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12-05-2007, 10:58 AM   #16
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Thanks - all is noted.

In my situation - no doubt in my mind, I will need long-range flash control. I can think of very few situations where I would use wireless less than 15 ft anyway. So, I guess the only option is to go with a radio frequency wireless setup - That's another topic for another day though, I need to get this flash purchase out of the way first.

Re: Recycle times. When I was looking at the spec sheet at the Pentax website for the AF 540 FGZ, it states for every battery type, approximately 6 seconds to recycle. That seems very long to me.

12-05-2007, 11:20 AM   #17
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QuoteOriginally posted by Tom M Quote
Re: Recycle times. When I was looking at the spec sheet at the Pentax website for the AF 540 FGZ, it states for every battery type, approximately 6 seconds to recycle. That seems very long to me.
6 seconds?? Not with my flashes. I never remember numbers like this, so I just stuck a 540 on my K10D and took some test shots, with the battery pack and without. Even without the battery pack, the flash recycles quickly -- actually, faster than I remembered or would have predicted 30 minutes ago. At first, I simply tried clicking the shutter over and over, waiting 1 second between clicks. I can get about a dozen shots that way. I guess at that point the camera's image buffer is full.

Then I put the camera into continuous mode and simply held down the shutter. I got 4 shots off in just over a second with the flash firing on every one, and then the flash had to recharge, so I missed a shot (well, the shot was taken but the flash didn't fire), and then the sixth shot had flash again. In other words, for short bursts, the flash seems to have enough power to fire three times in a single second. That's without the battery pack. Shooting with the battery pack, I got six shots off in about two seconds before the flash didn't fire.

For what it's worth: these shots were all taken in P mode, manual focus.

I may be missing something here, but I think I'm going to take back what I said about the battery pack allowing you recycle faster. My impression is that the flash is ready to fire a second or third time just about as quickly, no matter whether I'm using batteries in the flash unit itself or the battery pack. The battery pack allows me to take more shots in a row quickly (6 rather than 4) but that's never been an issue for me. I have occasionally taken two shots in a row with the battery pack, perhaps even 3, but I've never needed or wanted to take 6.

One thing I am sure about: The battery pack will take MORE shots, a lot more, than the built-in batteries. Before I got the pack, I shot a couple events where my batteries did indeed die and need to be replaced. Since getting the pack, I've not had to change flash batteries during a shoot, even if I was shooting hundreds of shots.

Will
12-05-2007, 11:48 AM   #18
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Here - the 6 seconds thing is right here - I clicked on the 'Spec sheet' from the Pentax products page -http://www.pentaxslr.com/pdf/PENTAX%20AF540FGZ%20Specifications.pdf
12-05-2007, 12:04 PM   #19
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I believe the six seconds is if the flash fires at FULL power. Will - Try putting the flash into manual mode and set the power to 1/1 (I believe that's full power, as opposed to 1/2, 1/4, 1/8,1/16,etc....) and then see how long it takes to recharge between shots.

12-05-2007, 12:06 PM   #20
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QuoteOriginally posted by Tom M Quote
Here - the 6 seconds thing is right here - I clicked on the 'Spec sheet' from the Pentax products page...
Tom,

I didn't doubt that you saw what you reported. But I'm reporting what I see here, not in a PDF, but using an actual K10D and an actual 540 FGZ. Perhaps I don't understand what "recycle time" means, but I thought it meant the time it takes for the flash unit to recharge so you can take another shot using the flash. I just tried it again, got the same results. I can take about six shots with flash in about two seconds -- that's without the battery pack.

By the way, I checked the histogram for those half dozen shots. I wondered if perhaps the power of the flash was decreasing with each shot. Nope. There are differences between the histograms, but they are very slight. Perhaps I didn't hold the camera quite still while I was shooting.

SO I do not know what the "6 secs" on that spec sheet is talking about.

Incidentally, I'm using 4 Duracell AA 1.2V NiMH batteries (2650 mAh) in the 540 for these tests. The batteries are not fresh -- in fact, I think they've been in the unit for a month.

Will
12-05-2007, 12:07 PM   #21
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Last question(s) for today as I can't seem to find the answers.. I dug through the Sigma site but found nothing.

What is the difference between the following flashes?

Sigma EF 530 DG ST
Sigma EF 530 DG Super

Do either of these flashes sync to 1/4000?

What is their film compatibility? ie; ISO 25-1600, etc

Thanks in advance..
12-05-2007, 12:11 PM   #22
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QuoteOriginally posted by egordon99 Quote
I believe the six seconds is if the flash fires at FULL power. Will - Try putting the flash into manual mode and set the power to 1/1 (I believe that's full power, as opposed to 1/2, 1/4, 1/8,1/16,etc....) and then see how long it takes to recharge between shots.
Nope, that's not it.

I was already taking my test shots in a dark hallway. Although I was in P-TTL mode, the darkness of the hallway (and the fact that I had the camera set to ISO-E 200) would cause me to expect that the flash would be discharging near full power anyway.

But I tried your test and got the same result. Put the flash into M mode, 1/1. I still get six flashes in about two seconds. I'm not making scientific measurements here, but I am reasonably observant and I don't see any difference.

