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11-29-2012, 04:34 PM   #1
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Pentax K-5, K-5II and K-5IIs rear sync broken with manual lenses

Just wanted to throw this out for consideration, a letter from a Metz technician. The 'problem' he is referring to is rear sync not working; I use their 58af2 model happily on K7 but it won't play with K5. Nor will 540 or 360. This is what Metz says about Pentax K-5:
Meanwhile I got the Pentax K-5. The camera is loaded with the firmware version 1.13. I use the standard AF lens 1:3.5-5.6/18-55 mm and also the manual lens 1:1.4/50 mm. The camera is set in manual mode "M" with shutter speed 2 sec. The Metz flash unit is set in manual-flash-mode "M" with a partial light output 1/32. The rear function is ON. In this case I also could realise the problem but only if the manual lens is used. If the AF-lens is used the combination works. If I use the Pentax K-7 it works with both lenses.

Therefore I also checked it with the Pentax flash unit AF-540FGZ. If this flash unit is used in rear function with the Pentax K-5 and the manual lens the flash unit will not work. However, if the rear function is switched off the flash unit will fire with full light output. The Pentax flash unit fires with full power together with the Pentax K-7 as well as manual lens with and without rear function. Therefore the Pentax flash unit doesn't enable the P-TTL-flash-mode if the camera is equipped with a manual lens.

Obviously the problem in rear function with manual lenses is caused by the Pentax K-5. In this case the Metz flash unit as well as the Pentax flash unit will not be triggered correctly. This is why we can't remove the problem by a new firmware for the Metz flash unit. Maybe you should contact company Pentax or you should use AF-lenses in this case.
The problem is, extreme macro types like myself who don't use standard consumer crap but use specialised optics like a reversed lens, microscope objectives, microfilm lenses or other industrial optics like a JML 21mm now can't and won't use Pentax anymore since the K-5, because rear sync is unavailable when using anything other than modern lenses, even with Pentax' own flashes. K-7 is fine, K-5 useless. What rather baffles me is that the handbook and specifications of the K-5 don't show any change on the big 'flash functionality' chart compared to the K-7 that I also bought. There's nothing that says that you cannot use manual and rear sync. So is this an error on all K-5s? I sure hope so, because if it's not an error then it must be deliberate.

I guess there's a solution though, get a new lens, take the glass out, glue a female K mount on, use it wide open and pretend it's a part of an extension tube. Should trick the K-5 into thinking it's got a new lens mounted. Anyone have a crappy busted thin new lens I could use for this, or am I expected to spend several hundred US dollars to bodge a solution for something nobody asked Pentax to break in the first place?

Mr Angry from England


Last edited by Nass; 11-30-2012 at 06:20 AM.
11-29-2012, 04:39 PM   #2
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QuoteOriginally posted by Nass Quote
Just wanted to throw this out for consideration, a letter from a Metz technician. The 'problem' he is referring to is rear sync not working; I use their 58af2 model happily on K7 but it won't play with K5. Nor will 540 or 360. This is what Metz says about Pentax K-5:
Meanwhile I got the Pentax K-5. The camera is loaded with the firmware version 1.13. I use the standard AF lens 1:3.5-5.6/18-55 mm and also the manual lens 1:1.4/50 mm. The camera is set in manual mode "M" with shutter speed 2 sec. The Metz flash unit is set in manual-flash-mode "M" with a partial light output 1/32. The rear function is ON. In this case I also could realise the problem but only if the manual lens is used. If the AF-lens is used the combination works. If I use the Pentax K-7 it works with both lenses.

Therefore I also checked it with the Pentax flash unit AF-540FGZ. If this flash unit is used in rear function with the Pentax K-5 and the manual lens the flash unit will not work. However, if the rear function is switched off the flash unit will fire with full light output. The Pentax flash unit fires with full power together with the Pentax K-7 as well as manual lens with and without rear function. Therefore the Pentax flash unit doesn't enable the P-TTL-flash-mode if the camera is equipped with a manual lens.

Obviously the problem in rear function with manual lenses is caused by the Pentax K-5. In this case the Metz flash unit as well as the Pentax flash unit will not be triggered correctly. This is why we can't remove the problem by a new firmware for the Metz flash unit. Maybe you should contact company Pentax or you should use AF-lenses in this case.
The problem is, extreme macro types like myself who don't use standard consumer crap but use specialised optics like a reversed lens, microscope objectives, microfilm lenses or other industrial optics like a JML 21mm now can't and won't use Pentax anymore since the K-5, because rear sync is unavailable when using anything other than modern lenses, even with Pentax' own flashes. K-7 is fine, K-5 useless. What rather baffles me is that the handbook and specifications of the K-5 don't show any change on the big 'flash functionality' chart compared to the K-7 that I also bought. There's nothing that says that you cannot use manual and rear sync. So is this an error on all K-5s? I sure hope so, because if it's not an error then it must be deliberate.

