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09-23-2018, 01:04 AM   #1
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Pro flash pack for outdoor photography and events

Can somebody please shine some light for me, into the best pro flash kit for Pentax k3 and also k1 including a battery pack? I've been looking at the following items.

1) Godox Witstro AD180/AD360 Cheetah Bare Bulb Hotshoe 180W HSS Flash No
Godox Witstro AD180/AD360 Cheetah Bare Bulb Hotshoe 180W HSS Flash No 702334862575 | eBay

2) Metz Mecablitz 76 MZ-5 Digital Camera Flash (doesn't come with the portable battery pack) I understand that this flash unit requires a special adapter SCA 3702 which I have got for my old Metz 45 CT 4.
Metz Mecablitz 76 MZ-5 Digital Camera Flash* | eBay

3) Interfit Strobies Pro-Flash 360 W/s Kit with Battery
Interfit Strobies Pro-Flash 360 W/s Kit with Battery STR227 B&H

I've got Metz 50 AF-1 which is sufficient when I need to take one picture at the time. But this flash unit can't keep up with the increased demand e.g., using the flash as fill-in light on a bright sunny day; taking a lot of pictures which requires a fast recharge time.

Thanking you in advance guys.


Last edited by Katja; 09-23-2018 at 02:46 AM.
09-23-2018, 04:58 AM   #2
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For outdoor photography, I'd recommend having the option to use HSS (High Speed Sync).
Otherwise, you'll be limited to shutter speeds not exceeding 1/180s (or 1/200s, in case of the K-1). Instead of an HSS-capable light, you can use neutral density filters, but they are a bit of a pain in several ways and I wouldn't recommend this for (fast-paced) event photography.

I don't think any of your options with the exception of the Metz 50 AF-1 is HSS-capable. The Godox lights may acquire HSS-capabilities, if Godox will release respective firmware updates. You may want to consider the Godox AD200 as well, but again, it needs a as of yet non-existent firmware update to work with the XPro-P trigger for Pentax. Both Godox AD400 PRO and AD600 PRO are also options you may want to consider and for these a Pentax-compatible firmware version already exists. The XPro-P itself, however, is still only available for pre-order. I don't think anyone knows when it will become available for real.

You can already achieve HSS with some Godox lights by using trigger stacking, i.e., using a Cactus V6II on the camera and then placing a regular Godox trigger on top of it. You'd have to be careful, though, which devices will work with each other.

Two more questions that may help us answer your question better:
  1. Do you get enough power out of the Metz 50 AF-1? Is it mainly the recycle time that you'd wish were shorter? More modern flashes like the Cactus RF60X recycle in 1.9s instead of 3.5s while delivering more power. If you use two flashes in conjunction, you can halve their output (to achieve the same overall output as before) in order to halve the recycle time.
  2. Are you after automatic exposure control? Personally, I prefer manual flash power control but for event photography, it can be useful to have access to P-TTL. Both Cactus and Godox triggers are capable of that. There is also a HSS/P-TTL capable trigger by Phottix but you'd be limited to the Phottix Indra strobes (battery-powered) and the Phottix Mitros flash.
09-23-2018, 06:24 AM   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by Class A Quote
For outdoor photography, I'd recommend having the option to use HSS (High-Speed Sync).
Thank you for your response Class A, and also for the hint re HSS. I keep forgetting about this feature in my Metz 50 AF - 1. I should definitely start using this feature! ND filters sound very clumsy .. especially when I'm doing "kids in action" photography.

On the other note, my husband just suggested checking the model number of my rechargeable batteries, which I use with my current flash unit. To my surprise, these batteries were manufactured in 2004! I reckon this could also cause some issues, and in particular with the "recharging" time.

QuoteOriginally posted by Class A Quote
Do you get enough power out of the Metz 50 AF-1? Is it mainly the recycle time that you'd wish were shorter?
The issue is with the power and also the recycled time. I'm used to setting my flash unit in "M" mode. Sometimes, I take one picture after the other. The flash unit goes off a few times, then it doesn't fire at all. I am aware that I can use a high ISO to get a shorter rechargeable time. But that doesn't seem to make any difference. On some occasions, the flash was overpowering all scene without me changing any setting in my camera or the Metz 50 AF -1.

I've got Trigmaster II (Aputure), but I usually use these devices only in my studio.

QuoteOriginally posted by Class A Quote
Are you after automatic exposure control? Personally, I prefer manual flash power control but for event photography, it can be useful to have access to P-TTL.
I'm happy to use "M" mode as I like to be able to control the light.

