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View Poll Results: I consider the Pentax Flash System to be...
Amazing! I use it's advanced features and it hasn't let me down yet! 515.63%
It's ok for basic stuff, as long as you use the flashes manualy.. 1134.38%
Not good enough. For flash photography I'd go for another brand 721.88%
No idea. I only use the built in flash and/or don't use flash. 928.13%
Voters: 32. You may not vote on this poll

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11-27-2014, 08:09 PM   #1
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Pentax flash system - Anyone using it professionally?

I'm considering getting a K-3 soon, and I was planning on using it for advanced off-camera flash portrait photography. I'm basically wondering if Pentax can do the following:

- Can it trigger multiple flashes using Wireless HSS P-TTL (and if so, how to do it)
- Are there any radio triggers for Pentax that support HSS and/or P-TTL
- What on camera control does one have of wireless/radio off-camera flash units; exposure,ratio, etc...?

Also, is there any LR tethering software for the K-3/K-5 out there?

Any 1st hand experience is welcome.


Last edited by Rayn; 11-27-2014 at 08:16 PM.
11-27-2014, 08:18 PM - 1 Like   #2
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QuoteOriginally posted by Rayn Quote
Also, is there any LR tethering software for the K-3/K-5 out there?
That would essentially be a no. The FLU card permits WiFi tethering and communications on the k-3 but not the k-5. You can have LR monitor a folder and import as files are delivered there but native LR tethering, no.

I have a P-TTL flash (2 in fact) but use them in manual mode with Cactus v5 triggers. Along with a number of non-P-TTL flashes. So I cannot help with your P-TTL questions. I have found manual flash to be easier to use in my environment than trying to use the P-TTL stuff. YMMV.
11-27-2014, 08:39 PM   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by jatrax Quote
That would essentially be a no. The FLU card permits WiFi tethering and communications on the k-3 but not the k-5. You can have LR monitor a folder and import as files are delivered there but native LR tethering, no.
I seem to recall someone once telling me about a 3rd party plugin for the K-3 LR tethering... guess not. Shame, but not a deal-breaker.

QuoteQuote:
I have a P-TTL flash (2 in fact) but use them in manual mode with Cactus v5 triggers. Along with a number of non-P-TTL flashes. So I cannot help with your P-TTL questions. I have found manual flash to be easier to use in my environment than trying to use the P-TTL stuff. YMMV.
And this is pretty much how most people seem to use it, but that means a trial and error approach, time consuming setting and re-setting of each flash manually, and most importantly (for me at least), no HSS. All of this is fine for a more casual usage, but on a pro shoot where time is money, not so much (not that I'm on that level yet, but I'd prefer not to use gear that limits my options).. that's why I'm wondering if there's a way to utilize Pentax flash system to use P-TTL remotely in any way and be able to use HSS.
11-27-2014, 09:01 PM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by Rayn Quote
Can it trigger multiple flashes using Wireless HSS P-TTL (and if so, how to do it)
The flash system on the K-3 is supposed to be the same as the K-30. According to the manual, it can do HSS with multiple Pentax flashes using wireless P-TTL, but not with the built in flash, so you need to take a Pentax P-TTL external flash and mount it on the camera's hot shoe in order to trigger other flashes. The manual for my Metz doesn't mention anything other than HSS with a single flash. From the standpoint of the flash units, HSS is achieved by firing the flash for a shorter duration, which limits the light output. All the faster shutter speed does is reduce the amount of ambient light in the exposure. In situations with low ambient light there are ways to get around HSS limitations, by manually controlling the light output of your flashes. I only have experience using HSS with a single flash.
QuoteOriginally posted by Rayn Quote
What on camera control does one have of wireless/radio off-camera flash units; exposure,ratio, etc...?
You can adjust flash exposure compensation - 2 stops to +1 stop. That's it.

P-TTL has several limitations including single zone metering (and that zone covers the entire frame). Highly reflective surfaces anywhere in the frame will mess with the exposure. Contrast control sync is limited to 1/3 and 2/3 contributions from on camera and off camera flashes, and you can't change the way the camera decides to adjust flash output. For candid shots, P-TTL is better than trying to calculate flash settings in your head, but if you can control the environment and take a few test shots first, I recommend going 100% manual.

