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06-12-2014, 12:40 PM   #1
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Oh-Oh - used non-Pentax flash!

Foolish, I know, but I was so excited to receive my new Q, and also so excited to try using a hotshoe-mounted flash again for the first time in over a decade that I foolishly mounted the flash and ripped off a few shots before reading in the instruction manual that I can only use flash units specifically designed for the Q.

Anyone have any idea what damage I might have done to the electronics that's not immediately evident?

Is it worth sending it to Pentax for a once-over? Or should I just keep using it if there's no apparent damage?

Thanks.

06-12-2014, 12:46 PM   #2
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What flash were you using? Many (if not most) third-party flashes are compatible, do a search for "trigger voltage" for flashes that aren't.

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06-12-2014, 12:47 PM   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by leojay Quote
Foolish, I know, but I was so excited to receive my new Q, and also so excited to try using a hotshoe-mounted flash again for the first time in over a decade that I foolishly mounted the flash and ripped off a few shots before reading in the instruction manual that I can only use flash units specifically designed for the Q.

Anyone have any idea what damage I might have done to the electronics that's not immediately evident?

Is it worth sending it to Pentax for a once-over? Or should I just keep using it if there's no apparent damage?

Thanks.
If there's no apparent damage, there's no reason to send it in.

Afterwards, during regular use, if you find something wrong with the Q, then it is time to explore the possibility that the flash may have damaged it.

However, my understanding is that when a flash "fries" a camera, it happens right away. Usually with a lot of smoke. It should be evident if something happened.
06-12-2014, 01:02 PM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by EarlVonTapia Quote
Usually with a lot of smoke.
...and bad smells! Flames even! The first thing I would suggest the OP check is the on-board flash.


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06-12-2014, 01:03 PM   #5
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Thanks for the fast replies!

It's a 30+ year old Hanimex flash I bought in college for my old fully-manual Fujica SLR. I guess I won't worry about it for now, but lesson learned.

---------- Post added 06-12-14 at 01:04 PM ----------

And yes, the on-board flash works fine. Thanks.
06-12-2014, 01:07 PM   #6
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Pentax Q Review - Flash
"Compatible external strobes include the AF540FGZ, AF360FGZ, AF200FG, and AF160FC."

which, in essence means, that any pentax-compatible (including third party) flash should work fine. What flash did you use?
I would rather worry about the hotshoe durability; if you mount some sort of Thor's hammer on it and do some lively hand movements while holding the combo by the camera, it may just break off

ah, OK, no ideas about the Hanimex, though. if Q works fine, I wouldn't worry.
06-12-2014, 01:11 PM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by karro Quote
Pentax Q Review - Flash
"Compatible external strobes include the AF540FGZ, AF360FGZ, AF200FG, and AF160FC."

which, in essence means, that any pentax-compatible (including third party) flash should work fine. What flash did you use?
I would rather worry about the hotshoe durability; if you mount some sort of Thor's hammer on it and do some lively hand movements while holding the combo by the camera, it may just break off

ah, OK, no ideas about the Hanimex, though. if Q works fine, I wouldn't worry.
Flashes need handgrips for use with cameras like the Q!

Oh, one of those L-bars with hotshoe mounts - so much larger than the Q it would look hilarious.
06-12-2014, 01:21 PM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by TER-OR Quote
Flashes need handgrips for use with cameras like the Q!

Oh, one of those L-bars with hotshoe mounts - so much larger than the Q it would look hilarious.
Yeah, it was one of these; dwarfed the Q to a humorous degree...



06-12-2014, 01:27 PM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by karro Quote
"Compatible external strobes include the AF540FGZ, AF360FGZ, AF200FG, and AF160FC."

which, in essence means, that any pentax-compatible (including third party) flash should work fine.
That conclusion does not make logical sense. Third party flashes are not clones of the four listed ones.

There were many "Pentax compatible" flashes made with high voltage contacts. Certain Vivitar and SunPak series were very popular, but their terminal voltages exceed 80V!

This posed no problem with pre-AF Pentax film bodies. The hotshoe contact was a simple mechanical switch triggered by a gear on the shutter mechanism. Voltage didn't matter.

With the advent of AF, the hotshoe became tied to the camera's CPU, either directly or indirectly. Suddenly, a flash signal greater than a few volts was enough to turn the camera into a doorstop.

When dealing with a third party flash unit, the only safe way to ensure compatibility is to measure the terminal voltage on the flash before attaching it to the camera - unless the box explicitly states compatibility with your specific camera.
06-12-2014, 01:42 PM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by TER-OR Quote
Flashes need handgrips for use with cameras like the Q!
I've used my AF 540 FGZ with my Q. I actually just held the AF 540 FGZ body and let the Q dangle underneath it. It worked fine, though it looked kind of weird.
06-12-2014, 02:44 PM   #11
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I stand corrected.
06-12-2014, 02:55 PM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by karro Quote
I stand corrected.
You give up too easily.

I forgot to agree with your final assesment - if the camera still works after using the flash, then there is (probably) nothing to worry about.
06-12-2014, 03:09 PM   #13
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re: giving up: nope, not really.. I really didn't even know about the existence of flashes with terminal voltages that high
06-12-2014, 03:17 PM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by OregonJim Quote
When dealing with a third party flash unit, the only safe way to ensure compatibility is to measure the terminal voltage on the flash before attaching it to the camera
Certainly worth doing. My old Metz 45CT1 was running a trigger voltage of about 200V, I found, when I got the voltmeter onto it. Not safe to use.

Buying a Cactus V6 wireless flash trigger, with it's ability to act as a safe-sync unit (up to 300V) as well as a wireless trigger, solved that problem for me when using the Metz with my K-3.
06-12-2014, 04:52 PM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by rawr Quote
Certainly worth doing. My old Metz 45CT1 was running a trigger voltage of about 200V
I think I measured one of my Vivitars at about 140V. Scary!


Steve
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