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PENTAX AF 400FTZ Review RSS Feed


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5 13,956 Sun June 2, 2019
Recommended By Average Price Average User Rating
100% of reviewers $23.57 8.00

This flash was designed for PENTAX film autofocus cameras and is quite powerful with a guide number of 40 (ISO 100 in meters with a 50mm lens).

The flash has a manually adjustable zoom flash head with settings for 28mm, 35mm, 50mm and 105mm. A warning light comes on if the focal length set doesn't match that of the lens (works only for autofocus lenses).

On manual focus cameras and cameras without TTL flash support the flash can be used in manual mode only, and none of the dedicated functions will work.

Optional accessories:
Wide-angle adapter FWA: Widens the flash beam so that a 24mm lens is covered (19mm on a DSLR).

Flash nameGuide Number (meters ISO 100)Flash controlFlash exposure comp.Flash range
PENTAX AF 400FTZ40 in 50mm zoom position,
44 in 105mm zoom position
TTL auto,
Manual (two levels)
NoTTL auto: 0.7 to 28m
with f/1.4 lens in 50mm
zoom position at ISO 100,
Off-camera: Closer distances possible
Flash coverage (24x36)Flash coverage (APS-C)Rotating flash headModeling lightAutofocus spotbeam
28mm lens,
24mm with wide-angle attachment
19mm lens,
16mm with wide-angle attachment
Yes, tilt and swivelNoYes
ConnectionsHot shoe pinsBatteriesRecycle timeDimensions (W x H x D)
Hot shoe, 5P cable5 (incl. ground)4 x AA9s76 x 137 x 103mm
WeightAccessories includedIn production
385g (without battery)Soft caseNo

Dedicated camera functions
Set synch speed when flash is chargedYes, with autofocus cameras with TTL flash support
Flash ready signal in view finderYes, with autofocus cameras with TTL flash support
Flash confirmation in viewfinderYes, with autofocus cameras with TTL flash support
Set aperture (Programmed flash)Yes, with autofocus cameras with TTL flash support
Trailing curtain synchYes, with autofocus cameras with TTL flash support
Price History:

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Site Supporter

Registered: October, 2008
Location: Vancouver, Canada
Posts: 6,406

1 user found this helpful
Review Date: June 2, 2019 I can recommend this item: Yes | Price: $14.00 | Rating: 8 

Pros: Powerful well-built flash, that works perfectly with the Pentax SF Series film cameras.
Cons: Big and clunky to use.

Pentax released the AF 400FTZ in 1987 as one of two new TTL flashes designed for the new SF series auto-focus cameras. (The AF-240T was the other TTL flash). This is the first Pentax flash to feature the “zoom head” function.

I bought my AF 400FTZ for use on my Pentax SF1n film camera and together this combo enables you to use all of the flash’s features. (Along with a F or FA Series lens) You can of course use this flash with any Pentax camera, but you will not be able to use the “TTL Auto” feature or some of the flash’s other functions.

The AF 400FTZ has the old-style calculator board on the back of the flash, this is where you set the ISO and zoom scale for the film & lens you are using. The ISO range is 25 to 1600 and the flash has zoom settings of 24mm*, 28mm, 35mm, 50mm and 105mm. (* only with the wide-angle adapter FWA) This calculator board has no impact on the flash operation and just serves a reference for checking the flash distance range. This is useful in a retro way!

The zoom head is manually set, by pulling out the flash head and positioning it to the focal length of the lens being used. If the lens focal length is not one of the choices listed above, you then use the next smaller zoom setting. This manual zoom head setting is clunky to use and if you bump the zoom head you can accidentally change the setting. The automatic zoom head setting on the newer AF 500FTZ is much better.

The flash has various angles for bounce flash, it tilts upwards and to the left & right. I’ve had the best results with the 60-degree setting for bounce flash.

The build of the AF 400FTZ is pretty good and the battery door is OK as well. This is a big heavy flash and with the four batteries installed, weighs over 500 grams!

The AF 400FTZ has a storage slot for the SFX/SF1 hot shoe cover, so that’s kind of a neat feature. The flash also has a built-in spot-beam for focusing the SFX/SF1 in the dark.

Overall a good flash for the Pentax SF Series cameras. Though if you are looking for a really good high powered TTL flash with all the bells & whistles, then the AF 500FTZ is a better albeit more expensive choice.

