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07-13-2011, 08:58 PM   #1
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Need help using Vivitar flash as wireless slave w/K-x

Greetings,

I'm trying to use a Vivitar Series 1 flashgun as a wireless slave with my K-x. I set the camera's menu settings as follows:

11) AF w/Remote Control: 1:Off
17) Flash in Wireless Mode: 2:Off

I then set the switch on the Vivitar to "Slave", attached the Vivitar to the camera's hotshoe, turned on both flash & cam., set flash to "Wireless Flash", it told me that it would use channel 1, removed the Vivitar from the hotshoe, popped up the cam's built-in flash, held the Vivitar near the camera on the side, pressed the shutter button 1/2 way, both flashes "pre-flashed", then - after making sure both were charged back up, further pressed the shutter button all the way down: The built-in flash flashed fairly low light (signal, i'm asuming), but the Vivitar does not fire at this point, so black pics. I tried this several times with same result. What am I doing wrong? Do I need a "wireless trigger shoe" or something?

Thanks!

07-13-2011, 11:33 PM   #2
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What's the flash model?

I guess the Vivitar flash does not support Pentax wireless flash mode. It has the optical slave mode that can be trigger with any flash (may be able to ignore the preflash strobe).

Give this a try: set the Vivitar in slave mode, set the K-x OUT of wireless flash mode. Take a photo with the built-in flash of the K-x at normal mode. Does the Vivitar fire? You may want to take the test photo of a mirror with the image of the Vivitar flash to see if it fires in sync.
07-14-2011, 01:26 AM   #3
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You can also use this method to drop the flash output of the pop up flash is the Vivitar works as a optical slave. Wrap about two layers of facial tissue (white) over the front of the pop up flash and secure with a elastic band.
07-14-2011, 10:12 AM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by Elva Quote
You can also use this method to drop the flash output of the pop up flash is the Vivitar works as a optical slave. Wrap about two layers of facial tissue (white) over the front of the pop up flash and secure with a elastic band.
Use this technique with care....

The built-in flash can either fires (1) a preflash strobe and a main strobe in p-TTL mode, or (2) a single strobe with full power in manual mode.

In (1), if you block part of the light from the built-in flash, you also block the preflash strobe, which is used to set the exposure. The camera will try to compensate and emit a more powerful main strobe. Unless the main strobe is already at max power, blocking the flash does not help.

If you use the built-in flash as the optical trigger, and the remote (slave) flash has the ability to ignore the preflash strobe, the preflash strobe, being blocked, may be too weak for the slave flash to see. The slave flash may not fire when the main strobe comes from the built-in flash.

Does the K-x has the flash exposure compensation? K10D and K7 have this capability.

09-29-2011, 06:44 AM   #5
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Do you have a Vivitar 383 Series 1? I have the same issue with my K-r. It gets triggered by the preflash, and by the time the camera shutter opens, the flash light is gone. Although to my eye, it appears to be synced (going off at the same time). The frustrating thing is that this flash worked fine with my old K100D Super. I wonder if that camera didn't have a preflash. I have also had a ton of other problems with this flash and my K-r as discussed here https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/pentax-k-r-forum/137599-vivitar-flash-kr-...ml#post1482100

The strange thing is that if I set my flash to anything below 1/2 power, it actually does sync. But 1/1 and 1/2 don't sync. It seems like it would be the opposite. I'd think the stronger power would have more light lingering even if it's late.

My camera is in M mode, so I'm not sure why I even need a preflash to measure exposure to begin with. I'm looking for a new flash now, but I don't trust that any other one (besides the Pentax flashes $$$) will do any better. Makes it hard to shop. I don't trust the p-TTL "standard" anymore, since my p-TTL Vivitar flash doesn't work with the newer K-r (or K-5) systems.
09-29-2011, 09:24 AM   #6
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Read this thread (and particularly the threads referred to in that thread).
09-29-2011, 09:18 PM   #7
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Original Poster
Yes, mine's a DF-383-PEN Series 1. The only pbm I've had with is is trying to use it's "wireless" mode (holding the flash in one hand and the camera in the other) w/o any "wireless shoes" or any other equipment. Thought this should work, but I may be naive - maybe that's what wireless shoes are for?! When using as a regular (attached) flash, it seems to work pretty well, especially for bounce-flash. When using flash (either this one or the built-in one) I've found it easiest to shoot in manual mode, setting the shutter between 125 & 180, taking a wild-ass guess w/the aperature, ignoring the exposure & letting TTL do it's thing. Seems best to err on the side of having the aperature too wide, then it seems to reduce the flash as needed, whereas if the aperature is too small, then u get a dark picture. Setting shutter down & fiddling w/the flash compensation will get you more mix of ambiant light. Still seems to be hit or miss guessing & sometimes taking several pics to get it just right. Wish these 2 "high-tech" gadgets worked better together! Overall, this flash does a pretty good job though. Thanks, SOldBear for all the help!! I just haven't had the time to really get back to this & go over it all yet.

Jim
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