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11-30-2012, 02:24 PM   #1
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External flash with adapted lenses

I am having maddingly inconsistent results trying to get external flash working when the official K->Q adapter is on the camera. I've tried various flashes, Cactus radio triggers, and a hot shoe to PC adapter. Sometimes flashes fire, sometimes not. Sometimes the flash fires but does not sync (image gets ambient light only). The Cactus triggers will work for a while, then show a solid green light, which might mean it has been tripped into Bulb mode, or has a bad connection, or I don't know what else. Maybe it all comes down to improper connection at the hot shoe; I don't know. Any clues?

There's always optical triggering, but I'd like to have more options.

11-30-2012, 03:23 PM   #2
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How were your shutter speeds?
11-30-2012, 03:33 PM   #3
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1/250 and slower. So, for example, for one test series, I mounted a small flash on the camera hotshoe. Got correct sync at various slow shutter speeds, then at some point had an exposure where the flash fired, but not in sync. After that it wouldn't fire any more. I haven't been able to discern any apparent reason as to when the flash would fire and/or sync, and when it wouldn't.
11-30-2012, 05:44 PM   #4
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When using your hotshoe to PC adapter what flash are you using? The symptoms you are getting sound very much like you could be burning out the switching transistor with too high a trigger voltage, I sincerely hope not, but Pentax cameras can't take high trigger voltage flashes. Anything lower than 5Volt is fine.

11-30-2012, 05:51 PM   #5
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Hi baro-nite,

I don't have the Pentax adapter yet, so can't say for sure, but -- try turning flash "off" in the flash menu if you're using either a non-dedicated flash or radio triggers. This has worked with Q system lenses for me. It does not work with 3rd party adapters, but has a good chance with the Pentax adapter because of the shutter in the adapter, I would think.

Please send an e-mail to Pentax concerning this, I've sent them a few since getting the Q about the quirky flash protocols, and maybe if users start complaining about this, they might do something.

Scott
11-30-2012, 06:00 PM   #6
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Thanks Chris. I'm reasonably sure I haven't put anything with a too-high trigger voltage on it, but I'll have to look this up to be certain. It's all stuff I've used with no issues on the K10D.

Thanks Scott: flash is set to "off" in the menu. Learned that reading another Q thread here -- not terribly intuitive!

I've had various issues with flashes on my K10D, and it has always turned out to be some stupid error on my part. I expect that's true here as well, but just haven't figured out what. If I can find a real error I will certainly contact Pentax.
11-30-2012, 06:10 PM   #7
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Using the Pentax Q-PK adapter and Pentax AF540 flash, I shot about 20 P-ttl flash images. The flash worked every time. Have you used a Pentax flash for any of your shots? Granted, it should work properly with other brands too.
thanks
barondla
11-30-2012, 06:15 PM   #8
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Did try the AF540, but have to admit I have used the flash so little I have never really figured out how to set it up. I probably won't have time to look into this over the next couple of weeks (traveling), but do appreciate any and all tips!

12-03-2012, 06:08 PM   #9
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I mounted the AF540 on the Q hotshoe using the Pentax adapter and a DFA100 macro.

The only settings allowed on the flash are PTTL and SB, however the SB doesn't light since there is no AF lens attached.

PTTL seems to work well, triggering on each shot. The Q is set to manual exposure, with Flash setting ON, and shutter speeds up to 1/250 sec can be selected.

On the AF540 you can use Auto, Leading curtain or Trailing curtain and they all appear to work as expected.

I do not have Cactus but a knockoff similar to a PT-04 set.

I also found inconsistent results using the wireless triggers, sometimes it would fire sometimes not. Sometimes I could get it to work again by manually triggering the remote, other times it did not work.

The Q manual does say that "Combining with flashes from other manufacturers may cause equipment malfunction" so I don't leave much hope that they will care to fix any issues for non-Pentax triggers or flashes.

For my macro use the ability to use the AF540 at up to 1/250 with the adapter is plenty, so I am cool with it as is. I have the K-5 for more complex remote flash set ups.

Last edited by crewl1; 12-03-2012 at 06:34 PM.
12-04-2012, 12:43 AM   #10
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Hi crewl1,

Thanks for posting the results of your experiments.

I've yet to get a call from my B&M dealer, so don't have the Pentax adapter yet -- I'm starting to wonder if they're playing me. . . no matter really, I'm sure that I'll get one eventually.

