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Instructions on how to use the settings. Any manual available? Can I use it with my DSLR?

I have an older 285 flash unit. It works fine, but I'd like to use it with my new DSLR (Pentax K200). Will it be compatible? I have long since lost any documentation on how to use the various settings on the flash. Is there any manual available?

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The 285 was a fine flash but is not compatible with the newer TTL and exposure system in the digital cameras. Buy a new flash like the Promaster 7500EDF this is the 285 of today.

Posted on Nov 21, 2009

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Switch from film to digital cameras.


I also own a Vivitar 285 that i used with my Canon F1 manual 35mm camera. Most older cameras before the advent of digital, had a hot shoe on top of the camera, or like in my case, the hot shoe went over the rewind knob. I also had to plug in a power cord from the 285 flash foot and the cameras PC connection in order for the flash to work on some other cameras. The Canon Rebel XTi has a TTL (through the lens) hot shoe usable with Canon's own EX flash units. You can buy a "hot shoe to PC connector" if the TTL camera hot shoe doesn't work, but be extremely careful, the only problem that exists with the older manual flash units was the trigger voltage is as high as 200+volts which would fry digital camera hot shoes. I tried my unit with a Wein flash trigger device on the PC cord of the flash and my Canon D60 with it's own flash. All shots were overexposed and washed out highlights.  Here's a copy of the hot-shoe review:h The EOS 400D's hot-shoe can be used with Canon and third party flashes (although sync only on most third party units). The hot-shoe is E-TTL II compatible. Compatible flashes include Speedlite 220EX, 380EX, 420EX, 430EX, 550EX, 580EX, Macro-Ring Lite, MR-14EX, Macro Twin Lite MT-24EX and Speedlite Transmitter ST-E2.  The Canon Rebel XTi doesn't have a PC socket to plug in a manual flash trigger cord which common sense tells me there is no provision to step up the voltage to trigger manual flashes - so my answer is this combination is not a good idea on a Canon Rebel XTi. Hope this helps.

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