Forgot Password
Pentax Camera Forums Home
Log in or register to remove ads.

Pentax Accessory Reviews » Flash Equipment (Legacy) » Flashes (Genuine Pentax - Legacy)
PENTAX AF 500FTZ Review RSS Feed


Reviews Views Date of last review
9 43,757 Fri January 12, 2018
Recommended By Average Price Average User Rating
100% of reviewers $73.57 9.33

This flash was designed for PENTAX film autofocus cameras and is quite powerful with a guide number of 50 (ISO 100 in meters with a 85mm lens). The flash has a zooming flash head, which tilts and swivels for bounce flash.

On non-autofocus cameras and on DSLRs without TTL support (PENTAX K-series DSLRs, *istDL/DL2) the flash can only be used in manual flash mode.

Optional accessories:
TR PowerPack 2

Flash nameGuide Number (meters ISO 100)Flash controlFlash exposure comp.Flash range
PENTAX AF 500FTZ42 in 50mm zoom setting,
50 in 85mm zoom setting
TTL auto
Manual (6 power settings)
NoTTL auto: 0.7 - 30m at 50mm
zoom position with
f/1.4 lens at ISO 100
Flash coverage (24x36)Flash coverage (APS-C)Rotating flash headModeling lightAutofocus spotbeam
24mm lens16mm lensYes, tilt and swivelNoYes
Sensor angleConnectionsHot shoe pinsBatteriesRecycle time
No sensorHot shoe, 5P cable,
external power
5 (incl. ground)4 x AA9s,
4s with Power pack TR2
Dimensions (W x H x D)WeightIn production
77 x 124 x 122mm385g (without batteries)No

Dedicated camera functionsActual availability depends on the camera, exposure mode and flash settings
Set synch speed when flash is chargedYes
Flash ready signal in view finderYes
Flash confirmation in viewfinderYes
Trailing curtain synchYes
Slave flashYes
Multiple burstYes, 1 to 20 Hz burst frequency
Price History:

Add Review of PENTAX AF 500FTZ

Sort Reviews by: Date | Author | Rating | Recommendation | Likes (Descending) Showing Reviews 1-9 of 9
Loyal Site Supporter

Registered: December, 2017
Posts: 1,025
Review Date: January 12, 2018 I can recommend this item: Yes | Price: None indicated | Rating: 9 

Pros: very powerful and controllable flash, now inexpensive
Cons: none for my uses

This review is to update the data at the top. When the AF500 was sold by Pentax, the TR Power Pack 2 (external batteries) was available to provide approximately 330 Vdc to the flash and both shorten recharge time and extend the battery life. The PP2 hasn't been available for several years, and the replacement external battery for the AF-540, Power Pack 3, while asserted by some to work equally well, now seems to be no longer available in the USA. (Some may still be available in Australia.)

However, there is a better solution. The Quantum Turbo Battery, and those of its relatives that supply 330 Vdc, can be used instead. This is a compact rechargeable battery pack. While the Quantum CN3 cable that fits the AF-500 is no longer available, at present a cable designated QTS-4 is available from a supplier in China and sold via eBay and Amazon. I have just tested one of these, and found that it works as a suitable interface, and that the Quantum Turbo Battery provided power allows a recharge time of about 2 seconds for a full power manually triggered flash.

Quantum Turbo Batteries are widely available on eBay, many having had their sealed lead batteries replaced. So while hunting down AF-500s on eBay, consider the use of a QTB and QTS-4 for a day's worth of flashing. I use mine with my 645N.

Caution: It may be possible for the QTB to supply power at a rate that causes the AF-500 to be overheated. Following the directions of the user manual is this respect is advisable.

Caution: DIN connectors were originally designed for audio signal voltages. The DIN connector interface of the QTS-4 cable may be slightly less resistant to high voltage arc tracking between pins than the Quantum CN3 cable DIN connector. This would be due to cutting off unused pins in its construction instead of molding the connector without them. Use in high humidity conditions, or at very high altitudes should be partnered with occasional close inspection of the connector pin mounting material. Neither Quantum or JWemall provide the scope of environmental performance parameters one would want from an electronics supplier.

Edit 5 Aug 2018: This flash is listed in the 645Z operating manual (pg. 66) as suitable for use in manual mode. The flash doesn't do P-TTL and the 645Z doesn't do original analog TTL. Capabilities when used on the 645Z are as described in the table on that page.

Also, for any who want to investigate the internal flash voltage characteristics: The high voltage connector socket at the flash has a very tiny switch at the bottom of the connector alignment key slot. This must be depressed in order for the socket pins to be connected to the high voltage system.

