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01-02-2010, 10:01 AM   #1
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Which Flash?

I am getting back into photography after several years and just purchased a new KX. I have been following many posts on P-TTL flash units. I've been looking at these 3 but cannot determine which would be the best bang for the buck: Pentax AF360GZ ($180), Sigma EF530DG ($140) or the Bower SFD926P ($110). Can anyone shed some light on the differences, Pros.Cons. Thanks!

01-02-2010, 10:11 AM   #2
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Welcome to the forum.
Have a look at this comprehensive guide: Pentax P-TTL Flash Comparison: The Definitive Guide
Find the one that has the feature set you're after.
Come back with questions if they're not answered by Matt's guide above.
01-02-2010, 12:58 PM   #3
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The Sigma you are looking at for that price is probably the ST model. To get P-TTL, you have to get a SUPER, cost around 219.00.
01-02-2010, 01:05 PM   #4
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some sigma ST's are Pttl

Be careful with the sigma flashes... I do have a older Sigma ST 500 with pttl so you dont have to have the super for PTTL... but the super is worth the extra IMO

BUT and this is a big butt! In sigma flashes you used to have to send it in to get it re-chipped for new camera models when they were released. I am not sure if that is still the case or not.

01-02-2010, 04:57 PM   #5
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Welcome to the forums Gjmcd.
I have the Bower SFD 926P and it is the same as the Vivitar DF 383 or the Rokinon or the Digital Concepts with the LCD back.
They all work P-TTL and the only thing it doesn't have compared to the Pentax OEM is the wireless capability although it compensates for that with its built-in slave function (not radio controlled but optical slave).
Here's the review of the Vivitar DF 383 here at the forums: https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/camera-studio-accessories/65812-pentax-df-383-review.html
Probably everything you need to know about the Bower SFD 926P is covered here.
If you still have questions about the Bower, I'll try to answer your questions but read the posted link/thread first.
These flashes are exactly the same except for some minor cosmetic/appearance differences because they are all made by Tumax.
01-05-2010, 07:09 AM   #6
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Thanks all.
Gerry, you mentioned that the Rokinon is the same as the Bower and Vivitar. Do you know what Rokinon model that would be? I am leaning towards the Bower, but I see the Rokinons listed at very reasonable pricing also. If they are all the same, I will try to save a few hard-earned $.
01-05-2010, 01:16 PM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by Gjmcd Quote
Thanks all.
Gerry, you mentioned that the Rokinon is the same as the Bower and Vivitar. Do you know what Rokinon model that would be? I am leaning towards the Bower, but I see the Rokinons listed at very reasonable pricing also. If they are all the same, I will try to save a few hard-earned $.
Model for Rokinon is D980AFZ-P.
They actually don't list the model but I got it from overstock.com.
The difference from the different sub-contracted trademarks are only a couple of dollars except for the Vivitar.
Here is the link from overstock.com for the Rokinon D980AFZ-P: Rokinon TTL Pentax-compatible Digital Camera Flash | Overstock.com

They also list the Bower variants here and the Rokinon non-LCD back model too.
You can also find most of these on ebay too.
I bought my Bower when it was still less than a $100.
It actually even shows at overtock that the Rokinon is less expensive than the Bower.
Hope this helps.
01-05-2010, 01:22 PM   #8
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If you want to see these flashes without their common brand names and made by the original manufacturer, here is the link: TUMAX

You can see that the first one is Rokinon, then next one is Bower/Digital Concepts and the third in line is Vivitar.
They made the physical appearance slightly different for the different brand names that they make them for but basically all internals and how they work are the same.

01-05-2010, 02:02 PM   #9
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This is how large the flash is attached to the K100D super so you will have an idea on its size.
Attached Images
 
01-05-2010, 11:05 PM   #10
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Could Pentax DSLR users who have worked with the flashes listed below comment on their utility and any weaknesses as compared to the Pentax AF360FGZ and AF540FGZ ? Specifically: exposure accuracy in direct and bounce modes; P-TTL compatibility; autofocus assist; power zoom function & noise; battery life; fill flash options (1/2, 1/4, 1/8, etc). I read the Vivitar DF-383 review, and wonder if the other flashes have their own problems, like the bounce underexposure and zoom lock-up in bounce mode.
Thanks, Alan

Rokinon D980AFZ-P (or the non-power zoom D900AFZ-P)
Bower SFD926
Sigma EF-530 DG (or the Super version)
any other choices in the $75 - $150 range ?

