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12-02-2016, 08:10 AM   #1
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Flash Setting On K3 II

Using off camera flashes (not TTL) what should my camera flash setting be?

12-02-2016, 08:28 AM   #2
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You'd be controlling most of the settings via the flash itself. If the flash is powered on, it will fire.

If you don't have a P-TTL flash, you will need to adjust the exposure settings manually as needed. Usually this involves changing the aperture, since the shutter speed is normally set to the sync speed.

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12-02-2016, 11:22 AM   #3
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Theres an entire site devoted to this. Strobist. Check out the section lighting 101.
12-02-2016, 01:14 PM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by Smoke665 Quote
Using off camera flashes (not TTL) what should my camera flash setting be?
Pages 43 and 91 of the K-3II manual explain a lot about the flash/external flash use. You can use in flash wireless mode with other Pentax wireless oriented (for exampleAF360FGZ(II), or AF540FGZ(II)) flashes. I would recommend your flashes and camera be in Manual mode when shooting. If you don't have Pentax wireless oriented flashes, you can utilize radio triggers or if your flashes provide it, infrared triggering.


Last edited by C_Jones; 12-02-2016 at 01:23 PM.
12-02-2016, 05:17 PM   #5
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If I take it that your question is about the camera 'Flash Mode' setting (?), then this has no relevance to using a manual flash system. As Adam said above a hotshoe flash or trigger unit will fire regardless of the camera settings.


In fact, the relevance of the camera 'Flash Modes' to the newer models without a built-in flash is a good question, one that I'm looking at now and may well be asking about on the forum also!
12-02-2016, 05:47 PM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by mcgregni Quote
In fact, the relevance of the camera 'Flash Modes' to the newer models without a built-in flash is a good question, one that I'm looking at now and may well be asking about on the forum also!
The K-3II manual is rather cryptic (p43), though it appears that Pentax-brand flashes will support the flash modes per the feature matrix on p91. I would check it all out, but don't have a K-3II or a Pentax-brand flash


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12-02-2016, 06:15 PM   #7
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Sure, the only thing is that with the accessory flashes the modes have to be set on the flashes themselves (eg 2nd Curtain). The only one that is not on the flashes is red-eye reduction / red-eye reduction plus 2nd curtain. Whether or not the camera modes effect the accessory flashes is a good question ...... although hardly an important one really, as I think it is far more efficient and intuitive to control these things directly on the flashes themselves. I'm about to try and write a new section for my Flash Guide about the cameras with no Built-in units, so its a point I'm looking at in more detail now.


Perhaps a willing K3II or K1 user with a Pentax AF-540FGZ / FGZII or similar could test it out for us?


Until its been shown otherwise, my understanding at this point is that the Flash setting (eg 1st or 2nd curtain) takes priority over the equivalent Camera Flash Mode. But at the same time I believe the red-eye reduction feature is supported by the accessory flashes, and the only way to activate that is in the Camera Flash Mode settings.


Other 'Sync Modes' such as HSS, Multi-flash and Contrast Control, do not apply to the built-in flashes, and so logically do not appear in the Camera Flash Modes section.

Last edited by mcgregni; 12-02-2016 at 06:22 PM.
12-02-2016, 06:52 PM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by mcgregni Quote
Sure, the only thing is that with the accessory flashes the modes have to be set on the flashes themselves (eg 2nd Curtain).
Flash modes on the K-3II are auto, on, red-eye, slow, and flash EC. I believe all of those may be controlled from the body with the flash in P-TTL mode. The mode list is different than on the K-3, though even on that camera, I was able to do red-eye, slow, and flash EC from the body controlling my Sigma EF 610 DG Super.


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12-02-2016, 07:01 PM   #9
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OK, what I was questioning was whether (for example) a Pentax flash set to normal flash sync would perform 2nd Curtain sync if the Camera Mode was set to that? I thought not, but perhaps that is not right? The Pentax flashes have 1st and 2nd curtain modes on the flashes themselves (perhaps the SIgma doesn't?) Its possible also that the third party flashes perform differently in this respect.
12-02-2016, 07:08 PM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by mcgregni Quote
OK, what I was questioning was whether (for example) a Pentax flash set to normal flash sync would perform 2nd Curtain sync if the Camera Mode was set to that? I thought not, but perhaps that is not right? The Pentax flashes have 1st and 2nd curtain modes on the flashes themselves (perhaps the SIgma doesn't?) Its possible also that the third party flashes perform differently in this respect.
Unless something has changed via firmware, 2nd curtain sync is not supported via the body on the K-3II.


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12-02-2016, 07:24 PM   #11
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Yes, sorry, of course ..... that would have only applied to cameras WITH a built-in flash. I've just looked at the K1 Manual and thats the same, there is now no '2nd Curtain Sync' option, logically as there's no flash on the camera. What is new (and I think you said the same was there for the K3II) is the option of 'Auto' or 'On' .... previous flagships (eg K7 / K5 / K3) did not have this choice, in fact the flash would always be 'On' so long as it was raised up or attached. Now with 'Auto' mode the camera metering system will determine if the flash is used or not. The 'On' option is the equivalent of what existed on those earlier models.


