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01-17-2017, 07:53 AM   #1
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Typical "What Flash to Buy" Thread...

Currently 100% of my photos are naturally lit - Shooting from a K-3ii, I don't even have an on-board flash option...

I owned the Yongnuo IV almost a year ago. Went through 4 copies of them and they were all either defective, or it just destroys batteries (5 shots on full power and batteries were dead)...
I owned the Sunpak DX-8R with my old macro setup (Sigma 105mm + K-30). This was a fine combination, sold it when I bought the K-3ii. It was a bit bulky for general photography, and not as powerful for portraits or anything other than close-up macro...

I shoot 99% wildlife in natural lighting; so I am not looking to invest a lot of money into a flash. But I feel like it's something I should have in the bag, right?

There are a few situations recently where a fill flash could have improved the shooting environment.
I also have the DFA100 and with my new HD1.4xTC, I'll likely be trying some macro again.

So - Budget $300 - Macro and general photography, some portraits in the future perhaps.

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?



Please help me!
I'm learning a lot from reading Bryan Peterson's books. But I need a flash to actually put some things to practice!


My gear includes:
K-3ii, DA*300, HD1.4xTC, DFA100, DA70, DA15, and soon to acquire the DA35ltd as well.

Which flash would be best used for overall photography, but mainly for macro and some portraits?


Cheers!
Logan

01-17-2017, 08:31 AM   #2
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Do you NEED P-TTL?

If not then maybe manual flashes or auto thyristor will work. The Nikon SB-24, 25,26,28 series is favored by the strobist followers. The Cactus Rf60 is nice for manual flash with the easy option of using the Cactus trigger to control the power.
01-17-2017, 08:39 AM   #3
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Much as I like my AF360FGZ, my "go to" flash is a cheapie manual-only Neewer TT520 flash Amazon.com : Neewer TT520 Flash Speedlite for Canon Nikon Sony Panasonic Olympus Fujifilm Pentax Sigma Minolta Leica and Other SLR Digital SLR Film SLR Cameras and Digital Cameras with single-contact Hot Shoe : On Camera Shoe Mount Flashes : Camera & with a pretty good guide number. It's simple to operate and, like most flashes today, can be used as a slave for the AF360FGZ.
01-17-2017, 08:44 AM   #4
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I almost never use a flash but I have the 360, 540 and 8r plus a couple vivitars from the age of film

I hate thinking about the setup so when I do use a flash I depend on p-ttl
I like the extra reach of the 540
so that is the one that gets used

I used to use the 8xr for close-up work
now I use the 540 plus a rogue flashbender or some kind of continuous lighting

good luck deciding


Last edited by ccc_; 01-17-2017 at 11:22 AM.
01-17-2017, 08:59 AM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by UncleVanya Quote
Do you NEED P-TTL?

A very relevant question. If you shoot 99% without flash, you could save a lot of money going manual or semi-manual
01-17-2017, 09:06 AM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by UncleVanya Quote
Do you NEED P-TTL?
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 ----------

QuoteOriginally posted by ccc_ Quote
I almost never use a flash but I have the 360, 540 and 8xr plus a couple vivitars from the age of film

I hate thinking about the setup so when I do use a flash I depend on p-ttl
I like the extra reach of the 540
so that is the one that gets used

I used to use the 8xr for close-up work
now I use the 540 plus a rogue flashbender or some kind of continuous lighting

good luck deciding
Curious, what kind of range can you get with the 540?
Would it be of any use for wildlife shooting? (400mm +)
01-17-2017, 09:13 AM   #7
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I just recently picked up a Cactus RF60 used from Adorama. I would recommend it since you are not using flash all the time as it has an intuitive menu and is cheaper then TTL. I find using a manual flash to be pretty easy and currently can't justify the cost of a TTL but with you higher budget it would be a nice feature to have.

For wildlife you can attach a Better Beamer to extend the range of the flash.
01-17-2017, 09:21 AM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by UserAccessDenied Quote
Should I caution using a film-era flash on a modern DSLR? Isn't there a voltage issue?

