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01-15-2011, 09:49 AM   #1
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What's a good flash for cheap?

looking to buy my first flash. i found one on amazon for 50 bucks. then another for 200 bucks.

what's a good cheap flash for k-x?

01-15-2011, 10:24 AM   #2
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Do you want a P-TTL flash or do you just want a Flash?

P-TTL, Metz 48 or Metz 50 or Pentax AF360fgz

Just a Flash, Pentax AF280 and use it as an auto flash (It doesn't do P-TTL)

or do you want something with more bells and whistles (won't be cheap)?

01-15-2011, 02:26 PM   #3
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For freedom from bells and whistles it's a Vivitar 283 or 285. Just make sure you get a later, Korean- or Chinese-made item as they have a safe trigger voltage for digitals. Early Japanese ones are better made but will almost certainly fry your important little places!
01-16-2011, 07:59 PM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by JeffJS Quote
Do you want a P-TTL flash or do you just want a Flash?

P-TTL, Metz 48 or Metz 50 or Pentax AF360fgz

Just a Flash, Pentax AF280 and use it as an auto flash (It doesn't do P-TTL)

or do you want something with more bells and whistles (won't be cheap)?

whoa! a little explanation of each would be nice

01-17-2011, 12:26 AM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by hockmasm Quote
looking to buy my first flash. i found one on amazon for 50 bucks. then another for 200 bucks.

what's a good cheap flash for k-x?
QuoteOriginally posted by hockmasm Quote
whoa! a little explanation of each would be nice
Explanation of what? The flashes, P-TTL, or why I would suggest the ones I did? Since you didn't specifically define Cheap or what you hope to accomplish with a shoe mounted flash, I suggested units that were simple to use, had a lot of useful features, and here anyway, won't break the bank based on the numbers you gave.

The Pentax AF280 is a TTL flash that is safe to use with modern digital cameras. It will both tilt and swivel but you must manually adjust the output as your camera will not. The simplest way to do this is to pick an ISO (ASA) on the flash, set it to one of the Auto modes (red or green), read the numbers on the resulting scale, and set your camera accordingly. If you would rather use the Camera's settings, then you would go to Manual mode (on the flash). Here you need to know your distance and adjust your flash output accordingly. It isn't as much of a pain as it may seem, and some will tell you it is the best way to go. Once you find what works in a particular setting, leave it there and fire away. ANY flash that has these same controllable features will work in the same way. If you want to keep the cost under $20 for instance, and don't care about Swivel, a Vivitar 550FD is good to about 8 feet in most settings (after 8 feet, the output gets a little too weak at ISO 100). Forget about TTL on any of these flashes because your camera is not going to know what to do with it. You can also go with one of the Vivitar 283 or 285 options also mentioned but they will work the same way, the 285 having finer control on manual output.

http://www.pentaximaging.com/files/manual/AF_280T_FLASH.pdf






If you would rather not screw around with any of that, then you will need a flash that does P-TTL. This is going to be true with Any of the Pentax K type dSLRs. While the 280 is a nice unit, it lacks that capability and also lacks an AF Assist (AKA Spot Beam). If I'm not mistaken, your K-x uses the built in flash for AF assist by strobing (in a very annoying way) the flash for a couple second bursts. The 280 also will not do Wireless.

The Pentax AF360 is a nice, compact, not so expensive flash that will do just about everything except Swivel (rotate the flash head). You can go Auto or Manual as described above or you can let the camera/flash make all the decisions based on the flash mode you choose to use (wireless only works with A type or later lenses).

For about the same price as the 360 (here in the USA that is) you can get the Metz 48 and gain Swivel on the flash head. The Metz 50 is a later version of the 48. Just make sure you get the one meant for Pentax.

If you want to spend More money then the Pentax AF540 or Metz 58 are both more powerful and have finer adjustments, the Metz having the edge in fine tuning and features.

I suggested the units I did because they are the only ones I have experience with either the specific flash, or the brand (my flashes are the 540 and 58AF1). I'll let you decide what it is you want to do, have to have, are willing to spend, and make your own comparisons of the different units.

01-17-2011, 12:39 AM   #6
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Basically, if you want to go cheap, get a decently built manual flashgun with multiple power settings and tilt and swivel capabilities. That's why the AF280 and Viv 285s are so popular. Very good and reliable pieces of kit.
01-17-2011, 07:20 AM   #7
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well i have the Pentax AF 540 and Metz 58 for my K7...and it really depends wat u use the flash for.....sometimes for big groups of people, a small flash is not sufficient to light up the whole scene...but if u juz need it for fill in or smaller groups of people, then a small flash is enuff....
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