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03-06-2009, 04:24 PM   #1
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AF280T vs AF400FTZ

OK guys,
I have AF280T. I tend to use it on auto mode with good results, I like the tilt & swivel (or however you spell it) head, experimenting with bounce etc.
I don't use it very often, but I'd like to learn more about flash photography. Another thing is that when we (me and my wife) shoot theatre rehersals she uses the flashgun and I have to rely on ISO800 & f1.7-2.8 combination.
Now, I saw AF400FTZ in superb condition, for tempting price. I wouldn't even mind trading in some of my old manual third party lenses to get even better price. Is it good flash? What are it's advantages over 280T? I know about manual zoom head, which gives it longer reach in return. Anything else otherwise?
would it be worth getting? The price was 70 but I believe I could push it to about 40 trading a lens in...
any advice?

thank you all

BR
Peter

03-06-2009, 04:44 PM   #2
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As I understand, the AF400FTZ has only TTL (useless for K10D and K100D), and two ranges of manual. There is no auto mode.

The only thing it probably (I haven't checked the guide numbers) has over the AF280T is greater power. But it is less flexible because of the lack of auto mode.

I would skip it and save up for a current Pentax 540 or Metz 58. If you need a flash with more power and with auto mode, I suggest a used Nikon SB-24/25/26/28, or a Vivitar 285HV.
03-06-2009, 04:49 PM   #3
axl
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wow, thanx for pointing that out! complete dealbreaker for me since as I wrote I'm not too good with flash photography and going complete manual would be hard, though there are the guide numbers at the back or no?
03-07-2009, 06:40 PM   #4
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SoldBear states that a Nikon SB-24,25,26 can be used with Pentax DSLR.

I have a K10D and a 1st DS-will one of those Nikon flashes work with my camera bodies?

Bob

03-07-2009, 07:23 PM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by Rmpjr7 Quote
SoldBear states that a Nikon SB-24,25,26 can be used with Pentax DSLR.

I have a K10D and a 1st DS-will one of those Nikon flashes work with my camera bodies?
I am personally using an SB-25 with a K10D.

Set the camera to M, shutter speed 1/160 or slower, depending on your subject's movement and how much you want the ambient light to contribute to the exposure, set the flash to Auto, match the ISO and the aperture settings on the flash and on the camera body. And shoot away.

This is not different from using the Pentax 540 or 360 in auto mode.

The extra contacts in the foot of the SB flash don't make contact with the contacts on the camera's hotshoe. If you are extra careful, you can remove the contacts on the flash. The operation is pretty simple.
03-07-2009, 08:53 PM   #6
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Thank you for the explanation!

One more question for SoldBear-what is the significance of the extra contacts on the SB-25 not touching the contacts on the hotshoe??

Bob
03-07-2009, 11:36 PM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by Rmpjr7 Quote
what is the significance of the extra contacts on the SB-25 not touching the contacts on the hotshoe?
The SB-24/25.... are "dedicated" flashguns, just like the Pentax 540 and 360. Besides the sync (trigger) signal, which is the center pin on the foot, and the ground signal, which is on the side(s) of the foot, there are other pins, normally around the center pin (sync) that transfer data between the flashgun and the camera (e.g. aperture setting, ISO settings, lens information, ....).

The communication protocols are different for each brand/make.

A concern of using a flashgun made of a brand on a camera of a different brand is that the incompatibility of the signals between the flashgun and the camera. In worst case, the camera and/or the flash can be damaged.

The pins for Nikon and the pins for Pentax are at different location. So besides the sync signal and the ground, an SB-25 and a Pentax body don't talk.

I use the SB-25 also for my Canon. The locations of the Nikon pins and of the Canon pins match. So I removed the "dedicated" signal pins on the SB-25 just to be safe:

Here's the foot of the SB-25. You see 4 contacts: one for sync signal (center) and three for other data. There is a locking pin (the small dot just in front of the sync pin) but that is purely mechanical. Two of the four screws needed to be undone have been loosened as in this photo:



Now all four screws have been removed, you can separate the leg from the flash body and pull the connector (at the tip of the screwdriver out):



Now the leg is completely separated from the body. Undo the four screw holding the circuit board and the foot beneath:



Now the foot is off the leg. In the photo below, the sync pin (center) is still attached to the spring. The surrounding 3 springs on the legs are for the data pins. Do not remove these 3 springs. The spring on the foot is for the locking pin. This spring and the locking pin should be removed.



Also remove the 3 pins from the foot. Here the data pins, the locking pin and its spring have been off the foot:



Wrap the locking pin and the springs in electrical tape (here they are in the yellow tape) and put the whole thing back into the cavity of the flash so you'll have them when you need them. Re-attach the foot to the leg:



Attached the leg to the flash body:



Shoot away.
03-08-2009, 03:16 PM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by SOldBear Quote
I am personally using an SB-25 with a K10D.

Set the camera to M, shutter speed 1/160 or slower, depending on your subject's movement and how much you want the ambient light to contribute to the exposure, set the flash to Auto, match the ISO and the aperture settings on the flash and on the camera body. And shoot away.

