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Can vintage Minolta flash perform as a backup on Nikons.

Alan Peed , May 09, 2008; 06:18 p.m.

Hello to all.

I have a ? , if we have any hotshoe flash experts out there.

I just acquired a vintage Minolta Auto 200X automatic hotshoe flash. It came with a Minolta XG-7, so its from that time period. The unit was a little dirty, but otherwise in good working condition. A few nicks and scratches, but nothing fractured or broken. There was also a modest amt of battery terminal corrosion under the (slideout) battery cover, but (as far as I could tell) no dirt or corrosion at all inside the unit itself. I spent an evening and cleaned away the corrosion, and repolished the battery contacts. I loaded (4) fresh-charged AA Ni-Mh re-chargeables to test it, and it appears to be working fine. I test fired the unit about 10 times, with a couple seconds rest between each shot, (using the red button), and it fired fine. No problems, no hesitations, just good clean flash and very fast recycle time (maybe 1/2 second). So, i think I have a used but still good flash here. I also went out on WWW and found a free copy of the original owners manual, and downloaded that back to my system. So I can study all the manual notes.

My question is: Can I use this model flash as a "backup" flash with my "modern" SLRs? My modern SLRs would be: a) Nikon d300 D-SLR, b) Nikon N80 35mm Film Slr, c) Nikon N75 35mm Film SLR, and d) Sigma SA-7N 35mm Film SLR.

If I could use this unit as a good "backup flash", that would save me from having to spend $200 or more on a new backup flash from a retailer. This is an automatic flash, so if it can be used in automatic mode with these automatic cameras, so much the better. My prime flash is a new Nikon SB800.

So, can we rig this vintage Minolta flash to work like a main hotshoe flash, on Nikon equipment, in a "backup" situation?

Thank you for your expert advice.

Best regards,

AP Atlanta GA

Responses


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Georg S , May 09, 2008; 06:48 p.m.

Hi Allan, i have used many flashes on my Nikons - older Metz Hammerheads, a lot of long forgotten units like the National PE-3057 or the Agfa 302 CSi. I even used a Leica SF-20 on top of a Nikon. I never had any problems - except bad akkus. The Minoltas Auto 200X sync-voltage is reported to be low. High sync-voltage is the only problem with the older flash-units - some of them may damage the complex electronics of todays cameras. But if You discover the wonderful features an off-camera SB-800 offers (Nikons CLS is great - try it) You might end with a second CLS-compatible Speedlight as backup. Have fun and please excuse my terrible English, georgs.

Alan Peed , May 09, 2008; 07:19 p.m.

Can anyone tell me what "bad akkus" is? And thank you George for the enthusiaatic information! :)

Georg S , May 09, 2008; 07:29 p.m.

Allan, bad akkus - i was trying to tell You that the rechargeables i grabbed from the bottom of the deepest pocket of my camerabag didnt have the juice (amperes?) anymore to power the flash up. georgs

Alan Peed , May 09, 2008; 07:45 p.m.

Thanks George. I'm still learning all these photographers lingo. :)

Thank you again for responding, and sharing your insights.

J.Ed Baker , May 09, 2008; 07:55 p.m.

Alan Peed , May 09, 2008; 07:58 p.m.

Thank you J.E.B., I also found an electronic copy at Mike Butkus's camera manuals site. I'll be reading up in the manul to see how this new (old) flash operates.

Dan Fromm , May 09, 2008; 08:07 p.m.

Um, y'r new flash is made to communicate with some Minoltas, not with Nikons or a Sigma. You can use the flash in manual mode or, if it has a little eye so that it can turn itself off when it sees enough light reflected from the subject, in "auto" mode.

It will not tell any camera but the right kind of Minolta to set itself to the flash sync speed. You'll have to do that yourself.

No camera but the right kind of Minolta will control in in "auto TTL" mode, if it has that mode. I don't think it does, but since its your problem you can look up what it has and hasn't.

If your camera will not run in full manual mode (you pick shutter speed and aperture, it doesn't second guess you), you can't use y'r new flash with it.

FWIW, I've used a number of Minolta flashes on a variety of completely manual Nikons. IMO, Minolta flashes stand out for reliability -- they just don't die -- and claimed GNs that are usually very close to actual.

Alan Peed , May 09, 2008; 09:02 p.m.

Hello Dan. Thank you for your insights.Yes this is an auto flash, it does have the front side "eye" to sense light from the subject. So looks like i'll have to manual set the shutter speed on the camera to its flash sync speed. And yes, all the cameras mentioned support the usual automatic modes as well as fully manual.

Alan Peed , May 10, 2008; 11:19 a.m.

Well, this is an update. Last night I tried out the vintage Minolta Auto 200X automatic flash on my Nikon N80 camera, and it worked great. No problems whatsoever. Even works in Automatic mode. I put the camera in Aper Pref Automatic mode, then followed the instructions in the flash manual, and everything seems to work OK. Looks like I can use this as a backup flash if I go out and do a job.


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