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Ni-MH AA Quandary
This is in reference to a question that you answered in the February 2008 issue (page 189). If the person is using rechargeable Ni-MH AA cells, he is starting at 1.2v per cell, not the 1.5 as in the alkaline AA or lithium ion AA cells. Therefore, he is closer to the low-end threshold and the camera is shutting off faster because of the lower voltage level. Solution: use 1.5v cells. He is essentially running on three batteries, not four.
Technical Support Specialist
Quantum Instruments, Inc.
Thanks for providing this data about the rechargeable AA-size batteries that were causing problems for a reader. Yours is as good an explanation about this dilemma as I have encountered. As you indicate, using four 1.2v rechargeable batteries instead of four 1.5v alkaline or lithium ion cells would be the same as using fewer batteries, thus they deplete quicker, resulting in shorter operating life.
While reading through old HELP! columns I read that Mr. Alan Harbour was asking about the Starblitz 3300 DTS. I own one but I didn’t know how to operate it because I hadn’t used it for years and had lost the manual. Searching the Internet I found a place that sells the manual. I hope that this information can be useful for him. The site for the manual reprint of the Starblitz 3300 DTS is www.photobooksonline.com.
Thanks for sending this website of Finger Lakes Photo Books. I just browsed through their site and found they list more than 200 brands and manufacturers’ names. It’s easy to find the manual you need by going through a check list. They offer black and white reprints of original factory instructions that are copied double-sided, trimmed to the size of the original, folded, and stapled. Most are in English. The prices are reasonable, ranging from $3-$19 plus shipping.
Old Flash With Digital Camera?
Q. Re: the question on “Standard Flash With Digital Camera,” on page 196 of the December 2007 issue. I have a Nikon D70s that I also had planned to use with an SB-600 (off-camera) and an older strobe off-camera, a Honeywell Strobonar 65A. After several different inquiries on different websites I received the following responses:
1. If the D70 has an on-camera flash use a couple of photo slaves (cheap way).
2 You can fire them all with a PC cord, but make sure you use a safe sync module (about $50) to protect your camera.
3. Buy one xmitter and two receivers (Cactus V2s for about $50), may work, may not—crapshoot at best (somewhat cheap).
4. Drop $550 on three PocketWizards—works every time.
Hopefully this will help Sarthak Sen and anyone else. But these methods raise another question: If I were to use photo slaves what manufacturer would you recommend? And would I have to use a safe sync module between the Strobonar flash and photo slave? Also, if I were to use the xmitter and receiver method would I need a safe sync between the receiver and Strobonar unit?
A. To make a slave unit out of your older model Strobonar flash you will need a plug-in electric eye slave. This attaches to the coil sync cord via the PC contact on the end that normally fits onto the camera’s PC terminal. Be sure to get an adjustable slave that can be adjusted for pre-flash or regular flash, or it might receive the signal too soon, resulting in the slave flash firing prematurely. I believe your Nikon SB-600 has an IR slave built-in, which would fire it when the camera’s flash signal is transmitted. Since this is done without any direct connection between the camera and external flash, there is no possibility of high voltage damaging the camera’s internal electronics, but the camera’s pre-flash (used to set the autofocusing) might prematurely fire the slave, so it will have to be disconnected by turning off the autofocusing.
In addition, you cannot use the camera’s internal flash metering, so you will have to switch the camera to manual operation and set both the shutter speed and aperture yourself. Also, you will have to use a flash meter to determine the aperture needed on your camera for proper exposure. This means everything must be done manually, but you sure won’t damage your camera because none of the external flash units are directly wired through your camera.
Better yet, you could get a radio flash trigger. I just got a 1-Channel Wireless Radio Flash Trigger Kit (model #11248) from The Morris Company. I use it with my Canon EOS Digital Rebel XTi and Pentax K100D D-SLRs. The kit lists for $139 and has a 150-foot range. It consists of one receiver powered by AAA batteries that plugs into the RCA jack found on most any model of AC-powered studio electronic flash units (I don’t remember whether the Strobonar has an RCA jack) plus a small, lightweight, transmitter that locks onto the camera’s hot shoe. This way you don’t use the camera’s built-in flash at all; the light comes from the slave units. There is a PC cord on it for use with cameras without a hot shoe. I have been using it in my small studio and it works fine, even when the slave flash unit is positioned far behind the camera. There is a test button for firing the flash when you take a flash meter light reading.
Go to www.themorriscompany.com. Then under “Accessories” go to “Digital Flash Triggers” where you will find several different models of wireless sync units intended for use with both digital and film cameras with prices ranging from $39-$159. There are many other firms that offer wireless and radio sync units.
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