---------- Post added 11-27-14 at 10:17 PM ----------

QuoteOriginally posted by Rayn Quote
someone once telling me about a 3rd party plugin for the K-3 LR tethering
There was a beta version out for a while, I have no idea if it is still under development, but the version I tried could change camera settings until you triggered the shutter, then everything crashed. With the K-3/K-5 you can use the HDMI output to monitor Live View, but that's not integrated with LR and is only a one-way tether, no matter how you look at it. So Flu-card or forget it.

11-27-2014, 09:31 PM   #5
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Yes, Rayn, one HSS P-TTL flash in your hotshoe can trigger others off camera.

But professionals - Canon and Nikon too - would surely be using manual triggers for multiple off camera speedlights and strobes. With a Sekonic light meter or similar,you can get the flash right in the spots you want.

You can fire your shutter remotely and examine the shots afterwards on your laptop, tablet or phone with a Flu card. Handy if you're your own assistant and are holding a reflector at the time, etc.

Last edited by clackers; 11-27-2014 at 09:37 PM.
11-27-2014, 09:35 PM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by Rayn Quote
And this is pretty much how most people seem to use it, but that means a trial and error approach, time consuming setting and re-setting of each flash manually, and most importantly (for me at least), no HSS. All of this is fine for a more casual usage, but on a pro shoot where time is money, not so much (not that I'm on that level yet, but I'd prefer not to use gear that limits my options).. that's why I'm wondering if there's a way to utilize Pentax flash system to use P-TTL remotely in any way and be able to use HSS.
Most pros I have shot with, except weddings, have used all manual flash. Studio strobes for example are all manual. Everyone's situation is different of course, but I find that with only a little experience manual flash can be set up quite quickly. Of course manual has no HSS so that is a P-TTL advantage. I watched a wedding photog last year, he set up a number of completely manual flashes around the reception hall, all set to hit the ceiling. Walked around and took a few test shots here and there, and that was it. Shot the rest of the night without touching the flashes.

QuoteOriginally posted by Rayn Quote
I seem to recall someone once telling me about a 3rd party plugin for the K-3 LR tethering... guess not. Shame, but not a deal-breaker.
Not a plugin AFAIK but there was a third party app that did tethering. PK_Tether – Tethering Software for Pentax DSLR Cameras, but I believe it does not work with k-3. I could be wrong on that though, I've never used it.
11-27-2014, 09:48 PM   #7
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None of the above...


Steve

---------- Post added 11-27-14 at 08:49 PM ----------

QuoteOriginally posted by Rayn Quote
Also, is there any LR tethering software for the K-3/K-5 out there?
According to the Adobe documentation and marketing materials for Lightroom, tethering is only available for Nikon, Canon, and Leica product.


Steve

11-27-2014, 10:00 PM   #8
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check out the review on the cactus v6 on PentaxForums - can change flash power for each flash from the receiver on the camera. HSS is explained too with the v6. I've been using it for around 2 months now and it's been very handy to be able to change the flash power for each flash individually from the camera. Just ordered a 3rd receiver so I really like this system...
11-28-2014, 03:21 AM   #9
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Right now, the Cactus V6 system is the best solution for anyone wanting to do advanced flash work with a Pentax camera. If you want do flash professionally, do yourself a favor and go with Nikon, plain and simple. Canon's system has definitely gotten better (i.e they've added another "group" and wireless controls), but they still lag behind Nikon. Pentax's flash system by comparison is at least 15 years behind the times. There is no provision for wireless groups, no real ratio controls, max sync speed is 1/180, and you have to have a HSS master on the hotshoe (and not every HSS capable flash can act as a master).
11-28-2014, 05:25 AM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by maxfield_photo Quote
If you want do flash professionally, do yourself a favor and go with Nikon, plain and simple. Canon's system has definitely gotten better
Canon and Nikon systems are designed to work with their own proprietary flashes, which are limited in power and capability.

To use strobes and a heterogeneous speedlight setup, a third-party cabled or wireless controller system (like the Cactus) is needed by pros anyway.

The Sony A7R has a sync speed of 1/160s and possibly a non-standard hotshoe. But it won't matter in a professional studio.
11-28-2014, 07:41 AM   #11
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If you want to do portrait photography, you'll want a manual system anyway, removes the guesswork. Choose a system that lets you control the flash power remotely, in zones. Essentially, that means the Godox V850, Cactus RF60 or Yongnuo 560 flashes, with their associated remotes.
11-28-2014, 09:02 AM   #12
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Along with what others have said, to answer these questions based on what I currently use and plan to use ;

- Can it trigger multiple flashes using Wireless HSS P-TTL (and if so, how to do it)


Yes if you are not in extremely bright light and have an on camera external flash with Hss controller/master capability and your off camera flashes are Hss capable in slave mode. The latter part being really important when looking at hss flashes.

