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Pentax Accessory Reviews » Flash Equipment » Flashes (Genuine Pentax)
PENTAX AF 201FG Review RSS Feed


Reviews Views Date of last review
9 18,667 Wed May 26, 2021
Recommended By Average Price Average User Rating
100% of reviewers $119.29 8.78


This flash was introduced in February 2015. It is compact and simple to use. It supports bounce flash and is weather sealed for protection against light rain and dust. It supports P-TTL and manual flash (1/1 and 1/4th strength).

The flash supports leading as well as trailing curtain shooting.

Flash exposure compensation can be set on the camera, not on the flash.

Guide Number (meters ISO 100)
Flash control
P-TTL auto,
Manual (full power and 1/4th power)
Flash exposure comp.
Controlled from camera
Flash range
0.7 to 8m
(ISO 100, f/2 lens)
Flash light angle
70 degrees horizontal
53 degrees vertical
With wide angle diffusor:
98 degrees horizontal
85 degrees vertical
Flash coverage (Q)
4mm lens
3mm with built-in diffusor
Flash coverage (APS-C)
16mm lens
13mm with built-in diffusor
Flash Coverage (645D/Z)
30mm lens
25mm with built-in diffusor
Bounce flash
Yes, -10 degrees to 135 degrees
Rotating flash head
Modeling light
Autofocus spotbeam
Sensor angle
No sensor
Weather resistant
Hot shoe
Hot shoe pins
5 (incl. ground)
2 x AAA
Recycle time
7s (Alkaline)
4s (Ni-MH)
Dimensions (W x H x D)
65 mm x 72.5mm x 31mm
(2.6 x 2.9 x 1.2 in.)
141 g (5 oz.) without batteries
Accessories included
2015, February
Case O-AC149
ISO range compatibility 25 - 1600
Pull-out wide angle panel
In Production: Buy the PENTAX AF 201FG
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Sort Reviews by: Date | Author | Rating | Recommendation | Likes (Descending) Showing Reviews 1-9 of 9
Senior Member

Registered: March, 2008
Posts: 251
Review Date: May 26, 2021 I can recommend this item: Yes | Price: None indicated | Rating: 9 

Pros: Small and light
Cons: Uses AAA battery

This flash has so much better built quality than the AF200FG.
Recycle time is around 6sec. I believe it would be shorter if it uses AA instead. I think the trade off in weight will be worth it.
What I like most about it is it is very cute. and sits well on top of the camera.

Registered: February, 2010
Location: Northern Michigan
Posts: 5,177

1 user found this helpful
Review Date: May 26, 2020 I can recommend this item: Yes | Price: $75.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Small, compact, ingenious device
Cons: small size makes wide angle diffuser less useful for wide coverage

I was able to get this for an excellent price. This is about as good a small flash as you're going to run across: weather sealed, it tilts (but does not swivel), and, best of us, has very ingenious manual functionality (more than it's given credit for).

Making a flash this compact and small does entail some tradeoffs which need to be acknowledged right from the start. Such things as the aforementioned inability for the flash head to swivel, the use of AAA batteries, the lack of advanced functionality, and (some would say) the lack of sheer flash power. I would contest, however, gripes about flash power. While AF201FG is not as powerful as the AF540FGZ, the differences aren't as great as some might think. In terms of sheer light, this flash puts out nearly as much light as the AF360FGZ; it's just that the little AF201FG is a fixed focal flash — fixed to cover 24mm (on FF), whereas those other two flashes having zooming heads that allow their output to be intensified into narrower bands of light. But at 24mm, the guide number of the AF360FGZ is 21 (as opposed to 20 for the AF201FG). At ISO 800, the guide number of this little flash is slightly higher than the AF540FGZ at its most concentrated (i.e., GN 54). So with a little flexibility with the ISO, this flash can do quite a bit, whether used as fill or bouncing. The main advantage of those larger flashes is they have advanced functionality (particularly HSS and wireless). For those who don't need that advanced functionality, this little flash may be a better option.

One curious feature of the flash is the wide-angle diffuser, which flashes of this type usually don't have. When shooting with DFA 15-30, the feature is not very useful, because the flash is not large enough to spread it's light over the top of that massive wide angle zoom at any focal length wider than 24mm. It is useable with DA 15, and with a hoodless DA 12-24. But I honestly don't believe that the main purpose of the diffuser is to provide ultra-wide angle coverage. The flash has two manual settings: full and 1/4. Why 1/4? I'm surprised no one seems to have figured this out, but the answer is simple: the diffuser acts like a one stop ND filter, so the 1/4 stop is obviously intentional. This means the flash output specs on the unit are misleading. This flash features four manual settings for flash output, not just two: i.e., full, 1/2 (full + diffuser), 1/4, and 1/8 (1/4 + diffuser). This renders this unit a good flash for macro photography, in addition to it's other uses.

Incidentally, while the topic on macro, I experienced something inexplicable and bizarre when I used the flash off the camera for macro. The AF201FG is not supposed to work in P-TTL mode at macro distances. But with the K-1 and K-5iis, I found that the p-TTL works fairly well even very close up. However, this is not the case with the KP. Indeed, with the KP, p-TTL won't work if I rotate the head to -10 degrees (essentially the macro setting) even at longer distances (it fires at full blast). Strange but true.

