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11-07-2011, 02:09 PM   #1
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My K20D need (extra) flash

I'm going to shoot a friend's wedding in two weeks. I'm an available light shooter at heart, but now I need a flash. Never entered this part of photography before, so I'm completely blind. I think I need a flash that act like the build-in flash, an automatic metering flash. I'm going to use the flash scarcely, so I'm thinking about sub-$100 AF flash unit, which will more likely to be a non-Pentax brand.

I've been looking for a Pentax dedicated flash for my K20D, and found few things are just beyond my understanding: the TTL or P-TTL thingy. I know that my camera works only on P-TTL flash, not TTL, but I don't know what it means exactly I learned that the TTL is through the lens metering, so what about P-TTL?

I see that there are plenty Pentax dedicated flash available on the market. I'm interested on items like Nissin 34Di/34iaf, Rokinon D870AF, Vivitar 730 AF, but I see that they are listed as TTL flash. Does this means that they won't work in auto with my K20D?

11-07-2011, 02:32 PM   #2
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There is a very good review of flash i this thread here

Digital SLR and P-TTL flash guide


I think that any manual flashgun with auto settings could work. Say your manual flashgun will auto at F4, F8 and F11. You would need to pick one, say F8 and set its iso setting, say iso200 and the set the K20 D to manual and match up the F8 and iso200 and set the shutter speed within the flash sync range...hmm 125th of second? (guessing here)

I have used a Samsung flashgun which is an exact copy of the Pentax and unless I turn them on in the right order the camera doesnt recognise that there is flashgun attached and the flash doesnt set to P-TTL which I suspect is either Pentax TTL or Programmed TTL


Hopefully someone more helpful than me will be along quite soon to really help you out. Cheers Varkie
11-07-2011, 06:13 PM   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by minahasa Quote
I've been looking for a Pentax dedicated flash for my K20D, and found few things are just beyond my understanding: the TTL or P-TTL thingy. I know that my camera works only on P-TTL flash, not TTL, but I don't know what it means exactly I learned that the TTL is through the lens metering, so what about P-TTL?

P-TTL is a through-the-lens metering system which uses a preflash a brief low-power burst before the exposure. All of the camera maker's systems work this way these days.

QuoteOriginally posted by minahasa Quote
I see that there are plenty Pentax dedicated flash available on the market. I'm interested on items like Nissin 34Di/34iaf, Rokinon D870AF, Vivitar 730 AF, but I see that they are listed as TTL flash. Does this means that they won't work in auto with my K20D?
If they just say TTL, they will not work. They also need to be specifically for your Pentax model, or they won't work. I'd stay away from those generics if reliability is important and you don't have time to spend mucking about with testing before the event.

If you need to save money and just want something basic and automatic, the Sigma EF-610 DG ST is a good choice. It's light on features, but will work in P-TTL and has a lot of power.
11-07-2011, 10:37 PM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by mattdm Quote
P-TTL is a through-the-lens metering system which uses a preflash — a brief low-power burst before the exposure. All of the camera maker's systems work this way these days.



If they just say TTL, they will not work. They also need to be specifically for your Pentax model, or they won't work. I'd stay away from those generics if reliability is important and you don't have time to spend mucking about with testing before the event.

If you need to save money and just want something basic and automatic, the Sigma EF-610 DG ST is a good choice. It's light on features, but will work in P-TTL and has a lot of power.
Thank you for the response, really appreciate it. I'm a bit more enlightened now

I have searched for the Pentax capable Sigma models, It seems great..but so also the price ..it is not like I don't want to invest for a good flash, but I'm positive that I won't be using that flash frequently. Is there any other option that fits my budget?

Edited: How about Metz 44 AF-3P or METZ 36 AF-4 or Vivitar VIV-DF-283-PEN?


Last edited by minahasa; 11-07-2011 at 10:59 PM.
11-08-2011, 01:16 PM   #5
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Read this: The Definitive Guide - Pentax P-TTL Flash Comparison
11-08-2011, 03:00 PM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by minahasa Quote
Thank you for the response, really appreciate it. I'm a bit more enlightened now

I have searched for the Pentax capable Sigma models, It seems great..but so also the price ..it is not like I don't want to invest for a good flash, but I'm positive that I won't be using that flash frequently. Is there any other option that fits my budget?

Edited: How about Metz 44 AF-3P or METZ 36 AF-4 or Vivitar VIV-DF-283-PEN?
Metz 44 AF-3P no. Too old. See https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/showthread.php?t=99935. There is a Metz 44 AF-1 model, though, which is newer despite the lower model number.

Metz 36 AF-4 (or AF-5) it's a possibility. Significantly less power than the Sigma flash, and also quite basic. How cheaply can you find it in your area and how much cheaper than the Sigma?

Vivitar VIV-DF-283-PEN this is probably a Tumax/Icorp "generic" rebranding. I wouldn't want to rely on it.
11-09-2011, 02:31 PM   #7
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Main issue w/ 3rd party P-TTL flashes is they eventually become incompatible because the protocol changes when you change bodies...or they didn't reverse-engineer the protocols exactly right.

I'd suggest getting the Pentax 540FGZ if you're doing P-TTL. If you're the primary photographer, 2 weeks away isn't going to give you much time to learn how to use it...

11-09-2011, 03:03 PM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by kenyee Quote
Main issue w/ 3rd party P-TTL flashes is they eventually become incompatible because the protocol changes when you change bodies...or they didn't reverse-engineer the protocols exactly right.
Sigma and Promaster will do upgrades for free by sending them back to the service center. Promaster doesn't always prioritize updating their whole flash line, though. Metz models from the 44 AF-1 and up support user-upgrades via USB although of course that depends on Metz producing an updated firmware in a timely manner.
11-09-2011, 11:48 PM   #9
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I don't know how well the K20D focuses in low light. If that is a disaster, I would seriously consider a P-TTL flash with AF assist beam. I know it adds to the costs but personally I would sacrifice a bit of power (that can be partially compensated by raising the ISO to levels that you're comfortable with) to get the AF assist beam.

Oh, and get a simple diffuser in case you can't bounce; prevents harsh shadows to a certain extend at the cost of reach.
11-10-2011, 03:55 AM   #10
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So, no sub-$100 auto flash for me...
I'm thinking of getting a Yongnuo 460-II then. It's full manual, but the 2 Sec. recycle time for $38 I guess worth every penny
11-10-2011, 07:48 AM   #11
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I could not suggest a fully manual flash for an event. Way too hard to get exposure correct. I would definitely suggest that you look for an older flash that has an auto mode, termed auto thyristor. The way this works is you tell the flash the ISO that you are using, and a sensor in the flash itself shuts off the flash output when it senses the right amount of light has been sent. A great unit that does this are the old Sunpak 383. You should be able to find one for $50.
11-10-2011, 04:22 PM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by minahasa Quote
So, no sub-$100 auto flash for me...
Why not?

I just wrote a long post (#3) in this thread.

It may give you some ideas.
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