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02-18-2012, 11:02 PM   #1
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KR - handle mount flash

I'm thinking of getting a Pentax Kr to use with my 8 lenses (3 ME Super bodies) and want a handle mount flash to go with the Kr. Ant suggestions? Won't spend over $200 . Might buy sunpak used - will they work with the Kr. Should I wait for a model that does full HD video 1080/30?

02-18-2012, 11:12 PM   #2
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If you want that sort of video capability, then you should indeed wait for the K-r's successor, as it'll have it (just like the K-01 does).

As for the flash, the AF400T might to the trick, though you could also get a modern one like the metz 50 and buy a handle separately:
Metz mecablitz 50 AF-1 TTL Shoe Mount Flash MZ 50317PS B&H Photo

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02-18-2012, 11:26 PM   #3
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TTL metering flash

Just realized, they are super program bodies. Is TTL metering for the flash available on the KR, is there a plug and outlet or through the hotshoe?
02-18-2012, 11:32 PM   #4
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In my opinion, unless buying used, you won't be doing P-TTL flash off the hotshoe with a $200 budget. And except for Pentax branded flashes, older P-TTL flashes are a crap shoot with the K-r. Kick in another $50 and you are at the entry point. Remember, TTL is not supported, nor does the K-r have a PC type flash port. So in addition to the flash, you need an adapted of some kind if the flash is not on the hotshoe.

It is a whole different ballgame if you are willing to shoot manual or the flash uses built in (thyristor) control.

Many excellent discussions and guides on this topic in the flash sub-group of this forum.

02-18-2012, 11:43 PM   #5
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i THOUGHT YOU COULD ATTACH A HANDLEMOUNT UNIT TO THE TOP HOTSHOE OF THE KR AND TRIGGER THE FLASH???????? WOULD THAT BE A SIMPLY MANUAL FLASH? tHE FLASH HAS IT'S OWN SENSOR i SUSPECTED WOULD SHUT DOWN THE FLASH. HOW DO YOU GET TTL FLASH METERING - IS THERE SOME WAY i CAN ATTACH AM IMAGE FROM MY PUTER FILES
02-19-2012, 03:19 AM   #6
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P-TTL flash would be run through the hotshoe or by using the onboard flash as a controller in wireless P-TTL mode.

You pretty much have to have a modern flash if you want to use P-TTL metering with the K-r.

There are many older Metz and Sunpak handle mount flash units that will work with your camera in manual and auto thyristor mode, either triggered by a PC cord connected to an accessory hotshoe adapter or by a hotshoe to flash cord from the flash manufacturer. You will need to watch out for older flash models that have sync voltages over 24V and either buy a safe sync or add a low voltage trigger circuit to the flash if you decide you want to use a high voltage model.

SOldBear has a number of good posts on different handle mount flashes in the flash forum. I currently use a Sunpak 3600 (high voltage) with a number of accessories and a Metz 60, which needs a separate dedicated battery pack to operate. Some of the Metz 45 flashes will accept a battery pack or AAs.
02-19-2012, 07:03 AM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by PETER J K Quote
i THOUGHT YOU COULD ATTACH A HANDLEMOUNT UNIT TO THE TOP HOTSHOE OF THE KR AND TRIGGER THE FLASH???????? WOULD THAT BE A SIMPLY MANUAL FLASH? tHE FLASH HAS IT'S OWN SENSOR i SUSPECTED WOULD SHUT DOWN THE FLASH. HOW DO YOU GET TTL FLASH METERING - IS THERE SOME WAY i CAN ATTACH AM IMAGE FROM MY PUTER FILES
Please try to avoid all caps. It is the text equivalent of screaming.


Keeping it simple, the K-r has three flash methods:
  • built-in flash
  • attached to the hotshoe P-TLL or self-managed flash (yes there are cables/adapters that attach to the hotshoe and either wired or wirelessly trigger an off-camera flash)
  • built-in support for P-TTL wireless operation.
TTL as you are doing it with your Super Program does not exist. TTL capable flashes will not work in TTL mode.
There is no Photo Connector (PC) jack.
Any flash unit and/or adapter attached to the hotshoe must operate in a low-voltage mode or you risk frying the camera's internal flash trigger.

I jumped from a Pentax Super Program to a Pentax K-r (after playing with digital point & shoot options for a few years). I have several older, but perfectly working flashes. The only way I can use them on the K-r is in manual flash mode, or (for the ones that have it) auto-thyristor mode, where the flash uses its own built-in sensor. Pentax has a proprietary mechanism for its P-TTL flash units. 3rd parties have to reverse-engineer this mechanism to make flashes. With the K-r, it can be hit or miss. I tried one of the lesser 3rd party P-TTL flashes and it was not compatible with the K-r. What I finally purchased was the Sigma EF-610 DG Super. So far I am happy. It is a complex unit that takes careful reading of both the flash AND the Pentax manual to master, but gives me flash options I never had with my Super Program and its TTL capability.

