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12.01.2009

Vivitar 285HV Voltage Levels

I’ve been reading the Strobist and getting together some kit to make a basic lighting rig.  I dug out my old flashgun from college to see if it was suitable.  Turns out it’s one of the holy grails of cheap manual flash.  A Vivitar 285HV. 

This flash has been around a long time and there have been many variants.  I’ve found a lot of chatter on forums trying to figure out which versions a safe for use with digital cameras, so I thought I’d have mine checked out.

Details for my model:
I bought it around 1999 or 2000.
Front reads – Vivitar 285HV.
Under hot shoe – Made in China.
Mine has the accessory DC input for battery packs / power supplies.

I had a bench technician I know use a digital multimeter to measure the voltage at the shoe. We set the flash to Manual.  Once the capacitor is charged it measures between 7-8.3v on relatively fresh batteries.

I am able to trigger this flash reliably with a Cactus / eBay style radio trigger or a Wein Digital Peanut slave. 

(use older flashes with your camera at your own risk, you should research the safe sync voltages of your camera, triggers and flash before using any flash)

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