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01-22-2016, 07:17 AM   #1
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Pentax K3 II with Pentax AF-160 FC Flash

I have always reckoned I am a proficient photographer from the days of the Asahi Pentax ES11 (70s) up to now, This week I purchased an AF-160FC Ring Flash and it is a sturdy piece of equipment nothing flimsy radiating confidence.
For the life of me I cannot get a recognizable exposure, it's either over exposed or an unsharp image. I started out with fully automatic on the camera and flash, then from then on various combinations with no luck. Is there anyone who can point me in the right direction so that I can get at least one decent shot and then play around?

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01-22-2016, 07:59 AM   #2
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QuoteOriginally posted by Dobson Quote
I have always reckoned I am a proficient photographer from the days of the Asahi Pentax ES11 (70s) up to now, This week I purchased an AF-160FC Ring Flash and it is a sturdy piece of equipment nothing flimsy radiating confidence.
For the life of me I cannot get a recognizable exposure, it's either over exposed or an unsharp image. I started out with fully automatic on the camera and flash, then from then on various combinations with no luck. Is there anyone who can point me in the right direction so that I can get at least one decent shot and then play around?
What camera and lens are you using? What settings are you using on the camera as well as on the 160? Do you have an example photo with the exif data intact?
01-22-2016, 08:28 AM   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by Dobson Quote
I started out with fully automatic on the camera and flash, then from then on various combinations with no luck.
Have you tried to set the camera in full manual mode and only the flash in P-TTL mode?

I don't have the ring flash. However, I always get correct exposure when I set the camera in manual and only the flash in P-TTL. If you set the camera in one of the automatic modes (e.g. AV) it will pick up the aperture and/or speed and/or ISO for you based on the ambient light, it does not take into account whether the flash will be fired when you take the picture.

Changes are the camera picks up the low speed and wide aperture when it's doing the metering. As a result when you take the picture, it will be over-exposed and blurry.
01-22-2016, 09:05 AM   #4
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Like Huy said, automatic combinations could be the problem. TAv mode is the worst. The images come out exposed okay but very grainy since the meter decides it needs ISO 12800 based on the ambient light and then limits the flash power to match. I've found trouble with any mode when I have ISO set to AutoISO because the camera decides it needs high ISO before the flash goes off.

When I pick a set ISO of 800 or less my images with flash come out much better.

(I use a K-3 with a Metz 50 AF-1)

It could also be your metering mode. Spot meter can cause very inconsistent exposure since you might not meter on the exact same spot each time. Try using full metering or center weighted metering.

01-22-2016, 09:33 AM   #5
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I have the same camera and ring flash and get lots of great exposures. I use aperature priority, iso 200, f8 or so and set the flash to auto.

Works great for me...
01-22-2016, 10:11 AM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by Dobson Quote
I have always reckoned I am a proficient photographer from the days of the Asahi Pentax ES11 (70s) up to now, This week I purchased an AF-160FC Ring Flash and it is a sturdy piece of equipment nothing flimsy radiating confidence. For the life of me I cannot get a recognizable exposure, it's either over exposed or an unsharp image. I started out with fully automatic on the camera and flash, then from then on various combinations with no luck. Is there anyone who can point me in the right direction so that I can get at least one decent shot and then play around?
Welcome in club :/ - I guess you did not read my review ? PENTAX AF 160FC Auto Macro Ring Flash reviews - Pentax Camera Accessory Review Database

or... the associated thread about all sort of exposure problems with these flashes ? https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/120-general-technical-troubleshooting/274...c-problem.html

Sad to see Ricoh ignoring these issues.. I gave up on getting this thing solved after around a year of trying
01-22-2016, 12:04 PM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by Dobson Quote
Is there anyone who can point me in the right direction so that I can get at least one decent shot and then play around?
As noted above, it would be helpful to know what lens(es) you are using. There are reported P-TTL issues with non-AF (A-series) lenses* with this flash (also noted above) and recent-model Pentax bodies. There are also reports for other P-TTL flashes from multiple makers where exposure is unreliable with non-AF lenses on newer bodies. It appears that the common factor is for cases where the pre-flash should be attenuated due to close subject and/or high ISO and/or wide aperture. The flash/body response is to apparently default to full power for the main flash...not good.

