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11-29-2012, 04:06 PM   #1
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Vintage Pentax flashes and the K-5

I'm still anxiously awaiting a shipping notice for the new K-5 I purchased a week ago. In the interim, I've been scouring the web, e-Books, and literature to understand the K-5 - particular its compatibility with legacy (vintage) Pentax equipment. When my father passed away, I was given his Pentax SLR collection. At the time, I had no idea what it was other than decades old technology. It was mere happenstance that I would end up selecting a Pentax DSLR to breathe new life into the various primes (M 50mm f/1.4, M 28mm f/2.8, and M 135 f/3.5) and telephoto lenses (K and m42) that I got from his camera kit. Along with the lenses, I also received two Pentax flashes that appear to be fully manual with switches to set shutter, distance, and other settings to (assuming) adjust the flash brightness for exposure.

Are these flashes of any use for the K-5? If so, considering their very manually operated appearance, are they fairly easy to use?

I'm hoping to exercise the 50mm and 28mm lenses for indoor shots without flash, taking advantage of the extremely sensitive sensor in the camera. However, the K-5 I purchased came with the DA 50-200mm telephoto lens. I also purchased the DA (non-L) 18-55mm from another forum member to give my wife a fully-automated camera experience So, I can see some value from these lenses, provided they work.

Thank you for your time.

11-29-2012, 04:12 PM   #2
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I believe all Pentax brand flashes are low trigger voltage and safe for use on modern digital bodies, so there shouldn't be a chance of damaging your camera.

Which models do you have exactly? An old AF280T is still a great flash to use, especially with those M lenses because your pop up flash will not work well with them. Most old Pentax flashes have a light sensor in them, it is an early auto mode, so they aren't very hard to use and can adapt to changing conditions.

Also, those switches you are seeing might just be a calculator and have no impact on flash settings.
11-29-2012, 04:36 PM   #3
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Photo Strobe Trigger Voltages

Pentax:
AF-16 Yes 5V, measured by K.B. Lee
AF160 Yes 3.8V, measured by Gary Schaker for his 300D
AF200SA Your Call 7.65-7.72V, measured by Bill Miller
AF200T
AF280T Your Call 7.8V according to Pentax, and reported by John Glover
AF240Z Yes 4.8V, measured by Richard Hartland

Which flash model is it?
11-29-2012, 05:06 PM   #4
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Pretty much all Pentax flashes are compatible with Pentax cameras.
I say 'Pretty' much because there might be one out there that goes against the 99.9%.
Pentax has always been very robust when it comes to Pentax trigger voltages and their flashes.

I have tons of legacy Pentax flashes that I've used with my K5/K10/Ist*D over the years.

11-29-2012, 08:38 PM   #5
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I finally got a chance to take the flashes out. I was mistaken - only one is Pentax.

Pentax AF200S
Kako Auto-250S

Both were used with the ME and ME Super. Both have a test feature and fire perfectly. The AF200S does automatically adjust the flash power depending on the ambient light.
11-29-2012, 08:40 PM   #6
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I notice that the AF200SA has a simpler set of controls than this AF200S.
11-29-2012, 08:48 PM   #7
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I found the AF200S at this UK website (Pentax AF200S Dedicated Auto Flash for Manual AF Digital with case and instructions) which states that the AF200S is compatible with the K-5 with a low trigger voltage of 5.1.
11-29-2012, 08:57 PM   #8
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The AF200S has a lower power setting and has the calculator on the back to make setting the camera easy, the AF200SA looks simpler, but is harder to use. It can be used pretty easily with the camera in manual mode. The white setting is full power, not really a convenient mode to use. The green and red ones are auto modes. The rest of it is just a calculator that helps you set the aperture.

I haven't heard of that Kako flash and I can't find anything on the trigger voltage of it, so test it before attaching it to your camera or you might damage the camera. Use a volt meter between the center pin and the ground on the side of the flash shoe. I prefer to keep it under 12 volts, but many people say 24 volts is safe.

11-29-2012, 09:00 PM   #9
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This all sounds good to me. My father would be proud that I'm putting this good equipment back to use. I'm by no means a professional or even a trained amateur. I'm simply an enthusiast that has five kids in all kinds of sporting and dance activities.
11-30-2012, 07:12 AM - 1 Like   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by aksansai Quote
This all sounds good to me. My father would be proud that I'm putting this good equipment back to use. I'm by no means a professional or even a trained amateur. I'm simply an enthusiast that has five kids in all kinds of sporting and dance activities.
Awesome! In less than 50 years I should be dead too. I hope my 6 year old niece will appreciate all the Pentax gear she is going to be left!!!

She's definitely going to wonder what all this stuff is used for - but she will definitely be a Pentaxian as it's been all around her!

It makes me smile to think she might use my equipment after I am gone.
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