Flash Photo with F-1N

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I have been unable to gain correct exposure on flash photos when using my dedicated "A" series flash units. I own a Sunpack 422 and a cheap Vivitar 550 that work great with my A-1. Do these units not "dedicate" themselves to my F-1? Or do I need to experiment more with manual Flash photos? I have been setting my shutter speed dial to the arrow and going shutter priority as my motor drive allows. I do not own a manual so much of what I do and learn about my F-1 is guess work. Can I shoot flash photos at 1/60 (I'm guessing this might be a problem because my pictures are under exposed, so leaving the shutter open might correct for this, and the A-1 syncs to these flashes at 1/60)or will the camera go straight to 1/90 no matter how I have my shutter speed set? And one more thing. I have been reading about mercury battery issues. Does this include my F-1N? Have I been using the wrong battery? I'm sorry, but I also have to ask about The difference between F-1N and F-1n. I was led to believe that I own a late 80s F-1. Can I tell the diference betwen third and second generation F-1s? After reading messages on this site, it appears I know less about my F-1 than I thought.

-- Dave Kimmel (jpdave1@netzero.net), March 15, 2001


First thing: which camera is it? If you are looking at the front of the camera and there is a self-timer lever to the left of the lens, you have an F-1n. If there is a battery cover there, it is the F-1N or "New" F-1.

The F-1N does not require a mercury battery.

Flash dedication: I used to have a Sunpak 422D, which I used with the F-1N, and there was a dedicated module for Canon. Presuming you have the dedicated module and you have the power winder or motor drive, you can set the lens on "A", the flash on one of the auto modes, and the camera will automatically set the aperture and shutter speed to 1/90 sec., unless you have the switch set on "Slow Sync," in which case, you can manually set the shutter speed lower. Dedication for the F-1N should work the same way it does on the A-1.

Setting a longer shutter speed will not necessarily improve your overall exposure, it will only make the ambient light brighter with respect to the flash, since the flash duration is constant. If your pictures are consistently too dark, try setting the film speed on the flash lower to compensate (e.g., try rating 400 speed film at 320 or lower, etc.). Slow sync is most useful when you are using the flash for fill, but if you wanted the F-1N to give you the same results at the A-1 (bearing in mind that two shutters might not be accurate), you could use slow sync and just set the shutter speed manually to 1/60 sec.

-- David Goldfarb (dgoldfarb@barnard.edu), March 15, 2001.

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