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12-14-2014, 10:18 AM   #1
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My Pentax AF280T is in the mail

I was looking for a small flash for my K-5 II that I could stuff in my bag for every day use. Of course I could use the pop-up flash on the camera, but it's somewhat limited in that it is fixed in one spot and it is not very powerful. I looked at the AF360 but right now I can't afford it. Then I looked at the AF200 which is compact but it is just a more powerful pop-up flash. That's when I ran into this link describing the retro AF280T PENTAX AF 280T reviews - Pentax Camera Accessory Review Database . I got mine at KEH for 30 bucks in supposedly "Mint" condition but time will tell... I usually don't have good luck with used flashes.


The good thing about this flash is that it tilts and swivels and is relatively compact. It also uses the old but tried and true thyristor technology that can sometimes be more accurate and reliable than PTTL and TTL. The bad is that it might look a little dorky sitting on my K5 II, but who cares as long as this thing works.

12-14-2014, 10:29 AM   #2
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I have this flash-- don't use it much though, partly because I shoot inside somewhat rarely, and partly because the lock on the battery hatch snapped, so I have to keep it shut with a rubber band It does work well though, but it eats batteries, and, obviously, the battery hatch is kinda flimsy.
12-14-2014, 12:20 PM   #3
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I have two of those and the remedy for battery expenses: rechargeable batteries. Try them.
12-14-2014, 02:22 PM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by hjoseph7 Quote
The bad is that it might look a little dorky sitting on my K5 II, but who cares as long as this thing works.
I think you will find that it works quite well with your K-5 II. Your camera supports the legacy analog protocols and will do a few cool things. Here is the summary, by mode, from my AF-280T review of what is supported:

Although it does not support P-TTL, it does provide several dedicated functions in either of the non-TTL auto modes ("red"/"green") when paired with a recent Pentax body:
  • P: Usable
    • Shutter speed is set to a value appropriate to ambient light, but can be overridden
    • Sets aperture to the value appropriate for the camera ISO. You can override.
    • Combination of the above allow for easy balance against ambient light
    • Green button returns base state
  • Sv: This is quite possibly the most intriguing mode
    • Shutter speed is same as P mode
    • Sets aperture appropriate for camera ISO
    • Green button does nothing
  • Tv: Probably the most useful mode
    • Sets shutter at 1/180s or last set speed whichever is lower, though you can override
    • Sets aperture appropriate for camera ISO, no override
    • Green button does nothing
  • Av: Not very useful IMHO
    • Sets shutter at 1/60s, fixed
    • Does nothing with aperture
    • Green button does nothing
  • M: Usable
    • Shutter same as Tv mode, except for green button
    • Aperture same as P mode
    • Green button resets shutter to base and aperture to value appropriate for ISO per P mode
  • X: Essentially the same as M mode except that the shutter speed stays at 1/180s


12-14-2014, 02:34 PM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by j0n4hpk Quote
I have two of those and the remedy for battery expenses: rechargeable batteries. Try them.
It ate those even faster! The only batteries that I can get to last any significant amount of time in both my flash and my camera (which is a hungry little sucker too) are the energiser ultimate lithiums.
12-14-2014, 02:45 PM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by ZoeB Quote
It ate those even faster! The only batteries that I can get to last any significant amount of time in both my flash and my camera (which is a hungry little sucker too) are the energiser ultimate lithiums.
Try shooting in houses with lower ceilings. That should extend your battery life some


Steve
12-14-2014, 03:45 PM   #7
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I don't think it comes with a sync plug does it ?

12-15-2014, 10:54 AM   #8
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I had this flash and really liked it, nice performance, reliable, it simply lacks some modern features such as manual, a zoom head, etc.
12-16-2014, 09:48 AM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by hjoseph7 Quote
I don't think it comes with a sync plug does it ?
That is true. It is hot shoe only.

QuoteOriginally posted by bdery Quote
it simply lacks some modern features such as manual, a zoom head, etc.
It does do manual, though with only two intensity levels. High guide number is 28 meters (ISO 100) while low is 8 meters (ISO 100).


Steve
12-16-2014, 10:23 AM   #10
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Mine's done ok as far as battery life. I don't notice it eating up the batteries, it seems about the same as my other two flashes.
12-16-2014, 10:38 AM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by stevebrot Quote
It does do manual, though with only two intensity levels. High guide number is 28 meters (ISO 100) while low is 8 meters (ISO 100).
I know that, but I meant "manual controls", which demands more fine-tuning of the power.
12-16-2014, 10:39 AM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by stevebrot Quote
That is true. It is hot shoe only.



It does do manual, though with only two intensity levels. High guide number is 28 meters (ISO 100) while low is 8 meters (ISO 100).


Steve
No problem I think I can still get an off camera sync cord for it. I think Opteka or Vivitar sells them.
12-16-2014, 01:04 PM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by bdery Quote
I know that
You know that, but your readers don't.


Steve
12-18-2014, 07:15 PM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by hjoseph7 Quote
I was looking for a small flash for my K-5 II that I could stuff in my bag for every day use. Of course I could use the pop-up flash on the camera, but it's somewhat limited in that it is fixed in one spot and it is not very powerful. I looked at the AF360 but right now I can't afford it. Then I looked at the AF200 which is compact but it is just a more powerful pop-up flash. That's when I ran into this link describing the retro AF280T PENTAX AF 280T reviews - Pentax Camera Accessory Review Database . I got mine at KEH for 30 bucks in supposedly "Mint" condition but time will tell... I usually don't have good luck with used flashes.


The good thing about this flash is that it tilts and swivels and is relatively compact. It also uses the old but tried and true thyristor technology that can sometimes be more accurate and reliable than PTTL and TTL. The bad is that it might look a little dorky sitting on my K5 II, but who cares as long as this thing works.


My AF280 came in the mail today. When KEH says it is in" excellent condition" they are not kidding. Not a scratch on it. The thing I like about this flash is that with every tilt and swivel there is a click. Meaning that is not as free wheeling as the newer flash units. There are stops to every movement which gives you a little more confidence that the flash head will not move during the heat of a shoot. This flash feels definitely solid !


It does look clunky on top of my K-5 II and is a bit on the chunky side. However, it fits fine in my shoulder bag. The only thing I can do is use this flash in Auto mode. Other features such as TTL do not work with my K-5 and I don't care. Auto mode is fine with me, but there is a bit of a learning curve, especially when you are trying to bounce the flash off a wall or ceiling or something else. Since there is NO PTTL you sort of have to calculate the adjustments yourself...
12-18-2014, 08:52 PM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by hjoseph7 Quote
Auto mode is fine with me, but there is a bit of a learning curve, especially when you are trying to bounce the flash off a wall or ceiling or something else. Since there is NO PTTL you sort of have to calculate the adjustments yourself...
Why do you have to calculate yourself when bouncing the flash? Auto mode should take care of that, especially with tilt and swivel head, the thyristor sensor always looks at the scene. Or am I missing something?
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