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05-09-2018, 08:11 PM   #1
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AF540FGZII vs Cactus RF60X

I'm contemplating selling my AF540FGZII to help fund 2x Cactus RF60x's and 1x Cactus v6ii trigger. Can anyone tell me why I should hold onto the 540II? What does it have that the RF don't?

I understand I could buy two Cactus triggers, but I just feel that adding bulk isn't my thing, as well as one other item to ferry around and keep an eye on battery life etc. I would far prefer to streamline things down, however I am not sure if I will lose a crucial feature in selling the 540II.

TIA!

Bruce

05-09-2018, 09:59 PM - 1 Like   #2
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I have the exact Cactus setup you are thinking of switching to. I could be in the minority but I would say hold onto your Pentax flash.
To get P-TTL with the RF60's you need to use it with the V6 II. The nice thing about having a matching flash/camera is you can just grab the flash & camera on the spur of the moment and start taking pictures. Using the Cactus system there is a "little" set up time and this could cause you to miss a shot (for me its kids being kids&#128512 I love the freedom of just graving a flash and bouncing it of the wall/ceiling and getting TTL
I hope this helps a little!!
05-09-2018, 10:02 PM   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by BruceBanner Quote
What does it have that the RF don't?
Powerful bounce-head auto TTL flash when you need it.


Steve

Last edited by stevebrot; 05-09-2018 at 10:16 PM.
05-09-2018, 10:15 PM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by Photobill Quote
To get P-TTL with the RF60's you need to use it with the V6 II.
How does this work? I know that one can do P-TTL pass-through (wired through to top hot shoe), remote manual control of Pentax flash, and remote HSS, but nowhere do I read of radio coordinated P-TTL. In fact, Cactus states that the V6II does not transmit TTL information wirelessly.


Steve

05-09-2018, 10:45 PM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by Photobill Quote
I have the exact Cactus setup you are thinking of switching to. I could be in the minority but I would say hold onto your Pentax flash.
To get P-TTL with the RF60's you need to use it with the V6 II. The nice thing about having a matching flash/camera is you can just grab the flash & camera on the spur of the moment and start taking pictures. Using the Cactus system there is a "little" set up time and this could cause you to miss a shot (for me its kids being kids&#128512 I love the freedom of just graving a flash and bouncing it of the wall/ceiling and getting TTL
I hope this helps a little!!
QuoteOriginally posted by stevebrot Quote
Powerful bounce-head auto TTL flash when you need it.


Steve
Thanks guys, makes sense. So there's no way to whack the RF60x straight on the K-1 and get P-TTL and HSS etc?
05-09-2018, 11:43 PM   #6
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Cactus RF60x is decent flash. But its only wireless ttl and hss suited. It has single pin mount. To use it as local ttl flash, you have to isolate the pin and mount it on top hotshoe of v6ii unit mounted on your camera hotshoe. If you use your flash TTL on-camera, bounced etc. often, maybe get dual V6II kit instead to support it wireless when needed. I don't have this need, as I don't use on camera flash, so V6II and RF60X kit is my set right now. Works as a charm to be honest.
05-10-2018, 01:28 AM   #7
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For the times you want simple P-TTL flash on-camera keep the AF540.

Get two triggers and a RF60X for when you want to use two off-camera flashes. The AF540 and RF60X work very well together off-camera in P-TTL or manual mode when controlled by the V6II triggers.
05-10-2018, 02:10 AM   #8
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Bruce, do you take photos indoors with bounced on camera flash? Or do you use direct on camera flash outdoors, with or without HSS ? This should be more about your photography, and less about the flashes themselves.

05-10-2018, 12:25 PM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by stevebrot Quote
How does this work? I know that one can do P-TTL pass-through (wired through to top hot shoe), remote manual control of Pentax flash, and remote HSS, but nowhere do I read of radio coordinated P-TTL. In fact, Cactus states that the V6II does not transmit TTL information wirelessly.
Steve
I'm not sure what Cactus has on there site?
With the new firmware update the V6 II & RF 60X is now capable of P-TTL when used together.
05-10-2018, 01:39 PM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by stevebrot Quote
How does this work? I know that one can do P-TTL pass-through (wired through to top hot shoe), remote manual control of Pentax flash, and remote HSS, but nowhere do I read of radio coordinated P-TTL. In fact, Cactus states that the V6II does not transmit TTL information wirelessly.


Steve

I know nothing, but does this guy do/achieve what you think can't be done?

QuoteOriginally posted by Photobill Quote
I'm not sure what Cactus has on there site?
With the new firmware update the V6 II & RF 60X is now capable of P-TTL when used together.
So is there any difference between P-TTL and TTL?

QuoteOriginally posted by mcgregni Quote
Bruce, do you take photos indoors with bounced on camera flash? Or do you use direct on camera flash outdoors, with or without HSS ? This should be more about your photography, and less about the flashes themselves.
Not much indoor tbh, mostly HSS outside thus far. I'm just wanting to get the flash further off the camera on a lightstand etc, and then eventually some studio work.

