Orquid "Phoenix"

Orquid "Phoenix"

by ceinmart

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I was just thinking about this problem and was wondering if anyone knew if/how to use a competing flash unit (EX or SB series) on a nikon or canon (respectively) camera. I would assume a lot of the brand-specific flash features may not work (wireless for example) but would the manual flash-on-the-hotshoe work fine? If it is possible, is there a list of what features are/are not available. I was thinking about how, in a teaching situation (i'm not teaching this is more of a theoretical quesiton), you could use a single flash (i'm a nikon user) on both brands of camera. thanks for any and all insight

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6 Answers

up vote 6 down vote accepted

Yes, it will work, or at least, it's worked in the case I've tried (canon flash on a nikon body). You're right that the specific TTL metering and the like doesn't work, but the flash definitely triggers.

I remember it distinctly, because both of my flashes went down while shooting a large wedding and the primary had a spare canon flash. She lent it to me, and it worked-- which produced a camera that looked exceedingly strange (what with both canon and nikon working together), but it worked in manual mode.

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The only brand which uses a physically different connector is Sony since they inherited it from Konica-Minolta. All other brands have the same connector and you can mount whichever flash fits.

The basic sync always works, meaning it will trigger at the right moment. Sophisticated metering and sync may not depending on the camera and flash combination. If you use the flash controls on the camera, many models will grey-out options which are not supported, for example rear-sync or manual-flash. You can still set manual-power and FC directly on the flash itself, of course it takes more work to figure out what is needed there.

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One word of caution, you should ensure that the trigger voltage for the flash doesn't exceed what your camera specifies. A pretty complete list can be found on this site, though it is more Canon oriented, of flash trigger voltages to use as a reference.

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I have this old 630AF Achiever flash. The box reads "fully dedicated for minolta and nikon autofocus cameras" but I use it on my Canon dslr and it seems to work just fine. I have been using it on a tripod in Aperture value AV mode.

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As others said, it will work. In addition, if the flash has an auto-thyristor mode for metering (the flash meters with a sensor in the body), that will work, independent of a body. It will even work off camera with some other trigger mechanism (optical, wireless, etc)

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In general Yes. The strobist, David Hobby, recommended a fairly old Nikon SB flash for all of his followers, and the prices of them instantly went up on eBay and craigslist.

http://strobist.blogspot.com/2006/05/for-few-dollars-more-nikon-sb-26.html

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