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Photography Question 

Older Flash Safe with Camera?

I have a Canon AE-1. I just purchased on Ebay a Philips P32 GTC Flashgun. In searching the internet for information on this unit and a manual, I found postings that said some older flashes can have high voltage that can fry a camera through the hot shoe. Is there the same concern of high voltage if you us the sync cord instead of the Hot shoe? Is this a concern with the AE-1, since it is an older camera from 1979? Can I use it safely?

Do you know anything about the Philips P32 GTC Flash? I could not find anything out about it on the internet.

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8/23/2005 12:01:01 PM

Jon Close
BetterPhoto Member Since: 5/18/2000
  I'd first test the Phillips flash to see how much voltage it creates at the hotshoe. See for a list of flashes and their voltage, and instructions for measuring one that isn't already listed.

Even though it was made in 1979, the AE-1 is an electronic camera with low voltage circuits controlling the shutter speed and autoexposure. It had some communication with speedlight through the hotshoe (would automatically set the shutter to the sync speed), so a high voltage flash may (or may not) do some damage. Don't know if the PC socket of the AE-1 is shielded or a separate circuit.

If the Phillips gun creates high voltage at the hotshoe, then you can shield the camera with an adapter such as the Wein Safe-Sync.

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8/23/2005 3:41:27 PM

Will Turner   In the AE1, there's no difference between the hot shoe and the PC connection. The wire from the contacts goes to the shoe, then a wire links the shoe to the PC connection, so any current from the PC passes through the shoe on its way to the flash.

I have one rule for any flash that measures more than 15 volts at the hot shoe: it gets labeled 'not for electronic cameras'. Why risk it? The dedicated OEM or later model low-voltage speedlights are NOT expensive and usually much more versatile anyway.

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8/24/2005 3:40:22 PM

Robert    Thanks for the great info! I will wait until to use it until I purchase a Wein Safe-Sync. I have a Canon 177A Speedlite that I use most of the time. I purchased the Philip's Flashgun to use when I take photos in my church of our children's plays. The lighting in our church makes it very difficult to take good pictures. I wanted a more powerful flash and one with a tilt head.


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8/24/2005 7:10:15 PM

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