QuoteOriginally posted by pschlute Quote
For the times you want simple P-TTL flash on-camera keep the AF540.

Get two triggers and a RF60X for when you want to use two off-camera flashes. The AF540 and RF60X work very well together off-camera in P-TTL or manual mode when controlled by the V6II triggers.
I think this makes sense. I was thinking the RF60X would work like the 540II when mounted on the K-1 but if I'm hearing people correctly that's not the case, and you may need to even have the trigger on first and then the flash mounted as well (but even then perhaps not...).

I guess a basic set up can be the K-1 with a trigger, with a 540II mounted on top as a fill light, the RF60x off camera to the side as a Key light? Or can we get things to work well with just the trigger on the camera, RF60x as main key light and the 540II positioned somewhere else as the fill light (slave?).

Sorry if this makes little sense. I'm currently striving for a 2-3 strobe set up and just working out what flashes to keep and which to sell on. Perhaps I should hold onto my Metz 44 AF-2 as well!

If I understand portrait studio shots, a 2-3 setup is standard. 1 key light (RF60x would be my intention), 1 fill light 540II, not sure if this HAS to be on camera however tho..) and a hair highlight strobe with a snoot (Metz 44).

Sounds like I would benefit from one trigger, one flash minimum, but prolly grab a second trigger to the set up? Or can one trigger suffice and the others set in slave mode and fire because the other flash triggered them? Ordering from B&H overseas so it's wise to always get this stuff right (order wise) rather than regretting and needing to pay expensive shipping again (or vice versa and realise you have surplus and want to return and have to pay for return shipping etc.)

I fully admit I am a flash n00b, but I really learn DOING rather than reading, so as always I try to get some general advice (that I can grasp the basics of) to allow me to collect the gadgets and then some practical learning.
05-10-2018, 02:50 PM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by Photobill Quote
With the new firmware update the V6 II & RF 60X is now capable of P-TTL when used together.
Thanks, I forgot about the update part of the equation and will have to refresh my memory on the specifics. Thanks again.

Edit: I thought X-TTL required a V6 II on camera as TX and a V6 II driving a Pentax-compatible P-TTL flash as RX.
Edit (again): I found the answer in Cactus' X-TTL compatibility matrix. The RF 60X may also be driven by a V6 II for TTL on the RX end.

Steve

Last edited by stevebrot; 05-10-2018 at 03:19 PM.
05-10-2018, 02:54 PM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by BruceBanner Quote
I was thinking the RF60X would work like the 540II when mounted on the K-1
It is a SpeedLite and only has one contact on the hot shoe. The magic is in the V6 II.

Edit: Does anyone know whether an on-camera V6II with X-TTL update can provide TTL to an RF60X mounted on its hot shoe? It was my understanding that the top shoe was straight pass-through.


Steve

Last edited by stevebrot; 05-10-2018 at 03:14 PM.
05-10-2018, 02:55 PM   #13
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In the context of this discussion, P-TTL and TTL are the same thing.

Bruce, you're not using on-camera flash much and you say you want to get the flash off-camera outdoors for HSS and studio work. Then you should sell the AF-540FGZ and get two or three RF60x flashes and a V6II. Use the X-TTL firmware for maximum versatility (TTL/ M / HSS).

I wouldn't mess about with a fill flash stacked onto a V6II on your camera .... Asking for trouble. Best to put your fill light on a stand with a reflective umbrella or softbox above and behind you.

You get a very good autofocus assist system, including assist beams from the slave flashes, with this Cactus set up. Also remote control over flash head zoom.

If you are considering selling your Pentax flash then you obviously are not using it much, and are unlikely to start using it on camera in it's natural habitat. Unless you are able to start reading up and learning about on-camera P-TTL bounce techniques and mixing ambient and flash exposures, then the AF-540FGZ is really being wasted. The RF60x's natural habitat is as a radio slave, off-camera.

Last edited by mcgregni; 05-10-2018 at 03:05 PM.
05-10-2018, 09:21 PM - 1 Like   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by mcgregni Quote
In the context of this discussion, P-TTL and TTL are the same thing.

Bruce, you're not using on-camera flash much and you say you want to get the flash off-camera outdoors for HSS and studio work. Then you should sell the AF-540FGZ and get two or three RF60x flashes and a V6II. Use the X-TTL firmware for maximum versatility (TTL/ M / HSS).

I wouldn't mess about with a fill flash stacked onto a V6II on your camera .... Asking for trouble. Best to put your fill light on a stand with a reflective umbrella or softbox above and behind you.

You get a very good autofocus assist system, including assist beams from the slave flashes, with this Cactus set up. Also remote control over flash head zoom.

