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01-16-2011, 12:34 PM   #1
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Total flash newbie... which one to get?

I shoot a K7 at the moment, but perhaps a K5 soon... I've never had anything more than the on camera flash. i would like to get an off camera flash for indoors and parties...

There are many options.. it seems the metz 58 Af2 is the 'best' or newest.. but i likely don't need all that...

What should i get?

01-16-2011, 02:35 PM   #2
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I have been using Metz 48 with k-7 and pretty happy with it. A bit heavy though. May wanna check the newest metz44.
01-16-2011, 02:50 PM   #3
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I'm also rather new to flashes. I had a Metz 36 for my pentax and it was a decent flash for the money. The 58 is one of the newest flashes around and it does have alot of functions. That flash was stolen and now I have a Pentax af 280t and a Nikon SB-28 for flashes. They are both manual but can be had for cheaper than a new flash. One feature that you will want is the swivel head. It comes in very handy. It allows you to angle the light and bounce it off a wall or the ceiling and allows you to be more creative. I hope that helps :-)

If you want to go with a new flash that can do P-TTL metering, then you can get a metz 50 or the 58, or from Pentax, the af 540fgz. I would skip on the af 360 as the head only tilts but doesn't swivel.

As for an older flash to try and even keep for the long run, I can highly recommend the Pentax af 280t, that has good power output and a tilt and bounce head. The Nikon sb-28 or the sb-26 is good as well with bounce and tilt heads.

I hope that helps! Good luck and have fun! Flash really does add alot to photography!
01-16-2011, 03:45 PM   #4
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"On camera" refers to flashes attached to the camera. "Off camera" refers to flashes not attached to the camera, often several meters away, and operated by some means of remote control. The flash that came with your camera is called "built-in flash" or "pop-up flash". The kind you are asking about is called "hotshoe flash" or "external flash",

It is not my intent to be pedantic but rather to help with clarifying terms that can easily be misunderstood or confused. In particular, you may see talk of or examples of off-camera flash and wonder why your new hotshoe flash (which you thought was "off camera flash") produces entirely different results.

Photography is a field with a lot of jargon and misunderstanding of it can sometimes lead to mistakenly buying something other than what one intends, and none of us like paying big bucks for what ends up being a vocabulary lesson.


Last edited by Mike Cash; 01-16-2011 at 04:39 PM.
01-16-2011, 03:58 PM   #5
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Depends what you're after.
P-TTL? Wireless function?
I'd suggest the AF540FGZ, Metz 58 or Sigma EF530 Super.
The Metz 48 should also suffice, but it's not as sophisticated (or reliable wirelessly) as the 58.
I have the older Sigma EF500 Super and it seems to do just fine (once you get the hang of it).
01-16-2011, 08:17 PM   #6
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I had a Pentax AF540 for a while and I just really wasn't impressed with the build quality. The foot didn't attach that securely to the camera. And then I made the mistake of not reading the instructions, and I clamped down the flash while it was on it's stand, which further made is looser. And then finally there was the whole stuck pin thing which is just a hassle. So my vote would be go for a Metz.

Also I thought I needed the biggest best flash but honestly I found the 360 to be plenty powerful for me and felt more balance don the camera. I went from small camera and gigantic flash to now having a big camera and small flash which is a lot better combo.

So weight, build quality, and power need are a few things to think about.
01-16-2011, 09:50 PM   #7
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Ah, the dreaded stuck locking pin issue.
I got that problem too until I saw it was a common problem and presented here on the forum with a solution - surgically remove the locking pin, which I now consider worthwhile doing prophylactically. Only issue with that, though, is the hotshoe can be knocked out of place and lose contact with the mount - so now I ensure the hotshoe is well fitted quite often during a shoot. Nevertheless, the 540 is one of the best designed flashes in terms of user interface and functionality with Pentax dSLRs, and I'd recommend it even above the rest for that reason, even with its limitations.
01-16-2011, 10:18 PM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by Ash Quote
Ah, the dreaded stuck locking pin issue.
I got that problem too until I saw it was a common problem and presented here on the forum with a solution - surgically remove the locking pin, which I now consider worthwhile doing prophylactically. Only issue with that, though, is the hotshoe can be knocked out of place and lose contact with the mount - so now I ensure the hotshoe is well fitted quite often during a shoot. Nevertheless, the 540 is one of the best designed flashes in terms of user interface and functionality with Pentax dSLRs, and I'd recommend it even above the rest for that reason, even with its limitations.
Yes the pin issue kind of sucks. I loved that flash but I never felt comfortable using it once I removed the pin. On my Canon flash it has a metal shoe with a metal locking pin with a locking clamp. I sometimes hold a 7D with a 70-300 lens by nothing but the flash and I don't have a single fear of it coming off. But the 540 I was always afraid of even putting it on and using it.

01-17-2011, 01:18 AM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by Raylon Quote
Yes the pin issue kind of sucks. I loved that flash but I never felt comfortable using it once I removed the pin. On my Canon flash it has a metal shoe with a metal locking pin with a locking clamp. I sometimes hold a 7D with a 70-300 lens by nothing but the flash and I don't have a single fear of it coming off. But the 540 I was always afraid of even putting it on and using it.
The flash isn't very likely to break. If anything happens, the camera's hot shoe is typically the weak point on the Pentax dSLRs. It was on the K10d / AF540 anyway. A few people, experienced a 2 or 3 foot drop test. The flash survived but it took the top of the camera body off.

01-17-2011, 02:35 AM   #10
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Ok, I'm looking at some of the 2nd rung Metz flashes like the 44 and 50... one of the primary listed drawbacks is that they can only act as a slave and not as a controller...

Well, as a TOTAL flash newbie... what does this mean to me and should I care?
01-17-2011, 02:39 AM   #11
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On another note... where in the world can I begin to learn about flash photography... it seems like a whole new world....
01-17-2011, 02:55 AM   #12
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Flash photography isn't that hard actually but, Pls type in your browser
"learn how to use flash" and it will give you hundreds even thousand of link in learning how to use flash.... hope this help.
01-17-2011, 03:01 AM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by Javaslinger Quote
On another note... where in the world can I begin to learn about flash photography... it seems like a whole new world....
Lately I've typed up quite a bit on it right here in the Beginner's Corner. Take a look through some recent threads having to do with flash.
01-17-2011, 05:44 AM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by Javaslinger Quote
Ok, I'm looking at some of the 2nd rung Metz flashes like the 44 and 50... one of the primary listed drawbacks is that they can only act as a slave and not as a controller...

Well, as a TOTAL flash newbie... what does this mean to me and should I care?
What Mike Cash said about using flashes "off camera" applies here. If you want to, you can set up a flash or two off of your camera and trigger them, either with your camera's pop up flash, or with a controller (master) external flash on your camera. The flashes off camera are referred to as slaves. With those Metz flashes, you could not put them on your camera and use them to control other flashes off camera.
01-17-2011, 03:05 PM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by Ash Quote
Ah, the dreaded stuck locking pin issue.
I did not want my new flash welded to my new K-7, and I didn't want to take it apart. So I put a drop of glue in the hole on the camera hot shoe. It is enough glue to fill up the hole. I used a wood glue* that doesn't stick that well to the hotshoe, so I can remove it with a toothpick if I need to. It's worked for 8 months now. My AF-540FGZ mounts more securely than my AF-500FTZ (no pin) ever did, so I'm sticking with the glue.

*Franklin Titebond II, weather resistant just like the camera.
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