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04-14-2008, 08:03 PM   #1
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Pentax K10D/K20D flash issue

I'm looking at buying Pentax and one of major usages will be kid's photo. I was planing to get two flashed (360?) and use them in wireless setup.

Then, I've seen a comment on this forum that Pentax flash system is not as good as canon/nikon.

What exactly is not good ? Anyone experience ?

04-14-2008, 08:58 PM   #2
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The only person on this forum who would say that has the initials RH. So many of us have him blocked though, that don't be surprised if no one else has read that.

I have had nothing but great experiences with the Pentax 360 flash system. I use it wirelessly even more than I use it on the camera. (Something Canon systems like the 40d cannot do without added hardware)

Last edited by PentaxPoke; 04-14-2008 at 09:04 PM.
04-14-2008, 09:11 PM   #3
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I have one FGZ 540 and two FGZ 360's. I love them and couldn't be happier. Actually I'd like to be able to use them wirelessly in bright sun - but C/N don't do that any better - so it's not a Pentax thing (sun overpowers the flash's IR signal). What I do love about the Pentax system is the P-TTL cables that can be used with the system.

These are great for large group shots, put two on stands with umbrellas as slaves and bounce the master. Works wonderfully!
04-14-2008, 10:21 PM   #4
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To me, the Pentax P-TTL flash works OK , but to be honest, its not the best flash system in the dSLR market.

You might get underexposure with P-TTL if you shoot directly at a reflective surface or white wall right next to the subject.

Bounce flash can give you nice results.

My favourite recent kiddie shot - using AF360 on P-TTL, bounced off an 8-foot high, white-coloured ceiling.
The table is pure white marble, so I used +0.3 E/V compensation.




Last edited by kittykat46; 04-14-2008 at 10:34 PM.
04-15-2008, 03:51 AM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by PentaxPoke Quote
The only person on this forum who would say that has the initials RH. So many of us have him blocked though, that don't be surprised if no one else has read that.
That's not really fair — or true. Objectively, Nikon has a much fancier wireless control system where you can control wireless slave flash power from the camera body. Nikon also has bodies with a faster sync speed. Both Canon and Nikon offer a mid-level flash with tilt and swivel — with Pentax, you have to go to Metz or Sigma for that.
04-15-2008, 04:53 AM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by PentaxPoke Quote
The only person on this forum who would say that has the initials RH. So many of us have him blocked though, that don't be surprised if no one else has read that.

I have had nothing but great experiences with the Pentax 360 flash system. I use it wirelessly even more than I use it on the camera. (Something Canon systems like the 40d cannot do without added hardware)
He's not the only one.

The AF-540FGZ gets a LOT of complaints for underexposing on the K10D. When my 540FGZ is mounted on my K10D I permanently dial in +1 FEC and I have never blown out a highlight yet in ANY shooting situation. In fact I still usually wind up dialing in +0.75 to +1 stops of exposure compensation in my RAW conversion utility.

I've heard that the problem is not nearly as obvious for other flash/camera combos (i.e. 540 on any other body, or 360 on the K10D)

Of course, if you go to Strobist you will quickly find yourself rarely using any form of TTL - so you can get three Vivitar 285HVs or Sunpak 383s (or a combination of those two) for the price of an AF-540FGZ.
04-15-2008, 06:15 AM   #7
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The Nikon flash system is widely regarded as the best which is why you see most wedding shooters use it.
Canon is known for being good at sports (excellent predictive AF and lots of long fast lenses) but people complain that it's 2nd generation iTTL system is finally just ok.
Pentax's flash system has lots of great bang for buck features (e.g., the popup flash can wirelessly control other flashes while on the Canon system, you need to buy an external flash to control other flashes) but it's missing things like being able to group flashes together like the Nikon system, etc.

FWIW, I went the strobist way because for the price of a single AF540, I have a couple of flashes but I wouldn't recommend this for anyone w/ fast moving situations (e.g., kids). You just can't adjust stuff quickly enough, even if you run auto-thyristor mode; you'll get a higher percentage of keepers w/ the AF540 in that situation.
04-15-2008, 07:11 AM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by Entropy Quote
He's not the only one.

The AF-540FGZ gets a LOT of complaints for underexposing on the K10D. When my 540FGZ is mounted on my K10D I permanently dial in +1 FEC and I have never blown out a highlight yet in ANY shooting situation. In fact I still usually wind up dialing in +0.75 to +1 stops of exposure compensation in my RAW conversion utility.

I've heard that the problem is not nearly as obvious for other flash/camera combos (i.e. 540 on any other body, or 360 on the K10D)

Of course, if you go to Strobist you will quickly find yourself rarely using any form of TTL - so you can get three Vivitar 285HVs or Sunpak 383s (or a combination of those two) for the price of an AF-540FGZ.
OMG! Am I ever glad I stumbled upon this thread.....

I thought it was me or I had a bad flash.

I purposly bought the 540 because I thought it would be a big beefy flash that wouldn't let me down.

Are you saying I should get a 360 instead and I will be happier with the results on my K10D?

D.

04-15-2008, 12:26 PM   #9
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When I read this, I am coming to think, that it isn't the fault of the 540, but generally of the P-TTL system, because I get the same unpredictable results when using my Metz flash guns (54MZ4i with the new P-TTL SCA-adapter). The simple Metz thyristor automatic works much more reliable and is quite as convenient as P-TTL and on top metz has a very good wirless flash control.

Ben
04-15-2008, 04:06 PM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by Gadget_Guy Quote
OMG! Am I ever glad I stumbled upon this thread.....

I thought it was me or I had a bad flash.

I purposly bought the 540 because I thought it would be a big beefy flash that wouldn't let me down.

Are you saying I should get a 360 instead and I will be happier with the results on my K10D?

D.
Get a good auto-thyristor flash like the ever-popular Vivitar 285HV. For the price of an AF-540FGZ, you can get a 285HV, lightstand, umbrella swivel, umbrella, and cheap wireless triggers (a pair of the Cactus ones to be specific) and still have (probably) enough money left over for a second 285HV and another cheap wireless trigger receiver for it.
04-16-2008, 11:59 PM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by Entropy Quote
Get a good auto-thyristor flash like the ever-popular Vivitar 285HV. For the price of an AF-540FGZ, you can get a 285HV, lightstand, umbrella swivel, umbrella, and cheap wireless triggers (a pair of the Cactus ones to be specific) and still have (probably) enough money left over for a second 285HV and another cheap wireless trigger receiver for it.
On the other hand, 540 and 360 works beautifully in wireless mode.
Quick setup and quick exposure setting / P-TTL metering are well worth the extra cost for me. Just a quick turn of dial would allow me to change the Master:Slave contrast control flash ratio, without me attending the remote slave flash! And you also have the availability of high speed sync.

No more hassle with all the wireless triggers, the bulk and all the extra batteries to worry about.
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