D500 with a Vivitar 285 Flash


Senior Member
I Know this a long shot but does anyone have any real-life experience using a Vivitar 285 flash on the hotshoe of a D500 ?
I used to use this flash on my Nikon FE (yeah......I know I'm showing my age) and would now like to use it on my D500. OF course the D500 Owners manual says the following, "Use only Nikon flash units. Negative voltages or voltages over 250 volts applied to the accessory shoe could not only prevent normal operation, but damage the sync circuitry of the camera or flash". I was just wondering if anyone has had any real experience with these two items and if the Vivitar 285 will damage the D500. Thanks in advance for your help.

Fred Kingston

Senior Member
There were several versions of the Viv 285...but the important stuff is...

measured its sync voltage of this original 1970s sample as 267VDC, so don't use the originals on electronic cameras, many of which have sync electronics which could be zapped by this flash. Mechanical shutters and cameras are perfect for use with this flash, and newer versions have much lower trigger voltages.


Senior Member
Since I don't know if it's an early or late version, I will play it safe and steer clear of hot-shoeing the Vivitar on my D500. Thanks so much for that very powerful (pardon the pun) information, my friend. I would have been a very unhappy camper if I blew the circuitry on my newish D500. It's only a little over a year old. Thanks again sir. You are a gentleman and a scholar.


Staff member
Super Mod
I still have my two SB-28 flash units from my Nikon 35mm bodies. According to a call with Nikon years ago, these will work in Manual (but not TTL). So last month when I attended my high school reunion, I tested one of them. Still works fine although I opted to use my SB-700.

For the most part, I switched over to Godox. I own a couple of their flashes and triggers and also a few strobes. I like how they don't require a separate receiver as do many other brands.

So if you are looking to purchase a less expensive flash, Godox works well. It's the fact that they also make battery operated strobes that are convenient to take on location as well as wired studio strobes that all integrate together is why I chose them. So there is lots of room to expand. Another brand of flash that is popular and not too expensive is Yongnuo. And of course there are other less expensive manufacturers out there as well.

I'm glad you asked about the compatibility. I wouldn't have given any thought to the power output. :encouragement: