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09-12-2018, 12:39 PM   #1
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Pentax AF540FGZ II Flash problems.

I need to vent my frustrating experience with these flashes. My Pentax AF540FGZ II Flash just gave up, and it's now my second unit to stop working. The first one started acting up crazy and not communicating correctly with the camera, then just wouldn't turn on any more. Now my second unit is acting weird too, and the zoom is stuck and just won't slide, so the motor just tried to move it and it makes a lot of noise. I can't believe that such an unit at that price point is less reliable than my trusty $30 Yongnuo. I've never had any problems with it, but it's manual and I really need the convenience of a full auto flash. And I find the HSS and strobe functions very useful.
The thing is, the guarantee has already expired, so it's going to be expensive on top of the time it takes for them to get repaired. I know from reviews that it's a common problem, and I can't believe that they aren't as reliable as so many other flawless Pentax products. I need some help, advice and recommendations from users who've had trouble with theirs. Thank you.



09-12-2018, 01:07 PM   #2
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Double your $30 "IF" it doesn't work in 2 years throw it out and buy another.

Yongnuo Speedlite Flash YN585EX P-TTL
09-12-2018, 01:13 PM   #3
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Similarly I have lost two of the original FGZ 540 flashguns. One works, but with spotty communication and the other one I can't even get to fire in manual. My Cactus flashes I got on sale work great with their transmitters though. It's a shame that Pentax's excellent design and durability doesn't show much face in their flash department... I have heard the smaller Pentax flashes are pretty excellent, but I don't know if they'd suffer the same issues or not.
09-12-2018, 01:32 PM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by aikilink Quote
Similarly I have lost two of the original FGZ 540 flashguns. One works, but with spotty communication and the other one I can't even get to fire in manual. My Cactus flashes I got on sale work great with their transmitters though. It's a shame that Pentax's excellent design and durability doesn't show much face in their flash department... I have heard the smaller Pentax flashes are pretty excellent, but I don't know if they'd suffer the same issues or not.
Any plans on getting them repaired? I'd like some input as to where and if it solves all of the issues.



09-12-2018, 02:08 PM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by torashi Quote
My Pentax AF540FGZ II Flash just gave up
Same with mine, apparently 540s are slowly reaching EOL
09-12-2018, 02:46 PM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by torashi Quote
Any plans on getting them repaired? I'd like some input as to where and if it solves all of the issues.
Honestly, I've been getting along fine without them. I only shoot manually, so using manual flashes works for me just fine. I had wanted to repair them, but that is almost certain to cost more than buying more of the good budget ones. If you do take that step with your newer flashes, I'd be interested in hearing how that goes!
09-12-2018, 02:49 PM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by pentageek Quote
Same with mine, apparently 540s are slowly reaching EOL
AF540FGZ or AF540FGZ II?

The OP has the newer version. As such, it would be less than five years old.

I am wondering if their flash sustained physical damage at some point.


Steve

09-12-2018, 05:00 PM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by stevebrot Quote
AF540FGZ or AF540FGZ II?

The OP has the newer version. As such, it would be less than five years old.

I am wondering if their flash sustained physical damage at some point.


Steve
No. No physical damage at all. Used only occasionally and very well cared for. Not even exposed to mild rain, them being sort of weather resistant.
They're not even two years old. This is a known problem from reviews and user comments I have read so far. I think we should contact them directly, but if they're not willingly replacing them, I think us owners should gather up and file a class act, or whatever it's called. They should be taken in and replaced by the manufacturer. Just like what happens with cars. If there is a known problem, they should be recalled and the problem fixed.

09-12-2018, 07:15 PM   #9
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This is interesting. I've not heard of the known problems, are they only relevant to the newest version?

I ask because I have the original AF-540 FGZ which has seen heavy use at weddings and a plethora of other events and has never given me a problem. I use it with a secondary $30 flash, which is fully manual, and used as fill light. When I bought mine, the complaints seemed to be a weak battery door. But I did purchase mine back when the K10D and K20D were new.
09-12-2018, 08:09 PM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by torashi Quote
This is a known problem from reviews and user comments I have read so far.
I am pretty active here and don't remember any pattern of that sort. Reviews on this site have been positive other than one user who was disappointed that 2nd-curtain sync does not work in manual mode and another who was not able to get theirs to work consistently from day one, but had not sought replacement.

Complaints that I am aware of relate to backward compatibility of the AF beam feature, price, lack of 5P cable socket, and comments regarding how features work. In the troubleshooting section there is a thread where three users weighed in: one DOA (dead on arrival) and replaced by seller (happy user), one dead within warranty period (unknown outcome), and one with poor exposure performance from day one (unknown outcome).

That does not mean that you don't have a problem, only that the AF540FZG II have not been particularly troublesome for users on this site or with major online retailers. If you are not too far out of warranty, it might be worth contacting Ricoh/Pentax to see if they will replace.

Out of curiosity, what batteries are you using?