This is not different from using the Pentax 540 or 360 in auto mode.

The extra contacts in the foot of the SB flash don't make contact with the contacts on the camera's hotshoe. If you are extra careful, you can remove the contacts on the flash. The operation is pretty simple.
So then it'll work the same way as my AF280T or any other AFxxxT flashes? Flash has it's own sensor and as long as ISO/f stop match exposures should be fine?
Compared to AF280T which nikon flashes have both tilt/swivel and are as strong/stronger and would be usable in auto mode on Pentax bodies?

03-09-2009, 04:54 AM   #9
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Does the af assist light work on those sb flashguns when used with pentax cameras?
03-09-2009, 05:25 AM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by axl Quote
Compared to AF280T which nikon flashes have both tilt/swivel and are as strong/stronger and would be usable in auto mode on Pentax bodies?
You can find details here:

Speedlight SB-28 Specifications from Nikon Flash Guide

Model 24 or newer have tilt/swivel and all (24,25,26,...) have the same power.

Note that these models are nowadays quite expensive (around 60 euros without shipping on ebay) because they offer a nice range of manual settings (5 or more) and were made popular by their usage on strobist.com. Most who will buy an old Nikon flash buy them to use in manual mode and with wireless radio triggers or optical slaves.

If you just want an automatic flash then there exist cheaper flashes, just be careful with the trigger voltage.
03-09-2009, 05:26 AM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by Deni Quote
Does the af assist light work on those sb flashguns when used with pentax cameras?
No, it will not.
03-09-2009, 11:37 AM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by axl Quote
So then it'll work the same way as my AF280T or any other AFxxxT flashes? Flash has it's own sensor and as long as ISO/f stop match exposures should be fine?
In terms of using the flash in auto mode, the SB-24/25/26/28 (or any other non-Pentax decicated flash), works the same way: match the ISO and the aperture settings on the flash and on the camera body. The flash will use its own light sensor to determine when to squelch the light output.

The current Pentax 540 and 360 work the same way because they do not communicate with the camera body if the mode is not P-TTL (shame on Pentax).

The old AFxxxT series, however, in auto mode, can communicate ISO and aperture settings with the Pentax DSLR body. I don't have my AF200T and the K10D body here to test. But I think the flash takes the settings from the camera body. Then the scale on the flash is only used for reference.

QuoteQuote:
Compared to AF280T which nikon flashes have both tilt/swivel and are as strong/stronger and would be usable in auto mode on Pentax bodies?
SB-24/25/26/28/s8DX/80DX/800/900 have both tilt/swivel and can be used in auto mode.

Go here and read up on each Nikon flash. Each has a table of modes supported. You want the ones with "A" in the columm "Non-TTL Auto."
03-09-2009, 03:00 PM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by tomtor Quote
You can find details here:

If you just want an automatic flash then there exist cheaper flashes, just be careful with the trigger voltage.
does this vary between the brands only or even within brands depending on flash gun model? i.e. Do all the Pentax flashguns have the same trigger voltage and are therefore usable safely with any body?

QuoteOriginally posted by SOldBear Quote
In terms of using the flash in auto mode, the SB-24/25/26/28 (or any other non-Pentax decicated flash), works the same way: match the ISO and the aperture settings on the flash and on the camera body. The flash will use its own light sensor to determine when to squelch the light output.

The current Pentax 540 and 360 work the same way because they do not communicate with the camera body if the mode is not P-TTL (shame on Pentax).

The old AFxxxT series, however, in auto mode, can communicate ISO and aperture settings with the Pentax DSLR body. I don't have my AF200T and the K10D body here to test. But I think the flash takes the settings from the camera body. Then the scale on the flash is only used for reference.

.....
If this is true, that would be great, and I mean GREAT!!! It would mean I could use my AF280T and be changing f stop/ISO as needed and having to care about the flash at all, it would just do it's job (for what I do with with). I'll have to test this, hope you're right... can you let me know results with your 200T?

thanks to all of you guys for advices, any more of them or opinions on this matter?

BR
03-09-2009, 03:41 PM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by SOldBear Quote
The old AFxxxT series, however, in auto mode, can communicate ISO and aperture settings with the Pentax DSLR body. I don't have my AF200T and the K10D body here to test. But I think the flash takes the settings from the camera body. Then the scale on the flash is only used for reference.
Still at work and not having the AF200T to test, but I re-read my post and think I was wrong. I think it makes more sense like this: You still have to make sure the ISO setting on the camera matches the ISO setting on the flash. With the camera set at P (if the lens has an aperture ring, it should be at A), the camera will select an aperture that matches the aperture setting on the flash.

Sorry for the mis-info and the confusion.

But I'll test my K10D with an AF200T tonight and post the result.
03-10-2009, 12:21 PM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by axl Quote
does this vary between the brands only or even within brands depending on flash gun model? i.e. Do all the Pentax flashguns have the same trigger voltage and are therefore usable safely with any body?

It varies with flash gun model:

Photo Strobe Trigger Voltages
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