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12-02-2007, 05:16 AM   #16
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I hate saying this on this Pentax forum, but here goes.

I only have the Pentax 360 model flash, and am semi-happy with it. It does everything I need. However, I have both a 420EX and a 580EX Canon flash for my Canon camera. I have noticed the Pentax flash getting stuck on my camera twice now. The quick release lever goes slack and is very easy to move back and forth with no action happening to release the locking pin of the Pentax flash from the camera...and I hardly use the flash gun.

I have noticed no such issues with my other two Canon flash guns on my Canon body. Likewise, the new 580EX II flash now has a metal hot shoe foot for added durability. Just a thought.

12-02-2007, 07:34 AM   #17
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QuoteOriginally posted by Chako Quote
(snip) I have noticed the Pentax flash getting stuck on my camera twice now. (snip) I have noticed no such issues with my other two Canon flash guns on my Canon body. (snip)

Comparing apples & oranges. Do the Canon flash units even have a locking pin? If not, then I guess you wouldn't see the pin getting stuck on those flash units. Answer a more relevant question instead. Do any Canon users have issues with those flash units? In other words, if I searched the internet or visited Canon forums, would I find absolutely no discussions regarding problems with those Canon flash units? Since few things are entirely problem free, I suspect one would find a few such discussions - just as one would find a few discussions here in this forum about the Pentax flash units. None of those should be an indictment against the product as a whole since most of us (including you with your Canon flash units and me with the Pentax flash units) are not experiencing problems.


QuoteQuote:
Likewise, the new 580EX II flash now has a metal hot shoe foot for added durability. (snip)

So, if you drop the camera or strike against something with the flash mounted, which do your think will break first - the metal hotshoe on the camera, the camera, or the metal foot on the flash? Obviously, if it turns out to be the camera hotshoe or the camera itself, the repair is going to be very expensive, while a replacement plastic hotshoe would just as obviously be a lot cheaper.

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12-02-2007, 08:11 AM   #18
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Question -

Why are these flashes getting stuck in the shoe? Do they have a locking ring/pin malfunction or do they not slide in and out of the shoe very easy?
12-02-2007, 09:08 AM   #19
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Of course, since I haven't had one lock up on me, I can't answer that question definitively. However, I've looked carefully at the pin design to see how it might get stuck and can speculate a little based on that.

First of all, lets be clear about what this pin is. It is a pin almost exactly like the electrical contact pins on the bottom of the flash, except this pin (no electrical function) is pushed down by the flash unit's twist knob to fit into a hole on the top of the camera to lock the flash unit in place. In fact, this pin is located exactly where the fifth electrical pin would be on the hotshoe if these flash units actually used a fifth pin.

Anyway, if someone attempted to remove the flash with this pin in the down (locked) position, the pin could get wedged tightly into the hole on the top of the camera. If the knob was then twisted in an attempt to unlock the flash, the stuck pin could then get disconnected from that twist knob, meaning the knob could no longer lift the pin. At that point, the flash unit is obviously stuck on the camera until this pin is removed by other means.

Another possibility is small differences/variations in manufacturing may mean some holes on the certain cameras are simply too small for the pin diameter. The larger pin gets stuck into the smaller hole, with the pin eventually disconnecting from the knob as described above, resulting in the same stuck flash unit situation as above.

There are two possible preventative steps one might take to avoid this situation. One is to simply remove the locking pin entirely from the flash unit as was described in another discussion within this forum. Another less drastic measure might be to add a very small amount of non-petroleum based lubricant to the pin itself, making it easier for the pin to slide out of the hole and thereby less likely for the pin to get stuck. I haven't tried either method, but may apply the lubricant just to ease any anxiety regarding this.

stewart

12-02-2007, 09:17 AM   #20
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Common problem

Try doing a search on DPR about Pentax flash failures, breaking, etc. and you'll come to the conclusion that they have serious design/quality control problems. Several posters there have gone through problems with the locking pin, or the whole unit self-destructing (often the first time it's used). Some have gone through two, three or more units.

I'm just glad I'm not into flash photography...
12-02-2007, 09:45 AM   #21
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I know I'll be in the minority here, but I went with Sigma flashes for their cost and technically better guide numbers than the Pentax flash. I have EVERY capability and more than the Pentax units, and at nearly half the price, I've been very pleased with both the build, the reliability, and most of all the customer service at the local Sigma repair shop (I've dropped them a few times and broken hotshoes... my fault, not the flashes)
12-02-2007, 09:47 AM   #22
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I said that P-TTL doesn't seem to work well. I mentioned in particular the problem of some people with quick reactions blinking at the preflash. Stewart responds:

QuoteOriginally posted by stewart_photo Quote
Virtually all modern digital SLR cameras use a pre-flash, Will. .. In other words, you are not going to get away from pre-flash by simply switching from P-TTL on Pentax cameras to either a Nikon or Canon.
I know that other systems also use a preflash. But:

1. My conversations with Nikon and Canon photographers, and my own reading, lead me to believe that their pre-flash systems are superior to Pentax's. I hasten to add that I have no experience with this personally, but a couple of photographers I know who have used both P-TTL with Pentax cameras and Nikon's system have supported this assessment without hesitation (and without telling me that I should stop shooting Pentax). One thing I understand is that, with Nikon iTTL, you can separate the pre-flash from the taking of the photo, which would be useful for formals at least.