WARNING: Allowing high voltage to be accessible at the pins is obviously hazardous and should only be undertaken (pun intended) by those skilled in electronics safety.

Ganging flashes: In addition to their operation in manual slave mode using the detectors on the flashes, I have determined in testing with my 645N that with use of Pentax 5P cables and F connectors to daisy-chain or home-run the connections such that multiple flashes are operating in parallel, either via the hot shoe connection or the direct cable connection, that all hooked up flashes can perform analog TTL synchronously. I have only tested up to three at once, but expect that the limit is determined by the camera's ability to sink trigger and quench signals. In any case, 5P cables cost more than the flashes, so I may not ever own enough cables to attempt synchronous triggering of all six flashes that I own.
Veteran Member

Registered: August, 2011
Location: Langwarrin Australia
Posts: 382

1 user found this helpful
Review Date: July 12, 2015 I can recommend this item: Yes | Price: $33.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Great manual control,well built
Cons: None as I don't use PTTL

I love this flash as evidenced by me now owning 3 of them. Bang for buck its hard to beat and as other reviews here have said it performs seamlessly with all my Pentax cameras old and new. It even works
exceptionally well with my Bronica.
Yes it is slow to cycle up at first but that is fixed when it's mated to a battery pack. Unlike some reviewers here have said it does work with battery packs made for later Pentax flashes like the AF540FGZ,
genuine or non-genuine battery packs work equally as well. I use mine now with non OEM packs that take AA batteries instead of the Pentax ones that take C cells. If your like me and don't use or trust
PTTL or any TTL for that matter or just want a slave that will integrate with your Pentax PTTL flash this flash is hard to beat for build, power, features and price.
Forum Member

Registered: November, 2014
Posts: 56

1 user found this helpful
Review Date: January 11, 2015 I can recommend this item: Yes | Price: $31.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Bright, zooms, bounces, swivels, compact for power
Cons: Manual only with DSLR

Great flash! Yes, it lacks PTTL, but has high power (GN 50), great manual control and it communicates nicely with my DSLR, which many inexpensive flashes don't do. The camera knows there is a flash present and it zooms with my DA lens automatically or manually from 24 to 85mm (it's smart enough to treat 18mm as 24mm).

On a DSLR it's manual only, but power is manually adjustable from 1/1 to 1/32 in six levels. It has many advanced features. It can trigger optically as a slave. It does multi-burst stroboscopic flash, with variable rate and number.

THE NEGATIVES: It's from the film era, 1992, so it lacks PTTL. I'm annoyed that I can't use many of the other features of this flash like 2nd curtain sync, but if it triggers off of say an AF360FGZ it inherits some features from it. It's slow to charge up at first, about 10 seconds, but then sips power slowly if on say 1/32 power. I wish it had a couple of Auto modes using its own sensor like a 280T.

Overall good bang for the buck. In its era on a film camera, it was tops. It has a great manual too, available free here:
Site Supporter

Registered: October, 2008
Location: Vancouver, Canada
Posts: 7,387
Review Date: November 15, 2014 I can recommend this item: Yes | Price: $67.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Powerful flash for TTL supported film bodies.
Cons: Not as useful on a DSLR. Build is not as rugged as with older Pentax flashes.

I bought two AF500FTZ flashes to use on my Pentax 67II MF film camera.

Usage notes on the Pentax 67II:

I also needed to get a Pentax 67II hot shoe grip, as none of the Pentax 67II viewfinders have a hot shoe.
The 67II grip has a short 5P sync cable that attaches to the cameras 5P terminal, which enables full TTL flash support.

Close-up of Pentax 67II, 67II hot shoe grip and 5P sync cable:

The flashes “Auto Zoom” function does not work on the P67II as it is a manual focusing body, so you need to manually select the focal length of the lens. (The flash manual has a table that converts the 6x7 focal lengths to the 35mm flash settings)

Here is the zoom table for use with a Pentax 67ii:

If you want to use the AF500FTZ off camera, then you need to add a Pentax Hot Shoe Adapter F/Off-Camera Adapter F and a 5P sync cable.

If you want to connect the AF500FTZ to your Pentax 645/6x7 Leaf-Shutter lens, then you need to mount the Pentax Hot Shoe Adapter LS between the 645 camera/6x7 wooden grip and AF500FTZ flash. The X-Sync end of this adapter connects to the LS lens and the flash output needs to be manually adjusted to match the distance to the subject/lens aperture. The LS lens will then discharge the AF500FTZ flash.

