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12-28-2012, 07:15 AM   #1
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New Metz flash issues with Q

Hi , New owner of Pentax Q and Metz24 AF-1 Flash,
Happy with the Q images but very unhappy with bounce flash performance.
I think there is a problem with the flash.
I believe this flash is supposed to function as TTL but it behaves very oddly.
I tested it with a brand new Pentax Q with latest firmware.
In P mode the flash sync speed stays at a low level eg 1/20 f 1.9.
I have to use pshift to dial up the aperture and dial up the shutter speed to 1/200. The exposure is OK though sl under.
Bounce is virtually useless and always comes out underexposed even though the ceilings are low. The flash power is clearly not at maximal. However if a set the camera to have flash off, Then the Metz sends out a strong (and louder) flash that highly overexposes, Note the flash is switched on but the camera is set to flash off but it fires anyway at maximal fire. If the camera is set to flash on, the the flash fires weakly and underexposes. The built in flash is not firing when the Metz flash is mounted.

This effect is also dupicated in manual mode. If i set the apeture and shutter manually with camera setting flash on then I have to crank up ISO to get a reasonable exposure. If i then set the camera to flash off the Metz sets off powerfully and over exposes. Am i right in assuming the flash is faulty, it is brand new!
How should the flash behave?

Thanks for any help.

12-28-2012, 11:14 AM   #2
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I don't think the flash is at issue. The Q has some weird flash implementation.
I only have Pentax 540 and it seems to work correctly but may be using a PTTL communication where TTL may be lacking.
Let's see if others with non Pentax flash can contribute their experience.
12-28-2012, 12:22 PM   #3
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Hi Rahp,

I have this flash, and it works pretty well for me. As Larry suggested, the flash implementation for the Q seems to be something of an afterthought, so it needs to be experimented with and worked around a bit.

I use Center-weighted metering, and this might make a difference, as could spot metering. I also have AEL lock with AF lock "on" and AE not linked to AF point. Both of these can have an effect on P-TTL flash metering (at least with previous experience with Pentax DSLRs). I also find M mode with a fixed ISO is the easiest way to get the exposure parameters that I want. I've found that the 24 AF1 has enough power to bounce in most normally encountered home settings. If I need more than it can supply, or want faster recycle times, I can always set the ISO higher.

P-TTL flash metering can be fooled by reflective surfaces in the scene (mirrors, glass on framed pictures, shiny metal objects, etc) reflecting the preflash directly back at the camera. This can cause significant underexposure. Often, this can be overcome with a small change in shooting angle. I've trained myself to look for this in my DSLRs' viewfinders by looking for hot spots when the preflash occurs right before the VF blacks out -- If I see one, I immediately step to the side, and set up for a retake. This is not possible with the Q, so the only way to see it is to chimp the actual image taken.

I've also found that P-TTL seems to like more mid-range aperture settings, and can sometimes tend to overexpose wider apertures and underexpose smaller ones. This is with the DSLRs and faster lenses, and might not apply to the Q.

I bounce the 24 AF1 almost exclusively and get pretty consistent results. I also use a business card with one end trimmed to fit into the space between the flash body and the 90 tilted reflector as a bounce card to direct some of the light forward to eliminate "raccoon eyes" (shadows under the eyes caused by the light bounced down from the ceiling).

Don't forget that you can use both Ev comp and Flash comp in the flash menu to tweak the exposures if they are consistently over or under exposed.

When you turn the flash "off" in the flash menu, you're essentially turning your P-TTL flash into a manual flash, firing at full power only. This is one of the quirks of the Q's flash protocols. Flash "off" in the flash menu is the only way to fire non P-TTL flash on the Q. The fact that you get overexposed images in this mode shows that the flash has enough power, it's just not being metered correctly.

Hope something here helps. You have to be patient with the Q and P-TTL flash -- it sometimes takes some work to get things right. . .

Scott
12-28-2012, 11:12 PM   #4
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Just in case Pentax reads this thread: I am very disappointed that Q's built-in flash can't function as wireless P-TTL trigger like on many Pentax DSLRs. Please incorporate this in the future (even better if this can be added via firmware update).

If Pentax is still reading, Pentax flash fans like myself might want a more compact flash with tilt & swivel. Maybe even a 2xAA model similar to the Panasonic/Olympus unit to save size/weight when using on smaller cameras like Q and K-01. Take AF-360FGZ, give it a swivel and slim it down a bit with a smaller battery compartment (presumably this will slow recycle time a bit). Don't strip out any features of the AF-360 if possible.

12-29-2012, 02:23 AM - 1 Like   #5
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I use yongnuo flashes with cowboy sutdio triggers with ease on my K-01, with the Q I cant even get them to fire, not with the triggers, not with the flash mounted, no way... I have given up on flash use with the Q...
12-29-2012, 08:48 AM   #6
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To get the triggers to work you will need to set the flash mode on the Q to 'off. '

Should work ok with Q 01 02 06 lenses but you'll need to experiment with Toy lenses and adapters.
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