2. Other cameras and flashes also seem to allow the user to use conventional TTL, which seems to have its own advantages (including no preflash). If I'd kept the Metz unit I had for a while and taken the trouble to figure it out, I could have gotten some experience with TTL, and I wish now that I had.

3. Other systems provide other advantages unrelated to the preflash: higher x-sync speeds (1/180th second is too slow), better fill flash modes, more powerful FEC, etc.

There are times when I think seriously about going back to using manual flash, but I've tried and I just don't see this as a good alternative for shooting a wedding reception or other event where the lighting changes with every other shot and I have to be able to shoot quickly. I generally get pretty good results with my Pentax units. But I hate this problem with drooping eyelids in particular.

Nobody who is currently happy with his Pentax flashes should be made unhappy by the report that somebody else (whether me, or the original poster, or anybody else) has had problems. I joined this thread not to gripe but to let the OP know that he's not the only one who's had problems with the Pentax flash units. Nevertheless, I have had problems -- mechanical problems, exposure problems, problems with subject's blinking -- that my Nikon using friends tell me are not common with the best flash units available for their systems. And having to wait a month to get a flash unit fixed also strikes me as terrible. As far as I can tell, the 540 and P-TTL have not been modified for quite a while. The users guides that came with my 540s don't mention the K10D and I'm pretty sure they don't mention the K100D, either. If the 540 and P-TTL were perfect, that would be fine. My experience leads me to believe that they are definitely not perfect.

I love my K10D. I do wish I could lay my hands on the lenses I need. But what I would like from Pentax a.s.a.p. almost more than a new body or new lenses would be a better (sturdier and better performing) flash unit.

Will
12-02-2007, 09:50 AM   #23
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QuoteOriginally posted by FireMate Quote
I know I'll be in the minority here, but I went with Sigma flashes for their cost and technically better guide numbers than the Pentax flash. I have EVERY capability and more than the Pentax units, and at nearly half the price, I've been very pleased with both the build, the reliability, and most of all the customer service at the local Sigma repair shop (I've dropped them a few times and broken hotshoes... my fault, not the flashes)
Glad to hear it. Can the Sigma lenses be triggered wirelessly the way the Pentax units can, using one of the four coded "channels"? I didn't think they could, but I've never touched a Sigma unit.

Will

12-02-2007, 01:05 PM   #24
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QuoteOriginally posted by WMBP Quote
(snip) I know that other systems also use a preflash. But:

Since you didn't say so in your previous message, perhaps leaving others with a different impression, I just wanted to set the record straight.


QuoteQuote:
My conversations with Nikon and Canon photographers, and my own reading, lead me to believe that their pre-flash systems are superior to Pentax's. (snip) ...a couple of photographers I know who have used both P-TTL with Pentax cameras and Nikon's system have supported this assessment without hesitation (and without telling me that I should stop shooting Pentax). (snip)

Would it help even the score if I said Pentax flash units are superior and people don't blink with the Pentax pre-flash? I'm not trying to be facetious. Instead, I'm simply pointing out that anyone can say anything and, more importantly, the grass is very seldom greener on the other side. Search the Canon or Nikon forums and you'll find plenty of people reporting problems with their flash units (broken feet, mechanical problems, exposure problems, blinking with the pre-flash, and so on). I simply don't believe Pentax is any more prone to these things than other manufacturers. Of course, I know my words are not going to convince you, but that isn't my goal. I'm simply trying to provide some balance for those reading all this now and into the future.

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12-02-2007, 01:53 PM   #25
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QuoteOriginally posted by WMBP Quote
Glad to hear it. Can the Sigma lenses be triggered wirelessly the way the Pentax units can, using one of the four coded "channels"? I didn't think they could, but I've never touched a Sigma unit.

Will

Yup. They can. In fact, you can see my previous thread from last week about them:

https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/pentax-dslr-discussion/15638-k10d-sigma-e...s-awesome.html
12-02-2007, 01:56 PM   #26
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Stewart, I cannot compare with other systems, but for me it's obvious that P-TTL is plain useless just because of the "lazy eyes" problem. I once took 4 pictures in a row of my brother, with my built-in flash (Ist-Ds, P-TTL), and I had 4x "lazy eyes" -that's 100%. Then I took 4 pictures (same circumstances, except that the flash is mounted somewhat higher) with my TTL-flash, and they were OK. The same e.g. with my daughter. What will we do if it happens to be the bride?
If it's difficult to reduce the delay between pre-flash and actual flash, and I assume it is, it would be a big step forward if you could measure once, shoot many times, like with the Nikons.
12-02-2007, 03:02 PM   #27
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QuoteOriginally posted by stewart_photo Quote
Since you didn't say so in your previous message, perhaps leaving others with a different impression, I just wanted to set the record straight....

