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View Full Version : Accessories Vivitar 2800-D Auto Thyristor Bounce Flash



thebinaryman
03-25-2009, 03:45 PM
After poking around ebay for more light-power :evilgrin: I picked up this Vivitar 2800-D. Paid $15 shipped and I must say It is quite a bargain. This flash is an M/P/O model meaning it was designed to be a dedicated flash for Minolta, Pentax, and Olympus OM film cameras. It features a bounce head, two auto modes (A1 and A2), and a full-power manual mode. It's about the size of an FL-36 and thought it would make a good backup for the FL-50. Boy was I right! I tested the trigger voltage and it was 6.38 volts, safe for DSLRs. I put in on my old-school Sunpak flash bracket and went to play. I put it on A2 mode, and put my E-510 on the bracket. I set the camera to manual, ISO100, F4, 1/160th, and let the thyristor in the flash do the work. Whether the flash was direct or bounced, exposure was dead on! It seemed to have plenty of power for my usage, and when in auto mode recharge times are about one second. In manual mode more like two seconds. This is a great flash to get if you do not already have an external flash. It works perfectly as a single flash. If you do have something else, then this would make a great backup, or a secondary flash when connected to a radio trigger or optical slave trigger. I will probably use this most for strobist play, and if anything should ever happen to my FL-50 I'll have a backup.

In short, absolutely great bargain. :D See pictures below (Sony DSC-P73). Sorry for no sample pictures, the house was a mess! :shock:

http://www.markptak.com/imghost/2800d01.jpg

http://www.markptak.com/imghost/2800d02.jpg

http://www.markptak.com/imghost/2800d03.jpg

thebinaryman
03-26-2009, 11:59 AM
Here are some quick sample images using this flash. Posted due to request via PM. No exposure or levels adjustment done to images.

Vivitar 2800-D on radio trigger, E-510, 35mm F3.5 macro.


ISO100 1/125th F8
http://www.markptak.com/imghost/2800dt01.jpg


ISO100 1/125th F5.6 Flash as positioned above:
http://www.markptak.com/imghost/2800dt02.jpg


ISO100 1/100th F8 Flash as above:
http://www.markptak.com/imghost/2800dt03.jpg


ISO100 1/160th F5.6
http://www.markptak.com/imghost/2800dt04.jpg


ISO200 1/160th F5.6 Flash bounced as above
http://www.markptak.com/imghost/2800dt05.jpg


ISO200 1/160th F5.6 Direct on-camera flash
http://www.markptak.com/imghost/2800dt06.jpg


ISO200 1/160th F5.6 on-camera bounce flash (underexposure is my fault)
http://www.markptak.com/imghost/2800dt07.jpg

Stetr24
03-26-2009, 01:09 PM
Those look pretty good! I bet with some more diffusing or bounce, that flash could be fantastic. Thanks for the inspiration!

lendur2
04-19-2009, 11:11 PM
Those look pretty good! I bet with some more diffusing or bounce, that flash could be fantastic. Thanks for the inspiration!

Ditto here. You have done us a service. Thanks.

thebinaryman
04-20-2009, 11:53 AM
Ditto here. You have done us a service. Thanks.

Thank you!

optika
04-20-2009, 03:48 PM
Thanks for the review, I have the older 2800 with auto Thyristor. I was going to use it as a slave flash with a remote but then remembered that this thing model has a auto off on it. So when ever I would be setting up the shot, if it takes to long, it shuts off by itself. Can you confirm that the 2800-D does not have this "feature".

thebinaryman
04-20-2009, 04:13 PM
Thanks for the review, I have the older 2800 with auto Thyristor. I was going to use it as a slave flash with a remote but then remembered that this thing model has a auto off on it. So when ever I would be setting up the shot, if it takes to long, it shuts off by itself. Can you confirm that the 2800-D does not have this "feature".

