Digital Camera Resources
Excess Trigger Voltage can Ruin your Camera
I recently ordered a few sync cords from Paramount Cords. In reading the accompanying material, I realized how important an issue this really is. Everyone wants to save a little money, and in doing that you may be putting your new digital camera in jeopardy. Camera manufacturers match the trigger voltage of their strobes to their own cameras. Third party flash manufacturers make universal flashes that can work with any camera, but in doing so, might damage your camera.
About Trigger Voltage from Paramount's literature
A sync contact is a small wire within a camera which receives a voltage spark from the flash at the moment of sync. This voltage spark causes pitting, black carbon buildup and/or contact burn out. Most flash manufacturers aren't worried about it as the damage isn't immediately detected. The high sync voltage will also damage the cameras electronic circuitry. Some cameras will misfire from a sync voltage of 6 Volts or greater. High voltage can also generate electro-magnetic interference which can cause unwanted effects on camera operation. Some 3rd party flashes have reported trigger voltage of higher than 200 Volts.
Paramount (got to give them a plug here) sells custom sync cords with built in voltage protection. In fact, they will build any cord you need.
Wein Safe Sync is also a good safety measure. It's a module that a flash sits on in the cameras hot shoe and reduces the trigger voltage to a safe level. It also has a sync socket for use with off camera flash.
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