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12-14-2007, 07:38 PM   #1
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K10d and the pernennial FLASH question...

THE SHORT VERSION:

I am soon to be proud owner of a Pentax K10d ( xmas present). It wil be my first dSLR I used to have a K1000 and I own a Sony digital P&S.

I am thinking of getting the promaster 5750dx with the 5050dxr module.
Does anyone in this forum have this set up?
How does it work for you generally?
Can you turn the fill flash off at will?
Does the pTTL work well/ is it dedicated?
and finally, CAN YOU USE IT IN MANUAL MODE ( like the old film slr cameras) WITHOUT buying another module? ( this would be a deal breaker!!)


What I have already considered, if you are curious.

While for the most part I like to shoot "artistic" compositions using available light, I would like to get a flash unit for my new K10d... for simple portraits and indoor shots. I have a limited budget ( who doesn't) but I want to make the "right" purchasing decision.

Among the the features I think I would need most are: A decent GN, bounce(if only to eliminate harsh shadows), swivel (maybe) AND manual control. P-ttl dedication would be nice; though I admit I not entirely certain i know what it fully entails, I think it would be good to be able to use the camera in auto mode for "snap shots." I other features would be nice, but I think I could do without them easily.

coming from a fully manual k1000 I was amazed how complex digital flashes are and how HARD it is to find a good flash for the K10d as well as how limited the selection seems to be ( or maybe I just don't know enough.

I have , however researched this issue for several days now and am considering getting the Promaster 5750dx with the 5050dxr for Pentax.

The pentax 540 has all the features I require, but is too expensive for my blood; am also a bit scared as I have read it has a tendency to get stuck in the hotshoe of the k10d ( not good!).

The pentax 360 is p-ttl and manual , but it is still a bit expensive. Maybe I could deal however it doesn't have swivel and I have read that the battery doors break easily, plus I am thinking if the 540 gets stuck why would the 360 not have the same flaw?

So that brings me to the Promaster5750dx. It seems perfect, plus the secondary fill flash would be a nice bonus) However, I am confused... does it only do auto exposure with p-ttl d?I THINK I read you need to buy a SECOND MODULE to be able to use in manual mode ( I assume his means like the old fully manual film cameras) But if this is so, it puts it in the price range of the Pentax 360 and at that point I just start wondering about the level of compatibility of each flash with the K10d. Ugh.

Any recommendations or real world experiences with any of these flash units, but especially the 5750dx, would be GREATLY appreciated!! Thanks

12-14-2007, 08:00 PM   #2
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I tried that module on my 5550DX, and it has NO adjustments, it is P-TTL only, there is no manual mode on it at all. No switches, buttons, sliders. And on mine, it was BAD. Every shot was massively overexposed. Either it was defective, or they are junk, lol. I ended up returning it for a refund. You may try to find a Sigma 500DG Super, it is about the same price as the Pentax 360, but more powerful, and has swivel and bounce.
12-14-2007, 08:20 PM   #3
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Or you can go old school. Vivitar 285 HV. I've got 2 Sunpak 433d's that I run in their own auto mode that I like when I don't need the punch of the 285. They have a little less power but the Auto mode allows a higher ISO setting and the swivel is nice. I don't know if its a current model, but you can get them on Ebay easily. I bought both of mine for under $30 shipped in mint condition.
I miss some of the curtain sync and HSS modes, but for most usual stuff they are great.
12-14-2007, 08:45 PM   #4
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so do the sunpaks have ANY sort of auto-exposure with a K10d? It was my understanding that without P-ttl (and ONLY p-ttl) the K10d is unable to use ANY auto-exposure features ...including just simple correct , everyday exposures.