I guess there's a solution though, get a new lens, take the glass out, glue a female K mount on, use it wide open and pretend it's a part of an extension tube. Should trick the K-5 into thinking it's got a new lens mounted. Anyone have a crappy busted thin new lens I could use for this, or am I expected to spend several hundred US dollars to bodge a solution for something nobody asked Pentax to break in the first place?

Mr Angry from England
P-TTL isn't supposed to work properly with manual lenses, if that's what you're getting at. The last camera that did flash the right way was the *ist DS2 and *ist D as far as I'm concerned.

Adam
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11-29-2012, 04:47 PM   #3
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Nothing to do with PTTL - this is manual mode (referring to Metz flashgun manual mode)

On K7 manual 2s exposure, set Metz to manual, rear sync and it always works with any lens
On K5 manual 2s exposure, set Metz to manual, rear sync and it only works with modern Pentax lens but never with anything non-modern or specialist

In fact the flash does actually fire but it's after the curtain is down which is stunningly useful

Last edited by Nass; 11-29-2012 at 04:55 PM.
11-29-2012, 04:53 PM   #4
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I don't think any manufacturer is obligated to supporting full functionality of third party gear be it optics or flash units.

11-29-2012, 04:57 PM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by creampuff Quote
I don't think any manufacturer is obligated to supporting full functionality of third party gear be it optics or flash units.
Sure, but then they should say so in the manual and specs.
But there's no change, I compared the K7 and K5 manuals.
And, you're not seriously going to tell me that a flash firing a rear sync burst after the shutter has come down is intended?!
11-29-2012, 05:12 PM   #6
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Well there are many undocumented changes in functionality and compatibility that camera manufacturers incorporate in new models as well as in firmware updates. Much of the info won't have made it in the operating manual. We all know that flash photography has particularly been the weak link for Pentax. As a workaround, many macro shooters I know now use LED lights for macro as it offers some distinct advantages over conventional flash units.
11-29-2012, 05:54 PM   #7
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Another example of where it would be useful to have somewhere (a email address, a web page etc) where these kind of things could be officially reported to Pentax either as (1) bugs or (2) firmware feature requests.

It is a complete mystery to me how word gets back to the Pentax engineers about stuff like this.
11-30-2012, 05:51 AM   #8
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Oh don't worry, they'll know all about it. Creampuff, thank you, I know. LED has its uses but it's not good for my particular application. Manual flash at say 1/32 has an exposure time of say 1/10,000s so there's never movement blur, critical for my macro stacking:




This is a solution I made this morning. An SMC-A 50 f/1.7 set as -a and araldited in and into infinite focus, optics removed, focus and inner sleeve hacksawed away, cheap extension tube female end added. Ugly, and a bit rubbish because it adds magnification, but yes it fools the K-5. I may have to go and buy the ultrathin Pentax-DA 40mm F2.8 XS and do the same thing to minimise the extra mag.That's annoying. Seems a very cheap way to get lens sales out of loyal customers.



Quite interesting, the 50's aperture coupling protrudes a bit beyond the aperture, so it might be possible for it to connect to the next lens' aperture lever. I wonder if If this, without aperture blades, could be used as an accessory that'd make the k-5 think -m and -k series telephoto lenses are actually -a series macro lenses.




Last edited by Nass; 11-30-2012 at 06:22 AM.
11-30-2012, 06:25 AM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by creampuff Quote
I don't think any manufacturer is obligated to supporting full functionality of third party gear be it optics or flash units.
QuoteOriginally posted by Nass Quote
I also checked it with the Pentax flash unit AF-540FGZ. If this flash unit is used in rear function with the Pentax K-5 and the manual lens the flash unit will not work.
Apparently they don't support their gear either.
12-03-2012, 02:27 AM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by creampuff Quote
I don't think any manufacturer is obligated to supporting full functionality of third party gear be it optics or flash units.
Pentax K-5: made by Pentax
Pentax 540 flash: made by Pentax
Pentax K/M lens: made by Pentax

So how do you want to blame 3rd party when there's only Pentax gear involved? The "oh, it's the 3rd party's fault" fanboy argument is getting really old...