Last edited by atown; 01-05-2010 at 11:19 PM.
01-06-2010, 09:12 AM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by atown Quote
Could Pentax DSLR users who have worked with the flashes listed below comment on their utility and any weaknesses as compared to the Pentax AF360FGZ and AF540FGZ ? Specifically: exposure accuracy in direct and bounce modes; P-TTL compatibility; autofocus assist; power zoom function & noise; battery life; fill flash options (1/2, 1/4, 1/8, etc). I read the Vivitar DF-383 review, and wonder if the other flashes have their own problems, like the bounce underexposure and zoom lock-up in bounce mode.
Thanks, Alan

Rokinon D980AFZ-P (or the non-power zoom D900AFZ-P)
Bower SFD926
Sigma EF-530 DG (or the Super version)
any other choices in the $75 - $150 range ?
Here's the review of the Digital Concepts 918AF (non-power zoom same as all the non-power zooms above you listed): https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/camera-studio-accessories/49880-digital-c...ed-tested.html
01-06-2010, 09:32 AM   #12
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The flashes made by Tumax (Rokinon, Bower, Vivitar, Digital Concepts) are all dedicated flashes so there is no compatibility issues with regards to P-TTL.
Communication with the camera is great even using off-camera P-TTL flash cords.
I even tried to place it near an object I tried to photograph to simulate macro and it still performed great (exposure was right and not overexposed).
I would guess the bounce underexposure issue with the Tumax made flashes are because the light just becomes too diffused that it loses power.
The Tumax made flashes by the way kinda lose their P-TTL when bounced (when flash head is angled, automatic flash setting place it on "manual") since the flash goes to full manual power (compensating for the bounce).
This is not a big issue as you can easily compensate for this on EV.
With the camera dial set on "automatic", every function on the "camera menu function" for the flash is available (auto, manual, auto with red-eye reduction, manual with red-eye reduction). Functions that are available to the pop-up flash with the dial set on "automatic" too.
The zoom motor is actually not that loud (subjective opinion), not silent either, but enough whirring to make you assured that it is working and syncs to the lens FL you choose.
I can't say anything about the Sigma as I opted for theses Tumax made flashes since they where very affordable and dedicated.
Someone who has experience with them might chime in.
01-06-2010, 03:55 PM   #13
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I know you didn't mention it but the Metz 48 works really well with mine. you can snag it off Amazon for $225 US if you can afford it.

I love my Metz.
01-06-2010, 04:41 PM   #14
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Before Christmas I was reasearching for a good flash for my K20D and also considered some "cheaper" units like the Sigma 530 ST, or the Cullmann 4500 (I think it is Vivitar brand in US). In the end I made my mind and bought the Metz 48, I dind't regret it. I started workin with it right away and getting good results (and I had never used an external flash before, in fact I never liked flash photography till then). I use it in TTL and from my short experience I get above 90% good exposures, direct flash or bounced to the ceilling. It costed 226 euro but I definitely recommended
01-06-2010, 09:56 PM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by GerryL Quote
The Tumax made flashes by the way kinda lose their P-TTL when bounced (when flash head is angled, automatic flash setting place it on "manual") since the flash goes to full manual power (compensating for the bounce).
But...that kinda blows the whole purpose of having a P-TTL auto-exposure flash, so then you may as well set it manually by the guide number, if you have to get the right exposure by trial and error with EV compensation ! Also makes "candid" shots a lost cause.

I have a couple of old auto flashes (Pentax AF200T and AF330FTZ, and Vivitar auto thyristor 3700) that I could try out, but am a bit leery of the trigger voltage issues... I don't want to fry my K10D ! So, has anyone tried any of those flashes, either in auto or manual mode, and are they safe ?

Thanks to all responders !

Alan
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