Note: when I'm shooting events, I've no time to stop and set up my flash on the stand. I usually have the flash mounted on my camera. This is the most convenient option when I need to move around. Alternatively, I'm used to bouncing the flash from the ceiling when I'm doing indoor photography. But, this isn't possible when I'm asked to shoot outdoor.
09-23-2018, 02:44 PM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by Katja Quote
1) Godox Witstro AD180/AD360 Cheetah Bare Bulb Hotshoe 180W HSS Flash No
...
3) Interfit Strobies Pro-Flash 360 W/s Kit with Battery
The Strobie is a rebranded Godox AD360, so these are actually the same unit.

The AD360 probably underwent more rebranding than any other Godox unit, and B&H listed it both as the Strobie and as the Volt VB-22.

There is a later version of the AD360, the AD360 II, which has a built-in a Godox X transceiver. But it only has compatible feet for Canon and Nikon, and can only be a TTL/HSS radio slave to the currently supported systems (Canon, Nikon, Sony, Fuji, and micro four-thirds). As Class A pointed out, Godox isn't yet supporting P-TTL/HSS directly for Pentax users, yet.

09-24-2018, 02:58 AM   #5
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It seems like you are only wanting on-camera flash, bounced if indoors, or direct outdoors. I would not like to deal with Manual flash mode when using on-camera flash in any sort of dynamic situation...P-TTL is a good choice for this I believe.

Perhaps you would be better to consider good performing modern model, like the Pentax AF-540FGZII, and use it with two or three sets of high performance rechargable batteries. With the right battery types the recycling performance is good without the extra bulk of a power pack.
09-24-2018, 07:14 AM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by inkista Quote

There is a later version of the AD360, the AD360 II, which has a built-in a Godox X transceiver. But it only has compatible feet for Canon and Nikon, and can only be a TTL/HSS radio slave to the currently supported systems (Canon, Nikon, Sony, Fuji, and micro four-thirds). As Class A pointed out, Godox isn't yet supporting P-TTL/HSS directly for Pentax users, yet.
Thank you for your comments inkista. Godox 360 might be the way to go when it becomes compatible with Pentax.

---------- Post added 09-25-2018 at 01:26 AM ----------

QuoteOriginally posted by mcgregni Quote
It seems like you are only wanting on-camera flash, bounced if indoors, or direct outdoors. I would not like to deal with Manual flash mode when using on-camera flash in any sort of dynamic situation...P-TTL is a good choice for this I believe.
This is a valid observation mcgregni. When I'm shooting events, there is no time to set up the external flash on the stand. And it can be quite time-consuming to fiddle with "M' setting. Unless you can "smell" the light.

QuoteOriginally posted by mcgregni Quote
Perhaps you would be better to consider good performing modern model, like the Pentax AF-540FGZII, and use it with two or three sets of high-performance rechargeable batteries. With the right battery types, the recycling performance is good without the extra bulk of a power pack.
This was also my second thought. The Pentax AF-540FGZII looks like a very good flash. The only downside might be the recharging time (as per some reviews). I'm trying to avoid getting the power pack as my gear is already of a considerable weight.

In the meantime, I picked my good old Metz 45-CT 4 to see what it can do. Unfortunately, I can't use this flash unit in TTL or HSS mode, but it certainly has the power and the required rechargeable time which is crucial for events photography. Today, I placed an order for the latest generation of the rechargeable AA batteries to give this unit a fair go. :-) I've noticed that this flash unit has the "W" mode which is recommended for sequence shots for continuous shooting. To be honest, I've never really explored the full potential of this flash unit. So, I might see what it can do, rather than rushing into spending $$$.

Thank you again for your comments mcgregni.

Last edited by Katja; 09-24-2018 at 07:40 AM.
09-25-2018, 05:01 AM   #7
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The recently released Profoto B10 looks very nice. At $1600 it is not budget friendly, though. They say that it has the power of five speedlights in a small package, with rechargeable batteries.


Profoto B10 - The power of small

09-25-2018, 09:42 AM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by Wasp Quote
They say that it has the power of five speedlights in a small package, with rechargeable batteries.
I cannot believe Profoto actually have the nerve to make such an obviously incorrect claim.

Of course one cannot directly compare Ws with GN but generally (non-anaemic) speedlights are assumed to have 60-75Ws. That suggests that the B10 replaces ~3 speedlights.

F-stoppers have actually performed measurements and found the B10 to be equivalent to ~2.5 speedlights. It is not trivial to make meaningful measurements because one doesn't want to be fooled by hot-spotting characteristics and doesn't want to ignore light that gets sent into angles one isn't measuring, so I think it is quite possible that F-stoppers didn't do the B10 justice. However, I'm certain that the B10 is nowhere near to replacing five speedlights.

