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04-20-2015, 02:40 PM   #1
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Pentax K-3 and P-TTL flash?

First of all, forgive me for posting another post about recommended flash equipment. It's my first post on this topic but I also know of a number of other posts. In return for your excellent advice, I will summarize your responses and my experience with whatever equipment I purchase.

Very brief background... I used to do a lot of studio work and as a result, I have a six flash units (all mid to 'pro'ish' level Vivitar flashes), flash diffusers, reflectors, optical slaves, and a group of 240MHz slaves, etc. All of this equipment is from the 90's. But I haven't used any of it in over 15 years. Unfortunately, when I needed it most... four of the flash units just suddenly stopped triggering. The studio session was a bust!


So, with the wife's permission, I have a limited budget to get this problem remedied. Happy!

But with a limited budget, I need to find the most bang for the buck.... but hopefully obtain, at least, one P-TTL flash where I can get all those benefits allowed by my K-3.

How much is my budget? Unfortunately, it is less than the cost of one Pentax AF-540 FGZ II. So, that flash is out of the question. What are my alternatives?

What do I need (ideal minimum)?
- One P-TTL flash compatible with the K-3 (for those stand-alone sessions)
- Three decent slave flashes
- One ring (macro) flash (this can be a manual flash)

I am looking at the following flash alternatives. Please share with me the pros/cons of these flash units:
- Pentax AF 500 FTZ (I don't think this is P-TTL - but what will I lose out on by not having the latest model)... BTW, this flash can be purchased from eBay for under $200.
- Neewer TT850 (I'm excited about this one b/c it has built in wireless control with the Neewer FT-16S (it sells for about $130)
(I'm not keen about the battery but if it is common and I have a few spares.... might not be a problem)
- Vivitar GN42 LCD P-TTL for Pentax (under $100). Is this a good option for an on-camera flash?

Macro Flash
- Meike FC-100 - Dirt cheap but might be good enough for my requirements.
- Neewer 48 Macro LED ring flash - same as above.
- RF550D Macro 48pcs LED ring flash - same as above.

Any other options available?

Your advice is awesome and valued.

Thank you,
Shawn

04-20-2015, 04:20 PM   #2
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Sunpak 622 522 422 on ebay still lots of them around at some good prices and the Pentax p-ttl af 360 fgz II. I have the Pro 622 Zoom Head standard head & ring head A/C adapter, Diffusser umbrella, affect filters . A lot of power more than I need most times. 422 slaves . All have swivel and tilt heads. 422 have A/C adapters as well.
I use basic flash triggers.
04-20-2015, 04:34 PM   #3
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I am far from being expert - but how about a Pentax AF-360 FGZ II and 3 Yongnuo YN-560 IV Wireless Speedlite flashes? They are cheap but they have very decent built (not WR), and wireless capabilities out of the box (they are not P-TTL - but fully customizable in manual, and even set up in wireless groups)

This thread is a good source of information about yongnuo flashes:
https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/115-pentax-k-5/216481-yongnuo-yn-560-iii-...uying-not.html

Other than the Pentax AF-360 FGZ II (and of course the other genuine P-TTL Pentax flashes) for P-TTL you can check solutions from Metz, Sigma.

I own a Pentax AF-360 FGZ (1st version) and used it for a couple of times in combination with Yongnuo YN-560II (older models) flashes with success - in full manual mode.

---------- Post added 21-04-15 at 01:38 ----------

... one more post with Yongnuo solutions:
https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/172-pentax-k-3/290708-k3-yongnuo-iv-speed...ml#post3192998
04-20-2015, 06:25 PM   #4
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Recently I picked up a Promaster FL1 that at this point seems to do all the Pentax AF-360 FGZ II does however I am still testing it. More info can be acquired on their website and I paid just under $200 CDN.


Last edited by 77tbholmes; 04-20-2015 at 07:10 PM. Reason: Did not intend on including his original post
04-20-2015, 06:33 PM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by pentaxmz Quote
I am looking at the following flash alternatives. Please share with me the pros/cons of these flash units:
- Pentax AF 500 FTZ (I don't think this is P-TTL - but what will I lose out on by not having the latest model)... BTW, this flash can be purchased from eBay for under $200.
The 500 FTZ is not P-TTL. KEH has it for $56.

