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01-17-2017, 10:05 AM   #16
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QuoteOriginally posted by UserAccessDenied Quote
Curious, what kind of range can you get with the 540?
Most flashes, including the pentax ones, have a chart in the back of the manuals for their guide number. The guide number of the 540 at the 85mm zoom position is 54m at iso100. You can do a calculation from there, depending on the settings you plan to use, using the formula GN = distance f/stop. e.g. at iso100, f/8, 85mm zoom setting, a full power flash from the 540 will 'properly' expose a subject 54/8=6.75m away.

More about guide numbers here: Understanding Guide Numbers, including GN Calculator

From an on camera position vs. wildlife, the 'nicest' results I've seen use the flash as fill, and not the key light, which will extend the useful range some.

01-17-2017, 10:15 AM   #17
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QuoteOriginally posted by Kevin B123 Quote
The AF201FG is small, lightweight and WR, worth a look?
I've given that some thought actually.
I love the compactness and the WR... Not sure it will be powerful enough?
01-17-2017, 10:20 AM   #18
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I do like my AF540 FGZ. It is a great flash on both the K1 and K3.
01-17-2017, 10:20 AM   #19
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QuoteOriginally posted by CarlJF Quote
Unless you're sure to never ever need P-TTL, I would recommend to get a P-TTL flash. The reason being that a P-TTL flash can always be used in manual mode if you wish to, but a manual flash can never be turned into a P-TTL one... P-TTL isn't just a matter of getting the exposure right, it also bring some useful features like high speed sync, just to name one. A P-TTL flash cost more, but is also more versatile than a manual one, it's not like paying for nothing.

You could also add the Metz 52 AF-1 to your list. An excellent unit selling new for only a few dollars above 300$.

And no matter what you'll choose, just be sure to get one with a swivel head. It's much more useful when used on camera than a tilt only head.
If I got the 201-fg and used this with it:
Amazon.com : Vello Off-Camera TTL Flash Cord for Pentax Cameras (3') : Camera & Photo

Could I still shoot P-ttl off camera and basically use the cord mount as a pseudo-swivel for the flash (since the 201 only tilts?)

Just curous if it would be powerful enough for macro use...

Any thoughts?

01-17-2017, 10:33 AM   #20
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QuoteOriginally posted by UserAccessDenied Quote
Is there a one-size-fits-all flash for me?

Here's what I'm seeing right now in various used markets:

Metz 50-af1 : $100
360 FGZ II : $300
540 FGZ : $200
Sunpak DX-8R: $100

Are these prices decent? And which flash would I benefit from the most?

Is the mkII variations of the 360 and 540 worth the price? Or am I better off looking at the 1st editions?
I am using a Sigma 610 Super, supposedly a full featured flash that some like and others do not, so this might be an option. I don't have any experience with other flashes, however. All the features that I've used have worked fine. I picked up mine used at about $200 several years ago, but it can be had for much less than that. Good power, ok with batteries, user interface might be improved but still works well enough. If your budget is truly $300 I'd go with either the 540 or newer 360. I have found that I want the flash to both tilt and swivel, and the Sigma does both.
01-17-2017, 10:45 AM   #21
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QuoteOriginally posted by UserAccessDenied Quote
If I got the 201-fg and used this with it:
Amazon.com : Vello Off-Camera TTL Flash Cord for Pentax Cameras (3') : Camera & Photo

Could I still shoot P-ttl off camera and basically use the cord mount as a pseudo-swivel for the flash (since the 201 only tilts?)

Just curous if it would be powerful enough for macro use...

Any thoughts?
Yes, it will work and it's kind of what people were doing in the old days before swivel heads existed or were found only on high end units. It's not just as convenient to use as a swivel head. And if you don't have a flash bracket and hold your flash by hand, it leaves you only one hand to handle the camera, which is a bit awkward... That said, the swivel head is mostly used to control bounce flash off the walls, and the 201 would be somewhat limiting in power for this anyway...

For macro work, it should work fine. More so that it's light enough to be put on a flexible arm allowing you to position it as you want.
01-17-2017, 11:27 AM   #22
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For wildlife shots you may want to buy a fresnel extender as well?
I'm not very knowledgeable on this but this page has some useful info.
Secrets of Digital Bird Photography
01-17-2017, 11:33 AM   #23
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The sigma EF-610 DG Super Flash works well in both TTL and manual mode

01-17-2017, 12:58 PM - 1 Like   #24
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I agree with Brooke Meyer. I use 4 YN 560IV's. If yo uuse regular AA alkalines, they will fail quickly. Thats true for the FGZ 360 as well. If you use Eneloops, Amazon Basics, or any reputable rechargeable, you'll get a lot of life out of them for each use. Its night and day. I had this same problem.
01-17-2017, 01:12 PM   #25
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QuoteOriginally posted by wissink Quote
I agree with Brooke Meyer. I use 4 YN 560IV's. If yo uuse regular AA alkalines, they will fail quickly. Thats true for the FGZ 360 as well. If you use Eneloops, Amazon Basics, or any reputable rechargeable, you'll get a lot of life out of them for each use. Its night and day. I had this same problem.
Hmm, well I just found a "like new" AF-201 on eBay for $100 so I bought it

I'll give this a shot and see how it goes! If I need more power I might pick up a second one and use them on brackets off-camera, or just buy a "full-sized" flash.