I just tested. With the flash on manual, left it turned on for over ten minutes and it did not shut off, and it still fired as normal. So it looks to be good. However, this "feature" could vary by particular model and year of production. I know there were many versions of this flash made in different years.

optika
04-20-2009, 06:07 PM
I just tested. With the flash on manual, left it turned on for over ten minutes and it did not shut off, and it still fired as normal. So it looks to be good. However, this "feature" could vary by particular model and year of production. I know there were many versions of this flash made in different years.

Thanks for checking, I had found a site that makes my older flash "safer" with a small circuit that I could manage to fit in the base for the hot shoe. But since the auto off is an annoyance that I could not overlook, I decided to not go ahead with the mod.

Stetr24
04-28-2009, 03:07 PM
I picked a couple of these up last weekend for $20 and all I can say is WOW. What a bargain! They are a great bounce flash and produce plenty of fill light. All I need is a couple triggers and I can start working off camera. Thanks again for the write-up.

thebinaryman
04-28-2009, 03:45 PM
I picked a couple of these up last weekend for $20 and all I can say is WOW. What a bargain! They are a great bounce flash and produce plenty of fill light. All I need is a couple triggers and I can start working off camera. Thanks again for the write-up.

Glad to hear it! Have fun!

Bob Wood
04-28-2009, 07:35 PM
How do you test the trigger voltage? I have an older 283 I would like to use.

optika
04-28-2009, 07:48 PM
How do you test the trigger voltage? I have an older 283 I would like to use.

Here is a link with info on how to measure the voltage (http://www.botzilla.com/photo/g1strobe.html)
and from the same site, they have a list of older flashes (http://www.botzilla.com/photo/strobeVolts.html) with measured voltages from readers.

According to that list the older 283's have voltages up to 600V but newer ones have lower voltages.

thebinaryman
04-28-2009, 08:16 PM
How do you test the trigger voltage? I have an older 283 I would like to use.

A good question! Here's a mini how-to....

http://www.markptak.com/imghost/strobevolt01.jpg

You'll need a multimeter (digital or analog), and of course, your strobe.

Fire up your multimeter and make sure it's set properly. Put fresh batteries into your flash. Make sure your flash is turned on, and the "charge" or "ready" light is illuminated. You'll need to put the negative probe on the metal contact on the side of the flash shoe, and your positive probe on the center contact of the bottom of the flash shoe, like so. Touch the probes and read your voltage. Please note that a band-aid on your finger is required for this test (I'm joking :D).

http://www.markptak.com/imghost/strobevolt02.jpg

As you can see this no-name flash is putting out 84.9 volts! :shock: This is definitely not safe your your DSLR and I wouldn't even trust it with a radio trigger (you might break the receiver).

Here's a more typical response.

http://www.markptak.com/imghost/strobevolt03.jpg

This is that same Vivitar 2800-D unit. As you can see, it's putting out 7.35 volts. This is assumed safe. Now if you read earlier in the thread, the voltage is different from before, but that's probably due to different batteries, or how much metal of the probe is touching the metal contact on the flash (a weak connection would cause resistance). Nothing alarming.

Hope you've enjoyed this mini how-to. :cool:

Michael Meissner
04-28-2009, 10:26 PM
As you can see this no-name flash is putting out 84.9 volts! :shock: This is definitely not safe your your DSLR and I wouldn't even trust it with a radio trigger (you might break the receiver).

It depends on the DSLR. Olympus specifies that the E-1 and E-3 are safe to use with flashes up to 250 volts. But it doesn't say what is safe for the other DLSRs.



This is that same Vivitar 2800-D unit. As you can see, it's putting out 7.35 volts. This is safe. Now if you read earlier in the thread, the voltage is different from before, but that's probably due to different batteries, or how much metal of the probe is touching the metal contact on the flash (a weak connection would cause resistance). Nothing alarming.

Hope you've enjoyed this mini how-to. :cool:

Again it depends on the DSLR. Now, the ISO standard for flashes that a camera should be prepared to accept flashes with a trigger voltage of up to 24 volts. However, early Nikon p&s's were only protected up to 12 volts, and Canon's to 6 volts. Since the guy who wrote the botzilla page that lists the flash voltage of various flashes had a Canon, he lists 6 volts as the measure of whether a flash is safe or not.