I have a number of Pentax manual/Auto flashes to try (AF 200T, AF280T, and AF 500 FTZ), so we'll see if some of the pre-PTTL Pentax flashes fire consistently with the adapter when I get one.

In any case, I just received my B&H Black Friday K-5 IIs, so I have something to play with in the meantime. . .

Scott
12-13-2012, 02:41 PM   #11
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An update here --

After getting my Pentax K2Q adapter and FW 1.1, I've been playing with flash a bit, and made what I think is a discovery about non-P-TTL flashes

With my Metz 20 C2 (a really nice, inexpensive, little Auto Thyristor/ Manual flash with a tilting reflector for bounce that's pretty size-appropriate for the Q), it will fire wildly inconsistently with shutter speeds 1/200 and over, but when I set the shutter speed to 1/160, it sometimes misses the first shot, then fires and syncs every time (20 shots at least). I would think that this would indicate that 1/160 will fire triggers reliably. The weird thing is that after getting it to fire at 1/160, without turning anything off, I can change the shutter speed to 1/125 and it continues to fire consistently. If I turn either the camera or the flash off, then set the shutter to 1/125, it won't fire. . .so it seems that to use a manual or other non P-TTL flash, you have to first turn the flash off in the menu, then shoot only at 1/160, or at 1/125 only after "priming" the flash first at 1/160. I'd like to see documentation of this in the owner's manual -- it's really not funny, but I couldn't resist. . .

With non-dedicated flashes and either Q system lenses or the Pentax adapter, the flash menu needs to be set to "off".

Just to review -- the P-TTL options seem to be:

The pop up flash will sync to 1/1000 with the Pentax adapter, but is pretty inconsistent in firing -- I've been getting maybe 25% misfires. P-TTL metering seems to work -- can't make a real conclusion so far. I can actually live with this in a pinch, but it won't be my first choice.

External P-TTL flash seems to work reliably with the Pentax adapter. Flash sync to 1/250. I've only used my Metz 24 AF1 (the P-TTL cousin of the 20 C2 -- same size and features except P-TTL only -- BTW, this is a great bounceable compact external flash to use with Pentax DSLRs for when you don't need a lot of power -- it'll be my family event/party external flash for my K-5 IIs). I've only tried it briefly, but over 20 consecutive shots is a pretty good indication IMO. Again, P-TTL metering seems to work -- but I haven't used it enough for any conclusions.

So now that I seem to have a couple of usable flash options, I'm officially pumped waiting for spring to shoot handheld critter macros. I have all winter to experiment and work out what I want to use. . .

Scott
12-13-2012, 03:50 PM   #12
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This is a timely thread for me as I have been sorting in my mind the possibilities using the Q with external flash. You guys have probably taken some of my initial frustration away by posting your findings so far - thanks for that!

I have an AF540 flash that I want to try off camera for some experiments both with a native lens and my aftermarket adapter. I was going to try it with my Cactus triggers and also my aftermarket off-camera flash cord. Also while I am doing this I will be trying to determine if I need the genuine Pentax adapter.

As Larry eludes to above, I do have everything I need to do just about any kind of flash work with my K-5, but I find it ever so interesting to see just what we all can accomplish with the Q.
12-19-2012, 07:19 AM   #13
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Wow, great info Scott and Larry. And a little discouraging; like you I am looking forward to macro season to try out the Q with adapted macro lenses and flash. 25% misfires with the pop-up is a surprise. I'll have to try the 1/160 experiment you did and see what results I get. As I recall it was somewhere around 1/125 to 1/160 where I started getting misfires.
12-19-2012, 08:37 AM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by snostorm Quote
The pop up flash will sync to 1/1000 with the Pentax adapter, but is pretty inconsistent in firing -- I've been getting maybe 25% misfires.
In my testing the popup worked perfectly and did not miss a beat.
Just waited for the flash to charge, you can see the little flash arrow turn from red to white when it is ready.
I shot over 20 pics one after the other at 1/1000 and it worked fine.
Perhaps Scott, you weren't waiting for it to be ready?

Saying that, I don't use the popup for macro since it doesn't put the light where I need it.
I use the AF540 and performance is consistent to the allowed shutter of 1/250.
This is faster than the K-5 with flash so I'm happy.
12-19-2012, 09:09 AM   #15
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As far as I know, the auto thyristor flashes must be used at 1/125 shutter speed for proper flash sync. That's what mine says on the back, anyhow. It won't even fire at more than 1/160 -- on my K01 at least.

Charles.
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