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01-12-2011, 08:25 AM   #1
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K-x; use of Vivitar 285 w/o pop up

I would like to use my Vivitar 285 flash off camera but I don't want/need the pop-up flash. I noticed that the hot shoe is not active if the pop-up is down. Short of putting a sock around the pop-up so it doesn't figure into the lighting,

1. is there a way to defeat the pop-up when using a non-TTL flash?

2. is there a extension cable that runs from the hot shoe that provides a hot-shoe or PC connection?

3. If the K-x does not do this do the higher end K-series cameras do this?

Right now I cover the pop-up and use a peanut slave to activate my multiple flash units with my umbrellas

01-12-2011, 09:34 AM   #2
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Say what? Granted, I don't own a K-x, but the hot shoe is not active when the pop-up is down? Generally, if there's something in the hot shoe, the pop-up cannot physically be raised, so how is this possible?
01-12-2011, 09:54 AM   #3
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You are correct. It is not possible for the pop-up flash to pop up if a flash or flash adapter is mounted in the hot shoe. This dictates that the pop-up flash must operate in conjunction with an an off-camera flash. My hope was that I could convince the camera to make the hot shoe live without the need to pop up (i.e. activate the pop-up flash).
I hope this makes my query a bit clearer.
01-12-2011, 10:25 AM   #4
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The hot shoe should work just fine with the pop up down.

Are you shooting at or below 1/180 ? Max synch speed is 1/180

You can get a generic adapter for the hot shoe that will allow you to connect a PC synch cord or 1/8th inch. Some of them should also protect your camera from the high trigger voltages of older flashes.

Speaking of which!

How old is your 285? Trigger voltages on old flashes can be very high which can damage a digital camera. My apologies if you already know this; better safe than sorry

01-12-2011, 10:49 AM   #5
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+1 for the safe trigger voltage note
+1 External flashes do work on the k-x hotshoe with internal flash down (below 1/180s, that is).
01-12-2011, 11:07 AM   #6
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Are you in a mode that disables Flash use? That is, wouldn't pop up the flash if not needed or wanted? Go to one of the semi or full manual modes (Av, Tv, M) and try it.

01-12-2011, 12:00 PM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by scicphoto Quote
You are correct. It is not possible for the pop-up flash to pop up if a flash or flash adapter is mounted in the hot shoe. This dictates that the pop-up flash must operate in conjunction with an an off-camera flash. My hope was that I could convince the camera to make the hot shoe live without the need to pop up (i.e. activate the pop-up flash).
I hope this makes my query a bit clearer.
Your question is still quite unclear. Convince the camera to make the hot shoe live? The hot shoe is live all the time, on every shot, unless you turn it off. But if there's nothing in the hot shoe, it does nothing.

Are you trying to trigger a Vivitar 285HV off-camera with an optical slave? Because that's just not going to work with the pop-up flash, as it uses a pre-flash to determine exposure.

If you'd like to use a Vivitar 285HV off-camera, the easiest way is to buy a set of cheap radio triggers. I am a huge fan of the Cactus V4 triggers. You can get a set for $40: Gadget Infinity :: Digital Camera :: Flash Trigger :: Wireless Trigger :: Cactus Wireless Flash Trigger Set V4

Update: On re-reading the original post, it seems that you want to sync multiple strobes using optical slaves. I still highly recommend the Cactus triggers. I did use a poor-man's solution before I had them, though. Be careful, though, as the voltage may be too high. My Viv285HV is only 6V, so it's fine.

I would mount one flash in the shoe and set it to its lowest setting and point it at the ceiling or a wall. Then I would have 2 more flashes with optical slaves that it would trigger, but the power was low enough not to affect the exposure. But as I mentioned, the pop-up flash would not work for this scenario, because it uses a pre-flash that would set off the other strobes too early, and you cannot dial it down enough, nor point it away from the scene.

Last edited by lavascript; 01-12-2011 at 12:10 PM.
01-12-2011, 01:17 PM   #8
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See comments in italics.

QuoteOriginally posted by scicphoto Quote
1. is there a way to defeat the pop-up when using a non-TTL flash?

Yes, you simply don't use it which would of course prevent triggering the Vivitar. Instead, you would then need to use wired or radio triggered options

2. is there an extension cable that runs from the hot shoe that provides a hot-shoe or PC connection?

Yes, but you would need an adapter. You can find these at Flash Zebra. You mount the adapter in the hot shoe and run the cable from the adapter to the flash. I don't know if the 285 has a socket for the cable, so you may need an adapter for the flash as well.

3. If the K-x does not do this do the higher end K-series cameras do this?

Yes, the higher K-series have PC sync connections. But you don't need to buy a new body to take advantage of this. Just get a cheap adapter from Flash Zebra for the K-x


01-12-2011, 08:57 PM   #9
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Use this for your 285(s) and trigger them with a cheap manual flash in the camera hotshoe.

Or, as I do, use a Pentax 280 in the hotshoe, which costs a little more money but can be used as a single hotshoe flash with auto settings.

I use this setup indoors and out and love it.
01-13-2011, 09:41 AM   #10
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My thanks to every one who replied. I will go back and make sure everything was set as you all suggested and let you know if it changed anything.

regards,
01-25-2011, 07:45 AM   #11
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sorry for the long delay in getting back to everyone. Again my primary aim was to use my 285 off camera. The good news for my situation is that Vivitar offers a cord that accepts the auto sensor and sits in the hot shoe allowing the flash to be placed roughly 3 ft away but still do its auto sensor thing. The bad news is that it's harder than hell to find one. I could not find a new one anywhere at the typical online camera retailers (in some cases not even a listing for it). I finally found ONE and only one on ebay. It allows me to exactly what I wanted to do. Besides that I'm sorry but I have no decent explanation why I could not get the thing to work properly before from the hotshoe. I will simply chalk it up to operator ignorance and error. Thanks again for everyone's willingness to help.
01-25-2011, 10:17 AM   #12
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You don't need a specialized cable. Vivitar offers a cable to move the auto-sensor off the flash. Any hotshoe extender will do, such as this one. But for that kind of money, you could almost get a Tx/Rx set of Cactus V4's and move the flash as far off camera as you can imagine.
01-25-2011, 12:27 PM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by lavascript Quote
You don't need a specialized cable. Vivitar offers a cable to move the auto-sensor off the flash. Any hotshoe extender will do, such as this one. But for that kind of money, you could almost get a Tx/Rx set of Cactus V4's and move the flash as far off camera as you can imagine.

The extender you pointed to moves the entire flash, sensor and all, off the camera.

The Vivitar specialized cable allows you to remove the sensor from the 285 (or 286HV or 283) and put the sensor on the camera, but have the flash off-camera. I see them on eBay all the time.

To the OP: be careful with this setup. There is still the possibility (actually, its more of a likelihood) that the trigger voltage is unsafe for your camera. Before you use your flash directly connected (via hotshoe or the Vivitar extension), check the voltage with a digital voltmeter. Anything above 25 volts is too high. Prefereably, it should be less than 10 volts.

If you use optical or radio slave triggers, you don't have to worry about the trigger voltage.
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