Stewart,

I appreciate your desire to save future generations from the harm that could so easily be done to them if my comments were left to stand on their own. And yet, I don't think my comments were as unbalanced as you imply. I took the trouble to say that my experience was my own, and that, with respect to the advantages of other flash systems, I wasn't speaking from direct experience with non-Pentax hardware. I said further that it was not my intention to make anybody unhappy with Pentax. I even said, "I generally get pretty good results with my Pentax units." This is a Pentax forum, populated by people who like Pentax. I like Pentax and I said so in my earlier message. ("I love my K10D.") When somebody says something good about Pentax, it's not usually considered necessary to "set the record straight" by pointing out that Nikon or Canon or Olympus are just as good as better. And while my comments did involve criticism of Pentax, I don't think they were mistaken. I think my comments stand on their own.


QuoteQuote:
Would it help even the score if I said Pentax flash units are superior and people don't blink with the Pentax pre-flash? I'm not trying to be facetious. Instead, I'm simply pointing out that anyone can say anything ...
You're right, anybody can say anything. But some things are true, and some are just silly and argumentative.

You force me to restate the fact that I have had my own bad experience with a Pentax unit (zoom motor broke on a nearly-new unit), with Pentax service, and also with the general performance of the P-TTL system. A fair number of other people have had similar problems with Pentax units, and you can search this forum and others to see this.

I'm also quite sure that most Pentax units work okay; but the question isn't, or should not be, whether you have a better than even chance of getting a good one! And I know of no actual comparative measures of customer satisfaction. Remember there are a lot more folks out there using Nikon and Canon cameras and flashes than there are using Pentax gear. Of course, there is dissatisfaction there, too. My own brother-in-law had a problem with a Nikon camera that caused him to switch to Canon. (I think he made a mistake but he didn't ask me first!) I believe that the Canon counterpart to P-TTL had some serious drawbacks when it was first introduced a number of years ago. So what?

Beyond that, it's hard to know what to say. I know that every mass-produced product has problems. That's where my complaint about Pentax service comes in. It's no comfort to know that Nikon service is no better than Pentax service, although from my discussions with Nikon-using colleagues, I don't even believe this to be the case. And it is certainly true that, if I were shooting Nikon or Canon, at least, I could either rent or in a pinch buy replacement hardware at any local camera store, something simply not possible with Pentax gear. Pentax doesn't need to be as good as Nikon or Canon, it needs to be better.

You didn't respond to some other comments about x-sync speed, FEC, or the ability of Nikon iTTL systems to do the exposure-setting pre-flash separately from the actual picture-taking flash. No need to. What I said was correct: X-sync, FEC and the way the pre-flash system works in P-TTL are simply not strengths of Pentax's flash units. And detachable flash is simply not a strength of the Pentax system.

Will
12-02-2007, 03:06 PM   #28
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QuoteOriginally posted by FireMate Quote
Yup. They can. In fact, you can see my previous thread from last week about them:

https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/pentax-dslr-discussion/15638-k10d-sigma-e...s-awesome.html


Firemate,

Hey, thanks for that link. Just looked at the thread (like the photos, although they're not the kind of thing I do personally) and I'm very glad to be corrected about the Sigma units. I reckon I'll hold on to my Pentax units for now, but it's nice to know the Sigmas are working well for you and that they can do wireless.

Will
12-03-2007, 11:23 AM   #29
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QuoteOriginally posted by WMBP Quote
(snip) You force me to restate the fact that I have had my own bad experience with a Pentax unit (snip) You didn't respond to some other comments about... (snip)

I'm not here to engage in a tit for tat debate over every issue you want to raise, Will. You've had problems. Fine. Since you're not asking for assistance and most others (including myself) have not had those issues, there was no need for me to comment about that. What I'm addressing is the other brands are superior impression you've created by saying "I get too many photos with people whose eyes are drooping that Nikon and Canon photographers don't get," and "I have had problems -- mechanical problems, exposure problems, problems with subject's blinking -- that my Nikon using friends tell me are not common with the best flash units available for their systems," and more.

I'll state once again that, compared to other manufacturers, I don't feel Pentax is any more prone to problems or issues, and certainly don't feel Pentax is inferior. You obviously disagree, put more weight on what your Nikon and Canon friends say, and are setting a standard Pentax cannot possibly achieve in every regard ("Pentax doesn't need to be as good as Nikon or Canon, it needs to be better."), so I'll simply leave it at that.

stewart
12-03-2007, 01:02 PM   #30
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