put high voltages directly onto the hot shoe

    I use a Metz 32 and its fantastic

    I trigger it with a ebay sourced trigger like this one on ebay.

    I prefer the flashes which are "Auto Flashes" and have a sensor in them.

    http://cjeastwd.blogspot.com.au/2008/09/metz-on-my-coolpix-newer-isnt-always.html

    you just match the flash settings with the camera ISO and aperture and voilla ... consistent operation.
     
  7. agentlossing

    agentlossing Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Jun 26, 2013
    Andrew Lossing
    I'll check when I get home - we're talking eighties era 35mm hotshoe flashes, super basic stuff.
     
  8. RobWatson

    RobWatson Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    I use cactus v5 with my vintage Vivitar 2700 flash.
     
  9. inkista

    inkista Mu-43 Veteran

    332
    Jan 13, 2012
    San Diego, CA
    Before buying triggers, find out what the sync voltage is on your flashes. Triggers--as well as flash hotshoes on cameras--have voltage limits. Nobody seems to be able to get a hard number out of Olympus/Panasonic about the camera hotshoes, but as near as we can tell the limit is relatively low (10-20V or so). Some vintage flashes of the pre-digital era can have very high sync voltages--say, great than 300V. '80s vintage, it's not likely they'll be that high, but doing some research or measuring yourself is worth it to avoid frying a camera hotshoe.

    And you can also fry triggers. Some, like the Yongnuo RF-602/603 have very low thresholds (~10V), while others (Cactus V5, Yongnuo RF-603II) have thresholds more in the 250-300V range. Do your research, see if you need to get voltage limiters like the Wein Safesync.

    Ideally, your safest bit would be to get digital-era flashes. Most of them have voltages well below 10V. And a lot of them have built in optical slaves, and a few even have built-in radio receivers so you don't need to get separate triggering units. Right now one of the more popular recommendations for a hobbyist shooter that doesn't require super-robust gear and wants to go low cost would be the YN-560III or IV (~us$70 on Amazon), with a YN-560-TX transmitter (~$50) for the camera hotshoe. You get remote power control, as well as built-in radio receivers.
     
  10. pellicle

    pellicle Mu-43 All-Pro

    Feb 10, 2010
    Southport, OzTrailEYa
    pellicle
    Hi
    dead easy to check, turn it on and charge it, put a volt meter across the shoe terminals (side and center).

    The remote trigger I have (almost the same as the one I linked to on ebay) also has a plugin for a PC chord ... I expect that it'll take the thousand or so V that some older flashes give out.

    If your flash is a "thyristor" or "auto flash" I'm about 90% confindent it'll be fine on them.