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03-20-2011, 01:56 PM   #1
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Flash help (for K-x)

Hi guys! I joined so that I can become more knowledgable about using my Pentax K-x camera to it fullest potential. As of date, I am a beginner who strives to become a highly paid professional (... an avid learner).

Right now, I want to know more about flashes and lens. I am looking to purchase ASAP another flash which performs as it should (without hesitation which leaves me to wonder why).

I am using a flash by Precision Design DSLR300 (auto electronic flash with low voltage trigger circuitry for DSLR cameras) and a Hunter M-2800A (qualified photo flash unit). Both flashes did not have sufficient instructions and, therefore, I am at a disadvantage when trying to determine how to properly used them.

Now, I want to buy a flash (today) for an upcoming assignment and am considering to purchase a Dedicated Auto PTTL Flash for the Pentax AF360-FGZ / AF2002G (which is supposed to be compatible for the Pentax K-x. Also, I have read about the Bower Slave Flash SFD328 which can be used to provide additional lighting for the regular flash on the K-x. I have also considered purchasing a 35-LED [video] light x1 for the Pentax K-x.

So, as you may see, I am experiencing an overload of information. The jist of it is that I need some good advice as to the items that I am considering. Or, if these items are not suitable, then I hope someone can steer me in the right direction --- yesterday aka quite fast!

Any help you can render will be greatly appreciated.

JANT

03-20-2011, 04:21 PM   #2
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Pentax 360 should work, also Metz 48 or 58 are also well regarded.

Keep in mind that just buying a flash gun and sticking it on is not necessarily going to give you good results no matter how good the flash gun is. Using flash properly is both art and science and the science part really takes some learning. There are a number of blogs on the net that have lots of information as well as any number of books dedicated just to using flash guns.

Not sure what you mean by
QuoteQuote:
purchase ASAP another flash which performs as it should (without hesitation which leaves me to wonder why
. Does you current flash not work properly? What are you trying to achieve?
03-20-2011, 04:29 PM   #3
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The only Pentax flash I'd consider would be the 540 as the 360 lacks swivel which is a deal breaker IMHO. The Metz 48, 50, 58 are excellent flashes also. I've heard pretty good things about the Sigma "super" flashes too.
03-20-2011, 09:06 PM   #4
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I mean that I have an assignment on Thursday, March 24th and will need a reliable flash ... one that does not hesitate/takes some time before the ready light appears and, thus, will not/does not flash.

What should I know about the Slave ... As I understand it, it is used in conjunction with the flash that comes with the camera and I wonder will it be sufficient to use for taking pictures in a night club setting (dark areas that will need sufficient lighting).

03-20-2011, 09:08 PM   #5
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Could you tell me more about Sigma? I have seen info on this brand/type of flash on eBay and other photography sellers.
03-20-2011, 09:19 PM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by JANT Quote
I mean that I have an assignment on Thursday, March 24th and will need a reliable flash ... one that does not hesitate/takes some time before the ready light appears and, thus, will not/does not flash.
That has nothing to do with reliability, it has to do with recycle time. Recycle time is a fact of life when using flash, it's a function of todays battery and capacitor technology. Forget about trying to find a "magic" flash, instead you need to minimise the power put out by the flash in your shooting to minimise recycle time.
03-22-2011, 02:10 AM   #7
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Hi Jant,

If you need really quick recycle times in a dark club, there's really no inexpensive answer. I haven't used the Metz or Sigmas, but the Pentax hotshoe flashes generally take about 5-8 sec to recharge from a full discharge and nothing form Metz or Sigma has even hinted at faster recycle times.

The only real solution is very expensive -- Pentax AF 540 FGZ with a Quantum battery pack and the appropriate cord (which last time I looked Quantum didn't even list, though some users have said that there's one that works). I don't think that either Pentax or Quantum recommends this combo, so you'd probably be on your own. . .I've got the Pentax TR Power Pack 3, which in itself is a pretty expensive item, and the AF 540, and with alkaline "C" batteries, it does shorten the recycle times to a steady 4-5 sec, and seems to be a bit quicker with NiMH rechargeables, but I don't think that any of the online dealers stock this anymore, or al least I think I've read this relatively recently.

As Twitch suggested, you might try your current flashes with very high ISO settings to reduce the need for power. This would shorten your recycle times, but getting the settings right might be a bit complicated. I can't give you any help here as I haven't got the experience.

I can tell you that my pop up flash exposes pretty well with my K-5 at ISO 12800 , and gives me almost instantaneous recharge times (6400 is almost as quick). You'd have to set it to Manual Focus to keep the flash from strobing as an AF assist which probably won't allow AF anyway, and would be really distracting in a club. I'd try this and maybe a diffuser (which would cut the flash output and possibly increase recharge times a bit, but would give you softer light). A tissue or handkerchief over the flash with a rubber band to hold it would work.

I'm assuming that high ISO would work also with an external P-TTL flash (didn't try it), but P-TTL is probably the only mode where you would get probable accuracy with exposure automation at these sensitivities. In either case, I'd choose Manual mode, 1/125 sec, and a medium aperture to (f5.6-8) to give you a bit of DOF hedge for the manual focusing. I'd try setting the focus for a particular distance and move around to get your subjects at this approximate distance if possible.

If you're shooting a performance, I'd rely on stage lighting and shoot without the flash. High ISO will help you here also, and the Kx is pretty capable when it comes to this. Fast lenses would also help for AF and subject isolation, but MF and shooting from a set distance can be a plan with this also.

Tough assignment. . . good luck. I think if you can get a decent number of well exposed in-focus shots in difficult conditions, you can probably live with less than ideal lighting.

Scott
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