12-14-2007, 09:04 PM   #5
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Hi dresden_phoenix

Here's a very brief resume of some of the available K10D external flash options:

Pentax AF-360FGZ - No swivel facility & weak/suspect moulding latch by battery-door
Pentax AF-540FGZ - Under-exposure problems and jamming/sticking zoom-head motor + sticking/jamming in K10D hot-shoe
Metz 48 AF-1 - No Auto mode
Metz 58-AF-1 - Very expensive
Sigma EF-530 DG Super ST - the jury's out - watch this space !!!!!!
Sigma EF500 - Zoom Problems:
QuoteQuote:
The whole zoom assembly jamming for whatever reason after a few dozen shots. I put this down the materials used in its manufacture expanding with the heat. It causes an unpleasant grinding noise.
From what I've read between the lines from some members on this forum about Promaster gear, to be honest it's been pretty uncomplimentary, but as far as I'm aware we don't get this stuff in the U.K., so I'll reserve judgement on the matter !
Any other models to consider ? Over to forum contributors......

Best regards
Richard

Last edited by Confused; 12-14-2007 at 10:29 PM.
12-14-2007, 09:17 PM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by dresden_phoenix Quote
so do the sunpaks have ANY sort of auto-exposure with a K10d? It was my understanding that without P-ttl (and ONLY p-ttl) the K10d is unable to use ANY auto-exposure features ...including just simple correct , everyday exposures.
The "old school" auto-flash has a sensor on the flash unit itself which cuts off the flash output. That means that no communication with the camera body is involved, and consequently it matters not at all what camera body is being used. You just have to remember to set your shutter speed to max synch speed (or slower) and to manually set the aperture indicated by the flash unit. If you get an older dedicated Pentax auto-flash, you don't even have to do that bit; the flash will set your shutter speed and aperture for you (provided you're using "A" or later lenses, which you probably are). So long as the flash is dedicated Pentax and/or has auto-flash capabilities you're good to go.....with the standard caveats about flash trigger voltage still applying, of course.

Take a good look at the Vivitar 285HV.
12-14-2007, 09:21 PM   #7
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Richard...
I was just reseaching the sigma ( thanks for sugesting it) ..its a bit more pricey than the promaster, but hey. .. there seem to be a WHOLE MESS of " EF-530- DG's"... some say super, some say ST... and until you mentioned it I never heard of the "Sigma EF-530 DG Super ST" some of these seem to be for Nikon other for cannon Which Flash do you own? I f you don't mnd me asking.

You can add to the list
Promaster: MUST BUY EXTRA MODULE FOR MANUAl. .. other problems. How can have such a great camera with out the most basic of Flash units?
12-14-2007, 09:37 PM   #8
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Hi dresden_phoenix

Re your question: Which Flash do you own?

I'm in precisely the same boat as you and have yet to purchase anything......just waiting for 'something' to come along that
'does exactly what it says on the tin' as the Ronseal Advert goes ! Jeez, these flashguns are expensive enough in their own right without all the undesirable downsides !
As far as I understand things, the EF-530 DG Super is the only Sigma flashgun that functions correctly with the
Pentax Through The Lens (P-TTL) metering. It's pretty confusing to the uninitiated....include me in that crowd.....!!!!

Best regards
Richard


Last edited by Confused; 12-14-2007 at 10:32 PM.
12-15-2007, 05:27 AM   #9
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I have the promaster 5250dx with the fta5000 module. The flash works flawlessly. I do not have the 5050dxr module and see no reason to get one. It is not at all difficult to use. I set my aperture at 4.0, 5.6, or 8.0 depending on distance from subject, set my shutter speed to 1/125 or less, and fire away.

My only problem with the 5250 is I have a choice of full power or 1/16th power. I want more flexibility than that, so the next flash I get will be the Vivitar 285hv.
12-15-2007, 11:28 AM   #10
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My intention is to be able to use the flash in TWO ways.

Manually, like a film SLR, in which I assume the flash fires in full power and I calculate the distance the light travels and , taking into account my ISO and shutter speed, use the GN to manually set the proper apperture, keeping in mind my deisred DOF. If the flash has achart for this in the bak it would be great , but I can,given enough time for the shot, do all this settings inmanually. I assume this would be in the camera's USER mode and the flash's manual mode. The latter is what have read the promaster 5050dxr doesnt have.

But I would also like the module to have an auto mode, by that I mean something in with the flash use (P)TTL to do some if not all of those calculations itself, as in the green mode or such, for more casual shots and situations in which I dont have time to compose the shot manually.
12-15-2007, 06:47 PM   #11
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Did my earlier post show up at all?
12-15-2007, 08:12 PM   #12
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Mike,
So I have to admit am still a bit confused...

