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10-05-2007, 07:11 AM   #1
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Pentax Wireless P-TTL w/540 & 360

I just picked up a 540 & 360 for my K10D. Unfortunately, the manuals are woefully deficient and the K10D manual doesn't cover the recent changes to wireless flash control under the 1.1 firmware update.

So, I have several questions:

1) With the built-in flash set to "controller" and the 540 in wireless P-TTL mode, does changing flash compensation on the K10D have any effect on the 540's output? It doesn't seem so. I guess this means any changes I want to make to flash output (compensation) need to be done on the 540 itself?

2) Again, with the built-in flash set to "controller" and the 540 in wireless P-TTL mode, flash compensation doesn't seem to have any effect at all. I pointed the 540 at my subject and started at 0.0. Then I dialed the compensation on the 540 down to -1, -2 & -3... but the flash output didn't change at all. Why not?

3) In the K10D Firmware v.1.1 instructions, there's a line that says "High Speed Sync is not available in the wireless mode". However, p.46 & 47 in the 540 manual are titled "Wireless High-Speed Sync Photography" and seem to discuss the procedure for this function. So which is it? Is High-Speed Sync possible with wireless flash or not?

4) Regarding Wireless High-Speed Sync, on p.47 of the 540 manual step #4 says "Enable the built-in flash unit of the camera and display (W HS) on the LCD panel." What LCD panel does this refer to - the K10D or 540? In either case, I do not see a "W HS" option. Where is it?

5) Is contrast control / flash balancing possible in wireless P-TTL mode with 2 flashes? i.e. Can I set the 540 to 1/1 and the 360 to 1/2 if I want a 1:2 (or is it 2:1?) lighting ratio, where the output is controlled by P-TTL? Then I can adjust the output of the 540 (and by extension, the 360) by using the flash-compensation dial on the 540?

Any help you can offer is appreciated.

Thanks.


Last edited by switters; 10-05-2007 at 11:30 AM.
10-05-2007, 08:56 AM   #2
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I have a K10D and very recently picked up a 540. Ditto on the lousy documentation. I haven't an answer to your question but certainly will be watching the replies. meanwhile, your post will give me somethings to try out this weekend and I will add my 2 cents (may be worth less than that too).
10-05-2007, 08:56 AM   #3
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1) controller means it's own flash is not in the final capture, it is only triggering other flashes. You set it to master if you want it's flash to be included in the photo. So flash compensation doesn't really matter in that case anyways.

2) Don't use a wall as your subject. Place an object under shade during a bright day and test out your flash compensation. You should get much different results.

3) The flash supports wireless high speed sync, the K10D does NOT support this mode. So no, it will not work with the built in flash. So if you want wireless high speed sync, you'll need to attach one of your flashes on the hotshoe.

4) Read 3

5) Contrast control works wirelessly. Preferabled with 2 or more external flashes. I don't have 2 flashes to go into more details regarding the P-TTL working in it, but I'm guessing no, you don't use p-ttl in contrast control.
10-05-2007, 11:29 AM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by AVANT Quote
1) controller means it's own flash is not in the final capture, it is only triggering other flashes. You set it to master if you want it's flash to be included in the photo. So flash compensation doesn't really matter in that case anyways.
I understand, but it would be nice if you could control the output of the 540 from the K10D, rather than having to walk over and manually adjust the 540.
QuoteQuote:
2) Don't use a wall as your subject. Place an object under shade during a bright day and test out your flash compensation. You should get much different results.
I did try this with a person as my subject indoors. Flash compensation had no effect at all. Something is definitely wrong.
QuoteQuote:

3) The flash supports wireless high speed sync, the K10D does NOT support this mode. So no, it will not work with the built in flash. So if you want wireless high speed sync, you'll need to attach one of your flashes on the hotshoe.
That is really too bad, and confusing too. I bought the flashes under the assumption I'd be able to do wireless High-Speed sync using the built-in controller. Oh well.

QuoteQuote:
5) Contrast control works wirelessly. Preferabled with 2 or more external flashes. I don't have 2 flashes to go into more details regarding the P-TTL working in it, but I'm guessing no, you don't use p-ttl in contrast control.
I will check into this later.

