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10-03-2019, 03:17 PM - 1 Like   #1
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Advice on new flashes

Hi all,

I've come to the conclusion that my old af540fgz is soon to be retired. It's been working great for most of its life, but it's just plain worn out after nearly ten years of continuous use. (The lock switch is worn out, the terminals are corroded, the p-ttl is getting a bit wonky, the shoe has been worn down, etc).

I use the flash in three ways:
1) On camera bounce with p-ttl for family gatherings.
2) Off camera set in thyristor mode (A mode) triggered with pocket-wizards for use with film cameras. (I match the aperture and ISO between the flash and camera and let the flash do its thing)
3) Off camera set in manual mode and triggered with pocket-wizards when working with digital and using light modifiers like umbrellas and soft-boxes.

I'm looking to replace my old unit and have been a little bit overwhelmed by whats available.

I'm thinking that the new AF540FGZ-ii might be the ticket, but I'm also open to units that have higher power or lower price points while retaining p-ttl, and A modes.
Has anyone else gone through this process recently?

10-03-2019, 03:32 PM - 2 Likes   #2
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QuoteOriginally posted by Gerbermiester Quote
I'm thinking that the new AF540FGZ-ii might be the ticket,
The AF540 FGZ II does not have A mode. I use AF540 II s and Cactus RF60Xs together off camera. The Cactus units are great and will do P-TTL off camera but not on it.
10-03-2019, 04:37 PM   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by pschlute Quote
The AF540 FGZ II does not have A mode.
Well that changes my plans. It seems that all the new models are getting rid of thyrister flash. Which is a shame.
10-03-2019, 05:42 PM   #4
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Yeah 'A' mode is great as it gets rid of pre-flash for people who can't stop blinking. The exposure in 'A' mode is particularly useful with K5 and earlier camera's whose flash exposure was poor. Happily corrected in the K3.

If you really require 'A' mode I think you are going to have to look at older flashes. Might just be easier buying your current flash again (new or 2nd hand). No learning required then either.

Best of luck.

10-03-2019, 06:28 PM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by Gerbermiester Quote
Has anyone else gone through this process recently?
nope

QuoteOriginally posted by Gerbermiester Quote
lower price points while retaining p-ttl, and A modes.
I love having the A mode.....works great with older lenses whether M42 or non 'a' k mount I use often especially on the aperture blocked K-50

have found 360 & 540 fgz used at great prices and none have failed yet.....

also you may consider a non working/ for parts and simply swap out the shoe mount...…

example of 'a' mode use K-50 & sears 28/2.8
https://flic.kr/p/2hjsq8z

Last edited by Aaron28; 10-03-2019 at 06:49 PM.
10-05-2019, 03:17 AM - 1 Like   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by Gerbermiester Quote
I'm thinking that the new AF540FGZ-ii might be the ticket, but I'm also open to units that have higher power or lower price points while retaining p-ttl, and A modes.Has anyone else gone through this process recently?
The only 'A' mode flash that I own is an old Nikon SB-28. I used this flash in A mode years ago, and loved it.
You can consider the Metz 64 AF-1, it has A mode, also P-TTL and M. It's modern and powerfull.

Regards.
10-06-2019, 02:21 AM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by Gerbermiester Quote
I use the flash in three ways:
1) On camera bounce with p-ttl for family gatherings.
2) Off camera set in thyristor mode (A mode) triggered with pocket-wizards for use with film cameras. (I match the aperture and ISO between the flash and camera and let the flash do its thing)
3) Off camera set in manual mode and triggered with pocket-wizards when working with digital and using light modifiers like umbrellas and soft-boxes.
Does the A mode work well for off-camera use?

If you don't need A mode for off-camera flash work or P-TTL would be an acceptable replacement then you could cover your use cases 2) & 3) by using a P-TTL-capable radio-controlled flash.

Respective models such as the Cactus RF60x or Godox AD200 (or a smaller Godox flash that does not need to have Pentax-dedication) would have the advantage of a built-in radio receiver. These would obviate the need for the pocket wizard receivers.

For use case 1), however, none of the options above would work. To still being able to use off-camera lights with built-in triggers you'd then have to use a Pentax-dedicated, radio-capable flash, such as the Godox V1 (aka "Flashpoint Zoom Li-on X R2").
10-13-2019, 06:31 PM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by Class A Quote
Does the A mode work well for off-camera use?
hoping it does....have yet to experiment with it....if I ever get around to it would be great to know if its something I could use with older leaf shutter cameras I have with working pc sockets

would like to try with both simple radio triggers and a few v6 units on manual (separately)

10-13-2019, 09:56 PM - 1 Like   #9
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Yes, A mode works a treat for off camera use when shooting indoors.

Put the flash on a foot and point the beam to bounce off of the ceiling. Point the "eye" in the direction of the scene you're shooting and match your flash's settings with your camera's. You'll have spot on exposures and daylight balance for your film.

I like to crank up the shutter speed to freeze action for candid photos with this method. 'A' mode is really a must have feature.
10-14-2019, 12:41 AM - 1 Like   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by Gerbermiester Quote
Yes, A mode works a treat for off camera use when shooting indoors.

Put the flash on a foot and point the beam to bounce off of the ceiling. Point the "eye" in the direction of the scene you're shooting and match your flash's settings with your camera's. You'll have spot on exposures and daylight balance for your film.

I like to crank up the shutter speed to freeze action for candid photos with this method. 'A' mode is really a must have feature.
I remember using the 'A' mode with my old Nikon flashes (SB-26 & SB-28). I matched ISO and 'f' of the camera and it worked great on camera. Only day I was thinking "what if...?" and surprisingly for me, I tested off camera and it worked too. I remember that I used the Nikon flash with an umbrella, the sensor pointing to the subject and it gave me very good results.

This was at the very beggining, when I started with off camera flash thing, and I only had manual flashes and simple triggers. The advantage of the 'A' mode was that you didn't need to worry about the distance flash-subject, the flash gave you the correct amount of light, regardless if you use it for main, fill or rim light. A kind of poor man's PTTL
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