Will
12-05-2007, 12:17 PM   #23
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One last detail about my little tests. As I said, I'm using batteries that have been inside the 540 unit for perhaps as much as a month. I have had a couple of shoots in the last four weeks that I used flash for, but I'm not sure which of my two units I took on those shoots. It's possible that these batteries were put in the flash unit fresh four weeks ago, but haven't been discharged since then, because that last big shoot was one where I used the battery pack.

It's been maybe six months since I did a shot without the battery pack and ran the flash unit's batteries down. But I am pretty sure that, the last time I ran the unit's batteries down, the recycle time did begin to slow noticeably.

Will

12-05-2007, 01:58 PM   #24
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QuoteOriginally posted by WMBP Quote
But I tried your test and got the same result. Put the flash into M mode, 1/1. I still get six flashes in about two seconds. I'm not making scientific measurements here, but I am reasonably observant and I don't see any difference.
Will
If you are getting 3 flashes per second on slightly used batteries, I'm SURE it's not shooting each of those flashes at full power.

My 540 doesn't take 6s (and it's probably a conservative number set by pentax), but about a 3s recycle time on a full flash on my 3000mah NiMH AAs isn't uncommon.
12-05-2007, 02:22 PM   #25
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QuoteOriginally posted by AVANT Quote
If you are getting 3 flashes per second on slightly used batteries, I'm SURE it's not shooting each of those flashes at full power.

My 540 doesn't take 6s (and it's probably a conservative number set by pentax), but about a 3s recycle time on a full flash on my 3000mah NiMH AAs isn't uncommon.

Avant,

How would I know whether I'm getting the flashes at full power?

The images are properly exposed.

I assume that the first discharge of the flash is always at full power. Is that not a safe assumption? But the sixth shot looks exactly like the first shot. How would that be possible if the flash was losing power? As I said earlier, the change in the histogram is trivial. And the exposure settings don't change, either.

And again, as I said earlier, when I put the flash into manual mode, 1/1, I got the same recycle time.

This surprises me, too. But this is what I'm seeing. Got any idea what I'm doing "wrong"?

By the way, I was originally shooting raw (dng) + jpeg. I've tried other capture settings. Doesn't seem to matter to the flash.

Will
12-05-2007, 03:19 PM   #26
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I use the 540 flash as well. I like it because it has many modes and built in optical slave plus the wireless mode. P-TTL really sucks though. No consistent exposures. When the flash is in the hotshoe (which is rarely) I put it in A mode and manually zoom the flash for the best exposures.
12-05-2007, 03:21 PM   #27
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QuoteOriginally posted by Tom M Quote
Last question(s) for today as I can't seem to find the answers.. I dug through the Sigma site but found nothing.
Look at Sigma's initial page about their flash system: www.sigmaphoto.com/flashes/

It explains the difference between the regular and "Super" models.

It's a lot less clear on the difference between 500 and 530....
12-05-2007, 04:16 PM   #28
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QuoteOriginally posted by mattdm Quote
Look at Sigma's initial page about their flash system: www.sigmaphoto.com/flashes/

It explains the difference between the regular and "Super" models.

It's a lot less clear on the difference between 500 and 530....
Matt, dude.. Thanks. Any luck with finding details on what Sigma really means when they say, "High Speed (FP) Synchronization"? Yeah - sure it's HSS but, to what shutter speed?

I'm wanting to buy this thing but, I'm finding that the important little details are either not published or I'm missing the obvious.

Thanks again all..
12-05-2007, 04:24 PM   #29
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QuoteOriginally posted by Tom M Quote
Thanks - all is noted.

In my situation - no doubt in my mind, I will need long-range flash control. I can think of very few situations where I would use wireless less than 15 ft anyway. So, I guess the only option is to go with a radio frequency wireless setup - That's another topic for another day though, I need to get this flash purchase out of the way first.

Re: Recycle times. When I was looking at the spec sheet at the Pentax website for the AF 540 FGZ, it states for every battery type, approximately 6 seconds to recycle. That seems very long to me.
I am not aware of any radio wireless setups that can send the P-TTL info. For your situation (landscape), a radio wireless system can be used but instead will be based on a manual reading with a flash meter prior to the shot (or estimation based on distance, etc.). Or of course, traditional auto mode if the flash has this.

I believe (but am not sure because I do not use Pentax flashes) this also means that HSS is not possible via radio triggers for Pentax so you are limited to 1/180s. Off-camera full P-TTL features can only be done with the designed optical trigger system or the Pentax hardwire cable and hotshoe adaptor (0.5, 1.5, and 3.0 m lengths available with a lot of hard searching).

See this: Trapped Light: Remote Flash, PTTL & Strobist(ism)

Last edited by Photomy; 12-05-2007 at 04:39 PM.
12-05-2007, 04:29 PM   #30
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QuoteOriginally posted by Photomy Quote
I am not aware of any radio wireless setups that can send the P-TTL info. For your situation (landscape), a radio wireless system can be used but instead will be based on a manual reading with a flash meter prior to the shot (or estimation based on distance, etc.).

See this: Trapped Light: Remote Flash, PTTL & Strobist(ism)
Thanks photomy.. Going from stictly available light to flash as an, 'I'm expanding my creativity quest' is becoming a bit of a oxymoron.. Travel light, get remote, shoot things people don't see is becoming, hire a pack-mule, drag a ton a gear, etc, etc.. I'm still devoted to this foray into long-range flash landscape photography though..

No P-TTL on wireless is something I'll have to deal with I guess..
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