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08-26-2009, 07:28 AM   #1
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Nikon SB-28 or AF-360 FGZ? Suggestions?

I have been doing a lot of reading for a light, mobile setup. My plan is to start out with ONE flash, stand, umbrella holder, Umbrella, and wired sync cable to start out with for portable lighting for portraits outdoors.

Question - I have heard great things about the Nikon SB-28. I can get one, in great shape from a friend for $75. Would this be a better solution than getting the AF-360 FGZ?

Obviously I am trying to keep the budget low, but I don't want to spend the money on the Nikon if the general consensus is to get a flash that will work with P-TTL. Does P-TTL with Pentax flashes work off camera? Will I be better off with the pentax?

Last question - Can anyone tell me what my limitations will be regarding flash, if I am using cross lighting outdoors? Over at the strobist.com he suggests when using off camera flash, outside, to use a sync speed of 1/250 - and the K20D only gets to 1/180th. If the light is bright.. is the general consensus when shooting at large aperture for portraits that shooting at 1/180 forces you to use neutral density filters? Is this the best way to reduce light when flash sync isn't as fast as other brands?

Thanks for the help.. suggestions!

08-26-2009, 07:32 AM   #2
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nikon flashes are propritary communication with nikon cameras as pentax flashes are with pentax,.

I doubt that the pentax camera would communicate correctly with a nikon flash.

you need a pentax compatible flash,

as for sync speed you could use the high speed sync feature of the pentax flash system and go above 1/180. All that changes is the flash cannot operate at the same intensity because it needs its energy for multiple bursts.
08-26-2009, 07:39 AM   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by Lowell Goudge Quote
nikon flashes are propritary communication with nikon cameras as pentax flashes are with pentax,.

I doubt that the pentax camera would communicate correctly with a nikon flash.

you need a pentax compatible flash,

as for sync speed you could use the high speed sync feature of the pentax flash system and go above 1/180. All that changes is the flash cannot operate at the same intensity because it needs its energy for multiple bursts.
Thanks for the reply. Yes, I understand that P-TTL will NOT work with the SB-28.. but for some reason it is highly regarded for off camera flash no matter what system you are shooting with. Many use an all Manual Vivitar for a similar setup.

Obviously if I go with the Nikon, I would have to adjust everything manually and trigger it with a sync cord or wireless transmitter setup. I guess that is my question - Is it worth it? Is the quality of the SB-28 compared to the pentax worth the hassle of manual setup? How about power etc? Is P-TTL worth spending the extra for the Pentax to have for off camera lighting?
08-26-2009, 08:33 AM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by designinme_1976 Quote
Thanks for the reply. Yes, I understand that P-TTL will NOT work with the SB-28.. but for some reason it is highly regarded for off camera flash no matter what system you are shooting with. Many use an all Manual Vivitar for a similar setup.

Obviously if I go with the Nikon, I would have to adjust everything manually and trigger it with a sync cord or wireless transmitter setup. I guess that is my question - Is it worth it? Is the quality of the SB-28 compared to the pentax worth the hassle of manual setup? How about power etc? Is P-TTL worth spending the extra for the Pentax to have for off camera lighting?
i guess the question is if you are planning to use a third party remote trigger system, then the SB might be an interesting alternative, but you then have to spend the extra for the remote trigger system, so for a single flash are you saving anything?

I would go with a pentax, but the AF540FGZ or third party equivelent. GN54 vs GN36 @ISO100 is a big reason

08-26-2009, 08:44 AM   #5
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I recently went through a similar decision. I have a Pentax AF540 that I like to use wirelessly with my K200D. I also have the Cactus V4's to use with the AF540 and Sigma DP1. Unfortunately my AF540 is off to Pentax for repairs and I have a shoot this weekend that will most likely require off camera flash. Trying to decide between one of the SB's and the AF360 was difficult.

I really like the Pentax wireless system, it's simple, but effective. In the end I chose a slightly used AF360 for about $160. I wanted a flash that would also fire as a slave with my AF540 when using the Cactus V4's (with the DP1). This eliminated the SB 24-26 flash units. The SB 28 goes for around $135-165 used and at that price point, it would be silly not to buy the Pentax flash.

Your situation makes it not quite as easy. An SB 28 for $75 is very cheap. If I were you, I'd get the SB28, but keep an eye out for a used AF360 (keep an eye on KEH).
08-26-2009, 09:37 AM   #6
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I'm not really familiar with the Pentax wireless system, but for off-camera, I like manual settings. I own and use SB28's, but with ebay triggers (for now). You can use pc cords to trigger the 28's with a Pentax camera -- a buddy of mine did this for a year or so and just upgraded to Cybersyncs.