If I used a flash like the Vivitar 285HV, will it fire at all? Will the voltage fry my camera ( its a common warning that one should NOT use manual camera flashes with digitals because of the difference in voltage) .. I do take it that even in the body's "auto setting" ( not the lenses ) I would not have exposure control of any kind other than that which I calculate myself.. right?
12-15-2007, 08:39 PM   #13
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A modern Vivitar 285HV will work just fine with your K10D. The warning is due to trigger voltage which is not a problem on all older flashes. The important thing is to know which are safe and which are not. The version of the 285HV currently in production is safe.

With the 285HV you have a choice of four different auto-exposure levels, I think. Or you can take full control by doing it in manual if you like.

The way the auto-exposure works is this:

You set your shutter to 1/180 or slower. You choose one of the auto-levels on the flash body. The flash will show you on a scale the range of distances that will cover, and it will tell you the aperture. You set your camera to that aperture. The flash cuts off the light output by itself when it detects that enough light has gone out.

Not as high-tech as TTL or P-TTL, but it doesn't cost as much and it works just fine.

If you want a little more ease of use, you can get one of the Pentax dedicated auto-flashes. These have two extra pins on the base of the flash and communicate with your Pentax camera....even your modern K10D. I have two Pentax AF200T flash units that must be at least 20 years old, and they automatically set the shutter speed and the aperture on my K100D when I set the flash to one of the auto modes (other than TTL, which is useless to me).

The point is, you are not limited to modern high-dollar P-TTL flashes for use with your camera. You do have other options. I currently have four vintage flashes that can go straight onto my K100D with no voltage problems. They cost between $10 and $20 each and all of them have auto capabilities to make life easier and they work just fine.
12-15-2007, 09:56 PM   #14
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Mike, I think I see...

SO essentially, what "DEDICATED" means is that the apperture is set for you mechanically by the camra body, and for this you need TTL, or in the case of the k10d... P-ttl? am I off on this.

( The main problem is , as I understand it, that the K10d , UNLIKE the K100D doesnt take TTL, only P-TTL)

One more Q.. Ltes say I went if a flsh like the Vivitar 285HV... looking at ebay, for example.. how can I tell if it's "modern"?
12-16-2007, 03:58 AM   #15
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"Dedicated" just means the camera and flash can communicate with each other and (to one degree or another) change settings. It has no direct relationship to TTL or P-TTL, although those can be a part of it. The K100D and the K10D are alike in that they both use P-TTL and can not make use of TTL, by the way.

With "auto" mode flash units, neither TTL nor P-TTL have anything whatsoever to do with anything at all. Pretend neither of them ever existed. You manually set the shutter speed to 1/180 or slower, then set the aperture to the setting indicated by the flash unit. Then you just clickety-clickety-click your pictures and the flash unit automatically controls the light output for correct exposures.

Here is a photo of the back of a dedicated Pentax AF200T flash:



Notice that the ASA (ISO) dial is set to 200 and the mode selection switch is set to "green". Now look above the switch and you see that for any distance covered by the green scale (0.5~3.5 meters) the flash will automatically provide enough light for an exposure at f8.

So all you would do in this situation is set your shutter for 1/180 or slower, set your aperture to f8, and shoot pictures. In certain camera modes, this dedicated Pentax flash unit can automatically set the aperture for you, and will even set your shutter speed. If you change the ISO on your camera, it will even automatically adjust for that.

The "TTL Auto" mode is, of course, useless on the K10D and the K100D. Sort of like tits on a boar hog.....not doing me any good, but not hurting anything by being there either.

So long as you buy the 285HV new, you should be alright. There are several vendors who sell them and they run about $85, I think. Or if you decide to eBay around for alternative models, just be sure to look here first to make sure it doesn't have a trigger voltage that will fry your camera. Not all old flashes are dangerous. I use the Vivitar 2500 I bought new in 1982 (around 10v) but can not use a similar vintage Vivitar 2000, since it has a trigger voltage of well over 200v.
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