01-04-2019, 01:47 AM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by Wasp Quote
The recently released Profoto B10 looks very nice. At $1600 it is not budget-friendly, though.
I've just noticed this post. Sorry for the late response. The $1600 is WAY OVER my budget ($500 AUD).
01-04-2019, 06:49 PM   #10
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Godox AD400 or 600 are the perfect choice with Bowens mount...
01-05-2019, 12:54 AM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by stub Quote
Godox AD400 or 600 are the perfect choice with Bowens mount...
..or the AD200 (now that it's got a firmware update for Pentax), if a smaller unit is required. And the extension head and pouch means you might be able to mount the head on a bracket while the XPro-P is on the hotshoe. Unfortunately, there's no X1T-P, so you can't just stack it on an X1T, like the Canon/Nikon shooters are doing to get the AD200 "on-camera."

The AD600 has a similar extension head and bag, but it's a lot bigger/heavier. Better for a VALS to carry it, vs. the photographer.

The AD400 Pro's extension head hasn't been released, AFAIK.
01-05-2019, 07:55 AM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by inkista Quote
..or the AD200 (now that it's got a firmware update for Pentax), if a smaller unit is required. And the extension head and pouch means you might be able to mount the head on a bracket while the XPro-P is on the hotshoe. Unfortunately, there's no X1T-P, so you can't just stack it on an X1T, like the Canon/Nikon shooters are doing to get the AD200 "on-camera."
Thank you for your comment Inkista and Stub. These two options were also mentioned by Class A in one of the previous comments.

I've been also reading a lot about Cactus RF60x and Cactus V6II which seem to be a cheaper alternative to the Godox system or Pentax branded flashguns. I already have Aputure Trigmaster II (wireless remote kit) which works alright with my studio strobes and Metz 50 AF 1. However, the Metz flashgun seems to be a bit slow (recharging time) and V6II is much more capable than Aputure. So, I'm looking for a faster flashgun for outdoor photography which will be also capable of HSS capabilities (if required). I reckon that if I get the Cactus kit, I could eventually get another Cactus kit which could replace my existing studio lighting kit.
01-05-2019, 08:04 AM   #13
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Just bear in mind that the RF60x is not ideally suited as an on-camera P-TTL / HSS option, as it requires the V6II also for these functions. Directly on the hotshoe the flash is a Manual mode only choice, and no HSS.
01-06-2019, 12:32 AM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by Katja Quote
I reckon that if I get the Cactus kit, I could eventually get another Cactus kit which could replace my existing studio lighting kit.
Just bear in mind, as I mentioned on the other thread, that Cactus don't have studio lighting options. Lighting with speedlights like the RF60X or similar is not impossible but far from ideal when using large modifiers, requiring modelling lights, desiring quick recycling times, and independence from limited battery capacities.

You can, of course, trigger any studio strobe with a sync-port (I haven't ever seen one without a sync-port) using Cactus receivers, but this won't give you remote control over power levels and you won't get the use of HSS either. In many studio scenarios, the loss of these two features is not a serious issue, but it is obviously much more convenient and quicker if you can adjust lighting levels/ratios from the camera position. Also, there are studio lighting options that double as location lights and if you include such a use case then remote power level control and HSS become much more useful.

There are a number of options for Pentax that include speedlights and studio lights (such as from Phottix) but the largest range and the most affordable prices are offered by Godox (aka "Flashpoint" when bought through Adorama).
01-07-2019, 12:04 AM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by mcgregni Quote
Just bear in mind that the RF60x is not ideally suited as an on-camera P-TTL / HSS option, as it requires the V6II also for these functions. Directly on the hotshoe the flash is a Manual mode only choice, and no HSS.
I know, but I'm quite okay (still learning) to use the flash in the M mode.

---------- Post added 01-07-2019 at 06:45 PM ----------

QuoteOriginally posted by Class A Quote
You can, of course, trigger any studio strobe with a sync-port (I haven't ever seen one without a sync-port) using Cactus receivers.
I've just checked my strobes (StudioPro F121 - 150) and there is a synch port!

QuoteOriginally posted by Class A Quote
But this won't give you remote control over power levels and you won't get the use of HSS either. In many studio scenarios, the loss of these two features is not a serious issue, but it is obviously much more convenient and quicker if you can adjust lighting levels/ratios from the camera position.
I also think that I should be okay without these two features while I'm shooting in my studio ... but I understand the convenience of having them.

QuoteOriginally posted by Class A Quote
There are a number of options for Pentax that include speedlights and studio lights (such as from Phottix) but the largest range and the most affordable prices are offered by Godox (aka "Flashpoint" when bought through Adorama).
I think, I need to remind myself what problem I'm trying to solve:

1) Having a portable flash (ideally with a built-in transceiver)
2) Automatic wireless HSS support
3) Quick recharge time
4) Remote control of flash power and lens zoom
5) Affordable price (around $500 AUD).

FYI I've got my studio lighting sorted incl. triggers (Aperture Trigmaster). I just thought, that if I get either Godox or Cactus kit, it might also work with my studio lighting. But I reckon, I should keep studio lighting separate from the off-camera flash for now.
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