This is not the first evident of Pentax screwing up flash in K-5.
12-03-2012, 08:30 AM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by simico Quote
Pentax K-5: made by Pentax
Pentax 540 flash: made by Pentax
Pentax K/M lens: made by Pentax

So how do you want to blame 3rd party when there's only Pentax gear involved? The "oh, it's the 3rd party's fault" fanboy argument is getting really old...

This is not the first evident of Pentax screwing up flash in K-5.
Fanboy argument?... It is common knowledge that Pentax hasn't made much if any improvements in their flash system. When I made my comment, it was in relation to the OP's Metz flash and the fact that a manual lens was used. How can any manufacturer guarantee complete compatibility for equipment that they don't even make (Metz flash)? Now with the case with of using K/M series lenses, we all know that there is limited functionality with using manual lenses that cannot transmit electronic info to the camera body. Pretty stupid to expect Pentax or any other company to have full backward compatibility for legacy gear which simply can't be upgraded to modern requirements. Want the best system for flash... go Nikon... but even Nikon doesn't guarantee full backward compatibility too.

Last edited by creampuff; 12-03-2012 at 08:54 AM.
12-03-2012, 03:25 PM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by creampuff Quote
Pretty stupid to expect Pentax or any other company to have full backward compatibility for legacy gear which simply can't be upgraded to modern requirements
Thank you, we'll have to agree to disagree. I think, if you look around, a lot of people buy into Pentax because they do expect backward compatibility. I also think that if the functionality works on the K-7, and there are no reported changes anywhere in the manual on any of the flash or camera compatibility pages between K-7 and K-5, then no, I really don't think it's unreasonable to expect this to work as it did on the K-7 at all. Looks to me like Pentax is slowly taking away one of the reasons to use the system, but doesn't want to tell people. Doing it unannounced. I wonder what else they've done to manual lens people without telling us.

Anyhow, they just lost my loyalty, and given that they've disabled the use of rear sync with objectives, reversed lenses, reversed enlarger lenses and any extreme macro optics that matter, they've probably lost the whole extreme macro and macro stacking crowd with this move too.

Way to go, Pentax!

Last edited by Nass; 12-03-2012 at 04:24 PM.
12-04-2012, 02:24 AM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by creampuff Quote
When I made my comment, it was in relation to the OP's Metz flash and the fact that a manual lens was used.
(rudeness edited out)

QuoteOriginally posted by creampuff Quote
Now with the case with of using K/M series lenses, we all know that there is limited functionality with using manual lenses that cannot transmit electronic info to the camera body. Pretty stupid to expect Pentax or any other company to have full backward compatibility for legacy gear which simply can't be upgraded to modern requirements.
Then please explain why exactly the same setup in same controlled conditions works with K-7, K-x, K-m, ... pretty much any camera before K-5? If it works fine with cameras before the K-5 and suddenly doesn't work with K-5 (and its successors) then it's bloody obvious that Pentax screwed something in K-5, either intentionally ("feature") or by mistake (bug).
It's exactly the same with the P-TTL massive overexposures in the K-5, where exactly the same thing worked fine in earlier cameras and suddenly didn't work fine in K-5. Pentax even acknowledged the issue and included a fix (which didn't fix the issue entirely) in one of the firmware updates.


(additional rudeness edited out)

Last edited by Blue; 12-04-2012 at 11:50 AM.
02-21-2013, 10:57 PM   #14
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Nass/All -

Glad I stumbled across this thread. Yesterday I posted a question concerning rear curtain sync in the K-5 forum: https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/pentax-k-5/216146-pentax-k-5-iis-upgrade-...questions.html. I was seriously considering switching from my Olympus 4/3's gear to the K-5IIs. With my Oly e510 I fire 2 old Nikon SB flashes off the hot shoe via a PC cables and an SB-26 via optical slave mode regardless of lens (objective), adapter mount or tubing/bellows used. What I gather from this thread is the only way to properly engage the 2nd curtain on the Pentax K-5 series is to use Pentax specific lens, correct? Besides the butchering work around have you found any other solutions?

Thanks...
02-22-2013, 12:26 AM   #15
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I think so. I ended up using a deglassed lens as adapter (fooling the cam into thinking it has a Pentax lens mounted) which works with Metz-58 as master triggering a bunch of other slaves. I'm not aware of another workaround for using esoteric lenses with rear sync things like objectives, reversed enlarger etc.
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