My assumption is that the 'Auto' mode will use an algorithm to fire the flash if there is low ambient light, or if there is backlight detected and the flash would fire as 'fill-in'. If there's not a backlit situation or the ambient light is good then I presume the flash would not fire.


Really, is there much practical purpose to this I wonder? Surely someone using a K3II or K1, with a flash attached, would be actively deciding and controlling the flash ..... the user would be wanting the flash to fire or else they wouldn't have fitted it ...... I would suspect the best default mode to set is 'On'.


The 'Slow Speed Sync' mode is the one that makes sense from the camera control ..... it affects the ambient / flash exposure balancing P and Av modes, and allows a longer exposure time for recording more ambient light.

Last edited by mcgregni; 12-02-2016 at 07:34 PM.
12-03-2016, 07:22 AM   #12
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First of all I use manual mode and know how to set exposure, The Pentax Manual is as someone earlier said "cryptic", and lacks a lot of information that requires a "hunt and find" approach. So-

In manual mode the on board camera setting for flash "ONLY OFFERS" two settings "Flash on" and "Flash on with red eye reduction". I currently use "Flash on", and radio triggers to fire off camera lights. Everything works, but my EXIF data shows "Flash did not fire"?? Doesn't seem to affect anything, but just curious as to why it does this??

According to instructions on Pg 43 it list "flash compensation", but doesn't elaborate on what exactly this does. I currently adjust for compensation at the light, so I have this set to "0". My guess is that unless it's a P-TTL flash, the compensation won't work.

Pg 91 offers similar "cryptic" instructions. It lists four flashes that support wireless P-TTL operation and advises to "set the camera channel on the external flashes", I can't find any setting on the camera for an "external channel". It also goes on to discuss connecting the flash via X-sync cord but fails to clarify if this will allow other manufacturer's with TTL capability to then operate with the camera?
12-03-2016, 09:55 AM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by Smoke665 Quote
First of all I use manual mode and know how to set exposure, The Pentax Manual is as someone earlier said "cryptic", and lacks a lot of information that requires a "hunt and find" approach. So-

In manual mode the on board camera setting for flash "ONLY OFFERS" two settings "Flash on" and "Flash on with red eye reduction". I currently use "Flash on", and radio triggers to fire off camera lights. Everything works, but my EXIF data shows "Flash did not fire"?? Doesn't seem to affect anything, but just curious as to why it does this??

According to instructions on Pg 43 it list "flash compensation", but doesn't elaborate on what exactly this does. I currently adjust for compensation at the light, so I have this set to "0". My guess is that unless it's a P-TTL flash, the csation won't work.

Pg 91 offers similar "cryptic" instructions. It lists four flashes that support wireless P-TTL operation and advises to "set the camera channel on the external flashes", I can't find any setting on the camera for an "external channel". It also goes on to discuss connecting the flash via X-sync cord but fails to clarify if this will allow other manufacturer's with TTL capability to then operate with the camera?
All the stuff you're looking for is in the Pentax 540 Flash manual. Stick one of those in the hot shoe and you can select P-TTTL, Auto, Manual, Exposure Compensation, Curtain, HSS, plus use it as Master and others as Slaves plus Channel selection.

At 1/180 sec or below, the center pin of the hot shoe gets triggered. Doesn't show up in EXIF. X-sync is also just a trigger signal, at the PC port for a hard wire connection. No smarts, just on or off.

You could keep doing what you're doing which is what I do. That way, whether you're using speed lights or mono lights, it works the same. I can and have, piggy back triggers to fire both.

Last edited by Brooke Meyer; 12-03-2016 at 10:06 AM.
12-03-2016, 11:31 AM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by Brooke Meyer Quote
All the stuff you're looking for is in the Pentax 540 Flash manual. Stick one of those in the hot shoe and you can select P-TTTL, Auto, Manual, Exposure Compensation, Curtain, HSS, plus use it as Master and others as Slaves plus Channel selection.

At 1/180 sec or below, the center pin of the hot shoe gets triggered. Doesn't show up in EXIF. X-sync is also just a trigger signal, at the PC port for a hard wire connection. No smarts, just on or off.

You could keep doing what you're doing which is what I do. That way, whether you're using speed lights or mono lights, it works the same. I can and have, piggy back triggers to fire both.
Thanks, sort of what I figured. Kinda bums me out that they left out a lot of features that were available on the less expensive models.
12-03-2016, 04:44 PM   #15
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I don't understand that last post Smoke665 .... ? What features are left out?


I agree that the flash and camera manuals are not the easiest source of finding practical and efficient ways to work with flash. You are right earlier about 'Flash Compensation' not applying to Manual Flash exposure mode. Flash Compensation applies to P-TTL automatic flash exposures, and shifts the metered flash exposure above or below the '0' point , in stops.
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