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04-06-2008, 06:58 AM   #1
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Pentax K20d flash system

I will be purchasing a camera within the next couple of weeks. The Pentax K20D looks very attractive. I plan on shooting quite a bit of indoor shots and possibly work into wedding photography. My question is how good is the pentax flash system. I know that Nikon has the best flash system, but the price range for Nikon equipment is out of my range. The Canon 40D is a nice camera, but again lens pricing is much higher. I plan on getting the camera with two pro quality zoom lens with a good flash system. I really like the Pentax approach of putting the IS in the camera so that when you buy top quality lenses you don't have to pay for IS with every lens.

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RWA

04-06-2008, 07:42 AM   #2
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for wedding photos, the biggest issue is low light focusing. The Pentax is a noticably slower than Canon/Nikon...
04-06-2008, 07:44 AM   #3
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The p-ttl of pentax is quite inaccurate, I dont know if i-ttl or e-ttl are better or not. Most will dial in a permanent +1 on the flash.
04-06-2008, 07:46 AM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by kenyee Quote
for wedding photos, the biggest issue is low light focusing. The Pentax is a noticably slower than Canon/Nikon...
The K20D is far more accurate in Low-light than the either after shooting it in bar/nightclub environment plus the roller derby like I do with both brands.

I would say if you went with the DA* lenses you would be hard pressed to notice much of a speed difference plus if he has a 540 flash attached the focus light will activate and help out tremendously.

04-06-2008, 07:48 AM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by and Quote
The p-ttl of pentax is quite inaccurate, I dont know if i-ttl or e-ttl are better or not. Most will dial in a permanent +1 on the flash.
It's quite accurate but people keep shooting it against a white/shiny surface and of course it's going to be gray.

After shooting the K20D in bar/nightclub and the roller derby(which is ISO 3200 to get 1/200th at f4.0) the PTTL is better than the K10D and with only slight highlight compensation so a 0.5 EV boost is more than enough if you want a better than average exposure.
04-06-2008, 08:20 AM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by codiac2600 Quote
It's quite accurate but people keep shooting it against a white/shiny surface and of course it's going to be gray.

After shooting the K20D in bar/nightclub and the roller derby(which is ISO 3200 to get 1/200th at f4.0) the PTTL is better than the K10D and with only slight highlight compensation so a 0.5 EV boost is more than enough if you want a better than average exposure.
This is the consistent reply every time someone complains about K10D underexposure, but then how do you explain underexposure when 90% of the frame contains a matte black cloth/canvas/idontknowwhatbutitisntshiny shoulder bag? The result here should be overexposure, but instead the camera still underexposes - even if spot metering on the bag!

No, the power output of the flash is not even close to being exceeded. Put it in A mode instead of P-TTL and it exposes correctly. Put it in full-power manual mode and the picture is vastly overexposed - plenty of flash power available.

Is there anyone who had underexposure problems with the K10D + AF-540FGZ that tried the K20D? Does the K20D perform better in this case?
04-06-2008, 08:30 AM   #7
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At first I thought the underexposure was a problem, then I just learned how to shoot with the K10D - every camera has it's quirks.

It is honestly no more than 1/2 stop and allows me to control the highlights much easier. Remember, you can't recover blown highlights but you can recover the same amount of exposure error in the shadows. This 'quirk' is just fine.
04-06-2008, 08:42 AM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by codiac2600 Quote
It's quite accurate but people keep shooting it against a white/shiny surface and of course it's going to be gray.
If the k10d can expose a scene correctly without flash, then shouldnt pttl be able to give a correct exposure in the same situation. Youd think the camera has decided for a given exposure (amount of light) then it would aim to achieve that same exposure either by changing the shutter speed or by changing the flash output.

04-06-2008, 08:50 AM   #9
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Great setup...

I have a K10D and shoot weddings all the time. As mentioned above, I typically do dial in anywhere from +0.7 to 1.3 just depending on light conditions and experience. I also frequently check the LCD with the overexposure warning set to on. The meter is accurate, and the results are consistent (that's what's important). I imagine the K20D would only be better, as the K10D seems to need less compensation as ISO's increase.

