Vivitar 550FD?

Discussion in 'General flash photography, lighting, and technique' started by Bolts, Sep 4, 2008.

  1. Bolts


    May 7, 2007
    Tampa, Florida
    A relative handed me a free Vivitar 550FD (and a couple of ancient manual lenses) to use with my D80. The flash looks to be in great shape, doesn't have a scratch on it, although it must be 20 years old.

    Can I mount it on my D80, or will my D80 blow up? I searched the web and found nothing useful on this flash.


    Edit - Ok, did some more searching. I have the Nikon compatible 550FD (with the little tiny microscopic N on the back.) I understand that the D80 might only work in A or M mode if the flash works (which is no problem.)

    So, can I use it, you think? It would be really convenient since I PROMISED myself I wouldn't buy any new camera stuff until April 2009. (ouch.)
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 4, 2008
  2. Here is a site that will give you quite a bit of info on strobe voltages, how they were derived and much more.
    I believe it has been listed here before or maybe on one of the other forums so I apologize if I am being redundant.

    This list is by manufacturer by model.

  3. Bolts


    May 7, 2007
    Tampa, Florida
    Thanks for the link, Max. I did do quite the search here, but came up with very little and have not found this link, so you're golden.

    Ok, looking at the chart, I get this for the 550FD:

    8V, according to Ted Felix —
    only 4.24V, per Stephen Sugiyama, and
    5V per Timothy Horn (serial 0031524) — but
    6.66V from Rick Zotz, 7.5V from Tri Do, and
    10.18V (serial 5031715) by John D. Duvall...

    Now I know next to nothing about voltages, but research is telling me that my D80 is rated up to 250 volts.

    So this sounds like a no brainer to me, but then again, I just might have no brain.

    Any ideas?
  4. Glad you found the site. I think the variation in voltages is dependent on the type of meter being used to measure the voltage. I would expect a wide range.

    I have a D80 but never checked on the trigger voltage rating. If your research shows 250V then you should be OK. Of course that is your D80 and not mine!!:biggrin: But I believe it would be safe.

    You might go to and click on support to do a search of the Knowledge base with this question. If you do not get a hit, you can ask the question and usually get a response within 24 hours.

  5. Bolts


    May 7, 2007
    Tampa, Florida
    Yeah, the difference between '6' and '250' sounds a bit fishy, but apparently there's voltage and then there's trigger voltage.

    I got zilch on the NikonUSA support questions on the search, so I had to post my own question. Answer should be back in 24 hours; I'll be back to my machine on Monday to pick it up. I'll be dying from curiosity all weekend.

    Thanks for the second link! Have a good weekend. Hope you aren't getting too much Hanna rain.
  6. According to the results obtained by quite a few people there it seems to be safe enough even for a compact . I used a flash with 12 volt trigger voltage on my Cannon G6 . Trigger voltages vary greatly but it seems the SLR's can handle 250v . I have an old sunpak G4500 flash that takes 6 batteries and triggers at 6.8 volts and once bought a bunch of second hand flashes and checked them all - one small older type flash had a 110 volt trigger voltage so there is a huge variety out there .
    Then again if it was faulty ........:Teeth:................. [maybe you could get hold of a multimeter , turn the flash on and test from the centre pin to the side [ground] contact and be sure ]