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01-28-2008, 08:23 AM   #1
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K100D AF assist / flash question

My understanding is that the flash needs to be up to help the AF. So how does one have the flash up but not have it activate for natural light shots?

01-28-2008, 08:25 AM   #2
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Buy either the 540/360 hot-shoe flash and put it into SB mode, it will use its Spot Beam to assist in autofocus, but will not fire the flash during exposure. It works really well, except the subject goes "hey, the flash didn't go off!"
01-28-2008, 08:37 AM   #3
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If you don't have the external flash handy, you can pop up the on-board flash using the "Up" button, let it light up for AF assist, then use your left hand to lock the flash unit back in its place before taking the shot.

A bit of an ackward maneuver, but it does the job of triggering AF assist alone, without actually firing the flash for the actual shot in low light.

Unfortunately , the on-board flash is relatively weak, it won't help you focus beyond about 9 feet from my experience.
01-28-2008, 08:44 AM   #4
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Plus the "AF-assist" of the built-in flash really freaks out the subjects. They think the camera is about to explode or something.

01-28-2008, 09:08 AM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by egordon99 Quote
Plus the "AF-assist" of the built-in flash really freaks out the subjects. They think the camera is about to explode or something.
Not just the subject. First time I heard that fizzle, I went What the ....??
01-28-2008, 09:21 AM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by egordon99 Quote
Plus the "AF-assist" of the built-in flash really freaks out the subjects. They think the camera is about to explode or something.
And sometimes it does! (The flashtube, that is.)
01-28-2008, 12:24 PM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by egordon99 Quote
Buy either the 540/360 hot-shoe flash and put it into SB mode, it will use its Spot Beam to assist in autofocus, but will not fire the flash during exposure. It works really well, except the subject goes "hey, the flash didn't go off!"

An alternative suggestion which may or may not help, If you don't want to fork out the price of these Pentax flashes you may be able to pick up a second hand Metz quite cheaply. The following is my experience with the Metz I've owned for some years, it was posted in another section of this forum.

"Hello all, I'm quite new to digital SLR photography, recently getting a K10D with which I'm very happy indeed.

What follows is my experience using an older Metz flash on the camera if anyone is interested.

For my MZ-5 (ZX-5 in the US I believe ) film camera I have a Metz 32Z-2 flash gun and a SCA 374/2AF adaptor which works just fine on that camera. Wondering if I could use it on the K10D I checked on the web and found that the trigger voltage was ok and to be doubly sure I measured it myself using my Fluke digital meter, getting 3.9V which is well within the limits.

Yes it works in so far as the camera will trigger the flash. This does mean the flash will need to be set manually or set up for its internal auto mode which I found to be dead easy. Interestingly there is some communication between the camera and the flash which I was led to believe didn't exist. In auto focus the camera will trigger the focus assist light if it needs it, and it works even in a totally dark room. Also the shutter info seems to be sent to the flash as it will work in both leading curtain and trailing curtain modes, it knows when the shutter opens and when it shuts.

So, in summary I have a flash that does everthing I would expect other than meter from the camera, the only tricky bit being if I use the tilt and swivel head I need to experiment a bit to get the right exposure.

Regards
Brian

That's what I've found and while I plan to get a Pentax flash eventually this will put of the evil hour for some time."
01-28-2008, 01:32 PM   #8
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There's a trick i found on the web that worked with my point & shoot. If you don't want a flash flickering or want to purchase a flash just to assist the auto focus, try a cheap simple key chain laser pointer. (keeping it out of the eyes of any subject of course) put the red dot on your subject and focus on the red dot. I've tested this with my point and shoot that had a hard time locking focus in the dark, and it worked great. I have yet to test it with my Pentax but i thought i'd put it out there for people to try.

01-28-2008, 01:40 PM   #9
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Someone should create a little red light hotshoe mounted thing that just does focus assist light. Ought to be pretty cheap. Something like the mentioned laser, but activated by the camera.
01-28-2008, 02:24 PM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by egordon99 Quote
Plus the "AF-assist" of the built-in flash really freaks out the subjects. They think the camera is about to explode or something.
LOL! Definitely true! In non-flash situations I also cannot use this auto-assist light since it would distract the performers too much. This is a real PITA.

So, questions:

1. Is the K10D the same in this regard?

2. If I "Buy either the 540/360 hot-shoe flash" does this have the same wacky action?

Surely there should be a way of having the auto-focus beam be outside the frequencies annoying to us human beings.
01-28-2008, 07:18 PM   #11
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The K10D has the same arrangement for AF assist as the K100D.

The AF360's AF assist is a rather discrete red (maybe partly infra-red) beam.

So far looks OK. My two toddlers really dislike having flash pointed at them, no complaints with the AF360's red AF assist light.

I've even used a little AA-powered torchlight for AF assist before - anything which helps the camera "see" some detail on the focus target - it works !
01-28-2008, 09:16 PM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by kittykat46 Quote
The AF360's AF assist is a rather discrete red (maybe partly infra-red) beam.
That's good news but the price is not... 200 pounds sterling. I think I'll be practicing my manual focusing.
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