Results 1 to 10 of 10

Thread: Software for Camera Flashguns

  1. #1
    New Member
    Join Date
    Jan 2013
    Posts
    1

    Software for Camera Flashguns

    Dear All,

    I am pretty new to photography and just finding way around the different terms and equipment options for DSLRs, CSCs etc. Anyway, I was wondering if anyone could provide some input to the following question:

    - I have just upgraded to a D5100 Nikon camera from my older CSC Panasonic. When I had my Panasonic I purchased a separate polaroid flashgun (model number PL144AZ) which it says is designed specifically for Panasonic and olympus cameras. I really like this flash and it is in excellent condition, so I don't want to have to buy a new one unless I have to.

    Electrically the contacts on the top of my Nikon's hot shoe look the same as the connector on the flash. I have not connected the two together in case I damage them, but:

    - can this flash be used within my Nikon or will one or both be damaged if I try?
    - If the issue is software compatibility between the camera and the flash, can I get a firmware upgrade for flash to make it work with the Nikon?

    Thanks

    JamesM

  2. #2
    Melkus's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Location
    Fayetteville,NC
    Posts
    440
    Real Name
    Paul Melkus

    Re: Software for Camera Flashguns

    I'm not a 100% sure but don't think it will because the hotshoe pinout is not the same as the Nikon. I'm sure there other that will add to this since I don't use a flash.

  3. #3

    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    New Zealand
    Posts
    17,662
    Real Name
    Have a guess :)

    Re: Software for Camera Flashguns

    The camera will try to talk to the flash using a serial protocol, so it's 99.99999% certain not to work.

    You're going to need a Nikon flash.

  4. #4

    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Location
    Ames, Iowa, USA
    Posts
    198
    Real Name
    Jim

    Re: Software for Camera Flashguns

    Hi, James. I have an old old Vivitar that I use as my second flash. I use it on manual only, and my Nikon flash does the CLS. I can fire the Vivitar from the hotshoe, or an extension cable. I can't say if the Polaroid flash will fire from your camera.

  5. #5
    inkista's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Location
    San Diego, California
    Posts
    1,411
    Real Name
    Kathy Li

    Re: Software for Camera Flashguns

    Quote Originally Posted by JamesM View Post
    Electrically the contacts on the top of my Nikon's hot shoe look the same as the connector on the flash. ... If the issue is software compatibility between the camera and the flash, can I get a firmware upgrade for flash to make it work with the Nikon?
    It's a hardware issue, not software, so no, a firmware upgrade won't work.

    And the connectors are not identical. They're placed differently. The pins on your flash's hotshoe won't hit the contacts on the Nikon's hotshoe, except for the center sync signal.

    Nikon hotshoe:
    Software for Camera Flashguns


    (micro) four-thirds hotshoe:
    Software for Camera Flashguns

    Aside from the center contact/pin, none of the others should hit each other. The (micro) four-thirds pin/contact layout on the hotshoe is actually identically placed to Canon's hotshoe, but has one less contact. The signalling protocols are completely different, though, so you couldn't interchange with Canon, either (although you could use a Canon TTL cable).

    The center contact, however, should still work, and that is the flash's "fire" signal. (The ISO standard for flash hotshoes gives the physical dimensions for the shoe, and that the rails are ground, while the big contact in the center is the sync signal--everything else is proprietary). And as long as the sync voltage on the flash is safe (very likely if it worked ok on your MFT camera--new flashes tend to have sync voltages below 10V these days), you could put it on the hotshoe and it will fire when you take a picture. However, absolutely NOTHING else will function: no TTL, no FP-TTL/high-speed sync, no 2nd curtain, no FEC--nothing. Essentially your camera cannot talk to your flash other than to tell it to fire, so you'll have to use the flash in full manual mode and dial in the power settings yourself--if your flash has that capability. If it's a TTL-only flash, then it can only fire at full power.

    So, yeah, if you need TTL, you wanna get yourself a Nikon-compatible speedlight. Chances are good you could probably find the exact same flash you're using now only with a Nikon hotshoe--most 3rd party flashes come in multiple flavors.
    Last edited by inkista; 11th January 2013 at 08:23 PM.

  6. #6
    Melkus's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Location
    Fayetteville,NC
    Posts
    440
    Real Name
    Paul Melkus

    Re: Software for Camera Flashguns

    Quote Originally Posted by Colin Southern View Post
    The camera will try to talk to the flash using a serial protocol, so it's 99.99999% certain not to work.

    You're going to need a Nikon flash.
    Think that sums it up

  7. #7
    Administrator Manfred M's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Location
    Ottawa, Canada
    Posts
    12,978
    Real Name
    Manfred Mueller

    Re: Software for Camera Flashguns

    Flashes have gone proprietary, so other than possibly working as a 100% manual flash (X-Synch only), the Polaroid will be of limited use on your Nikon as per Kathy and Colin's comments.

    We should be looking at modern DSLRs as computers that take pictures, rather than traditional cameras. Just as peripherals made for a PC should not be expected to work on a Mac, a piece of hardware made for a Panasonic cannot be expected to work on a Nikon. Even third party flash units by well known manufactures like Metz and Nissin are customized to work with specific brands of camera, much the same as third party lenses are.

  8. #8
    Melkus's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Location
    Fayetteville,NC
    Posts
    440
    Real Name
    Paul Melkus

    Re: Software for Camera Flashguns

    Too bad it can't be like USB

  9. #9
    inkista's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Location
    San Diego, California
    Posts
    1,411
    Real Name
    Kathy Li

    Re: Software for Camera Flashguns

    Quote Originally Posted by Melkus View Post
    Too bad it can't be like USB
    Yeah. Still, if you think about it, the ISO compatibility is. It's why a 3rd party manual-only flash like the Yongnuo YN-560 or Vivitar 285HV can work on any make of camera. Well. Except Sony/Minolta. Stupid proprietary non-ISO-compliant Minolta hotshoe. Thankfully Sony is finally seeing the light and are starting to phase in ISO-compliant hotshoes with the NEX-6 and A99.

    I've put a Nikon SB-26 on my Canons and been able to use it; the old thyristor AUTO mode [which uses a sensor in the flash, rather than the camera's metering to control the flash] worked just fine. The main function of firing in sync with the shutter is still there. The OP's Polaroid PL144AZ can certainly still be used with a Nikon dSLR for off-camera lighting with manual radio triggers, Strobist-style, so it's not as if the money spent was completely wasted. And you'd want two or three flashes anyway for off-camera lighting.

  10. #10
    Administrator Manfred M's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Location
    Ottawa, Canada
    Posts
    12,978
    Real Name
    Manfred Mueller

    Re: Software for Camera Flashguns

    Quote Originally Posted by Melkus View Post
    Too bad it can't be like USB
    Would that be USB 1, 2 or 3? Mini, normal or USB 3 style camera connector, or the standard size male / female connection? Desktop or laptop power?

    While I understand where you are coming from, there are a lot of "flavours" of USB...

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •