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08-24-2012, 10:48 AM   #1
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Shoe mount Flash for my K-5

Gentlemen,

I am about to pull the trigger on a Pentax AF-540 FGZ shoe mount flash for my K-5 but I am a bit hesitant based on some of the reviews. I have looked at the Metz and some of the far less expensive options but some of the features on the Pentax look very good. The Pentax and the Metz are about the same price today.Some questions that come to mind are:
1. Has Pentax corrected any of the build quality problems?
2. Are the build quality problems overblown?
3. Are there any newer Pentax flash products in the pipeline?
4. Where is the best place to purchase this unit?
5. Does B&H or others offer a discount to members here?

B&H has a descent price and I have noticed that the price has dropped in the last few months so that makes me wonder if a newer unit is in the offing.

Thank you in advance for your usual great advise.

Regards,

SEWIS

08-24-2012, 11:39 AM   #2
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I bought a AF 540 FGZ from BHPhotoVideo and it arrived a few days ago. No problems at all with it whatsoever, love this flash a lot and glad I bought it over a Metz, in which I used to own a Metz 48 AF-1 and this flash blows it away in terms of functionality and ease of use.
08-24-2012, 08:05 PM   #3
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I am glad to hear of your experience with the 540 FGZ. I think that I will most likely purchase one, but I just like to make sure that I am making the right move.
08-25-2012, 03:10 AM   #4
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I've got an AF540 purchased used and a Metz50 new from B&H
I haven't tried the Metz 58 so I don't know if the build is better than the 50.

I actually like the build of the AF540 better mechanically the head swivel / tilt is smoother than the Metz 50
The battery door is pretty flimsy on both.
TheAF540 locking pin has been known to jam but if you don't ram it in with force on the lock toggle no problem. Never been an issue with mine.
I do think Metz locknut is a bit easier & better to use.

I like the user interface on the Pentax better, ok there's more switches, buttons, dials and levers but the Metz's double button push to cycle through the menu I find a bit annoying because effectively you need 2 hands to use it. Either with 2 thumbs or with 2 fingers on one hand holding the flash with the other.

Metz 58 has a metal foot and the AF540 is plastic. Id rather break a plastic foot than destroy the hot shoe on the camera.

Manual output on the Metz can go down to 1/128 and the Pentax only 1/64.

Some people say the P-TTL output of the Pentax is inconsistent but I believe it is scene dependent to account for variance in exposure. I haven't found the Metz to be more accurate or more consistent. Maybe it's me . Admittedly I do need more practice.

If I were to buy a replacement or 3rd flash it would be a AF540.

If you by from B&H or Adorama by clicking the links on this site I think Adam (site admin) gets some brownie points with them.

08-25-2012, 03:34 PM   #5
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Ok I just removed the four screws from the bottom of my flash, popped the black pin holder and operator out of it's socket and twisted it to the right so the pin doesn't go down, then screwed the bottom back on and voila! At any moment I want to, I can just take out the four screws at the bottom of my flash again, and twist the pin holder back in place and the locking pin should be operational again. Which won't happen so Hah! I tried twisting the lock back and forth and the pin doesn't go down and the lock doesn't get jammed, so I am all good to go.

Last edited by LeDave; 08-25-2012 at 03:41 PM.
08-26-2012, 02:28 PM   #6
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Thank you LeDave, that appears to be one of the common problems that I have read about. It looks as though you may have found the fix.
08-31-2012, 08:56 AM   #7
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I pulled the trigger on the Pentax AF540 FGZ from B&H and it arrived yesterday. I am looking forward to using it soon. My first impression is favorable albeit a bit overwhelming. The pin on the mount of my unit appears to be metal so they must have made a change. I also purchased some Pearstone rechargeable batteries with the charger and a Vello diffuser so I have plenty of things to experiment with and a hope to have a lot of fun along the way.
08-31-2012, 09:06 AM   #8
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SEWIS, you bought the exact same things I did when I bought my af540fgz. A vello diffuser as well as batteries except mine was Eneloops and not Pearstone. Have fun! You'll enjoy it lots.

08-31-2012, 09:09 AM   #9
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I have both, buildwise there isn't a great deal between them although the metz at least has a metal shoe. I prefer the metz because it can a) remember settings and b) do manual rear sync
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