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01-19-2017, 06:11 PM   #1
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AF200FG: P-TTL with extension tubes for macro?

Hi all;

I've got an AF200FG flash I'd like to use to introduce some light into my macro work. I know it's kinda lacking in the feature set department, but it's what I've got to work with for now, apart from my K-S2's pop-up unit. It's going to be a while (if ever ) that I would be able to afford any of the higher end Pentax flashes. Radio triggered stuff is not likely to be in my future either.

I do have an older Vivitar Series 1 880AF (which I believe is a rebadged Sigma EF-500 DG Super) which is Canon dedicated. It has tilt, swivel, optical slave capability, and offers manual power settings down to 1/128. Currently, it does not fire on a hot shoe, though it does work as a slave. I'm guessing that there's a broken connection for the central pin. I know I could set this flash up to be run as a slave from my K-S2's on board flash, but I'd rather not use the built-in flash at all, so as to save battery power. I'm hoping to get it fixed in the near future, using it as a strictly manual unit. I also have an AF 280 T that I use as an auto bounce flash, using the built in sensor for flash exposure control in my non-macro indoor shooting. I'm guessing that the sensor might not work well for macro exposure control. It also is limited with regards to power settings. Having the automatic flash exposure that P-TTL offers will, I hope, be my way of getting around the lack of fine control on the 200 for macro. I haven't actually tried it out yet, but I will in the near future.

I've got an after market P-TTL compatible off camera cord combined with a swivel, so I'll be able to mount it on a bracket and move it around a bit to get light into areas where my built-in flash would shadowed by the lenses and tubes I'd be using. It's the compatibility of the lenses and tubes with P-TTL that I'm wondering about. Correct me if I'm wrong, but my understanding from reading the relevant bits of the Nigel McGregor's Comprehensive Flash Guide that P-TTL is only going to be available with KAF lenses (in my case my 18-50 WR RE kit lens, DA 55-300, DA 35 f2.4, SMC-F 50 f1.7, SMC-F 70-210 and a few other old Pentax film AF kit zooms). Not all of these lenses are going to be useful for macro, but with tubes, some might, particularly the F 50mm. My question is this: if I have extension tubes or de-glassed teleconverters that have the A contacts, can I use the KAF lenses on them and still have P-TTL?



01-19-2017, 06:26 PM   #2
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P-TTL requires A contacts to work. Extension tubes with A contacts are rare, rarer than hen's teeth...

You can remove the glass from a TC to get some extension. ~25mm. Or you can buy a TC with no glass from China...

for Pentax K PK 25mm Auto Focus AF Close-up Macro Extension Tubes KOOKA KK-P25 | eBay

They make a 56mm set too.

KOOKA KK-P56 AF Brass Macro Extension Tubes for Pentax (20mm 36mm) SLR Cameras 4531811 2017 ? $89.99
01-19-2017, 07:39 PM - 1 Like   #3
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A simple $30 pair of Yougnuo triggers will fire the flash and you can manually set power. I think that will give more flexibility than the corded af200fg.
01-19-2017, 07:59 PM   #4
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I often use a corded af200fg for macro by bouncing off of a reflective surface (I use a light beige backpack for bounce-you can carry things in it too :-)). You can dial in -1.0 EV on the flash and combine with flash compensation in camera up to -3.0 EV. I find about -1.5 good for flowers and -1.0 for insects). Works pretty well. Use a dedicated 50 or 100 mm Pentax for macro so I can't address the extension tube question.

01-19-2017, 08:18 PM   #5
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Thanks for the replies. I've got some deglassed TCs I use for "A" tubes. I'll try the combination out. My actual macro lenses are the Takumar 50 and 100 1:2 ones.
01-19-2017, 09:11 PM   #6
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Page 11 of the AF200 FG Manual has the following statement .... The correct flash output is obtained in P-TTL automode only when the flash unit is used with autofocus lenses.

This is consistent with statements in the latest AF-360/540FGZII manuals, and it is the 'official line' that I have adopted in my Guide document. As referred to by others here, it is known that there are elements of P-TTL functioning apparent whenever an 'A' type lens is mounted with the ring in the 'A' position ...... however, this does not equate to reliable and consistent automatic flash exposures in a wide range of situations. I believe that the additional information communicated by an autofocus lens, and which is missing with a manual focus lens, is essential to high quality P-TTL working.

There are reports here and user feedback however that show users happy with the results when using P-TTL with 'A' type manual focus lenses ......My interpretation of the latest detailed testing done on this forum, in support of further updates on this matter for the Guide, was that there was not overall an ideal consistency and control demonstrated from the Manual focus lenses in P-TTL mode, and so it reinforced the 'Offical Line' in this respect.

If you are able to get communication through tubes of both the aperture and autofocus information, then you should be able to control flash compensation over a range from -3 through 1 (ie a 4 stop range) when adding the flash and camera FC settings together. This should be plenty enough for the needed control and subtlety. If you cannot communicate an aperture setting then the flash defaults to full power, ie the equivalent of its fixed M mode. You will have to control the flash exposure with distance, aperture or ISO adjustments.
01-19-2017, 10:58 PM   #7
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Thanks! I'll try some stuff out and post my results, probably sometime over the weekend. My usual bug chasing is kinda slow over the winter, so I'll likely be harassing our plants...


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af00fg, control, exposure, extension tubes, flash, future, k-s2, lenses, macro, macro flash, off camera flash, p-ttl, power, slave, tripod, tubes, vivitar series 1 880 af
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