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10-06-2015, 02:06 AM   #1
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AF540FGZ II + K-3 Flash issue

Hello there, I really don't know where to start. Let me just describe my problems per unique incident or point:
* Turning on my K-3 and the AF540FGZ II, when making a shot, the flash does not fire.
* PTTL sometimes is not working. It flashes in full even when set to PTTL.
* Normally, the LCD backlight of the flash would be temporarily off which goes the same as the LCD of the camera when pressing the shutter button half-way. But lately, sometimes it doesn't. Like it doesn't detect the camera or doesn't detect the metering or anything.
* Sometimes, I only have to wait for a few minutes for the flash to start working properly again. Sometimes longer. Sometimes, I have to restart both the flash and the camera for it to work. A lot of times, even restarting doesn't help.
* Most of the time, PTTL just won't take any reading or anything. When I set the flash head back to its normal position (i.e., not set to bounce), I still don't get any reading. Then eventually, sometimes it suddenly works. And then stops again.
* I tried turning off both. Then turn on the flash first and then the camera. Or turn on the camera first before turning on the flash. Both cases do not seem to solve the problem.
* Sometimes PTTL works, but in some cases, the zoom seems to be having problems: it is locked at "10.7-infinity" no matter how close or how far my subject is. Manual zooming works, but when set to automatic, it defaults to that value.
* I haven't encountered these problems before. And I know how to use the flash.
* Batteries are all properly charged.
* I've checked all my settings and I don't see anything wrong.
* I suspect this has something to do with the firmware of the camera? Or the metal contacts gone wrong? Or anything? I really don't know.

Please help. Thank you!


Last edited by bebotette; 10-06-2015 at 02:22 AM.
10-06-2015, 02:25 AM   #2
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Simplest way to try if it's the flash would be to mount it on different camera, but I guess that's easier said than done.
Does it work properly in manual not PTTL?
Do all the function work when taken off camera? (settings, mode selection this kind of stuff)
No foreign bodies covering contacts on camera hot shoe?
10-06-2015, 03:34 AM   #3
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Which version of the camera firmware do you have?
10-06-2015, 04:49 AM   #4
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Could you check something. Is there a rubber gasket at the bottom of the flash mount? Mine disappeared making the mount loose which causes it sometimes to move out of position. The lock doesn't secure it.

10-06-2015, 06:05 AM   #5
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As in the other recent similar thread, definitely try the flash off-camera wirelessly with the K3's built-in flash as trigger and try a few things, ie P-TTL exposure accuracy, manual mode.

I am confused by your description of the zoom locking issue .... You say the flash head zoom locks at 10.7 to infinity, but this sounds like a distance indicator reading.. Zoom indications are in focal length, like 16mm, 19mm, 24mm etc. If the head is sticking at 16mm then make sure the wide angle panel is secure in place.
10-07-2015, 01:46 AM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by mcgregni Quote
As in the other recent similar thread, definitely try the flash off-camera wirelessly with the K3's built-in flash as trigger and try a few things, ie P-TTL exposure accuracy, manual mode.

I am confused by your description of the zoom locking issue .... You say the flash head zoom locks at 10.7 to infinity, but this sounds like a distance indicator reading.. Zoom indications are in focal length, like 16mm, 19mm, 24mm etc. If the head is sticking at 16mm then make sure the wide angle panel is secure in place.
What I mean here is that it's locked at 58mm.. and yes, it locks at the mentioned distance regardless of how near or far my subject is. however, when I pull out the wide angle diffuser, it surely switches to 13mm. I'll definitely try putting it off camera and give a reply.

---------- Post added 10-07-15 at 04:46 PM ----------

QuoteOriginally posted by zan Quote
Which version of the camera firmware do you have?
1.21, the latest I know for the pentax k-3
10-07-2015, 02:12 AM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by derekkite Quote
Could you check something. Is there a rubber gasket at the bottom of the flash mount? Mine disappeared making the mount loose which causes it sometimes to move out of position. The lock doesn't secure it.
I'm not really sure, honestly, what you're referring to. However, I've attached some photos for you guys to look at. Please let me know. Thank you!