PENTAX AF 500FTZ reviews - Pentax Camera Accessory Review Database
04-20-2015, 06:43 PM   #6
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Why do you feel you need P-TTL flashes? I use Nikon flashes exclusively. I currently own a Nikon SB-20, two SB-25s, and an SB-26. I mostly use them off camera in manual mode, but they work great on camera in both manual and auto mode. The SB-26 has an optical slave, and is readily available for under $100 US.

I've recently experimented using the SB-26 off camera in auto mode triggered optically by the built-in flash set to 1/128 manual on the K-3 and it works pretty well.
04-20-2015, 07:21 PM   #7
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This is a cheap PTTL flash.. nothing fancy.. but it works..

http://www.amazon.com/Sigma-EF-610-Electronic-Digital-Cameras/dp/B00472OBCK/...a+pentax+flash
04-20-2015, 08:35 PM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by pentaxmz Quote

I am looking at the following flash alternatives. Please share with me the pros/cons of these flash units:
- Pentax AF 500 FTZ (I don't think this is P-TTL - but what will I lose out on by not having the latest model)... BTW, this flash can be purchased from eBay for under $200.
I have a K-3 and the AF500FTZ flash. As another poster pointed out the 500 is not P-TTL. In fact, I have not found a way to use it with the K-3 other than in Manual mode.

04-20-2015, 10:01 PM   #9
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The older AF540FGZ goes for about the same price as the new AF360GFZ/II. I think it's the better option as it supports auto-thyristor mode (even stand-alone). If you don't need swivel (e.g. because you use a flash bender), the old AF360FGZ is also a viable option.

You can find alternatives from Metz and Sigma. It's your call if you want tilt-only or tilt/swivel, auto-thyristor and so on. I would buy the more expensive Sigma 610 Super over the Sigma 610 ST as it can be used as a pTTL master (the 610ST can't as far as I know); a little future proofing in case you need it.

For manual flashes, Cactus and Yongnuo have a good reputation, but I don't have experience with them.
04-21-2015, 12:52 AM   #10
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Thanks for the suggestions, all.

Thus far, I purchased a Pentax AF 360FGZ for $120 + $16 shipping. That flash will serve as my daily (always in bag flash). An easy purchase since I don't have to worry about compatibility issues.

----------------------

Now, I need four more flash units. They need to be wireless... and this is where the options are crazy.

Some questions:
1) If I connect the 360FGZ to the camera's flash shoe, I will need a wireless trigger connected to the flash pc sync port. Perhaps attach the device via Velcro?
2) What is the best bang for buck for wireless flashes (these can be manual units)?
Criteria:
a) I will need external power supplies. They all seem to have DC connectors but no information about required AC-DC adapter.
b) I will require a wireless trigger unit that will connect to the K-3 pc sync port.

Flash units that I am looking at (flash and components):

Yongnuo Flash YN560III YN-560 III
Yongnuo YN-560 IV
Yongnuo YN-565EX GN 58
Neewer 2.4G Wireless Speedlite Flash TT660 II for Pentax $44
NEEWER TT850 FLASH SPEEDLITE
Neewer NW-985
NEEWER VB-18 2000mAh 11.1V Li-ion polymer Battery
NEEWER VC-18 BATTERY CHARGER
Neewer FT-16S, wireless control

Here are a list of reference sites:
The Definitive Guide - Pentax P-TTL Flash Comparison

https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/22-pentax-camera-field-accessories/242526...ash-k-3-a.html

https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/125-flashes-lighting-studio/162292-cheap-...ttl-flash.html

https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/115-pentax-k-5/216481-yongnuo-yn-560-iii-...ing-not-4.html

Pentax Shoe Mount Camera Flashes | Buy, Compare & Review | Adorama


Final question (slightly off-topic), is there a reasonably priced flash that has a minimum flash duration of less than 1/20000 second?


This is a rather frustrating challenge.

Thank you,
Shawn
04-21-2015, 12:59 AM   #11
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I use a Metz Mecablitz 52 for pttl. I really like it. Its easy to use and easy to install new firmware via usb. But Metz struggles lately.
Other than that i use Yongnuo YN560 III. Iīm happy with the results, but it eats my batteries at a rapid speed. (i think something might be wrong with my flash)
04-22-2015, 01:34 PM   #12
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Thanks Arne.

As you may be aware, I just purchased a Pentax Pentax AF 360FGZ... so that should satisfy my need for a P-TTL compatible flash connected to my K3.

But I still need four more slave flash units.

