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04-04-2011, 07:30 AM   #1
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Wireless flash troubles

I have recently purchased a Pentax Kx and a Vivitar 383 Pen flash. Both are supposed to be able to work with Slave/Wireless features, but I can not get them to work. I have tried just about every combination I can think of but nothing is working.

I have the Vivitar 383 set to slave. I have the Kx flash mode set to wireless. I have tried the drive mode in several settings from Remote control to single.

Both the built-in flash and the remote Vivitar will flash but they are both out of sync with the shutter and the picture is always dark as if no flash were used.

PLEASE HELP!!! What am i doing wrong.

04-04-2011, 07:57 AM   #2
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QuoteOriginally posted by Niconn Quote
I have recently purchased a Pentax Kx and a Vivitar 383 Pen flash. Both are supposed to be able to work with Slave/Wireless features, but I can not get them to work. I have tried just about every combination I can think of but nothing is working.

I have the Vivitar 383 set to slave. I have the Kx flash mode set to wireless. I have tried the drive mode in several settings from Remote control to single.

Both the built-in flash and the remote Vivitar will flash but they are both out of sync with the shutter and the picture is always dark as if no flash were used.

PLEASE HELP!!! What am i doing wrong.
The vivitar is likely firing when the pop-up flash is firing its pre-flash for p-ttl metering. Just get some radio triggers and you'll wonder how you ever shot without them.
04-04-2011, 08:35 AM - 1 Like   #3
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Welcome to the Forum!

I am sorry that when this question gets asked that the first recommendation is to buy more stuff instead of a solution, if one exists. I use both radio controllers and built in wireless with no issues at the moment. Not familiar with the "Pen" version. For starters, it sounds like you have "Flash in Wireless Mode" (menu item but yours may have different wording) turned OFF. If your Kx built-in is firing ON, you should at least have a proper exposure from that light. When it is OFF, it still fires but much weaker so it has little effect. Now onto the 383, I assume you have channel #1 selected on cam and flash.

If you are trying P-TTL mode, I have read about severe underexposure with the 383 using TTL and suggest you try Manual to at least see if the timing is working. Its possible that what appears to be a pre-ignition by the 383 is just a very underexposed shot , at least according to reviews I have read. Last, try the camera in Manual mode also so you can eliminate metering and determine if it truly is a sync problem.

My first guess is that setting the 383 in Manual will suddenly light things up and you can work from there. If the 383 is firing off the pre-flash....I have not run into that and wish you well with research.

Let us know what happens after turning on "Flash in Wireless Mode", setting 383 to Manual and power appropriate for distance, camera to Manual. Those are my random thoughts and hope it helps you track down the issue and bust it.
04-07-2011, 10:29 AM   #4
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Here is a follow up for my slave flash troubles. I just got a cheap slave flash to use. I first tried to use the built-in pop-up flash to trigger the slave both in wireless mode and in regular mode. It still aint workin! I also used my vivitar as the primary flash attached to the hot shoe. NOTHING works!!! Don't get me wrong. All of the flashes are flashing but they are NOT flashing at the correct time. It is as if the slave is going off about a half of a second AFTER the shutter closes. It makes sense that there would be a micro delay between the initial flash of the primary and the second flash of the slave but I seriously thought that PENTAX would have taken that into consideration. SOME PLEASE HELP ME OUT HERE!!!

04-07-2011, 11:41 AM   #5
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The only way I have been able to make a YN-560 (fully manual El-Cheapo) to work as slave to the built-in flash with the K-x has been setting the external flash in a slave mode where it ignores pre-flash ("S2"). The regular slave mode ("S1") results in the flash firing, but taking a picture with the flash in the frame shows that it does fire while the shutter is open no matter which flash mode is set on the body: my impression is that the K-x built-in always emits a pre-flash.

As suggested, radio triggers are a way around this. The dirt-cheap ṔT-04 seems to work reliably (~US$25 1+2 set incl. postage from a Chinese Ebay seller). I would look into the new Cactus triggers too if I was getting a set now though, they are probably well worth some extra cash and still inexpensive . Another workaround would be an external flash which does not emit a pre-flash as a master.

Last edited by jolepp; 04-07-2011 at 12:50 PM.
04-07-2011, 12:40 PM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by imtheguy Quote
Welcome to the Forum!

I am sorry that when this question gets asked that the first recommendation is to buy more stuff instead of a solution, if one exists. I use both radio controllers and built in wireless with no issues at the moment. Not familiar with the "Pen" version. For starters, it sounds like you have "Flash in Wireless Mode" (menu item but yours may have different wording) turned OFF. If your Kx built-in is firing ON, you should at least have a proper exposure from that light. When it is OFF, it still fires but much weaker so it has little effect. Now onto the 383, I assume you have channel #1 selected on cam and flash.

If you are trying P-TTL mode, I have read about severe underexposure with the 383 using TTL and suggest you try Manual to at least see if the timing is working. Its possible that what appears to be a pre-ignition by the 383 is just a very underexposed shot , at least according to reviews I have read. Last, try the camera in Manual mode also so you can eliminate metering and determine if it truly is a sync problem.

My first guess is that setting the 383 in Manual will suddenly light things up and you can work from there. If the 383 is firing off the pre-flash....I have not run into that and wish you well with research.

Let us know what happens after turning on "Flash in Wireless Mode", setting 383 to Manual and power appropriate for distance, camera to Manual. Those are my random thoughts and hope it helps you track down the issue and bust it.
Having been there, I'd say the stuff is the solution and the first post was probably speeking from experience. You can go through all kinds of gyrations trying to make something like this work with an optical trigger (I did), or you can spend relatively few bucks on some wireless triggers.
04-08-2011, 07:48 AM   #7
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Ok, for those that are keeping up with my pitiful soap opera, I have discovered a few things that may or may not help others in the future.

First to rehash the scenerio, I am using a Vivitar 383-PEN flash with my Pentax Kx trying unsuccessfully to get it to work as a slave.
I have also just purchased a very cheap POLAROID "SLAVE FLASH" trying unsuccessfully to get it to work with neither the BUILT-IN flash as a trigger NOR the VIVITAR.

That is until I realized something.

I had the Vivitar set on AUTO which meant it was using TTL to adjust the proper amount of light to the subject. The BUILT-IN flash SEEMS TO BE set to AUTO all the time even when the camera is on MANUAL. It is my opinion, that both the built-in flash and the Vivitar were firing at a time that the "brains" were saying was opportune to produce a good picture.
Unfortunately, while that might have been perfect for 99% of the pictures, it was triggering the "SLAVE" flash to fire too late.
ON THE OTHER HAND, when I set the VIVITAR to MANUAL the flash produced, caused the "SLAVE" to fire properly. MYSTERY SOLVED!

I realize that there is a WIRELESS function on the built-in flash that is supposed to trigger the slave to fire properly (it wasn't working). But my theory is that only works if you can "sync" the Slave flash properly by putting it on the hot shoe and pressing the shutter-button halfway down.
The trouble ( I think ) is that my after market flash does not sync properly for this to work so when the pre-flash went off the slave flashed too early.
Apparently, if you can believe the brochures, if I purchased one of the compatible PENTAX flashes then everything else would have worked the way it is supposed to.

I appreciate everyones feed back in helping me solve this problem. IF anyone sees any errors in my logic please feel free to correct them. I am a relative newbie so I am still learning.
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