As I said, Olympus does not specify what the safe voltage is for the consumer DSLRs. Several people have contacted Olympus and been told different answers. I knew the New England tech rep (who got promoted to the underwater VP) and he claimed to have asked Japan and got an answer of 6 volts. So whether it will destroy your camera, I have no idea. I suspect the true voltage is higher than 6 volts, but in the end if you fry your camera, you are the one that will need to get it repaired.

thebinaryman
04-28-2009, 10:35 PM
It depends on the DSLR. Olympus specifies that the E-1 and E-3 are safe to use with flashes up to 250 volts. But it doesn't say what is safe for the other DLSRs.

Thank you for pointing this out. I never knew that.


Again it depends on the DSLR. Now, the ISO standard for flashes that a camera should be prepared to accept flashes with a trigger voltage of up to 24 volts. ...

I see. I've always assumed 12v a safe limit. I won't attach anything over that. I don't think anything under 12v powered by AA batteries can conjure enough energy to fry something. There would have to be a short circuit, and very weak wiring for something to go wrong at that scale. But you're right, to be correct, I should say "assumed safe".

Michael Meissner
04-28-2009, 11:23 PM
I see. I've always assumed 12v a safe limit. I won't attach anything over that. I don't think anything under 12v powered by AA batteries can conjure enough energy to fry something. There would have to be a short circuit, and very weak wiring for something to go wrong at that scale. But you're right, to be correct, I should say "assumed safe".
Bear in mind that the heart of a flash is a capacitor that stores up a large charge and then releases it all at once into the xenon flash tubes. In the earlier cameras, evidently the whole charge went through the hot-shoe, but it didn't matter because those cameras were mostly mechanical. Though I did read somewhere, that even in those days, prolonged use of flashes that put 600 volts (like the early Vivitar 283 flashes did), would cause the camera to eventually mal-function.

When film cameras came out with auto focusing features and later digital cameras came out, the cameras that weren't prepared to deal with that much voltage, and eventually protections were added in the flash to reduce the voltage.

In this guide to repairing flashes:
http://www.repairfaq.org/sam/strbfaq.htm

they say the capacitor on battery operated flashes has enough juice to kill you under the right circumstances.

Stetr24
04-30-2009, 08:48 AM
Just curious, but what radio triggers are you using? Cactus V2's?

thebinaryman
04-30-2009, 08:55 AM
Just curious, but what radio triggers are you using? Cactus V2's?

I'm using the generic ebay 4-channel units, probably the same as the Cactus V2's as you say. Though they were not advertised as such, they probably are. Model number is PT-04TM.

DesertNate
07-02-2009, 11:31 PM
I've been using a 2800D on an ebay trigger with very reliable operation. Works fine in Auto on the E-520. I would prefer a pair of FL-50Rs but my wallet's a bit on the skinny side for that.

If I had enough for a pair of FL50Rs, I would have just sprung for the E-3 instead of the E-520...

Stetr24
07-09-2009, 12:39 PM
I've been using a 2800D on an ebay trigger with very reliable operation. Works fine in Auto on the E-520.

Which triggers did you get? I just ordered some Yongnuo CTR-301P triggers and can't wait to start playing with my 2800-D's off camera.

Do the 2800-D's meter and balance light well off camera? I am afraid that they won't due to the fact that they are not fully manual flashes.

Can you or BinaryMan "shed some light" on the controls of these flashes off camera? Should I keep them in "A2" mode just as I would if they were on camera?

Thanks.

thebinaryman
07-09-2009, 01:34 PM
Do the 2800-D's meter and balance light well off camera? I am afraid that they won't due to the fact that they are not fully manual flashes.

Can you or BinaryMan "shed some light" on the controls of these flashes off camera? Should I keep them in "A2" mode just as I would if they were on camera?