Here is my thought, I just found an opportunity to purchase 3 Pentax AF500FTZ flash units for under $100.00.

Because I only plan to use them as slave flash units *and* they have a built in optical slave... meaning no need for radio control. Are these suitable for my modest studio flash requirements (I know... all relative). I have used optical slave triggering in the past and I've always found it to work flawlessly.

Thoughts?

---------- Post added 04-22-2015 at 01:41 PM ----------

Keeping in mind that I am on a budget... I am comparing buying 3-4 AF500FTZ flash units instead of a flash unit like the Neewer TT850, Neewer TT660, or Yongnuo YN-560 IV.

When considering my basic slave flash requirements (I am quite comfortable with full manual control of flash lighting), do the Chinese flash units offer any significant value over the Pentax AF500FTZ?

Thanks for your advice.
04-22-2015, 04:03 PM   #13
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Just won a bid for AF500FTZ that I will use as a slave with my AF360FGZ II for $26.00 + 7.00 shipping - Goodwill- Maine
04-22-2015, 04:21 PM   #14
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Honey bo bo... Hilarious! I was bidding on that one too! Sorry about my last bid. I think I cost you .50 cents.

I decided not to pursue that one b/c my (irrational?) fear that anything donated to Goodwill is likely damaged.

I hope I was wrong and you got yourself an amazing deal.

---------- Post added 04-22-2015 at 04:37 PM ----------

After doing a little more research, it seems like those older AF500FTZ units were well rated.

Questions abound though. I fully understand that they are 100% manual on my K3... So when comparing to the aforementioned Chinese flashes, I am still wondering if those (also manual) flash units are a better choice for the following reasons:

- They are brand new (rather than over 7 years old);
- I can use a built-in radio trigger as opposed to optical (no false triggers);

Anything else?

---------- Post added 04-22-2015 at 04:46 PM ----------

One more question about the Chinese flash units. Understanding that they are designed as manual flash units, why are many labelled as designed for Canon or Nikon? Does it make a difference?

The reason I ask is because there is a kit available but it states only Nikon compatibility. Why only Nikon when there is only one center pin.

And what about the p/e/i-TTL models? Are Pentax, Canon, and Nikon truly PIN incompatible with each other? There are far fewer models available for Pentax...when it involves flash devices, it is much harder to be a Pentax owner (mostly b/c p-TTL is 10 years behind Canon and Nikon).

Last edited by pentaxmz; 04-22-2015 at 05:03 PM.
04-22-2015, 04:55 PM - 1 Like   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by pentaxmz Quote
Honey bo bo... Hilarious! I was bidding on that one too! Sorry about my last bid. I think I cost you .50 cents.

I decided not to pursue that one b/c my (irrational?) fear that anything donated to Goodwill is likely damaged.

I hope I was wrong and you got yourself an amazing deal.

---------- Post added 04-22-2015 at 04:37 PM ----------

After doing a little more research, it seems like those older AF500FTZ units were well rated.

Questions abound though. I fully understand that they are 100% manual on my K3... So when comparing to the aforementioned Chinese flashes, I am still wondering if those (also manual) flash units are a better choice for the following reasons:

- They are brand new (rather than over 7 years old);
- I can use a built-in radio trigger as opposed to optical (no false triggers);

Anything else?

---------- Post added 04-22-2015 at 04:46 PM ----------

One more question about the Chinese flash units. Understanding that they are designed as manual flash units, why are many labelled as designed for Canon or Nikon? Does it make a difference?

The reason I ask is because there is a kit available but it states only Nikon compatibility. Why only Nikon when there is only one center pin.

And what about the p/i-TTL models? Are Pentax, Canon, and Nikon truly incompatible with each other? There are far fewer models available for Pentax...when it involves flash devices, it is much harder to be a Pentax owner.
No your'e good the person I outbid had an auto bid up to $25 and in the last 20 sec I thru in an auto bid up to $30. I sold a kidney and was going for all or nothing! I'm trying to get my kidney back because it was won for $26. Condition????? I pick it up at the border 30 mi away next week and just for info I'll post here. The Good people of Goodwill said it flashed so I'm hoping some of it will work(slave). Which brings me to a Kx I won auctioned by a Pawn Shop (Pawn America) in Los Vegas last year for $60.00 which was beautiful and only had 2200 Actuations on it, I guess nobody bid because they thought it was hot or something. One mans garbage is anothers treasure!
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