Here's an image shot with the flash using the wide angle diffuser along with the KP and DA 15 Ltd:

Veteran Member

Registered: November, 2014
Location: Newfoundland
Posts: 501
Review Date: July 9, 2019 I can recommend this item: Yes | Price: $129.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Size, Performance, Tilting Head, Weather Sealed, Wide Angle Diffuser, Construction, Performance,
Cons: No bounce card

My first DSLR flash was an AF360FGZ for the K-100D Super. Great flash, balances nicely on a K-5II with battery grip. I still use the 360 (V1) today more than a decade later. The Cactus system introduced me to manual flash and radio triggers, 3 Cactus RF60’s have proven to be powerful workhorses. All are excellent strobes, but none balance well on my KP with a Limited prime (and no battery grip).

Seeking something smaller, I saw the AF200FG on Amazon for $50, tempting but the lack of a tilt head was a deal breaker. The AF201FG was considerably more, but looked appealing. My concerns were the power source of just 2 AAA batteries as well as flash output.

The AF201FG arrived yesterday. When unboxing, I couldn’t get over how tiny and well built it is. The finish is exceptional for the price point. I added a set of batteries and put this little flash through it’s paces on the KP. It matches the KP and balances on camera well. The light output is more than adequate for indoor shots in most non professional situations. Boosting the ISO on camera a little greatly enhances the range of this little marvel. The KP is brilliant in low light and the punch of the AF201FG complements the camera superbly. Recycle times are what you’d expect for a small flash, reasonable with fresh batteries, slow when battery power is close to expiring. The simple interface is perfect for intended use. At 1/4 power in M mode it seems to work as a TTL flash too.

I believe the AF201FG is a must-have accessory for any KP owner or anyone with a newer Pentax camera. It is so small it will always be in whichever camera bag I’m carrying (especially my small travel bag). If you’re looking to start learning flash photography or just want a small easy to pack flash, the AF201FG won’t be beat.
Site Supporter

Registered: June, 2008
Location: Idaho
Posts: 1,618

1 user found this helpful
Review Date: May 3, 2018 I can recommend this item: Yes | Price: $126.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros: Small, compact and easy to carry in a pocket; Plenty of output for simple jobs
Cons: Shorter battery life (AAAs)

I recently bought the AF201FG and am suitably impressed. It's just the right size for what I wanted and can be carried in one's pocket easily. Guide number 20 with 100 ISO (that drops to 14 with the wide angle panel dropped into place) full power, and 10 at quarter power. It has leading and trailing Auto options, two manual modes (x1 and x 0.25 power), and features P-TTL operation in auto. No HSS but I wouldn't expect that in this price range flash nor do I need it that much for the applications where I use it. It only supports flash compensation if your camera does (my K-1 is one of those that does). Ready light and test button, and the ready light doubles as a battery indicator by flashing when batteries are low.

The head swivels in the vertical plane from 0 degrees to 20, 45, 60, 75, 90, 105, 120, and 135 degrees (the latter toward the camera). It also has a lock release that lets it swivel 10 degrees downward. What to ask for in a selection of swivel angles. No horizontal swivel, but again, I don't need that capability. No provision for a sync cord unless a hot shoe adapter is used.

The coverage is rated at 70 x 53 degrees and the pull-out/drop-down wide angle panel gets you 98 x 85 degrees. I haven't evaluated the evenness of coverage yet. The wide angle panel stores in the flash itself just above the flash window, and pull out and folds down to put it in front of the window for wider coverage. Neat little trick.

It takes AAA alkaline or Ni-MH batteries. I used alkaline and the recycle time from dead start is fairly short - again impressive for a little flash. Of course, that increases as the batteries are depleted but you get a fair number of flashes out of a set of AAAs.

The flash is stylish in off black color (Pentax black), and it seems rugged enough in its construction though the hot shoe is plastic but even high priced flashes are now using plastic in their hot shoe mounts.

The flash comes in a matching velvet type bag with drawstring closure, and the package includes a 52 page user guide. Only one complaint is that the user guide is multi-language, and the languages alternate throughout the guide rather than having an English section, a Japanese section, etc. Makes reading a bit difficult because one tends to miss some of the sections in their native language on first glance. Old style grouping works better for me. I downloaded the PDF and edited to English only for my use.

All in all, a great little flash for my needs, and I think it will work for use with my K-1 (for fill and low power needs) quite well.

Read more at:
Senior Member

Registered: October, 2008
Location: Bedfordshire, UK
Posts: 187

2 users found this helpful
Review Date: May 17, 2017 I can recommend this item: Yes | Price: $80.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros: Compactness, AAA batteries, power, built in diffusor, quick release
Cons: none for me

Beside my Pentax gear I have a Fuji X100 with an EF-20 flash. Great combo, great little flash.

So I started looking at similar range flashes for my K-1 thinking that the power of Fuji flash (GN 20) is good for me in 99% of situations.

