Embarrassed but so curious & anxious
Member: NAPP, PPAI was (am) a professional but today I feel like a beginner, hence the posting here. Let me explain: I ran a studio from my home for nearly 15 years (weddings, portraits, et al) from 1980-1995. I was forced to leave my career (not important why) but recently (finally?) sold all my 35mm and medium format bodies, lenses and such so I could gather money for my first dSLR. I selected a Canon EOS 5D and purchased two lenses: Canon EF 24-70/f2.8 and Canon 100/f2 and a few large CF cards. I purchased the equipment about a week ago and I am literally afraid to turn it on. Im so embarrassed because it is overwhelming.

I did turn it on to set the date. <sigh> At 53 years old, Im feeling so out-dated and antiquated. When I purchased the equipment the vendor wanted to include a flash and I said no. I kept several of my METZ 60CT flashes (2) and a Vivitar 285 and all my studio lights (Buff White Lightning units from 1985). Here is my biggest fear: will any of my flash units work on this dSLR? Ive read dribs and drabs that older units are NOT "voltage safe" and can fry my digital camera.

Having taught photography (film) I was always so confident and experienced. My arms are like jelly when I pick this camera up. Do you have any suggestions? Ive been reading the I-R weekly newsletter for years and reading I-R Forums silently for just as long. I trust your judgments. Pete..

Comments (12)

Pete, Congratulations on going digital! Your camera manual should list the flash units that are compatible with your Canon EOS 5D. I wouldn't try using any of your old flashes until you do your homework. Another thing you might do is to return to the camera store where you purchased your camera and ask them. You could also do a search on the NET for which flashes are compatible with your camera. Another thing I would recommend is that you get out and practice using your camera without a flash and learn the controls. Set up some "self-assignments" for yourself.

What can you loose? You certainly won't waste any film! Gosh, there are so many benefits to shooting digital. Chances are you will never regret your decision to jump on the digital bandwagon. Good luck,.

Sherri Meyer.


Comment #1

Pete, Not too sure about old flashes though, but I have been shooting the 5D at ISO as high as 1250 and using avilable light. Especially concerts and plays. The results are fantastic. While a solution is forth coming (I'm sure) why not shoot away at high ISO. That is one of the major advantage of the 5D. You already have the right lens for the job , ie EF 24-70/2.8L...

Comment #2

Thank you, Sherri and Aman, for your replies. I truly feel like a beginner despite my vast experience w/film. When I sold my equipment I held on tight to my A1 and my first camera, AE1. Just sentimental reasons. Things were so much easier w/film as that is what I studied and became proficient with. I must admit that I like the "reduced cost" of digital!! I will get out and shoot, but, Sherri, I have been diligently trying to "do my homework" by researching and I am coming up empty. That is why I posted here with the experts that read and post daily!..

Comment #3

Pete, You are not alone, I'm still hanging on to my M6 and R6.2 Leicas. Aman..

Comment #4

The flash on the 5D will be fired in the same way as on your old A-1, which I also used to own a pair of. I have used my old Vivitar 3900 (since sold) on my 20D as well as some other older flash units. The Canon brand film & DSLR bodies I have tried all fire the flash simply by grounding the flash. If you can fire your flash heads or units by jumpering the center terminal of a coaxial sync cord to the outer terminal with the tip of a screwdriver or a paperclip etc then they should work perfectly using the sync terminal of the 5D, or by using a terminal that can sit in the hot shoe mount, but not short any of the other terminals to each other. (I have verified that a 430EX, and 580EX fire if a paperclip is touched against the large front terminal on it's base to the ground terminal found on each side of the foot that slides into the hot shoe on top of the camera. You will of course need to experiment with settings as you won't be using a dedicated module, just manual. ( I just sold my 1Ds recently, still have a 20D and a fairly new 1Dmk2N, and they all fire a flash in the same way my A-1's did).

And may I also give the same advice as above, SHOOT, SHOOT, SHOOT. Once you start learning the menu system & a few controls it will quickly become very easy to adjust for the results you are looking for. It sure beats having to keep all those notes & going into the darkroom to see what each change did. You might want to read these notes to help you get going down the right road too.




Comment #5

Hi Pete, I think I found what you are looking for. Check this out Hope this helps,.


Comment #6

Larry, two OUTSTANDING websites! Thank you!! So let me ask a "stupid" question: If my 5D shoots like my A1 (what a relief!), why do folks (in other Forums) encourage the use of the Wein Safe-Sync HS Voltage Regulator? Now I'm extremely confused. Are there no voltage concerns with the 5D?..

Comment #7

Sherri!! THANK YOU!!!!! I will follow this much more closely. I need to find a digital VOM (have an analog VOM, but trust digital more). I still want to find out if there are differences between the voltage of the hot shoe and the PC terminal (the later being more forgiving)...

Comment #8

Any flash that worked with a Canon A series camera is safe to use with your 5D. Besides that if you have a side mount or remote cable using a dedicated module that fits the hot shoe that worked in your A series camera you can use it in the same way to fire the flash, but otherwise it won't communicate re the dedicated functions but from personal experience with my 20D and Vivitar 3900 (high power side mount) there were no other problems except finding manual settings to match the situation, which wasn't hard considering how easy it is to see the results instantly. I wish I had kept that flash as it worked far better at lighting big areas than my 580EX (even though I had to experiment a bit). I am currently considering the top of the line Metz to replace it, but maybe I should just watch Ebay for another older unit with similar specs.

As for advertisers suggesting you must have something to protect your camera from the flash's high voltage, I have never seen an ad saying "you don't need this" so do your homework before spending your money, and that includes (if you feel it necessary) a quick and simple email to the manufacturer of the flash you are concerned about. Just ask them for a yes or no answer re compatability using the sync terminal...

Comment #9

Thanks, Larry. I'm not interested in the "automation" of the flash via hotshoe. I think I remember how to balance flash in manual. The instant results the dSLR offers will help greatly to make adjustments. I just want to feel safe with the voltage. I think I'll stick to the Wein Safe-Sync HS device.

I did hear back from Canon! Their tech support rep wrote: With the Wein Safe Sync attached you will protect the camera from any harm caused by kickback voltage. The EOS 5D can withstand up to 250 Volts kickback. So I am happy with this news, but I have a VOM that I'll be using this weekend to test these units for their voltage output...

Comment #10

Hi Pete I'm a bit like you though quite a bit older and it's true the equipment seems to cost a lot. I also use the Wein safe synch just to be sure.

Still it's not the only factor. For my studio flash I use a remote control transmitter as I hate all those leads anyway. In more general terms the transition from film to digital is obviously different for different photographers. Different skills are needed from the Dark room to the white room. The greatest single thing about digital is that you can shoot and shoot and shoot. I'm planning to blog about some of these issues soon and always like to hear what other photographers think. Hope by now you're enjoying your photography again John..

Comment #11

John, let me know the location of the blog. I would be VERY interested!! Thank you for your feedback! Pete..

Comment #12

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