---------- Post added 10-07-15 at 05:14 PM ----------

Thanks guys for all those advice and tips. I definitely tried what you suggested. These are what I observed:
1. When the mode is in P, Sv, and Tv, the flash metering seemed to work fine and everything. It tries to calculate the estimated distance and stuff. But I still wonder why it is always 58mm. It doesn't change. I tried manual zooming the flash and it seems to work, but when set to automatic, 58mm does not move.
2. Now, when I include Aperture in modes such as Av and TAv, that's when the 10.7-infinity sets in no matter how long or how far the subject is. Is this really that way?
3. I tried putting the flash off-camera. It works alright. It fires. But I don't know if PTTL works. I can't hear or 'feel' the flash is trying to zoom or what. There's no indication also that the flash is trying to compute distance.
4. I can't set it to manual? When I put the flash to manual, it goes back to PTTL when I half-press the shutter button. And when the AE is locked, I cannot switch to manual. However, when the camera is in manual, that's when I can set the flash to manual also.

Now, I honestly do now know what is 'normal' and when is my flash abnormal. Are those default factory settings? O please help me know.
And sorry, I don't have other pentax cameras to try this flash onto.

And the funny thing, most of all, is that yesterday (when I wrote this post), flash firing was intermittent (like it worked only when it wanted to), but now it's firing all the time. I really hope it will not be intermittent now, but your advice could still mean a lot especially when it happened again... so please continue helping Thank you!
Attached Images
View Picture EXIF
SM-A5000  Photo 
View Picture EXIF
SM-A5000  Photo 
View Picture EXIF
SM-A5000  Photo 
View Picture EXIF
SM-A5000  Photo 

Last edited by bebotette; 10-07-2015 at 02:27 AM.
10-07-2015, 02:16 AM   #8
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The 58 mm comes from the focal length of the lens, not focus distance. What lens do you have?

10-07-2015, 03:09 AM   #9
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Just regarding the distance indication .... This will change only when you adjust a setting, ie ISO, Aperture, flash head zoom, (shutter time in HS mode) , and flash power in manual mode. It shows the distance for correct exposure in manual mode based on your settings or in P-TTL it shows the range across which there flash can automatically provide correct exposure. It should change as you adjust each of these things ....

Also, for any of this to work, make sure you are activating the connection between camera and flash by half pressing the shutter.
10-08-2015, 05:25 AM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by derekkite Quote
The 58 mm comes from the focal length of the lens, not focus distance. What lens do you have?
As of this moment, attached is the DA* 55mm 1.4
So is this how it really works? It only bases that 'mm' thing on the lens attached?
10-08-2015, 05:46 AM   #11
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It moves the lens to narrow or widen the light pattern so as to illuminate the whole frame on a wider lens and give a bit more light at distance with a longer lens. You can adjust it manually, but auto sets it by the lens focal length.
10-08-2015, 06:20 AM   #12
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All of the things you described above in the post with the photos sound normal. Apart from some apparent intermittent connection issues between flash and camera, all sounds normal. The areas you've been concerned about, flash head zoom, distance indication etc are all covered in detail in my 'Flash Guide' .... Download a copy from the link below my posts ....

Keep an eye out over the next couple of weeks as there's a revised 2nd edition of the guide nearly ready. This new version has more information and photos about the AF-540FGZ II.
10-08-2015, 06:23 AM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by bebotette Quote
As of this moment, attached is the DA* 55mm 1.4
So is this how it really works? It only bases that 'mm' thing on the lens attached?
As derekkite said

It sets the flash light spread to match the focal length of the lens in use, I'm not sure why you'd expect something else as this is standard for all zooming flashes from any manufacturer.?

As you increase the spread you reduce the range

If you put the flash in direct (not bounced) so you have distance on the rear you can pop out the wide angle diffuser so it switches to 13mm and you will see the flash range on the back seriously reduced. as GN = 54 @58mm but only 21@13mm

This is all covered in the manual in the GN table. pg58 and pg22 explains the zoom steps both manual and auto for various sensor sizes the flash can be used with (APs-C, Q and 645)

From this you can see the flash spread will only be altered upto 58mm lens in use , This is because the Fresnel lens beyond this stops adding power so range would not improve .
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