Luckily Pentax offers this unit, which is exactly what I wanted. Compact, tilts, uses only two AAA batteries and powerful in most situations when photographing people around you. Especially useful with the K-1 which has no built in flash.

Price I paid was for a used unit in mint condition.

Highly recommended rating from me.
Site Supporter

Registered: January, 2011
Location: Munich, Germany
Posts: 2,948

1 user found this helpful
Review Date: October 17, 2016 I can recommend this item: Yes | Price: $129.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros: lightweight, well build, WR, good vertical tilting, manual mode, seems to support also analog TTL besides PTTL, affordable
Cons: no wireless slave and controller function, no led beam, manual mode only 2 steps: full and 1/4

I searched a nice small PTTL-flash mainly for the K-1.

Although there is the very competitive Metz mecablitz 26 AF-2 I decided to order this unit.

Reason: the possibility that it could support analog TTL as other Pentax flashes and manual mode. Analog TTL and manual mode are the precondition to get it work with Cactus V6 via V6 learning mode.

The flash as a small auto PTTL unit gets a 7 from me.

After some trials and tricks (read here) I could generate a V6 profile. Now I can use the AF201FG with Cactus V6 wireless radio triggers remotely (manual) or if I use a „V6-flash-sandwich“ on camera I can trigger the flash manually in much more steps than the flash unit supports. This is very convenient if you use manual lenses: M1.7/50@1.7 - open aperture narrow depth of field using the V6-flash combo works!

The combinations off and on camera with Cactus V6 radio triggers are of really great value. I’m very happy with this combo. So I value the extendability by Cactus V6 very high and the Pentax AF201FG gets a 9 from me.
Loyal Site Supporter

Registered: September, 2009
Location: Phoenix, AZ
Posts: 6,933
Review Date: December 20, 2015 I can recommend this item: Yes | Price: $149.00 | Rating: 6 

Pros: Small, Somewhat Inexpensive
Cons: No master flash function

I needed a small flash for the K-3II so I purchased this since the little Metz was still not available. I was not aware of the small Meike (Neewer) which would probably have served as well for less money. The flash works as advertised and is handy to carry but is severely limited by the absence of wireless communication with other Pentax flash units. It adds some nice reach to the Q.
Senior Member

Registered: January, 2014
Posts: 269
Review Date: November 6, 2015 I can recommend this item: Yes | Price: None indicated | Rating: 8 

Pros: Vertical tilt, past vertical. Super easy to pack
Cons: No wireless ptll capability

Initially bought this item as an addition to my af540fgz version 1.

Advantage over the onboard flash:
-will not create shadows with standard zoom and wide angle lens, i have the sigma 17-70c and 10-20.
-can bounce it way up, Can literally bounce it on a wall behind you.
-it has a built in diffuser, more even coverage for wide angle lens
-will not drain your camera battery

Advantage over pentax af540fgz (version I)
-its so light and packs very easily. Its very easy to grab and bring this just in case you need it.
-its weather-sealed, the version I is not.
-controls couldn't be simpler. You need to a PhD in product design to operate the af540fgz v1.

What im missing with the Af201fgz:
-wireless optical ptll (controller), would have been perfect for owners of af540fgz and/or af360fgz flash units. wireless optical slave is also not available, but at least you can use a cord to have off camera pttl.
-Since it can be used with radio triggers in manual mode, finer increments in power would have been useful. It currently offers full power and 1/4 power only.

Advantage of the af540fgz
-a lot lot more if your willing to haul it around and learn its features. Hss, wireless pttl, faster recycling times, focus assist lamp, better manual control, led indicator for distance, the list goes on... I think its a much better value for money and I would recommend it as a first flash if size is not an issue.

Who I think is it for:
-a "just in case" flash for owners of big lenses that zooms to wide angle territory, where on board flash will cast lens shadows.
-limited lens owners, pentax q owners, light packers. Kinda beats the logic of carrying a small camera/ lens if your flash is as big as a standard aps-c zoom lens. This flash is very easy to pack, and offers a visible improvement over the on board flash if you can bounce it. For indoor use, its about as good as my af540fgz (ver 1) 90% of the time.

Registered: November, 2010
Location: at my kitchen table
Posts: 1,291

1 user found this helpful
Review Date: June 26, 2015 I can recommend this item: Yes | Price: $147.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros: Tilts!, Size and weight, ample power for what it is.
Cons: Not wireless.

I purchased this because I wanted a small light weight travel flash. I also purchased a Vello off camera flash cord to go with it. The bounce flash works ok in small rooms. Off camera this is a great little flash. I usually use it with a small soft box but have used a large Flashbender on it as well. As a word of caution any heavy light modifier will cause it to tilt down under the weight. Speaking of tilt, it tilts a few degrees to the rear which is useful for bounce flash shots while pointing the camera down.

An off camera cord is a must,and the flash is light and easy to hold.

It does not have many controls but neither does a lot of its current competition. You basically have to control the flash intensity from your camera.

A few shots made with it and a K-S2:

Garden Flash 3 by Bill, on Flickr

Primrose 2 by Bill, on Flickr

Work is Done by Bill, on Flickr
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