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04-22-2014, 10:13 AM   #1
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Flashgun advice

Not really a big fan of using flash so havent really needed one so far. Will be getting into macro photography soon and just wanted to have some practice with using an external flash. After digging through some of my old mans stuff, I found a Nissin 280FX and a kakonet 235. So I thought id experiment with these first before going out and buying one.

Nissin 280FX




Kakonet 235


the nissin takes 4 AA batteries and the kakonet takes 2.
Im not really sure if they are compatible with my K-50 electrical wise. They do seem to fit on the mount on top since my dad was using both with his Pentax Super ME. Is there anything I need to check before trying them out and potentially damaging my camera?or are they surely compatible?
Im more interested in using them off the mount with a cord, so will something like this work ?


Sorry for all the stupid questions, but im totally new to using a flash.

Thanks in advance


Last edited by schnitzer79; 04-22-2014 at 11:53 PM.
04-22-2014, 10:52 AM   #2
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STOPPPPP!!!!!!

You need to find out the trigger voltage of the flashes. Anything over 25V will fry your camera, and the old flashes regularly had voltages of ~180V.
04-22-2014, 11:09 AM   #3
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I doubt the Kakonet would be safe. The Nissin might be safe since it appears to be a TTL flash, but you should measure it yourself to be sure.
04-22-2014, 11:21 AM   #4
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The Nissin has a DPM Pentax module attached to the bottom of it by the way. Easiest way to measure trigger V?

04-22-2014, 12:09 PM   #5
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Get a voltmeter, attach positive to the firing pin, negative to a metal part near the hotshoe (a spring, perhaps).
04-22-2014, 12:32 PM   #6
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Thanks for the replies. Will check the voltages tomorrow
04-22-2014, 12:44 PM   #7
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I have the Nissan ringflash with DPM module rebadged as a Lester Dine flash. The voltages are safe but check them any way. The flash when powered up will set the sync speed to 1/180 sec but the TTL function will only work on TTL Pentax film cameras and some of the *istD models. There is an auto sensor on the front of the flash unit and there should be a TTL/Auto/Manual switch. Set it to Auto and use the slide scales to determine the f-stop based on the ISO.
04-22-2014, 01:51 PM   #8
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If the voltage levels turn out to be too high, one way of nevertheless using the flashes safely is to use them on radio triggers (the ones from Cactus are rated up to 300V, for instance).

Getting the flashes off-camera will improve your lighting options as well.

Does the Nissin 280FX support manual levels as well and if so how many?

04-22-2014, 03:28 PM   #9
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..or you can get one of these to make these flashes safe to mount on your DSLR: Amazon.com: SMDV Hot Shoe Safe Sync Adapter SM-512 for Pentax *ist DS, DS2, D, DL, DL2, K10D, K20D, K100D, K110D, K200D, K100D Super, K-5, K-7, K-30, K-r, K-x, K-m, (K-m A.K.A. K2000), K-01, Hotshoe: Camera & Photo

Read the reviews to make sure that this would work for your particular situation or camera.
I haven't tried this myself but wanted to buy it for a long time when I was starting out and only had older flashes to toy with.

Last edited by GerryL; 04-22-2014 at 03:34 PM.
04-22-2014, 11:47 PM   #10
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havent got round to checking the voltage yet but will do so in a few hours during my lunch break. a radio trigger would be great but its a bit risky to order one just in case it wont work with the Nissin. Most sellers list the compatible flashes and they usually list the latest models.
as for the hot shoe safe sync adapter , it could work but I have to be convinced by other users first before buying one...it looks kind of cheap to be honest and id rather by another flash than risk damaging my camera.
04-23-2014, 04:00 AM   #11
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ok then, the kakonet is out of the question.it measured at 30V. the nissin however measures at 4.5V once fully charged so im guessing its safe to use. i attached the + to the middle pin, the - to the side metal part as shown in this link https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/125-flashes-lighting-studio/125215-sunpak...ml#post1295941
can someone please confirm this before i mount it?
04-23-2014, 04:42 AM   #12
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Fyi - the Nissin Sc-01 is a really good Pentax-compatible PTTL cord, I have one and works great for me - see Pentax PTTL cord options for macro photography with a bracket

Shame about the Kakonet but you were wise to measure it! A small lightweight flash like this close to the subject actually gives nicer light than a huge flash a bit farther away.
04-23-2014, 05:43 AM   #13
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A trigger voltage of 4.5V should be fine. Post a better photo of the back panel of the Nissan unit and we can probably tell you how the settings work. It looks suspiciously similar to control unit on my ring flash, probably lacking the point/ring flash switch.

http://www.cameramanuals.org/flashes_meters/yuzo_macroflash.pdf
04-23-2014, 07:04 AM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by Not a Number Quote
A trigger voltage of 4.5V should be fine. Post a better photo of the back panel of the Nissan unit and we can probably tell you how the settings work. It looks suspiciously similar to control unit on my ring flash, probably lacking the point/ring flash switch.

http://www.cameramanuals.org/flashes_meters/yuzo_macroflash.pdf
image link not working for some reason but the link to the webpage does.scroll down for the rear side
lampu flash Nissin Electronic Flash 280FX | Kaskus - The Largest Indonesian Community
04-23-2014, 07:47 AM   #15
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From the setting shown in the photograph in link:

Set the ISO with the vertical slider (400 ISO as shown)

Mode/Power switch is marked M/TTL and A (two power settings Red and Green).

To use the auto sensor on the front of the flash set it either to Red or Green.

The numbers in the colored boxes are the usable flash distances
Red = 5-33 ft 1.5 - 10 m
Green = 2.5-16 ft 0.7-5 m (selected)

The F-stop numbers to the right of the colored bars are the setting you use
Red = f/5.6
Green = f/11 (selected)

The distances in the gray boxes at the left are for manual mode. Since TTL is not supported on any of the Pentax K series DSLRs
the flash will operate in Manual mode if the switch is set to M/TTL (fires at full power). To use manual mode get the flash to subject distance and look on the chart and use the F-stop to the right. Example (from setting in photo): ISO 400, Flash to subject distance 11 ft (3.5m) use f/16. If the distance is between use the lower F-stop. So if the distance is 20 ft use f/8. Another way to get the F-stop is to divide the Guide Number (GN) by the distance (mind if the GN is in meters or feet). So from the GN chart on the flash (normal) ISO 400 = GN 164 (feet). So at 10 feet 164 / 10 = f/16.4. Checking against the grey chart 11 feet = f/16.

Keep in mind that the sensor is on the flash so the usefulness for macro photography is limited as very little of the light reflected off the subject will reach the sensor. Since the flash doesn't have any manual power settings (1/2, 1/4, 1/8 etc.) you'll have to take test shots until you get a feel of what F-stop to use based on the background, subject and ambient lighting. It becomes intuitive in a very short time.

I would recommend some sort of diffusion such as a soft box attachment (DIY or store bought).

These threads should give you some ideas on lighting or alternative flashes
https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/38-photographic-technique/228550-my-techn...o-insects.html
https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/125-flashes-lighting-studio/242666-my-uni...cro-flash.html
https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/125-flashes-lighting-studio/178382-sunpak...ringflash.html
https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/125-flashes-lighting-studio/146183-diy-ttl-macro-flash.html
https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/38-photographic-technique/76001-diy-pttl-macro-flash.html
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