10-05-2007, 11:40 AM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by switters Quote
I understand, but it would be nice if you could control the output of the 540 from the K10D, rather than having to walk over and manually adjust the 540.
You use the camera's flash compensation for that. Press the fn key on the camera and go into the flash options, change your flash compensation there. Now you don't have to walk over to your 540. FYI, they stack, so if your camera's flash exposure comp is at -1.0 and your 540 is also set to -1.0, you'll have a -2.0 effect.


QuoteOriginally posted by switters Quote
I did try this with a person as my subject indoors. Flash compensation had no effect at all. Something is definitely wrong.
Try a shaded area outside during a large amount sunlight outdoors (So your ambient is very bright and your subject is a bit dimmer than your ambient). Indoors blocks a lot of sun out, so if you you're changing normal ev compensation to bring the exposure back up, it'll look like there's no effect. (-1.0 flash and +1.0 normal ev, etc). If you have a person standing in front of a wall, it's also not the ideal setup to see flash compensation differences. I doubt that your flash EV isn't working right, most likely user error or a setup that's preventing you from seeing a difference.
10-05-2007, 12:19 PM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by AVANT Quote
You use the camera's flash compensation for that. Press the fn key on the camera and go into the flash options, change your flash compensation there. Now you don't have to walk over to your 540. FYI, they stack, so if your camera's flash exposure comp is at -1.0 and your 540 is also set to -1.0, you'll have a -2.0 effect.
Well, something is definitely wrong then because changing the flash compensation on-camera in the "fn" menu has no discernible effect on the 540's output.

As a side note, I guess it is only possible to go to -2 EV when adjusting the 540 with the K10D (assuming the 540 is at 0 EV), rather than the -3 EV that is possible when adjusting directly on the 540? Although using the K10D & 540 it seems it's possible to get a -5 EV compensation when both are combined (though I can't imagine using that). I'm more pleased with the cumulative +2 EV that is possible by stacking the K10D +1 EV and 540 +1 EV.


QuoteQuote:
Try a shaded area outside during a large amount sunlight outdoors (So your ambient is very bright and your subject is a bit dimmer than your ambient). Indoors blocks a lot of sun out, so if you you're changing normal ev compensation to bring the exposure back up, it'll look like there's no effect. (-1.0 flash and +1.0 normal ev, etc). If you have a person standing in front of a wall, it's also not the ideal setup to see flash compensation differences. I doubt that your flash EV isn't working right, most likely user error or a setup that's preventing you from seeing a difference.
I'm not using EV compensation on the K10D, so what you've described isn't an issue. I have a fair amount of experience with flash and the conditions I'm shooting in are not abnormal. With the 540 mounted to the K10D, I can very easily see the changes in flash exposure in P-TTL as I change the compensation dial on the flash. However, when it's off-camera in wireless mode there is no effect when I change the compensation.
10-05-2007, 02:04 PM   #7
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Well it sound like you know what you're doing, so I only have a few more suggestions and they are all obvious, but asking just to be sure.

Did you synchronize the flash to your camera before using it wirelessly? When using the on board as trigger, are you setting the wireless to slave? Is the flash in p-ttl mode? You lose your precious debug mode, but maybe try firmware 1.30?

Otherwise I say find another pentaxian to test the equipment with.

Good luck with your troubles. I just tested mine out now and my wireless p-ttl works just like it should. Firmware 1.30 tho and have never used any other.
10-05-2007, 03:18 PM   #8
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Well, I'm no expert but I'm not a total novice either. Anyways, I appreciate your help!

Yes, the flash is in "slave 1" mode and is registered to the camera. It is in P-TTL mode. It fires every time, but for some reason the flash compensation isn't working.

I'm using firmware 1.1 and don't even know what the "precious debug mode" is, nor what I would do with it. Could you point me to something to read on that?

What are the advantages of firmware v.1.3, and where do I find it/install it if I decide to go that route?

I'm going to try to figure out what's wrong with the 540 first, though, since it should definitely work in v. 1.1. I will try the 360 in exactly the same scenario (wireless, slave, P-TTL) later and see if it works. At least that way I'll know whether the issue is with the 540 or the K10D.

Thanks again.

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