Steve
09-12-2018, 08:14 PM   #11
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Here is a thread discussing the Yongnuo 585

PentaxForums.com → Photography → Flashes, Lighting, and Studio → YONGNUO YN585EX Wireless Camera Flash

Read more at: YONGNUO YN585EX Wireless Camera Flash - PentaxForums.com
09-12-2018, 08:20 PM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by twilhelm Quote
This is interesting. I've not heard of the known problems, are they only relevant to the newest version?

I ask because I have the original AF-540 FGZ which has seen heavy use at weddings and a plethora of other events and has never given me a problem. I use it with a secondary $30 flash, which is fully manual, and used as fill light. When I bought mine, the complaints seemed to be a weak battery door. But I did purchase mine back when the K10D and K20D were new.
Yes, they are two different beasts. I know about its weak door. Man, I wish mine were just a door. I wouldn't mind, even if I had to use rubber bands, or modify it heavily and put a new hinge on it, but electronics… they are so sensitive and it requieres advanced knowledge and expensive equipment to fix it. Not to mention if there's a problem with its software.

09-12-2018, 09:02 PM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by torashi Quote
Yes, they are two different beasts. I know about its weak door. Man, I wish mine were just a door. I wouldn't mind, even if I had to use rubber bands, or modify it heavily and put a new hinge on it, but electronics… they are so sensitive and it requieres advanced knowledge and expensive equipment to fix it. Not to mention if there's a problem with its software.
Thank you for the response. I was planning on adding another flash, so I may just find another first version.
09-13-2018, 04:21 AM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by stevebrot Quote
I am pretty active here and don't remember any pattern of that sort. Reviews on this site have been positive other than one user who was disappointed that 2nd-curtain sync does not work in manual mode and another who was not able to get theirs to work consistently from day one, but had not sought replacement.

Complaints that I am aware of relate to backward compatibility of the AF beam feature, price, lack of 5P cable socket, and comments regarding how features work. In the troubleshooting section there is a thread where three users weighed in: one DOA (dead on arrival) and replaced by seller (happy user), one dead within warranty period (unknown outcome), and one with poor exposure performance from day one (unknown outcome).

That does not mean that you don't have a problem, only that the AF540FZG II have not been particularly troublesome for users on this site or with major online retailers. If you are not too far out of warranty, it might be worth contacting Ricoh/Pentax to see if they will replace.

Out of curiosity, what batteries are you using?


Steve
Yes, there hasn't been too much discussion about it on this forum, but I've found a few reviews on B&H, Amazon, etc. where people have described similar problems . And aikilink mentioned here that he's got two dead units, too. And I bet there's others who haven't been writing about their troubled experience with the flash.
As for the batteries, I use rechargeable eneloop pros on all my flashes.

09-13-2018, 04:56 AM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by honey bo bo Quote
PentaxForums.com → Photography → Flashes, Lighting, and Studio → YONGNUO YN585EX Wireless Camera Flash

Read more at: YONGNUO YN585EX Wireless Camera Flash - PentaxForums.com
I have considered it. I might go that route, but I've also considered the YN560III's and the TX controller Brooke mentions in this next post:

QuoteOriginally posted by Brooke Meyer Quote
My first Pentax 540, bought new, melted down internally after the warranty and couldn't be fixed. Used my second one (bought used) with a YN560 until the YN560III's showed up. They eliminated a separate receiver and gave me remote power control, just like my Buff Cyber Commander.


Sold the 540, gave the YN560 to a family member and now have a bag of 5 YN560III's. And the Buff Trigger piggybacks on an RF-603N II so I can use both together. All this works and is cheap. Dropped a YN 560 TX Remote / Trigger outside a horse barn after a shoot two counties away. It wasn't worth a round trip to look for it so for $38, ordered another.


One of my YN560III's did "pop" internally about a month after I got it, on a students camera in class. I assured her it wasn't her fault and got a replacement under warranty. The plastic battery doors do wear but are easily replaceable for $4.95

I may weaken one day and get a pair of 585's for on camera use at events. If they had built-in receivers and remote power and zoom control, I'd already have them. I was using the 540's in Manual anyway. As for HSS, a 4 stop ND filter works pretty well on cameras that can AF down to -3EV.
Yes, ND filters do work for when your shooting for/1.4 lenses wide open on a sunny day, but on other occasions my K-5 isn't that great focusing in low light. The K-5 ii and subsequent models are better at it. And it's not a workaround if you're trying to stop action in some cases.
One of the things that bothers me, is that the YN585EX doesn't have radio controlled wireless function that would make it the coolest option with the TX. Conversely, the III's don't have TTL.
It's really frustrating that you can't have it all in one package.
HSS and rear curtain sync are great features to have for when the time calls. The LED function is GREAT for focusing on low light and it's something the Yongnuo's don't have.

Nice portrait, BTW, Brooke.

Hmm, what I did notice was the difference in color between the Pentax's and the Yongnuo's. One would have to gel or work with only one kind of flash for consistent WB.

Last edited by torashi; 09-13-2018 at 05:06 AM.
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