- Are there any radio triggers for Pentax that support HSS and/or P-TTL

Yes based on my experience the aokatec radio triggers will do P-ttl Hss with pentax up to 1/8000 and up to 360 feet as long as you are using an Hss capable controller flash on camera along with their transmitter and with one or more hss slave compatible flashes with their receivers. The main downside for example is one can't control individual group power for manual use as one can with the Cactus V6 system and a couple others. Though I would agree manual is used way more than Hss which is where the Cactus V6 really shines. I am considering picking up the Cactus V6 system for it's group power control and using either as needed. I use the Cowboy radio triggers currently and have to manually set each flashes power which can be a pain.

- What on camera control does one have of wireless/radio off-camera flash units; exposure,ratio, etc...?

I am not sure about the K3 as I don't own one but with my K5 lls if I am triggering with my on board flash non hss then the wireless setting but you need to attach an external flash first to set the channel on the camera then make sure any other flashes are on the same channel. The real downside is if your externals do not have auto shut off disable then it can be a royal pain. For the Aokatec set up and external wireless flash Control I use the standard camera flash mode and use the flash hss settings. As far as exposure settings that strictly depends on how one wants to create/control the ambient and flash exposure.



So all can be done but given your concern with ease of setting up I would have to agree the Nikon or Canon flash systems require less and work easier with more products then Pentax. So if your not vested too much in Pentax gear the other systems may suit your purpose better.

Last edited by Oldbayrunner; 11-28-2014 at 09:35 AM.
11-28-2014, 10:34 AM   #13
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There's too much of a gap between "Amazing! I use it's advanced features and it hasn't let me down yet!" and "It's ok for basic stuff, as long as you use the flashes manualy." Pentax' advanced features like HSS and P-TTL sometime let me down, but they generally work and don't limit me to solely manual flash.

Last edited by DeadJohn; 11-28-2014 at 10:36 AM. Reason: grammar
12-21-2014, 04:55 PM   #14
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@Ryan, thank you for starting this thread. I recently attended a one-light 101 course at B&H and am interested in adding flash to my bag of tricks. As such, I too am looking for recommendations on where to get started.

@all, for off camera flash and remote, it seems these Cactus units are viable options when starting from scratch with a Pentax K-series body.

* Cactus RF60 Wireless Flash DICFLACACRF60 B&H Photo Video
* Cactus Wireless Flash Transceiver V6 DICFLAWFTV6 B&H Photo Video

Now for the silliness. I can do off camera flash given I put the Cactus Wireless Flash Transceiver onto my Pentax K5ii as master and then set the Cactus RF60 Wireless Flash as a slave. Correct?

I'm still not positive though, can I control the flash manually via the Cactus Wireless Flash Transceiver?

Thank you everyone for helping Ryan and myself out with figuring out Pentax flash adventures.

I found the PF Catcus reviews
* Cactus V6 https://www.pentaxforums.com/reviews/cactus-v6-review/introduction.html
* Catcus RF60 Flash https://www.pentaxforums.com/reviews/cactus-rf60-review/introduction.html

Last edited by comprock; 12-21-2014 at 05:18 PM.
12-21-2014, 11:16 PM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by comprock Quote
ow for the silliness. I can do off camera flash given I put the Cactus Wireless Flash Transceiver onto my Pentax K5ii as master and then set the Cactus RF60 Wireless Flash as a slave. Correct? I'm still not positive though, can I control the flash manually via the Cactus Wireless Flash Transceiver?
Yes, there are numerous ways to configure a Cactus flash setup. The most obvious and popular method is to put a V6 on your hotshoe, and use that to control one or more off-camera RF60s or off-camera V6s with a TTL speedlight attached. If you have a bunch of old TTL flashes already, it may make more sense just to buy the V6 units, but if you are not already invested in speedlights, the RF60s have all the functionality of the V6s units built in. (Be careful, some newer speedlights only support the digital pTTL protocol, but not the old analog TTL protocol. Compatibility seems to be hit and miss with these newer speedlights) Another method that will work is to have the RF60 on your hotshoe in master mode, and set the V6 with a speedlight attached in receiver mode.

Manual speedlights can be fired by a V6 transceiver, but you will only get basic sync functionality, not remote power control, so in that case using a less expensive Cactus V5 unit as the receiver is an option. The V5s integrate with the V6s and the RF60s.
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