I'm not sure what you mean about not being "fully manual" flashes. They do have a manual setting. I've used them in all modes before, essentialy using either A1 or A2 depending on what aperture I wish to use, or using the manual setting. Regardless, I use the camera on full manual with any flash setting. The flash does a decent job with it's auto setting, usually getting correct exposure, in some cases though, you may wish to tap your aperture up or down a notch to compensate if the flash does not work nicely in either of the A modes. If you use fully manual, you'll have to watch your placement of the flash and your aperture/iso, as this will determine the exposure (shutter speed, as you probably know, only affects ambient light). Use the flash's distance scale to guide you for exposure.

I think it works the same as the FL-50 would work if you put it in NON-TTL AUTO, except in manual the FL-50 allows for GN adjustment. The vivitar is fixed at full-power, but likely you will want full-power. This operation should not matter whether the flash is on-camera, cable, or radio trigger.

Stetr24
07-09-2009, 01:53 PM
What I meant by not being fully-manual was that it does not have adjustable power levels like the Vivitar 285HV or the FL-50R.

I thought that if you had a "fully-manual" flash you could just set up your flash anywhere and adjust the power level to get the desired amount of light and not have to worry about other settings (ISO, aperture...).

Still new to this whole flash thing. I did not know that distance from the flash and subject had a lot to do with how the picture comes out. After thinking about it, there is a chart on the back of the flash that says "ft" and "m", which I now realize is the distance range you should have your flash from the subject :doh:

I still have a lot to learn... Once I get my triggers, I will play some more...

thebinaryman
07-09-2009, 02:25 PM
I thought that if you had a "fully-manual" flash you could just set up your flash anywhere and adjust the power level to get the desired amount of light and not have to worry about other settings (ISO, aperture...).

I see... You would need to use A1 or A2 mode to get reduced power. That or you could use neutral gels to reduce the light strength if repositioning the flash is not an option. If you need more power, well, then it's time for a new flash.

Stetr24
07-09-2009, 03:04 PM
I see... You would need to use A1 or A2 mode to get reduced power. That or you could use neutral gels to reduce the light strength if repositioning the flash is not an option. If you need more power, well, then it's time for a new flash.

Thanks for all the tips. I have pretty much everything I need to do the whole strobist thing, minus the triggers. Once I get those, I should be golden.

As for the new flash... X-mas is not that far away and my wife owes me for the ring I got her last year :happy0060: lol.

DesertNate
07-09-2009, 07:55 PM
Which triggers did you get? I just ordered some Yongnuo CTR-301P triggers and can't wait to start playing with my 2800-D's off camera.

Do the 2800-D's meter and balance light well off camera? I am afraid that they won't due to the fact that they are not fully manual flashes.

Can you or BinaryMan "shed some light" on the controls of these flashes off camera? Should I keep them in "A2" mode just as I would if they were on camera?

Thanks.


Well, they meter ok in auto off camera, but of course you can't manually control the amount of light the way you could with the FL-50R. Because of this, I am using it in manual/full power and using bounce and diffusion to control how much light I get. I will need to get one manually adjustable flash for secondary light and simply adjust its power down with reference to the first flash. BUT there is a mod to add a pot across the thyristor to manually alter flash power with a knob. I believe it's on instructables. I'm going to mod mine and then post results next month....(that's the plan)

Stetr24
07-10-2009, 10:16 AM
I'm going to mod mine and then post results next month....(that's the plan)

That would be genious! I will keep my eyes open for it.

nikola_bb
08-29-2009, 06:11 AM
i was wondering can this flash be used only on hot shoe because i see it is connected by sync cable?
can i use it just placed on the hot shoe

thebinaryman
08-29-2009, 07:48 AM
i was wondering can this flash be used only on hot shoe because i see it is connected by sync cable?
can i use it just placed on the hot shoe

The flash is a hot shoe flash. You can place it right on the camera if you wish. Or via adapter you can use it with a sync cable. You can also use it with a wirless trigger sytem via shoe or sync cable.