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11-23-2013, 02:39 PM   #1
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Af-360

Will the AF-360 be sufficient for a new k-5 user who has little idea what he's doing? I found one for $99. Or can I get the even cheaper used ones, and learn just the same? Some are as cheap as ten bucks!

Dave

11-23-2013, 03:09 PM - 1 Like   #2
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QuoteOriginally posted by davids8560 Quote
Will the AF-360 be sufficient for a new k-5 user who has little idea what he's doing? I found one for $99. Or can I get the even cheaper used ones, and learn just the same? Some are as cheap as ten bucks!

Dave
Sounds like a pretty good deal. The only big minus with this flash is that the head doesn't swivel.

Adam
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11-23-2013, 07:28 PM - 1 Like   #3
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The other big minus is the battery door is a piece of junk and will eventually fail.
11-24-2013, 01:27 AM - 1 Like   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by davids8560 Quote
Will the AF-360 be sufficient for a new k-5 user who has little idea what he's doing?
Yes. As mentioned, it's lacking swivel which is the reason why I wouldn't buy it.

QuoteOriginally posted by davids8560 Quote
I found one for $99. Or can I get the even cheaper used ones, and learn just the same? Some are as cheap as ten bucks!
There is no difference between a used one and a new one. Unless you're talking about other brands / models that are cheaper.
If you want to learn, a full manual flash is the way to go. Yongnuo's are well regarded and around $60 (new).

Just a quick overview of the three ways how a flash can work.
  1. pTTL / TTL gives full automation where the camera decides on 'how much flash' is required, TTL stand for 'through the lens'; TTL does not work on modern Pentax dSLRs, you need pTTL for e.g. K5.
  2. auto-thyristor (in short auto); the flash determines 'how much flash' is required. You need to do some thinking like copying some settings from the camera to the flash.
  3. manual; the flash has one or more power settings (the more,the better) and you have to do the thinking.
I think that the AF360 gives you 1 and 3 but not 2. The Yongnuo only gives you 3

One warning: if you buy older film era flashes, check the trigger voltage as there is a chance that you will fry your camera.

11-25-2013, 07:59 AM   #5
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What sort of instance benefits from the swivel feature?

Thanks
11-25-2013, 10:26 AM - 1 Like   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by davids8560 Quote
What sort of instance benefits from the swivel feature?
Bouncing against walls with camera in landscape position and bouncing against ceilings with camera in portrait position.
11-25-2013, 10:28 AM - 1 Like   #7
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Agree with Adam - good deal. You'll learn PTTL and all sorts of other things, and you can always bounce a flash off a ceiling. Cheaper ones tend to be just manual or strange old ones with incompatible voltages - be careful and do your research forst.
11-25-2013, 12:25 PM   #8
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Yikes! I certainly wouldn't want to fry my brand new camera! I thought any Pentax flash would be fine. The $99 AF-360 looked to me like a fairly serious unit compared to the older littler ones I saw. But they were all old flashes. And actually I saw some Yongnuos in my search results, but I skipped right over them because I figured it's best to stick with authentic Pentax accessories. I assumed that other brands wouldn't work as good. So Yongnuo is a good way to go? They are just as functional and compatible as any authentic Pentax flash? Okay, then... Guess I just never heard of them. I've heard of Metz and Sunpak, but not Yongnuo! Those Mecablitz units sure are pricey! I basically skipped right by them too! So how do you find out the right voltages?

11-25-2013, 08:00 PM - 1 Like   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by davids8560 Quote
Yikes! I certainly wouldn't want to fry my brand new camera! I thought any Pentax flash would be fine.
...
...
So how do you find out the right voltages?
They say all Pentaxes will be fine. It's older film era flashes (without TTL) that can be dangerous. E.g. Photo Strobe Trigger Voltages. If they're mentioned there as safe, you're OK; else you can measure it yourself with a volt meter. And there is always something like Wein Safe-Sync Hot Shoe to Hot Shoe (SSHSHS) 990-560 B&H Photo to make them safe.

QuoteOriginally posted by davids8560 Quote
So Yongnuo is a good way to go? They are just as functional and compatible as any authentic Pentax flash?
Not as functional as they lack pTTL (and possibly even auto-thyristor, not sure); therefore they take a little more thinking (as indicated in post #4). But they do the job; plenty of people here use them.

PS Metz is not that expensive compared to Pentax flashes that you buy new.
11-26-2013, 06:28 AM - 1 Like   #10
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Sorry I don't have time for a complete reply, but:

1) I would not go with the Yongnuo for a first flash. It's all manual settings, not easy to get right.
2) For $99 that Pentax 360 is a good deal for a beginner. Works in PTTL, Auto, and manual. You will grow to find the lack of swivel a real pain in the butt though. It is very limiting for bounce flash, which is what you will want to be using whenever you can.
3) Used older flashes like Sunpaks with the Auto mode are great for beginners, and very inexpensive.
11-26-2013, 01:27 PM   #11
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Actually, looking at B&H prices it appears the older AF540 is the best value. But for someone with my limited experience it may be unnecessarily full featured. But it looks like a good value, bang for buck at its present price. The older AF360 is more than the older AF540, unless I read it wrong!

Last edited by DavidSKAF3; 11-26-2013 at 07:48 PM.
11-26-2013, 11:22 PM - 1 Like   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by davids8560 Quote
But for someone with my limited experience it may be unnecessarily full featured.
No, it's not 'unnecessarily full featured' for your experience. You will always regret it if you find out later that a you need a certain feature that is not in the one you bought unless you made the choice considering the limitations. So if you consider it good value, go for it (or the Metz in that same price range).

PS I think that you're far from your original $99 These are the prices I see at B&H (selected Metz and Pentax so you can do a compare): On Camera Flashes | B&H Photo Video
11-26-2013, 11:29 PM   #13
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Thanks! I will have to study the Metz product line a little. Off the top, do you know what Metz's AF-1 and AF-2 signifies?

I'm pretty sure I want one that swivels. I may not know what I'm doing, but I like to experiment. Then sometimes, when I get sufficiently frustrated, I actually go and read the instruction manual a little!

Thanks for keeping in touch with my thread!

David
11-27-2013, 02:36 AM - 1 Like   #14
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AF-1 and AF-2; to my knowledge the numbers can mean two things that are closely related
1) a (hardware) revision (possibly adding some new functionalities); 58AF-1 was followed by 58AF-2
2) same product line but different functionalities; e.g. Metz 45CL-1 (entry level) versus 45CL-4 (top of the line)

And if you start looking at others, you should also look at Sigma's line-up
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