If you are considering selling your Pentax flash then you obviously are not using it much, and are unlikely to start using it on camera in it's natural habitat. Unless you are able to start reading up and learning about on-camera P-TTL bounce techniques and mixing ambient and flash exposures, then the AF-540FGZ is really being wasted. The RF60x's natural habitat is as a radio slave, off-camera.
Ok ok... good advice going on here, lemme give some more info and also ask a couple more questions.

The indoor events I currently cover on a semi regular basis don't allow for flash, so there's no chance of any bouncing flash stuff (concerts and public speaking engagements). At home I simply don't take that many pics inside, my place is not that interesting, cooler stuff happens outside =)

So that leaves my flash use to outdoor scenarios typically and therefore HSS is something I use a fair bit.

Here's a couple of examples of HSS being used a couple weekends ago;







I have only had the chance to do one wedding thus far but I used HSS a lot that day (it was very sunny on the boat and I was trying to remove the 'racoon' eyes from my subjects; couple of examples;





You get the idea.

The first set of examples I had the flash mounted directly, at the wedding it was used via a vello cord. Recently I have obtained a Takumar 135mm/2.5 MF lens, which is really an experiment of such to see if I think I could realistically work at a proper professional gig (wedding and portrait work) with something like the Samyang 85/1.4 or 135/2. If so I would also like to be able to HSS with those two lenses also, but that now means goodbye vello cord, I have to have both hands on the camera realistically. To be honest, the day I shot the wedding it was very tiring shooting consistently one handed, one hand holding the K-1, one hand with the flash. I'm coming around to the idea of actually preferring to ferry around a lightstand with a strobe and softbox (or my Garry Fong Diffuser) attached, just so I can put the flash down, both hands on camera and then of course get more choices where to direct the flash from.

Further down the line, my school would like me to become the official photographer next year, which I've gladly accepted, so I have a year to get myself sorted for that. I need to (relatively quickly) obtain a portable studio of which to practice such shots, luckily i have willing fidgety kids at home to practice on
So yeh, I'm imagining that set up will me managed with no flash directly mounted and instead everything wirelessly set up.

I'm reading and learning about continuous light vs strobe, I think I may have to have at least one continuous light working on the day, as the shots are typically done in the school hall and it's pretty dimly lit. I think a dark environment and then BAM! all the flashes fire off would be pretty traumatic lol, so I'm guessing the 'right' setup for something like this might be one gentle continuous light source (not strong enough to cause the child to wince etc) and then possibly a couple of strobes to assist (perhaps even a hairlight).

I did like the aforementioned comment that having a 540II to quickly attach and do some bouncing indoors can be handy, I had honestly never thought of it but in my mind I was thinking the RF60x could do that task (but I have not really looked that much into it), I understand now that this isn't the case, the TTL ('magic') is from the trigger.

To help fund the Cactus purchases I'm thinking of selling the 540II (because it will fetch the best price) and hold onto the metz 44 AF-2, which works fine on the K-1 and pretty much does all I think it needs to do should a scenario arise where I want a quick bounce flash no thinking, no set up kinda affair. In fact I think the Metz is more compliant in this regard, if for example I am in Av mode and head outside and get 1/2000th shutter speeds, the metz automatically jumps into HSS, whereas the 540II would cap my shutter speed to 1/200th or something and the shot ruined, I have to manually tell it to go into HSS mode, tad annoying.

So yeh, one question; The cactus trigger v6ii, it has autofocus help, could one use it without flash? For example... when I go concert shooting, the times I miss a shot is typically when the Pentax AF system is too slow or late to engage (it thinks it can manage without, only then realises it can't and that green light thing projects out onto the subject, by which point the moment is gone and the subject moved on). I would really like a thing to just aid the AF of the K-1 all the time, it's actually been one of the motivators to practice MF shooting, I'm contemplating shooting my next live even all in MF! ANyway... yeh... so can the v6ii help in this regard?
05-10-2018, 11:09 PM - 1 Like   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by stevebrot Quote
It is a SpeedLite and only has one contact on the hot shoe. The magic is in the V6 II.

Edit: Does anyone know whether an on-camera V6II with X-TTL update can provide TTL to an RF60X mounted on its hot shoe? It was my understanding that the top shoe was straight pass-through.


Steve
The work around with mounting to RF60X on top of the V6II on camera is to use an insulator between the flash's single pin and trigger (black tape) and the flash will work as though it was not mounted on the camera. You will need to make sure the V6 II trigger is set to "short distance"

I'm not familiar with the AF540FGZII if it has an optical trigger you could us that to fire it In doors.
Id also like to add with that Cactus setup you have total control over the flashes power and zoom from the V6 II. Once you experience this you'll never go back to running back and forth to the flashes to make changes!!!
But with this said I would buy the setup your thinking about and get another V6 II to trigger the Pentax flash off camera when you would like to use a three flash setup (you could look into V5, as I think there much cheaper than the V6 II, I picked two up for $50)
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