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07-17-2016, 09:42 AM   #1
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External Flash on K-1

For the most part I'm getting along very well with my new K-1 but I ran into a snag yesterday that has me baffled. I have a Vivitar DF-383-PEN external flash that supports TTL. It works perfectly on my K-5 IIs and for the life of me I cannot get it to fire on the K-1. Am I missing something Or is it just not compatible.


The K-1 was in (P)rogram mode and "Flash On" was displayed on the LCD Screen. The lightning bolt is displayed in the viewfinder and the F-stop is changing according to where I am pointing the camera. The flash is on and ready and all the controls appear to be in the correct place but it simply will not fire.


I don't have cash for a fancy flash and this one works great on the K-5 IIs so I would really like for it to work on the K-1. Help!

07-17-2016, 10:33 AM   #2
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Was the shutter speed set to 1/180s or below? I know that some third-party flashes aren't compatible with the K-1's faster sync speed.

The K-1 has a menu setting to limit the sync speed to 1/180s so you don't have to go changing it manually every time.

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07-17-2016, 12:30 PM   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by Adam Quote
Was the shutter speed set to 1/180s or below? I know that some third-party flashes aren't compatible with the K-1's faster sync speed.

The K-1 has a menu setting to limit the sync speed to 1/180s so you don't have to go changing it manually every time.
The only Menu Item I found was C1-7, Flash Sync Speed. It is set to (2) 1/160 - 1/180. The exact speed has something to do with the EV Steps, either 1/3 or 1/2 but I don't know which setting that is and I haven't had time to dig into it. But at any rate, the flash sync speed should be good.
07-17-2016, 12:35 PM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by dakight Quote
The only Menu Item I found was C1-7, Flash Sync Speed. It is set to (2) 1/160 - 1/180. The exact speed has something to do with the EV Steps, either 1/3 or 1/2 but I don't know which setting that is and I haven't had time to dig into it. But at any rate, the flash sync speed should be good.
The EV steps are controlled by the first two custom functions:



As for the flash issue, I'm afraid I can't be of much further help. Hopefully another member has had experience with this combo!


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07-17-2016, 03:07 PM   #5
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It just occurred to me that I should be able to see in the EXIF if the camera thinks the flash fired and it did. So my question I guess... is the fault in the camera or in the 3rd party flash. The flash does work properly on at least one other body, a K-5 IIs.
07-17-2016, 04:51 PM   #6
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Curious as to what lens you are using? I have had a similar experience with the Pentax 540 FGZ. Shoot mainly in Av, M or B mode but found the ttl works fine in Av mode with A series or newer lenses. (Camera seems to automatically set shutter to 1/180 for film era lenses and 1/200 for digital era.)
If I use an M series lens Av mode and set the flash unit to auto or manual mode, (even if i keep the shutter lower than 1/180) the K-1 shows the flash as being on and the lightning in the viewfinder but no actual flash fired. With M series lens in M mode and flash unit on auto or manual everything seems to work fine if under the 1/180 threshold. In flash sync (X) the same except now I can raise to 1/200. Wondering if this might be a communication between camera and lens and then onto flash unit item?
07-17-2016, 05:44 PM   #7
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Try the various camera modes, starting with X mode, then AUTO, etc. See which one works. Also clean the flash mount contacts?

I think your Vivitar is supposed to support P-TTL, but while your K-5 IIs works fine, it is possible that K-1 P-TTL protocol handling has changed. Many 3rd party flashes - eg some Metz models - needed a firmware update to work OK with the K-1, so it is possible a similar solution may be required for your Vivitar to work properly with the K-1.
07-17-2016, 06:31 PM   #8
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The lens was a Tamron Di 90mm Macro. I haven't tried all the modes but I did tray P, M and Av all to no avail. I have a query in to Vivitar Support so maybe they can assist.

07-18-2016, 05:20 PM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by dakight Quote
The lens was a Tamron Di 90mm Macro. I haven't tried all the modes but I did tray P, M and Av all to no avail. I have a query in to Vivitar Support so maybe they can assist.
Thanks dakight for the lens update. My Tamron 90 Macro (non di) seems to fire flash in all modes, so even though we have similar symptoms, obviously different issues. I'll keep looking into lens items for myself. Try the X mode and see it that helps. Like I mentioned it set sync for 1/200 and fired for me with any lens. Hopefully Vivitar will have n answer for you soon.
07-21-2016, 02:37 PM   #10
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I received my new Metz Mecablitz 52 AF-1 today and loaded batteries in it. I haven't thoroughly tested it, but I did snap one random shot and the flash fired as expected.


Still no response from Vivitar which is disappointing but at least I should be able to use it as an off-camera slave unit using either the main flash of the Metz or a flash controller and slave receiver combination, something I've been wanting to do.


The sad thing is that I liked the Vivitar. It worked well on the K-50 and the K-5IIs and it fit my budget nicely but I'm glad I discovered the problem before I bought another one.
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