If you are considering the K-r, and flash is apparently a big concern, I strongly urge you to visit this site:
definitive guide to Pentax hot shoe flashes
And visit the section of this forum dedicated to flash photography.
Pentax Flashes and Lighting Technique

There is a learning curve in moving from TTL to P-TTL flash, just as there is a learning curve going from 35mm film photgraphy to APS-C digital photography. If you are like me, you will have to unlearn some instinctive practices and learn some new ones. About the only thing, in my mind, that transferred was my eye for composition (which can always be improved). In the film world, ISO is determined by your film selection, and all you worried about in a given shot was focal length, aperature and shutter. In the digital world, you can adjust (or allow to be adjusted for you) ISO too. In the film world you adjusted white balance with filters (or the darkroom), in the digital world, you do it in the camera on the fly or on the computer. I made my transition to the K-r only a couple months ago. It has taken me that long to begin to get comfortable. I suspect if I were to cram a roll of film into my Super Program right now, I would feel restricted.
02-19-2012, 12:19 PM   #8
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I dug through my bag and found the last flash I had (I had four at one time for a studio-like set-up.) It's a Sunpak AP52 Thryistor handle-mount. My guess is, I could set the Kr for 100 or 200 asa-iso and the flash on auto 100-200iso and it would expose properly? It has a bunch of manual power settings down to 25asa to 800asa and 2 F/stop auto settings at F4 and F8. Manual goes out to 98feet at F1.4 at 200 asa. I uses AC and battery pack modules - it says AC/HV - what's HV? A large battery? The only thing wrong with this unit as I recall is that the ready light doesn't go on. Wonder if someone would try to charge me a fortune to replace it? I just removed the 4XAA Everyready Alkaline batteries from the handle and they were in there maybe 10 years. NO LEAKS! There was a greentree symbol on them so maybe that construction helped.

I seemed to have another model handle mount flash at one time that I could set to 1/8th power or 1/16 power and run the motor film advance and flash each shot at low power of course. I think I sold that at a military reunion and got this and three others. I remember I used to use twin strobes - left and right of the camera when working the banquet room at the Officers Club during our annual reunion.

The AP52 has a round receptical to attach to the Super Program body. I guess I'll have to buy an adapter that connects it to the hot shoe??? My guess is I'm not going to have ttl or p-ttl metering, just the old fashioned stobe sensor measure?? Usually that works out as long as you lock in your asa-iso number on the camera and flash.

02-19-2012, 02:24 PM   #9
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AP-52 manual answers most of your questions: http://www.cameramanuals.org/flashes_meters/sunpak_ap-52.pdf

Test the flash with a digital multimeter, but you will probably need to buy a safe sync or modify the flash with a voltage reducing circuit to use it safely on your camera as the trigger voltage is reported to be in the 150+ volt range. You want to get it under 24V.
02-19-2012, 04:10 PM   #10
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You and 1-2 others have been a great help and comfort. I want to donate $35 to the cause, but not paypal??????
Can I send a check somewhere? How and who and where is that voltage reduction circuit done and
if I ever needed it on my super program, would it still fire? Will it fire the flash only in thyristor mode?

I sometime make purchases via Adorama and B+H, what do I say or write and what advantages are there to the forum?

Any hint when the Kr model with 1080X30 fps might come out?
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02-19-2012, 04:30 PM   #11
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Not sharp examples - sorry bout that

Just figured out the variable power output, it is this model I remembered.

I want to thank you for your attention and patience. The not sharp here examples were taken with an SP 570UZ Olympus - could have sharpened them. Handheld and dim light.
02-19-2012, 05:57 PM   #12
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Wein Safe-Sync Hot Shoe to Hot Shoe (SSHSHS) 990-560 B&H Photo

I have an Opus Sync Protector that does the same thing and can sometimes be found a bit cheaper. Converting the flash is usually a DIY electronics project that takes some knowledge of soldering and around $10 in parts. There are a couple of different sample schematics floating around online. A converted flash or the flash/ safe sync combination should work the same way it used to on a film body.
02-19-2012, 06:23 PM   #13
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Thanks for the added info and follow-up. I'm still debating about buying the Kr with 2 lenses or waiting for the 1080/30fps version I hope is coming out.
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