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09-28-2014, 04:34 PM   #1
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current firmware flash limitations

After considerable testing with three bodies (K20D, K5, and K3), several flash units (Metz 44; Pentax 360 original verion; and Pentax 160 ring) using several different lenses (DA 70mm f2.4; DA 35mm f2.8 macro; SMCA 50mm f2.8 macro; SMCA ED 200mm f4 macro), I have come to the following conclusion: NEITHER THE K5 NOR THE K3 WITH PRESENT FIRMWARE WILL PROVIDE PTTL EXPOSURE WITH AN "A" SERIES LENS. Both instruction manuals state that PTTL works properly with an "A" series lens when the aperture ring set to "A", but my tests indicate they absolutely WILL NOT. When any of the PTTL capable flashes is paired with an "A" series lens on a K5 or K3 body, the flash always fires at maximum output, but the DA lenses provide correct PTTL exposure. However, on the K20, any combination of PTTL capable flash and an "A" series lens worked correctly, providing correct exposure at different apertures and different distances.

09-28-2014, 05:11 PM   #2
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QuoteOriginally posted by WPRESTO Quote
NEITHER THE K5 NOR THE K3 WITH PRESENT FIRMWARE WILL PROVIDE PTTL EXPOSURE WITH AN "A" SERIES LENS
I haven't had a problem, and I know quite a few people on Pentax forums who use A series lenses with PTTL without issue. There must be something wrong with your cameras, flash units or lenses or that you are doing something incorrectly - no need to have an all caps rage.
09-28-2014, 06:03 PM   #3
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They should work fine as long as your lenses are set to "A".

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09-28-2014, 06:14 PM   #4
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I am seeing something similar.

K-3 in Av mode at f/5.6 and ISO 800. Firmware v1.11

Pentax A 50/1.7 Ambient light, medium distance




Pentax A 50/1.7 P-TTL flash, medium distance




Pentax A 50/1.7 Ambient light, close distance




Pentax A 50/1.7 P-TTL flash, close distance





And to establish that P-TTL is working with DA series lenses...

Pentax-DA 50/1.8 Ambient light, medium distance





Pentax-DA 50/1.8 P-TTL flash, medium distance





Pentax-DA 50/1.8 Ambient light, close





Pentax-DA 50/1.8 P-TTL flash, close




Sorry about the large size...unmodified in-camera JPEG at XS setting.

I also did the test using my Tamron Adaptall-2 PK/A adapter with similar results. All of the above were made with the Sigma EF 610 DG. To rule out the Sigma flash as the cause, I repeated the P-TTL test images using the on-board flash with similar results. I also confirmed pre-flash using the 2s delay.


Steve


Last edited by stevebrot; 09-28-2014 at 08:51 PM.
09-28-2014, 07:22 PM   #5
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Does A series transmit focusing distance? I am under the impression that it doesnt, being manual focus and all, and I thought that distance does factor in P-TTL flash power.
09-28-2014, 08:10 PM   #6
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With respect to comments on my complaint.
1) If the problem resides in the flash, then the Pentax 360, The Pentax 160, and the Metz 44 all have precisely the same problem;
2) If all three flashes have the same problem, they have it only on my K5 and K3 bodies, because they provide correct PTTL exposure with the old K20.
3) I checked and rechecked the following when running tests: the "A" series lens aperture rings were locked at "A;" the flash units were set at PTTL or AUTO as appropriate; the flash units were fully seated into the hot shoe (I repeatedly pulled the units off, then slid them back on and made sure the locking pin was engaged); the camera mode dial was set at "X." IF the aperture ring were not set at "A," then no aperture would appear on the LCD screen and certainly it would not change when the control dial is rotated. The aperture ring on my "A" series lenses is always locked at the "A" setting.

Andi Lo: I do not think that the Pentax PTTL system incorporates distance as determined by how the lens focuses. That's a mechanism used by Nikon. It would not matter. As noted, PTTL works correctly on the old K20 with any combination of the three the flash units and any "A" series lens that I've tested on that camera body.


The images posted by Stevebrot exhibit exactly the phenomenon I'm describing. Sorry if I've offended either Digitalis or Adam, but I am really angry about this. I "preordered" my K3 before they were available and paid a premium price, and just paid $450 for the 160 flash to say nothing of the 360 and the Metz 44, and the camera does not function as advertised. Will Ricoh acknowledge much less issue a fix for this problem. Have they acknowledged or issued a fix for mirror flapping issue, which fortunately has not recurred after the first episode with my K3.
09-28-2014, 08:19 PM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by Andi Lo Quote
Does A series transmit focusing distance? I am under the impression that it doesnt, being manual focus and all, and I thought that distance does factor in P-TTL flash power.
No, there is no data pin. I have no idea how it is actually supposed to work though I suspect that the body should quench the flash in a manner similar to the analog TTL protocol. The amount of flash is determined not by distance, but by the actual light measured by the pre-flash.

