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05-20-2016, 02:36 PM   #1
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K-X issue with flash - is this normal behavior?

Hi chaps,

I've had my k-x for a fair few years now, but to be honest I've only ever used the flash on a few odd occasions. But its been on these odd occasions that something strange happens with my flash.

First things first, my flash works, so no problem there,.... it's when I half press the shutter that the flash (not to sure how to explain this bit) it makes 1 or 2 very quick short bursts with an unusual sound that almost sounds like it's crackling or sparking/arcing inside the flash unit.

This happens regardless if I have the flash on Auto (or in my preferred method manual popup).
The wife said it sounded like a buzzing sound as the flash made a very short burst (I'm assuming this was the x-k setting up the correct exposure setting)

My explanation may sound over exaggerated but I just wanted to know if this was normal behavior for a pentax or for that matter any dslr.

Appreciate any replies or help...
cheers... sadsack.

05-20-2016, 02:47 PM   #2
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QuoteOriginally posted by sadsack Quote
Hi chaps,

I've had my k-x for a fair few years now, but to be honest I've only ever used the flash on a few odd occasions. But its been on these odd occasions that something strange happens with my flash.

First things first, my flash works, so no problem there,.... it's when I half press the shutter that the flash (not to sure how to explain this bit) it makes 1 or 2 very quick short bursts with an unusual sound that almost sounds like it's crackling or sparking/arcing inside the flash unit.

This happens regardless if I have the flash on Auto (or in my preferred method manual popup).
The wife said it sounded like a buzzing sound as the flash made a very short burst (I'm assuming this was the x-k setting up the correct exposure setting)

My explanation may sound over exaggerated but I just wanted to know if this was normal behavior for a pentax or for that matter any dslr.

Appreciate any replies or help...
cheers... sadsack.
This is how AF assist was implemented on the K-x and earlier models. The camera uses the flash to light up the scene and help the AF system lock focus.

The feature can be disabled through the menu if you'd like.

Newer cameras have a dedicated LED light for this purpose.

Adam
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05-20-2016, 02:57 PM   #3
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I'm not sure what the noise means, but according to the K-x manual (page 115) the flash will fire several times to assist focusing - but only if you're in AF-S mode. Basically, it's acting as a focus assist light.
05-20-2016, 06:02 PM   #4
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The pre-flash burst is normal as explained above. However, the arcing sound is not. I no longer have a K-x but my wife's K-r emits a crackling sound similar to a static discharge and occasionally accompanied by burning smell. My son's K-r is normal with a faint but audible "poof" especially if the flash fires at full power. I removed the top cover to see where the "zap" might be coming from and saw a small metallic can looking component adjacent to the bulb (assuming is the capacitor) with arcing marks around the wires connected to it. I'm guessing it is a loose connection somewhere and simply can't handle the high voltage discharge whenever the flash fires. Unfortunately, it also means the flash can fail at anytime.

05-20-2016, 06:34 PM   #5
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Thanks for the help chaps,

I'll have to find my manual and get out my microscope,... (sorry, cheap gag due to the size of the manual,)

My wife's explanation of the sound is more sensible as I suffer from Hyperacusis so even a small sound can sometimes seem a lot louder. The flash has never failed me yet, and there has never been any form of smell occurring.

I tried this evening in a moderately dark room, using the standard kit lens, and it only seems to make the sound the first time it's used, once I close the flash and try again it doesn't do it.
The only way I can force it to do it is by turning off the camera and back on again.

on a quick note, my k-x has never fired several bursts,... one or two is normal for me, but that could just be due to where the photos are taken and the distance to object.

If I fully press the shutter release (not half way) it just goes off, with no strange sounds... but It's hard to change the habit of a lifetime, and that's the half way press. One thing I have noticed, it depends on how slowly I half press the shutter release, Unless it's my imagination, but it feels as if the shutter release is causing the crackle, buzz.

I may even get a newer Pentax, just wished they made them that little bit more affordable,... considering how cheap you can pick up basic dslr Canons, and Nikons.

Thanks again chaps for the help..
sadsack.
05-20-2016, 07:11 PM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by sadsack Quote

I may even get a newer Pentax, just wished they made them that little bit more affordable,... considering how cheap you can pick up basic dslr Canons, and Nikons.

Thanks again chaps for the help..
sadsack.
Not sure what you mean by affordable", but there's should be some pretty good deals on K50's - and if you can find a new (or lightly used) K30 it should be even less. Check the marketplace for deals on used.
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