I found my EXC+ AF-400FTZ in a local camera store, it cost $19.50CDN.
Senior Member

Registered: September, 2014
Location: Nelson
Posts: 263
Review Date: November 14, 2015 I can recommend this item: Yes | Price: $2.00 | Rating: 8 

Cons: Not P-TTL

Not a lot of love for this behemoth out there. Not sure why frankly. You can pick one up in new condition for the cost of shipping these days, for that you'll get a BIG flash with swivel and bounce, a zoomable head and massive output -switchable down to 1/4, and a terminal voltage of around 3V.

No it's not P-TTL and won't do blah-blah-blah, but what it will do is let you fill a big space with lots of light for next to nothing. Mine has a 5 second recycle time on Ni-MH and with a $1.50 soft-box diffuser fitted it's a damned handy bit of kit

Registered: October, 2012
Location: Colorado
Posts: 1,425
Review Date: January 21, 2015 I can recommend this item: Yes | Price: $11.83 | Rating: 8 

Pros: Powerful, good zoom range
Cons: Eats batteries

To use this flash well you need to understand how flashes worked in the film era. Figure out the guide number for your flash and how to calculate exposure on your camera in manual mode using a guide number and you'll be amazed by how versatile this flash can be. This is one of my two go-to flashes for almost every shoot in which I need a flash.

As an added bonus, it cost me less than $12. So these are dirt cheap. I've seen them sell for as high as $40 on eBay. If you were to buy a brand-new $40 flash, you'd have about half as much power or less as this one produces. What it lacks in frills and features it makes up for in sheer brute force.
Forum Member

Registered: February, 2011
Location: Leuven
Posts: 65
Review Date: November 8, 2014 I can recommend this item: Yes | Price: $40.00 | Rating: 8 

Pros: lots of light, tilt and swiwel head
Cons: full manual on digital bodies, only two power settings

I recently bought this flash second hand, to be used with my K20D.

It only functions in full manual mode, and there are only two light power settings - High and Low. From there, one has to play with the ISO and aperture settings to adjust the brightness of the photos. If you have time and patience, it can lead to nice results. The flash charges quite fast with my supermarket-brand rechargable NiMH batteries.

The K20D does not communicate the zoom settings to the flash, apparently this only works for bodies which support TTL.

In summary, you get a powerful, full manual flash with a tilt and swiwel head for under $50. I would recommend it!
Senior Member

Registered: September, 2009
Location: Beautiful Bavaria :-)
Posts: 123

3 users found this helpful
Review Date: July 14, 2010 I can recommend this item: Yes | Price: $50.00 | Rating: 8 

Pros: moveable head, enough power, inexpensive
Cons: manual zoom head is silent, but impractical

No one yet on this excellent flash that was the dedicated flash for the SF1/SFX camera bodies? OK, here we go:

This flash is powerful, well built and quite easy to use, especially on TTL-flash capable bodies. The display at the rear of the housing is clear and informative, way better in comparison to the new P-TTL flashes from Pentax and Sigma.

A nice feature is rear shutter sync, even nicer is the flexible setting of shutter speed automatically (requires SFX and SMC-F Zoom lens) according to the ambient light situation. An autofocus assist beam is on board and several automatic and manual modes to solve practically every lighting situation. Bounce flash is easy with the tilt and swivel rotating head, I normally attach a peace of white cardboard on top of the head pointing 45 degrees upwards (no more red eyes, but still nice radiant dots in eyes).

The only reason why I prefer the good, old AF 280 T is the fact that the manual setting of the zoom head is somewhat cumbersome (it never snaps to the right focal length in the first place), but the advantage of the manual procedure is, that it does not produce any additional noise from a zoom motor (my Sigma 530 zooms brutally noisy). If you use a Super A and the AF 400 FTZ, you hold a setup for excellent silent flash photos (weddings, funerals etc.).

The flash is quite heavy when loaded with batteries or accus (those work nicely), but this is less a problem with SFX and Z/PZ bodies, because they feature the hot shoe on top of the right hand grip/battery compartment, which gives much better balance.

Overall verdict: they are available cheap and mostly in quasi-new condition, if you have a TTL-flash body and AF 280 T is not powerful enough - get one! But I don't know about P-TTL-only cameras, maybe someone else has tried this combo already.
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