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12-08-2011, 11:51 AM   #1
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K-5 flash over-exposure solutions?

Hello, I bought a K-5 during the black friday sales. I'm pretty happy with it, with one big exception. It tends to wildly overexpose when I use the flash. Not every single time, but most of the time.

I mostly use an AF360FGZ. When I use this flash on my old K100D, it generally works fine, though it sometimes underexposes. But on the K-5 it seems to overexpose, perhaps 3 times out of 4. It's annoyingly inconsistent, usually it takes about -2 flash exposure compensation to correct for it, sometimes more like -1.

Even when I used the built-in flash as a fill, it also over-exposed. So it does seem to be a problem with the K-5, rather than with the AF360FGZ.

Looking through the forum history, I do see some other people complaining about the same sort of thing with the K-5. Not a huge number of people, so I assume it must work for most people? Or do most people just not use flash?

I saw a few suggestions in old posts. I have upgraded to 1.11 firmware from the Japanese Pentax site. I have also tried turning on the highlight protection. Neither seems to have made any difference.

EDIT: I originally said 1.13 firmware above. That was a typo, of course, I have 1.11.

When I use the RAW (DNG) files, I can sometimes recover from the over-exposure, but not always.

Can anyone suggest other solutions?

Are there a lot of people, who use flash heavily on the K-5, who find that it works most of the time? (I realize any camera will probably blow it some of the time, but I am seeing it most of the time.) Do you think perhaps I should return the camera, and see if another one works better?


Last edited by ade; 12-08-2011 at 02:27 PM. Reason: typo
12-08-2011, 01:07 PM   #2
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I also noticed a few blown shots with flash, and I have the AF360FGZ, but I have not had time to really test and understand what is going wrong. I don't believe I've seen it happen with the built-in though... I've used it less than the AF360.

What's new in the 1.13 fw? Do you have an English description? A link to download? I tried to navigate the Japanese site but no luck...

Edit: I found the firmware download page on the Japanese site, but it listed the 1.11 version. Are you sure you have 1.13?

Last edited by cbope; 12-08-2011 at 01:12 PM.
12-08-2011, 01:12 PM   #3
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Where have you seen fw 1.13??? i only see until 1.11 everywhere...
12-08-2011, 01:22 PM   #4
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I don't use it heavily and exposures looks reasonable with the odd one out. But I'm seriously considering auto mode on the K5 and M mode on the K100D. Reason for the difference is that the K100D does not have AF assist and that is not available on my AF540 in auto mode Silly limitation.

12-08-2011, 01:39 PM   #5
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Are you using P mode to fully utilize P-TTL? Do you drop down the diffusor plate? What is the distance of the subjects that overexpose?
12-08-2011, 02:21 PM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by Ron Kruger Quote
Are you using P mode to fully utilize P-TTL? Do you drop down the diffusor plate? What is the distance of the subjects that overexpose?
P mode, yes (sometimes shifted)
Diffusor, no, but I do use the white reflector and aim the flash head up sometimes
Distance, few meters (not close subjects)
12-08-2011, 02:29 PM   #7
ade
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QuoteOriginally posted by Dionisis_K Quote
Where have you seen fw 1.13??? i only see until 1.11 everywhere...
Sorry, I meant to say 1.11. I have edited the original message.
12-08-2011, 03:02 PM   #8
ade
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QuoteOriginally posted by Ron Kruger Quote
Are you using P mode to fully utilize P-TTL? Do you drop down the diffusor plate? What is the distance of the subjects that overexpose?
I am using P mode. I am using the diffusor. The subjects I have had trouble with were fairly close, say 1-4 meters. With the AF360FGZ, I have been bouncing the flash off the ceiling. But as mentioned, I have also used the on-board flash as a fill, and those pictures were also over-exposed.

12-08-2011, 09:08 PM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by ade Quote
I am using P mode. I am using the diffusor. The subjects I have had trouble with were fairly close, say 1-4 meters. With the AF360FGZ, I have been bouncing the flash off the ceiling. But as mentioned, I have also used the on-board flash as a fill, and those pictures were also over-exposed.
I use the AF540 flash, but the problem is the same as you describe.

It does not seem to matter what mode the camera is in as the problem seems to be related to bounce flash, and also to the presence of a light colored object that fills a significant part of the frame.

P-TTL has always been a bit mysterious and less than consistent on all of the Pentax bodies before the K5, but not like this.

The best option would be to use an auto mode on the flash (I do not know if the 360 has such a mode) where the flash works like an old style thyristor flash and reads it's own exposure based upon the aperture, iso settings, subject distance and so on. Some refer to this as smart auto.

Failing that, I think you have to manually adjust based upon having a light colored subject in the frame and/or whether you are bouncing the flash or not.

It seems odd that the K5 would work so differently than the earlier models, but so far there has been no hint that Pentax even sees this as a problem.

Ray
12-08-2011, 09:23 PM   #10
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I haven't had the problems on my K-5 with flash that others seem to be experiencing, it's a mystery as to why some do, and some don't. I haven't done any controlled tests though, but pTTL seems to work just the same as how my K-x worked.
12-08-2011, 09:29 PM   #11
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I am using the Metz 58-AF2 and also have not been experiencing any issues with PTTL and overexposure.
12-09-2011, 03:18 AM   #12
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Dirty contacts?

When I first used my istD with my sigma 500 the results were shocking!

analysis of the metadata showed that the camera and flash were mot communicating correctly so I put some contact cleaner on both the flash and camera contacts. This solved the problem.

I now have the K5 so got in touch with Sigma to see if I needed a re-chip (got it done for the K10 / K20) wheo say that Pentax have not told them of any changes in flash operation.

Bill

Last edited by Billgscott; 12-09-2011 at 03:20 AM. Reason: More info
12-09-2011, 03:44 AM   #13
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Guys, there are a lot of solutions when searching this forum but the magic combination I found to work for me is to switch on highlight protection in the menu and set FEC (flash exposure compensation) on the camera to -1

With the Metz 58-AF1 the above recipe which was carefully cooked up by knowledgeable members (which automatically excludes me, obviously) of this forum, my overexposure days are...ahem...over!

It seems the highlight protection overcomes a quirk in the flash metering system and allows it to compensate in a linear way again, the FEC is needed to decrease total output.
12-09-2011, 08:49 AM   #14
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Actually, I've never liked P mode and auto flash settings with any camera. Flash, even fill, is kind of tricky, and over the years, I've gravitated toward using it in AV mode, most of the time with the flash in manual mode. I've developed an instinct for ambiant light/apature/distance/flash output settings (mostly full power). It's not as hard as it sounds. Stopping down gives me a more pleasing effect for DOF, sharper shots and I like the light fall off it creates for low light situations. The only time P and P-TTL works well for me, is in bright sunlight, and even then, I can usually get a richer shot in AV with calculated overrides. It's not just Pentax, because I shot Nikons for decades. Auto modes are inconsistent with flashes, and I almost always use a diffuser to avoid hot spots, glare and harsh shadows, especially with slaves. I use flash a great deal outdoors, because I love the rich, smooth look it gives colors and the Nat Geo kind of 3D look and pop it produces.
Experiment with it.
12-09-2011, 10:09 PM   #15
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I had 3 EV overexposure with the first flash I bought (Bower SFD926P Power Zoom Flash.) Just got the Pentax 360 but haven't tried it yet. The old one needed the diffuser, ceiling bounce and -1 EV comp, when on auto. I was kinda hoping the Pentax would work better.
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