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10-16-2011, 07:19 AM   #1
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Flash fires by self when K5 turned on

I have a new K5 from B&H, 3 weeks old. The first time I mounted a flash, Viviter Series 1, DF-383, it would completely blow out the subject, like a white cat in a snowbank. I checked all the settings on the flash and camera and tried again, same result. I removed the flash and checked the contacts on the hot shoe and flash, clean with no apparent soiling or damage to either. I remounted the flash, turned on the camera and flash. The flash immediately fired and then went into a fast pulse cycle with rapid short flashes (several per second). I removed the lens and tried it again, when I turned the camera on, the flash immediately fired and then went into a fast pulse cycle again. I mounted the flash on my K20d and tried it, normal function with perfect exposure. The K5 has firmware 1.11. Does anybody have any idea or experience with this issue. I'm thinking that I'll return it to B&H if there is no solution to this fully automated flash function of my K5.

10-16-2011, 08:09 AM   #2
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If you do a search for K5 and flash issues, you will find a couple of them with similar symptoms and all relating third party flashes. If you insist on using the specific flash, return the K5 as there does not seem to be a workaround (I seem to remember that K-r causes the same issues).
10-16-2011, 09:56 AM   #3
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I had the same problem with a third party flash when I moved up from the K7 to the K5. The implementation of PTTL seems to be a bit different in the K5 and the older flashes don't seem to be completely compatible. I really like the K5 so returning it would be a bit of an overkill over a cheap flash. I just bought a new Metz 58 flash and everything is good. It works great on the K5.
10-16-2011, 10:35 AM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by sterretje Quote
If you do a search for K5 and flash issues, you will find a couple of them with similar symptoms and all relating third party flashes. If you insist on using the specific flash, return the K5 as there does not seem to be a workaround (I seem to remember that K-r causes the same issues).
Are you saying that it is not a problem with with my camera, but a issue with the K-5? If so, getting another K-5 wouldn't solve the problem.

Has anyone had this problem with their K-5? Conversely, has anyone had the Vivitar 383, or other 3rd party flash work with their K-5?

10-16-2011, 10:43 AM   #5
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I've never experienced any of this, with the Metz 58. It's the only 3rd party flash I own. Are you sure the Trigger voltage on this flash is Safe? You say it works on your K20d, I get that, but I'm just wondering.

10-16-2011, 10:58 AM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by JeffJS Quote
I've never experienced any of this, with the Metz 58. It's the only 3rd party flash I own. Are you sure the Trigger voltage on this flash is Safe? You say it works on your K20d, I get that, but I'm just wondering.

Yes, this flash worked perfectly on the K20d. If Pentax has changed the trigger voltage on the K-5, that would explain why the Vivitar won't work with it.

Have you used the Metz on any other Pentax model? If it worked on an earlier model, the trigger voltage on the K-5 is probably unchanged.
10-16-2011, 12:30 PM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by mrdfred Quote
Are you saying that it is not a problem with with my camera, but a issue with the K-5? If so, getting another K-5 wouldn't solve the problem.
Indeed, another K5 will not solve it as far as I know. But I don't say that it's necessarily an issue in the K5. I don't know much about the technical side of PTTL (read: signal levels, currents, rise and fall times, timing, protocol). But there are two parties involved (flash and camera) and if one of them does not exactly adhere to the specification, it's calling for trouble somewhere along the line.

If Vivitar reverse engineered PTTL instead of designing a flash based on the (paper) specification then that is more than likely the cause of the problem. I don't know if they did but reverse engineering can cause this type of problems.

Any chance that you can update the firmware of the Vivitar and that there is a firmware update that solves the issue?


Recent thread on pentxuser.co.uk about problem with a Humax flash with similar symptoms: Flashgun gone mad
10-16-2011, 01:14 PM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by mrdfred Quote
Yes, this flash worked perfectly on the K20d. If Pentax has changed the trigger voltage on the K-5, that would explain why the Vivitar won't work with it.

Have you used the Metz on any other Pentax model? If it worked on an earlier model, the trigger voltage on the K-5 is probably unchanged.
No. I didn't buy the Metz until after I bought the K5 and had sold all the rest. I do still have the IR K20d but it isn't something I've ever tried a flash on.

My suggestion of a voltage problem is a major shot in the dark so take it as just that.



10-16-2011, 04:37 PM   #9
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Didn't someone say that if you use Automatic on the flash it works well? I'm not advocating giving up on TTL but for a workaround mode A might be helpful...
10-16-2011, 06:51 PM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by sterretje Quote
Indeed, another K5 will not solve it as far as I know. But I don't say that it's necessarily an issue in the K5. I don't know much about the technical side of PTTL (read: signal levels, currents, rise and fall times, timing, protocol). But there are two parties involved (flash and camera) and if one of them does not exactly adhere to the specification, it's calling for trouble somewhere along the line.

If Vivitar reverse engineered PTTL instead of designing a flash based on the (paper) specification then that is more than likely the cause of the problem. I don't know if they did but reverse engineering can cause this type of problems.

Any chance that you can update the firmware of the Vivitar and that there is a firmware update that solves the issue?


Recent thread on pentxuser.co.uk about problem with a Humax flash with similar symptoms: Flashgun gone mad
Well, thanks to all for the information about the "K-5 flash issue". It looks like I'm in the market for a new flash. Does anyone know if the Metz mecablitz 50 AF-1 Digital Flash works as well as the Metz mecablitz 58 AF-1 Digital Flash on the K-5?
10-16-2011, 08:29 PM   #11
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A look at the Metz web site gave me the answer to my question. Both the Metz mecablitz 50 AF-1 Digital Flash and the Metz mecablitz 58 AF-2 Digital Flash work with the K-5
10-17-2011, 01:49 AM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by mrdfred Quote
A look at the Metz web site gave me the answer to my question. Both the Metz mecablitz 50 AF-1 Digital Flash and the Metz mecablitz 58 AF-2 Digital Flash work with the K-5
So does the 58 AF-1

I just don't find myself using a flash much anymore, especially with the K5. Every person's situation is different though. Good luck with your hunt.


Last edited by JeffJS; 10-17-2011 at 02:14 AM.
10-17-2011, 06:09 PM   #13
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I have my new Vivatar DF 283 with my Pentax K-7. I have no problem it is so perfect. .
10-17-2011, 09:04 PM   #14
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I found that you have 383. That's not for Pentax. Its for Canon. I think you choose wrong flash. Should 283. Not 383.
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10-18-2011, 06:05 AM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by Danny Delcambre Quote
I found that you have 383. That's not for Pentax. Its for Canon. I think you choose wrong flash. Should 283. Not 383.
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Thanks for your input, but both the 283 and 383 come configured for Pentax. As I said, the 383 works perfect on the Pentax K20d.
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