While the AF500FTZ would not be your first choice for a Pentax DSLR, it is the flash of choice for any Pentax film camera that supports TTL flash. As a result I give it a 10, you are not going to find a better flash for a Pentax TTL supported 35mm, 645 or 6x7 film body. Highly recommended.
Loyal Site Supporter

Registered: August, 2011
Location: North Carolina, USA
Posts: 5,194
Review Date: May 12, 2012 I can recommend this item: Yes | Price: $89.00 | Rating: 8 

Pros: Manual settings, controls, power
Cons: Recycle time not quite as fast as AF-540 FGZ

I bought my copy used from KEH, in EX condition. I got it to supplement my AF 540 FGZ. Compared to the 540 it is nearly as powerful, a little slower to recycle, and a little simpler in the control layout. Of course it doesn't do P-TTL, and I bought it to use in manual mode. I prefer the manual power adjustment on the 500 -- it's just a button, where the 540 is a button and dial. Unfortunately it takes a different model of external power pack than the 540, otherwise I would buy one to be able to use with either unit. All in all it is a good value.

Registered: March, 2008
Location: Quebec city, Canada
Posts: 8,772
Review Date: January 24, 2012 I can recommend this item: Yes | Price: None indicated | Rating: 9 

Pros: Extremely well made, slave mode, multiple manual levels, fast recycle, multi-burst manual
Cons: No P-TTL, heavy

I got this flash for my home studio, to act as a radio controlled light source. I'm impressed by what I've seen so far.

The flash has everything you would expect from a modern flash, except sadly PTTL (which would make it quite expensive). It's got a full arsenal of controls, with six manual power levels, fully customizable multi-burst manual (frequency, repetitions). It can act as an optical slave, the zoom head can be manually controlled, it recycles fast (with Pure Energy rechargeable alkalines).

It's a bit heavy and not that powerful (GN 50) but it's also very very well made. The controls are well laid out and are intuitive (I can use it without having read the manual). The power only goes to 1/32 which is not always low enough for studio (but you can use a gel filter for that). The head swivels all the way around.

Triggered by a Yongnuo YN-04 II it works flawlessly and improves my studio setup!
Site Supporter

Registered: November, 2010
Location: California
Posts: 2,223
Review Date: January 22, 2011 I can recommend this item: Yes | Price: $120.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Best looking and built flash by Pentax, wonderful and useful
Cons: It cannot be used as a master or control, but as slave, but that is the way I use it

I give 10 to this lens even though it does not have P like in P-TTL, it only does TTL. I use it as slave and flashes wonderfully. I use it in a studio for portraits and for photographing small items in a box. I also have an AF360FGZ that I use also as slave or as master. The two work wonderfully. I also use this flash on the camera with a diffuser to photograph in weddings and parties, I use it as a bouncer. I think this lens uses less power than the AF540FGZ. I love it, and since many people do not know how to use it, they give up on it. Don't!! This is a great lens. BTW, the P (as in PREFLASH)- in P-TTL is what allows the lens to control the output of light according to the instructions of the master/control flash. The lens does not participate in the conversation with the master flash prior to the shooting, so you have to set the output manually. Easy thing to do.
New Member

Registered: September, 2010
Location: Osijek
Posts: 2
Review Date: October 30, 2010 I can recommend this item: Yes | Price: $100.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: powerfull, accure
Cons: didn't find anything yet

Have bought it from ebay. It was a little defect, corrosion on a battery pins, and when it gets cleaned work perfect.
For me as a casual photographer, it's just perfect. I use it on K-x.
Would recommend it to everyone, cause is cheap but nice thing to have
Veteran Member

Registered: December, 2007
Location: Prague
Posts: 1,199
Review Date: May 7, 2010 I can recommend this item: Yes | Price: $75.00 | Rating: 8 

Pros: strobo, optical slave, durability
Cons: lacks features of modern flashes

I have used several different flashes - Canon, Metz, Vivitar, Pentax...
This one lacks some advanced modern features (born in 1992) but it is still a fine flash, easy to operate and very robust.
I use it mainly as a slave flash either optically or radio triggered. Even simple P&S camera (Canon PowerShot S80 in my case) can trigger this flash optically and it gives quite a lot of light considering the current second hand price. It also features the stroboscope that my AF360FGZ lacks and that I've been missing since I sold the old Metz 40MZ3.
If you don't mind the lack of P-TTL then I can recommend this unit.
Add Review of PENTAX AF 500FTZ

All times are GMT -7. The time now is 10:57 AM. | See also:, part of our network of photo forums!
  • Red (Default)
  • Green
  • Gray
  • Dark
  • Dark Yellow
  • Dark Blue
  • Old Red
  • Old Green
  • Old Gray
  • Dial-Up Style
Hello! It's great to see you back on the forum! Have you considered joining the community?
Creating a FREE ACCOUNT takes under a minute, removes ads, and lets you post! [Dismiss]