$75 is a good price for the SB28. I paid $75 for one from an individual recently and $85 for one from KEH in great shape. If you're going to get one, get it soon. I think prices will go up with the release of the new Radio Popper triggers that will allow the control of power level from the transmitter.

Keep in mind that you can also use the SB28 on your camera in manual mode and have the option of swivel that the AF360 does not. I used an SB24 like this for over a year until I got my Metz 48.
08-26-2009, 10:11 AM   #7
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I actually have one of each of those flashes. I have the Pentax so I can use P-TTL on camera when I don't have time to think about manual flash, and it makes a good second strobe for dual-light off camera lighting.

But I love the SB-28 for that little bit of extra power, and also for its finer adjustment capability. It has power adjustment in 1/3-stop increements all the way down to 1/64. The Pentax, on the other hand, only has full-stop increments down to 1/32. I use the 1/64 setting on the Nikon all the time because I like to do high-speed photography, and the super short pulse from that low-power setting is very useful. It has other cool features like a multi-strobe repeating flash mode for when you want to get creative or experimental with your photography.

If I were going to have just one strobe primarily for off-camera work, I think I'd probably go for the SB-28. It's a better value than the 360, and the way you use it woudln't be much different since you'll probably want to use it manually off-camera anyway. But that may be jsut the way I look at it since I can't get P-TTL wireless control with my K100D.
08-26-2009, 11:05 AM   #8
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$75 is a great deal and you should take it!

I chose the SB-25 for off-camera and on-camera manual flash because it was an affordable, powerful, and flexible flash, unlike the Pentax AF-360 FGZ. I'm sure that teh 360 is a capable flash in limited circumstances or when coupled with a 540, but it's too expensive for what it offers. The Nikon SB-24 and later give intuitive and flexible controls as outlined above, a swivel head, and are more powerful than the 360. The only thing you lose is P-TTL, which I have no experience with but was less than impressed with the reviews. In any event, P-TTL isn't nearly as advances as the Nikon CLS system, so using non-P-TTl flashes isn't really a big deal for Strobist work. If I could have afforded the 540 or Metz or Sigma equivalents, I would have considered them, but it made no sense for me given how easy manual flash is once you're used to it.

If your primary purpose will be strobist work, I wouldn't hesitate to pick up the SB-28 (esp. since it has the built-in optical slave capability, IIRC) for $75. I paid $85 for my SB-25 (a little high I now realize). Pick the SB-28 up now, use it awhile and if you're unimpressed, then sell it and upgrade to a flash you like better. I don't think you'll ever get rid of it, but your mileage might vary.

I'm not able to answer your flash-sync-in-bright-outdoor-light question. My gut tells me that the ND filter is on the right track, though.

08-26-2009, 03:00 PM   #9
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I think I will take the advice and grab the SB-28 for it's good quality and nice build and power at a fair price. I guess my only question still remains... how do you work with too much outdoor light ( when using flash for fill when needing to sync at 1/180) if shooting portraits and trying to blur the background by using F2.8 or larger aperture like F1.8? Neutral density? Or do you pretty much need HSS?

I will do a little more research on this topic.. if anyone has any other suggestions regarding this, that would be great! I really appreciate all of the suggestions and fantastic information!
08-26-2009, 04:05 PM   #10
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a ND will help, you could also use a reflector to add some fill if the conditions/setting is right. Fortunately, creativity and imagination cost less than than a HSS flash. But a HSS flash does make things easier
08-26-2009, 07:50 PM   #11
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Why not?

I use an SB-26 as backup to my Metz. Using the Nikon in auto mode works fine - that was my primary flash for about six months. I paid $85 for mine and think it was a fine value.
08-27-2009, 06:00 PM   #12
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Hi, I have 2 SB-28s. I really like them for strobist work with Cactus triggers. $75 is a good deal for one. They do not have a built-in optical slave. Only SB-26s have that.

With SB-28 on camera, you can use the Auto mode on the flash. It does a reasonable job. I never used a Pentax flash so I cannot compare. The ability to swivel is essential if you plan to take photos in the portrait orientation (and the ceiling/walls are too far or have a strange color). You can make your own flash reflector like a Lite-Scoop then you're set for all kinds of indoor gatherings/events.
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