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05-27-2009, 06:50 AM   #1
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Really short flash question

Hopefully someone can answer this in a flash... Pun intended.

I've been looking at Pentax P-TTL Flash Comparison: The Definitive Guide a great site from a PF user (forgot who) I must add if you're pondering over a new flash. But it didn't cover one thing (or I missed it).

If you want to buy a 3rd party flash, does it have to be Pentax specific like a Tamron lens has a K-mount or does any (Metz 48 AF-1) flash work?

Thanks!


Last edited by StarDust; 05-27-2009 at 08:04 AM.
05-27-2009, 10:12 AM   #2
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Really short flash answer: I don't know anything about the Metz 48 AF1. But.....(longer answer coming)
Generally speaking modern flashes are model specific. It has to do with where the ancillary contacts on the flash foot are. These contacts transmit information between the flash and the camera. If you want to use a flash in pure manual mode where you set the flash parameters then it doesn't matter, however if you want the camer/flash to work as a unit you need a flash unit that is specific to Pentax (or whatever camera you are using)

NaCl(not terribly long, but not short)H2O
05-27-2009, 10:25 AM   #3
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if you can fire a flash on a different brand camera it will work in manual mode only on any camera (but it might fry the camera depending on the voltage trigger). most flashes/cameras have a universal center pin (some canon cameras/flashes DO NOT)

to use system specific features (p-ttl), or advanced features (hss, rear curtain) you need a flash made specifically for pentax.
05-27-2009, 10:30 AM   #4
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To quote from the fantastic website I mentioned earlier it has P-TTL capability.
QuoteQuote:
This is roughly the Metz equivalent to the Pentax AF360FGZ, but it's far from a clone. It's almost 50% more powerful, and has a swivel head and a few extra fancy features. But on the other hand, it can only act as a P-TTL wireless slave, not as the on-camera controller or master. With the current extremely low prices in on the AF360FGZ in the US, it's also a step up in cost but in other parts of the world, that may not be true.
I doubt I would pay this much money for a manual flash tbh.
SRS Microsystems confirms this and adds to my knowledge a USB port on the gun. I can't, however, deduce that it doesn't have to be Pentax specific. I'm guessing since I can't find any information about this, it probably doesn't have to be. I'll wait till a 3rd party flash user reads this thread and confirms my theory.

05-27-2009, 10:42 AM   #5
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Metz offers different versions of the 48 AF-1 for different cameras--meaning there are distinct products called "48 AF-1" for Pentax, Canon, Nikon, etc. If you use the Pentax version on a Pentax camera, you're good. If you use the Nikon version on a Pentax camera, it may work in manual mode but won't be fully automated. Price is typically comparable but they're not interchangable. In this sense, it is roughly analogous to the third-party lense situation you mentioned. Similar but not identical/interchangeable.
05-27-2009, 11:15 AM   #6
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Perfect! Thank you!
05-28-2009, 07:48 PM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by StarDust Quote
If you want to buy a 3rd party flash, does it have to be Pentax specific like a Tamron lens has a K-mount or does any (Metz 48 AF-1) flash work?
I'm going to add some stuff covering this to the flash guide. As you've figured out, the flash systems are specific if you look at B&H or somewhere, you'll see Metz 48 AF-1 for Pentax, for Nikon, for Canon, etc. Same with Sigma. Some other Metz flashes are different, though they have a generic flash unit which has swappable modules which are camera-specific. (Might be nice if you have multiple brands of cameras.)

Pentax doesn't license their flash protocol, so all of the third-party compatible flashes are reverse-engineered. This works pretty well, although occasionally there are problems. That's why Metz has the USB port if the K-7 turns out to act differently, they can release a firmware end-users can upgrade. With Sigma, you can send the flash back to the service center to be upgraded (for free). With Sakar/Tumax et al you're probably out o' luck.
05-28-2009, 10:28 PM   #8
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As with all the above, with this repeated warning: putting many (most) cheap flashes on your modern Pentax camera, or connecting via cable, can FRY THE CAMERA CIRCUITS. Oops. I use various cheap old flashes (Sunpak, Vivitar, whatever works) but they never touch my K20D, they're fired by cheap strobe slaves responding to the AF360 or the onboard flash. You can build a nice cheap multiflash lighting system - just keep the cheap stuff isolated.

05-28-2009, 10:44 PM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by RioRico Quote
As with all the above, with this repeated warning: putting many (most) cheap flashes on your modern Pentax camera, or connecting via cable, can FRY THE CAMERA CIRCUITS. Oops. I use various cheap old flashes (Sunpak, Vivitar, whatever works) but they never touch my K20D, they're fired by cheap strobe slaves responding to the AF360 or the onboard flash. You can build a nice cheap multiflash lighting system - just keep the cheap stuff isolated.
What about using the Wein safe sync?
05-28-2009, 11:42 PM   #10
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The Metz 48 which I am planning on buying this summer will be an upgrade from the 360, although I will keep it, I have strobist ambitions
Apart from pretty much identical functionality it adds a stronger flash and swivel which I have been missing on my on camera flash.
Cheap flashes will come in the future, along with eBay remote triggers but a two off-camera optically triggered flash system will suffice for now.
I'm aware that I have to keep and eye on the voltage on older flashes so they don't short the camera. I was lucky a year ago when I didn't know this. Fortunately the AF-160 which I put on my K10D had a low voltage.

What's a Wein safe sync? Going to google it right away
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