But for now, the form-factor 201 is appealing to me. Along with a fully WR kit with the DFA + HD1.4x!
01-17-2017, 01:27 PM   #26
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QuoteOriginally posted by lithedreamer Quote
I'll throw my hat in for the 360 mk II. 360/540 mk I flashes
Pentax AF360FGZ II is a good one. Much better flash cycle time. Pentax AF540FGZ II is more powerful but has worse cycle times albeit better than the older version (AF540FGZ).

---------- Post added 01-17-17 at 03:33 PM ----------

If you have the courage and time and patience buy this and send it to promaster for a firmware update. I have one with a newer firmware update that works very well for my K-5ii. I havent tested it on the K-1 though. But this thing is very powerful.

https://www.amazon.com/Promaster-7500EDF-Digital-Flash-Pentax/dp/B00125XY28

<$20 + 10 for shipping it to promaster (they ship it back for free) is worth a shot. Call them to see if they still offer firmware updates.
01-17-2017, 02:57 PM   #27
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For anyone looking for a very small flash for a K-3ii or K-1 the AF201Sa is a simple thyristor flash with basic pentax auto functions. If the camera is set to P mode it will set shutter speed and aperture for you. You can adjust ISO and it will track these adjustments. In my tests it appeared to allow for flash compensation but I'm not sure that makes sense. I did get an overexposed image and then tuned it down with a -1 flash exposure compensation but I didn't test this extensively. The trigger voltage is listed as 6.2v on several sites.

I have one brand new in the box that I used for testing. I see them in good shape on ebay for $20 or so frequently. It is tiny, cheap and reasonably capable for a replacement for an onboard flash. It doesn't do P-TTL, it isn't powerful, it doesn't zoom, and it isn't currently made. It does use 4 AA batteries which should mean that the number of flashes per battery charge will be high..

---------- Post added 01-17-17 at 05:01 PM ----------

QuoteOriginally posted by UserAccessDenied Quote
I honestly don't know...
I imagine if I ever need the flash I'll have the time to setup a manual setting, firing a few test shots if need be?

I guess the main thing that's appealing to me about the FGZ II series is the WR.

Should I caution using a film-era flash on a modern DSLR? Isn't there a voltage issue?

---------- Post added 01-17-17 at 11:08 AM ----------



Curious, what kind of range can you get with the 540?
Would it be of any use for wildlife shooting? (400mm +)
FGZ-II flash WR is nice but how often are you taking flash shots in the rain?

Test shots for manual shooting gets easier over time - I'm learning the same after my AF540FGZ (series 1) died just about 2 years after purchase. I have switched to manual flashes including the RF60 and the Cactus v6 triggers. So far I like it.

I used my AF540FGZ to take a picture of a squirrel on a branch using an A* 85mm manual focus lens. I stalked to get closer but the final shot was from 20-30'. Distance more than mm of the lens is what will count.
01-17-2017, 03:17 PM   #28
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QuoteOriginally posted by UserAccessDenied Quote
Hmm, well I just found a "like new" AF-201 on eBay for $100 so I bought it

I'll give this a shot and see how it goes! If I need more power I might pick up a second one and use them on brackets off-camera, or just buy a "full-sized" flash.

But for now, the form-factor 201 is appealing to me. Along with a fully WR kit with the DFA + HD1.4x!
let us know how it works for you

I've wanted one for my q for a while

btw the way...the vello cord does work

your new flash is more than adequate for close up work
just keep in mind that it will be about the same power as an onboard flash

good luck
01-17-2017, 04:04 PM   #29
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QuoteOriginally posted by ccc_ Quote
let us know how it works for you

I've wanted one for my q for a while

btw the way...the vello cord does work

your new flash is more than adequate for close up work
just keep in mind that it will be about the same power as an onboard flash

good luck
I'll definitely post a review when it comes in.

It should be slightly more power than the OBF.
K-3 OBF = GN13
AF-201fg = GN20

I'm not expecting anything significant.

And thanks for the tip on Vello!
I saw they make a 3ft cord. Shame they don't make a 6ft version with P-TTL!
01-17-2017, 10:11 PM   #30
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QuoteOriginally posted by UserAccessDenied Quote
Here's what I'm seeing right now in various used markets:

Metz 50-af1 : $100
360 FGZ II : $300
540 FGZ : $200

I'm sorry I didn't see this thread until now...

I own all three of these (well I own the I model of the 360). The Metz is my favorite of the bunch. It is very slightly larger than the af-360 (af-540 is quite larger than both) but my favorite aspect of the Metz is it retains settings when switched off. Neither of my Pentax flashes do that.

On the other hand, the Metz is a bit simpler but more menu diving has to happen to get to settings. Basic ones (flash level and mode) are pretty easy to get to though. With the Pentax there are way more controls on them to dial in settings and features quicker. But if you turn them off (and I think they auto power off if not used for a few minutes.. ) then they lose their settings (go back to default power and such).

I use eneloop rechargables in all of them. They seem to last long. I can't tell you how many shots but I can shoot for an hour or so and I haven't had a problem (never worn the batteries down in a shoot).


The AF-201fg doesn't look too bad from what I can see (haven't tried one though). It seems low frills but does have some tilt of the head and has P-TTL, Manual (full), and Manual (quarter) power modes. Plus it seems to be weather resistant.

You could easily use that, make a pringles can snoot, and shoot macro. That's another thing I like about the Metz 50 af1, it fits a pringles can over it nicely for macro work.
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