The K-3 manual feature compatibility table lists the A-series lenses as being P-TTL compatible. I don't remember testing this when I first got the camera, but I will be in touch with Ricoh/Pentax regarding this.


Steve

---------- Post added 09-28-14 at 08:25 PM ----------

QuoteOriginally posted by WPRESTO Quote
Will Ricoh acknowledge much less issue a fix for this problem. Have they acknowledged or issued a fix for mirror flapping issue, which fortunately has not recurred after the first episode with my K3.
Have you contacted Ricoh about this flash issue? They have an online form for customer service that I have used in the past and have found them to be very responsive through that route. As for the runaway mirror issue, Ricoh has offered warranty repair to remedy the problem* and the most recent firmware version has code that is supposed to at least shut down the action before damage can occur to the camera.


Steve

* The fix apparently involves re-flashing a low-level component through some sort of service interface.

Last edited by stevebrot; 09-28-2014 at 08:28 PM.
09-29-2014, 04:04 AM   #8
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Thanks for info V-A-V the mirror flapping, although as there's been no recurrence for many months, I'm not going to seek repair of something that is working properly (old adage: if you tinker with something long enough, you'll break it). As to the PTTL issue, I might send a message to Ricoh, but I'm returning the ring flash as soon as I get the RMS from B&H. There's no knowing how long it would take Ricoh to respond, nor how long to get a fix if a fix is available, and I'm not going to risk keeping the flash past the return period. I suspect communicating with Ricoh would initiate another back-and-forth along the lines of: the lens must be set to "A"; the flash must be set to "auto" or "PTTL"; the flash must be seated fully on the hot shoe; the contacts must be dirty on the flash; the contacts must be dirty on the lens; etc. etc. all of the explanations that cannot possibly be the cause of the problem.

09-29-2014, 04:50 AM   #9
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I just checked - it does work fine with k-r but doesn't work with K-5IIs.
09-29-2014, 05:03 AM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by Fedor Quote
I just checked - it does work fine with k-r but doesn't work with K-5IIs.
Now we have conflicting evidence.
09-29-2014, 05:29 AM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by WPRESTO Quote
Andi Lo: I do not think that the Pentax PTTL system incorporates distance as determined by how the lens focuses. That's a mechanism used by Nikon. It would not matter. As noted, PTTL works correctly on the old K20 with any combination of the three the flash units and any "A" series lens that I've tested on that camera body.
I see, thank you for the info. I didnt use P-TTL much with pentax (always A mode). Been using Nikon for a while now so I know the focusing distance affects power, I thought P-TTL would be the same.
09-29-2014, 05:51 AM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by WPRESTO Quote
I do not think that the Pentax PTTL system incorporates distance as determined by how the lens focuses
It does, actually. The upper right pin on Pentax flashes is for digital communication data transmitted is focal length, second curtain travel, subject distance etc. FA lenses communicate all this information - A series lenses however, cannot AFAIK.

Last edited by Digitalis; 09-29-2014 at 07:04 AM.
09-29-2014, 05:58 AM   #13
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I just checked the original AF360FGZ on the ist-ds and the K-01 with some -A lenses.

First, the Zoom button has to be pressed on the flash to manually set the lens focal length.

K-01:
On the K-01, the flash goes to P_TTL when powered up and exposure is OK with the Lens in "A" . With camera in "M" mode I ran the aperture from F/4 to F/11 and exposure was OK on both.
When Lens is set off "A" the flash remains in P_TTL and will overexpose until the flash mode button is pressed to put the flash in "A" or "M"

ist ds
As above, except the flash reverts to 'TTL" mode when the lens ring is moved off "A" , and continues to expose correctly.
09-29-2014, 07:29 AM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by wombat2go Quote
I just checked the original AF360FGZ on the ist-ds and the K-01 with some -A lenses.

First, the Zoom button has to be pressed on the flash to manually set the lens focal length.

K-01:
On the K-01, the flash goes to P_TTL when powered up and exposure is OK with the Lens in "A" . With camera in "M" mode I ran the aperture from F/4 to F/11 and exposure was OK on both.
When Lens is set off "A" the flash remains in P_TTL and will overexpose until the flash mode button is pressed to put the flash in "A" or "M"

ist ds
As above, except the flash reverts to 'TTL" mode when the lens ring is moved off "A" , and continues to expose correctly.
More conflicting experience. If you go to the thread "Af160fc problem" (General Technical Troubleshooting) you'll find postings by manntax who is unable to get proper PTTL exposure with a K01 and an "A" series lens, but does get proper PTTL with the same lens and flash mounted on a K10.
09-29-2014, 07:43 AM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by WPRESTO Quote
More conflicting experience. If you go to the thread "Af160fc problem" (General Technical Troubleshooting) you'll find postings by manntax who is unable to get proper PTTL exposure with a K01 and an "A" series lens, but does get proper PTTL with the same lens and flash mounted on a K10.
I guess the lesson of this thread is not to use PTTL if you want consistency, or you're sure that the particular combination you're using works.
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