Yes, use caution. You can have a look here: Photo Strobe Trigger Voltages

01-17-2017, 09:37 AM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by Bengan Quote
Yes, use caution. You can have a look here: Photo Strobe Trigger Voltages
just like in the movie...be very very careful

one of my old vivitars put out 243 volts when tested
by contrast my 285hv showed 6 volts as does my 8r
but you have to test them before using them

the better beamer does increase your reach but try one first or read about them on this forum or the net
I find the results flat but I've gotten shots I couldn't have gotten otherwise using mine

my 360 just about lights up a raccoon at 30-35 feet
my 540 at 35-45

I probably should mention that the reason I have so many different flashes and they see so little use is that I keep finding them in bargain bins or pawn shops
I can't seem to pass up a deal

Last edited by ccc_; 01-17-2017 at 11:22 AM.
01-17-2017, 09:38 AM   #10
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Not sure if anyone has seen this P-TTL from Yongnuo (Yongnuo YN585EX Wireless Flash Speedlite P-TTL)
Yongnuo YN585EX Wireless Flash Speedlite P-TTL TTL for Pentax K3II KS2 K5IIS US | eBay

I ordered one to see what it brings to the table. It seems to support HSS and all the capabilities of Pentax flashes including Master Slave control of their flashes. For this price it looks promising either ways (P-TTL or manual). Also the fact that there is a missing bounce card on the newer Pentax flashes is a bit annoying. The diffuser when used in bounce mode tends to show a dense line of light at the diffusion plane some times ruining bounce shots. I hope Yongnuo takes care of this. I will post some thoughts once I get my hands on it. Its in the mail.

---------- Post added 01-17-17 at 11:40 AM ----------

I am glad to see some ecosystem building around Pentax now that the FF (K-1) is out..
01-17-2017, 09:43 AM   #11
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The AF201FG is small, lightweight and WR, worth a look?
01-17-2017, 09:45 AM   #12
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I'll throw my hat in for the 360 mk II. 360/540 mk I flashes tend to have the battery door fail, from what I've read from reviews, and the weathersealing on the 360II honestly works in rain and deserts, which is pretty dang cool. It's got quite a lot of kick for its diminutive size, and it even includes a modelling/flashlight for either seeing in the dark or for having a small consistent light. Finally, it supports TTL. You might not need it, but it never hurts to have one TTL flash for shooting events.
01-17-2017, 09:55 AM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by shardulm Quote
It seems to support HSS and all the capabilities of Pentax flashes including Master Slave control of their flashes. .
None of the specs I've seen say anything about HSS.

The more expensive Shanny SN600FGZ on the other hand does support HSS...slightly higher guide number too...

Amazon.com : Shanny SN600FGZ P-TTL GN60 1/8000S HSS Flash for Pentax K10D K100D K200D K20D K-7 K-x K-r K-5 K-01 K-30 K-5 II K-5 IIs K-50 K-500 K-3 K-3 II w/ EACHSHOT White Diffuser : Camera & Photo
01-17-2017, 09:57 AM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by shardulm Quote
Not sure if anyone has seen this P-TTL from Yongnuo (Yongnuo YN585EX Wireless Flash Speedlite P-TTL)
Yongnuo YN585EX Wireless Flash Speedlite P-TTL TTL for Pentax K3II KS2 K5IIS US | eBay

I ordered one to see what it brings to the table. It seems to support HSS and all the capabilities of Pentax flashes including Master Slave control of their flashes. For this price it looks promising either ways (P-TTL or manual). Also the fact that there is a missing bounce card on the newer Pentax flashes is a bit annoying. The diffuser when used in bounce mode tends to show a dense line of light at the diffusion plane some times ruining bounce shots. I hope Yongnuo takes care of this. I will post some thoughts once I get my hands on it. Its in the mail.

---------- Post added 01-17-17 at 11:40 AM ----------

I am glad to see some ecosystem building around Pentax now that the FF (K-1) is out..
Curious why Amazon doesn't sell this version; but they have the Canon iteration.

Please let us know when you receive it!
This might be the choice I'm looking for. I've just had a bad first impression of Yongnuo - 4 defective flashes in a row is never a good way to get start with a company!
01-17-2017, 10:00 AM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by UserAccessDenied Quote
Originally posted by UncleVanya Quote
Do you NEED P-TTL?
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?
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.
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