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04-27-2015, 05:40 PM   #1
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AF-540 FGZ on the way - how to use off-camera?

So I have an AF-540 FGZ on the way and I'm going to want to use it off-camera (K5) for some portraits. This is my first flash, but I'm OK with messing around with the manual modes, or at least I think I am. In other words, while P-TTL (or regular TTL) would be nice to have off-camera, it's not a requirement in the near-term. I'm also OK with wired accessories for now. Wireless triggers would be nice, but cost is an issue and I think wired accessories should work for my needs. I see that Pentax recommends some fancy hot-shoe adaptors (one for flash, one for camera body) along with a special cable. But it looks like the flash and K5 body both have sync ports, as well.


Any recommendations? What kind of sync cable would work for this setup? Do I need the special Pentax adaptors and cable? Or is it better to just suck it up and get full P-TTL wireless remotes?


Any help is appreciated.

04-27-2015, 09:16 PM   #2
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The easy way to start is to use the wireless optical trigger option using the built in flash. This can trigger the 540 easily.
04-27-2015, 09:58 PM   #3
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The K-5 works in wireless mode with the 540. Follow the instructions in both manuals.
04-27-2015, 10:26 PM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by UncleVanya Quote
The easy way to start is to use the wireless optical trigger option using the built in flash. This can trigger the 540 easily.
This is how I did it for my first couple of years, for all my product shots I used to sell things on the forums.

Just get one of these:

Amazon.com : Nikon SG-3IR Replacement IR Panel for the Built-in Flash on the D200, D70s or D70 Digital Cameras. : Camera Flash Accessories : Camera & Photo

so that your pop-up flash doesn't have any chance of adding its exposure to the shot when using it to trigger an off-camera flash.

04-28-2015, 03:52 AM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by EarlVonTapia Quote
This is how I did it for my first couple of years, for all my product shots I used to sell things on the forums.

Just get one of these:

Amazon.com : Nikon SG-3IR Replacement IR Panel for the Built-in Flash on the D200, D70s or D70 Digital Cameras. : Camera Flash Accessories : Camera & Photo

so that your pop-up flash doesn't have any chance of adding its exposure to the shot when using it to trigger an off-camera flash.

Setting your pop up flash to "control" accomplishes the same thing as that $12 piece of plastic.
04-28-2015, 05:58 AM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by turboast4 Quote
So I have an AF-540 FGZ on the way and I'm going to want to use it off-camera (K5) for some portraits. This is my first flash, but I'm OK with messing around with the manual modes, or at least I think I am. In other words, while P-TTL (or regular TTL) would be nice to have off-camera, it's not a requirement in the near-term. I'm also OK with wired accessories for now. Wireless triggers would be nice, but cost is an issue and I think wired accessories should work for my needs. I see that Pentax recommends some fancy hot-shoe adaptors (one for flash, one for camera body) along with a special cable. But it looks like the flash and K5 body both have sync ports, as well.


Any recommendations? What kind of sync cable would work for this setup? Do I need the special Pentax adaptors and cable? Or is it better to just suck it up and get full P-TTL wireless remotes?


Any help is appreciated.
The manual for this flash is confusing and offers very little explanation about how to set up. Maybe they have improved it but this was very helpful:
04-28-2015, 06:33 AM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by EarlVonTapia Quote
This is how I did it for my first couple of years, for all my product shots I used to sell things on the forums.

Just get one of these:

Amazon.com : Nikon SG-3IR Replacement IR Panel for the Built-in Flash on the D200, D70s or D70 Digital Cameras. : Camera Flash Accessories : Camera & Photo

so that your pop-up flash doesn't have any chance of adding its exposure to the shot when using it to trigger an off-camera flash.
What does this do that the flash in wireless control mode does not?
04-28-2015, 07:29 AM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by UncleVanya Quote
What does this do that the flash in wireless control mode does not?
Some folks feel that the onboard flash can contribute to the exposure even in controller mode when it is close to the subject being photographed.

This shield is supposed to allow only infra red wavelength to pass to to the slave flash, and prevent the controller strobe from impacting the exposure.

04-28-2015, 07:49 AM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by crewl1 Quote
Some folks feel that the onboard flash can contribute to the exposure even in controller mode when it is close to the subject being photographed.
I can vouch for this. I just went with the cactus setup. radio is much better.
04-28-2015, 08:47 AM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by crewl1 Quote
Some folks feel that the onboard flash can contribute to the exposure even in controller mode when it is close to the subject being photographed.

This shield is supposed to allow only infra red wavelength to pass to to the slave flash, and prevent the controller strobe from impacting the exposure.
Nice trick.

---------- Post added 04-28-15 at 11:48 AM ----------

QuoteOriginally posted by goodasgold Quote
I can vouch for this. I just went with the cactus setup. radio is much better.
I think that may be the best bet with the K3ii.
04-28-2015, 08:49 AM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by UncleVanya Quote


I think that may be the best bet with the K3ii.
HAHA you so funny
04-28-2015, 08:51 AM - 1 Like   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by crewl1 Quote
HAHA you so funny
Unintentional comedian. I mean that it seems better to go with a good radio trigger than to use the small P-TTL flash that Pentax came out with. The flash is more expensive and not very capable so it seems a better approach.
04-28-2015, 10:21 AM   #13
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It depends on the fact if that new flash will allow to use another remote flash in pTTL HSS mode; if not, I would indeed prefer radio.
04-28-2015, 12:40 PM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by turboast4 Quote
So I have an AF-540 FGZ on the way and I'm going to want to use it off-camera (K5) for some portraits.
QuoteOriginally posted by sterretje Quote
It depends on the fact if that new flash will allow to use another remote flash in pTTL HSS mode; if not, I would indeed prefer radio.
The flash selected does support pTTL but I don't know about pTTL HSS... I'm not sure which models support it and which don't.
04-28-2015, 02:24 PM   #15
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Thanks everyone for the replies. With wireless triggers so popular, I completely overlooked the fact that the pop-up flash can control the 540 off camera. Thanks for the link to the video, it was really helpful. My flash arrived today, and I was able to set-up the camera and flash according the way the video shows with one exception. The flash does not go into P-TTL mode when in wireless; it will only cycle through Auto and Manual modes and the exposure is definitely not right. The images are all underexposed, and some are even completely black. The 540 does fire and I confirmed that the camera and flash are both on the same channel. The exposure seems to be mostly OK on-camera in P-TTL, although it is overexposed by maybe a stop or two.


Any other tips for something I might be missing?
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