As noted above, Ricoh/Pentax has not been responsive nor have they acknowledged the issue; apparently because it does not affect any lens/flash/body combination currently sold by the company. The workaround is to use the flash in full manual mode and adjust output/aperture to suit. I know, that is not why you put out the big buck for a P-TTL flash


Steve

* AF lenses supply the current focus distance to the body. In turn, this may be used to determine the strength of the pre-flash. For some reason, earlier bodies such as my (now sold) K10D dealt with this case just fine, but newer ones, not so fine.
01-22-2016, 12:12 PM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by TroutHunterJohn Quote
I have the same camera and ring flash and get lots of great exposures. I use aperature priority, iso 200, f8 or so and set the flash to auto.
Works great for me...
Same here. Although reading other's experiences with the flash is a worry, it's been plain sailing for me.

I'm not an experienced macro shooter, but K-5 and K-3, both work fine, with basically all 'Auto' settings. I have the flash on the K-5 normally with a Sigma 105 Macro set on A - camera set to manual focus, matrix metering, AV mode, ISO 100, f8-f16 (or whatever aperture I want), flash set 'on' in camera (no flash compensation) - flash switch set to 'Auto -0.5' on the rotary flash dial on the AF-160FC, both flash panels enabled.

I normally follow this 'start-up' sequence for the flash: (1) mount flash (2) turn on flash (3) turn on camera (4) do a half-shutter press even if I am using manual focus to help ensure flash and body start talking, then (5) focus and shoot. I usually start off using the modelling light, but not always.

The only problem I have had is that sometimes the camera does not recognise that the flash is there if I don't mount the flash carefully on the shoe, but that can happen with any flash.


Last edited by rawr; 01-22-2016 at 12:48 PM. Reason: startup sequence
01-22-2016, 12:32 PM   #9
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Not sure if the exif data are available in this .jpg. But I shot this recently with the ring flash on auto, hand held, using the Pentax 100 macro wr version.

I do get a few images over and under exposed now and then, but it usually works just fine.

hmmm......
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01-22-2016, 01:16 PM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by TroutHunterJohn Quote
Not sure if the exif data are available in this .jpg. But I shot this recently with the ring flash on auto, hand held, using the Pentax 100 macro wr version.

I do get a few images over and under exposed now and then, but it usually works just fine.

hmmm......
That looks great! I'm not seeing any under/over exposure nor any blurriness.
01-22-2016, 01:36 PM   #11
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A simple AF-160FC test shot on my K3 taken about 5 minutes ago, JPEG straight out of camera, no adjustments.

01-22-2016, 02:24 PM   #12
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Problems with this flash are not affecting all camera/ flash configurations. Certain serial number and camera models are affected - some believe flashed made in Japan were generally trouble free, where assembled elsewhere are sometime troublesome. Ricoh is deliberately ignoring the problem hoping it would just died out.. with some users switching over along the way, but I guess that is cheaper than fixing the problem with flash/ firmware of a camera...
01-22-2016, 02:38 PM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by rawr Quote
A simple AF-160FC test shot on my K3 taken about 5 minutes ago, JPEG straight out of camera, no adjustments.
that looks as expected as well. Not seeing any problems.
01-23-2016, 08:06 AM   #14
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You've given me lots of tips guy thanks Dobson

Thanks for all the replies. Now I'm going to play around with your ideas. By the way I am using a DFA 1:2.8 100 mm macro lens.
I'll get back to you and let you know how I'm getting on.
01-23-2016, 09:40 AM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by rawr Quote
A simple AF-160FC test shot on my K3 taken about 5 minutes ago, JPEG straight out of camera, no adjustments.
Cool! What lens?


Steve
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