Another real advantage for weddings is the FGZ 360. I have 1 540, and 2 360's. When doing large groups indoors, I set up one of each on a stand with umbrellas, and put the other 360 on the camera. Shooting in wireless P-TTL I get great results, far more attractive than a single flash. 360's are cheap, and unlike Nikon SB 600's they can act as both a master and slave. I actually use the 360's alot more than the 540 lately. It's got enough output for most situations.

Best of luck...
04-06-2008, 09:59 AM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by kenyee Quote
for wedding photos, the biggest issue is low light focusing. The Pentax is a noticably slower than Canon/Nikon...
If you take a Pentax with motorized lens and compare it to Canikon, you'd have a hard time finding a difference in focusing speed. In low light, the Canikon are faster, but, as far as I can see, the accuracy of the Pentax seems better.
04-06-2008, 10:21 AM   #11
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I just tried pttl again. using M mode, pressing the green button to have the camera set the exposure yields a fairly accurate exposure. Then I changed the shutter to 1/160 and turned the flash on, bouncing it into the ceiling. I had to put +1 on the flash and +1 in the camera flash comp to get a similar exposure.
04-06-2008, 01:23 PM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by codiac2600 Quote
The K20D is far more accurate in Low-light than the either after shooting it in bar/nightclub environment plus the roller derby like I do with both brands.
That's good to hear. I've been waiting to see what you can do w/ nightclub photos w/ the K20D :-)

Good point about using the AF assist beam on the 540 flash. Most tests I've seen just use the camera in low light when testing focusing speed (not accuracy).
04-06-2008, 01:36 PM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by and Quote
I just tried pttl again. using M mode, pressing the green button to have the camera set the exposure yields a fairly accurate exposure. Then I changed the shutter to 1/160 and turned the flash on, bouncing it into the ceiling. I had to put +1 on the flash and +1 in the camera flash comp to get a similar exposure.
That makes no sense what you did btw?

So you set a proper exposure, then dialed the shutter to 160th and got a different result? Makes sense to me....

First off shooting bounce at 160th is silly because your flash power is halved in most cases so you need to lower the shutter to 1/60th to allow more ambient and to catch the fall off of the flash. Also what was your ISO because if it was at 100 again the flash may not be powerful enough to compensate for a bounce. You're using settings that push the PTTL to improper exposure, if you learn flash from the old school methods you'd understand why the PTTL in your case was not accurate.

Also what was the distance of the object you were exposing for, was it right in front of you or 10+ feet away because that would also determine what your bounce angle has to be. I hope you didn't bounce straight up because that has an effective range of only 5-7ft due to light fall off.
04-06-2008, 01:46 PM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by Entropy Quote
This is the consistent reply every time someone complains about K10D underexposure, but then how do you explain underexposure when 90% of the frame contains a matte black cloth/canvas/idontknowwhatbutitisntshiny shoulder bag? The result here should be overexposure, but instead the camera still underexposes - even if spot metering on the bag!

No, the power output of the flash is not even close to being exceeded. Put it in A mode instead of P-TTL and it exposes correctly. Put it in full-power manual mode and the picture is vastly overexposed - plenty of flash power available.

Is there anyone who had underexposure problems with the K10D + AF-540FGZ that tried the K20D? Does the K20D perform better in this case?

A mode is the way everyone should learn to shoot if not full manual. A mode makes the flash use the thyristor which is more accurate than in body TTL or on flash I/P/E-TTL. You note the ISO, aperture and shutter and balance for the distance you are shooting. I/P/E-TTL is fooled too easily by subjects that get in front of the sensor like a bride thats far away but some guy is in front of her and to the side. This is why I shoot almost fully manual because I understand the relationship between distance and how far light will carry. all the new fancy TTL's are way too dumb to understand that relationship and good luck making a perfect form of it.
04-06-2008, 03:25 PM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by codiac2600 Quote
relationship between distance and how far light will carry. all the new fancy TTL's are way too dumb to understand that relationship
The other thing to mention is the fancy TTL's are too easily confused by a bright/dark object in one of the sensor zones.

When the subject is moving around too much for manual flash metering, I run in Auto Thyristor mode. Some wedding photogs run Metz flashes because they're very good at exposing properly in A mode...
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