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05-30-2016, 06:11 PM   #1
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flash, remote control

Hello, I have come to be in possession of a still new in the box Vivitar 285 HV purchased in 2007 and I'm seeking suggestions re use w a K50? Also considering purchasing a remote or cable. Any recommendations? Thanks, Buddy

05-30-2016, 06:20 PM   #2
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First thing would be to check the trigger voltage. That flash is shown as questionable depending on the age and specific model. Best to test it. Flash voltages here: Photo Strobe Trigger Voltages

Since that flash is not P-TTL it will only work in manual flash mode. Using a remote trigger, such as the Cactus v5 or v6, might be the best option if you want to use it off camera.
05-30-2016, 07:25 PM   #3
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+1 for Cactus triggers
05-31-2016, 03:24 AM   #4
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Thanks. The Pentax AF360FGZ was recommended in a previous post and is probably what I will get. My skill set and knowledge are still very limited and I don't want to buy stuff simply to fill up my camera bag but the utility of a release device of some type to reduce camera shake and for group portraits seems to be a key component of a minimal kit. I am not familiar w Cactus products. Is it a Pentax compatible brand that would be an alternative to a Pentax cable release or remote whether using flash or not?

05-31-2016, 08:05 AM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by A H Thompson Quote
The Pentax AF360FGZ was recommended in a previous post and is probably what I will get.
Just FYI but the AF360FGZ is a world apart from the Vivitar 285.

The AF360 is a Pentax flash compatible with Pentax's P-TTL communication protocol. It can be used both on camera and off and triggered off camera by the camera using an optical communications link. In other words, this flash is designed to communicate and work with Pentax cameras automatically.

The Vivitar 285 is an old film era flash that will work in manual mode, assuming the trigger voltage is not so high it fries your camera. Hence my word of caution above. It would be safe to use off camera with radio triggers and on camera in manual if the trigger voltage tests ok.

QuoteOriginally posted by A H Thompson Quote
I am not familiar w Cactus products.
Cactus makes both radio triggers and flashes that work with just about all camera brands. However, the term 'radio trigger' usually means a trigger for the flash when used off camera. So the trigger transmitter goes on the camera hot shoe and the receiver on the flash. When you press the camera shutter button the trigger also fires the flash which might be 10 to 100 feet away. Technically it can also be used in a different mode that can remotely trigger the camera but this is not the usual mode of operation.
QuoteOriginally posted by A H Thompson Quote
alternative to a Pentax cable release or remote whether using flash or not?
Sort off. As in yes it will do that, but that is not it's primary purpose and a standard cable or wireless shutter release is likely to be much cheaper and simpler than using a flash trigger to fire the camera.

I suspect you need to do some research and study on flash in general before making any purchase decisions. You should determine if you want P-TTL flash communication or manual. And whether you want to use the flash on camera or off camera. Those things will determine what gear is needed.
05-31-2016, 09:22 AM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by jatrax Quote
First thing would be to check the trigger voltage. That flash is shown as questionable depending on the age and specific model. Best to test it. Flash voltages here: Photo Strobe Trigger Voltages
This is very very true, You must be sure that the flash is safe for the camera by testing that particular unit before you mount in on your valuable camera. However, we should also note that the Cactus units provide protection to something like 300 volts, so you could safely mount almost any flash, including the venerable Vivitar ones, on a Cactus unit.

QuoteOriginally posted by jatrax Quote
Since that flash is not P-TTL it will only work in manual flash mode. Using a remote trigger, such as the Cactus v5 or v6, might be the best option if you want to use it off camera.
Not quite true. The venerable Vivitar units have an "automatic" mode. In P-TTL mode, the camera measures light received at the sensor and tells the flash when to stop emitting light; in automatic mode, the flash measures reflected light and decides for itself when to stop emitting light. I have several Vivitar flashes dating back to when I used them on my Super Program to take pictures of my baby, and then growing, daughters; both are now independent 20-somethings, and on several occasions I have used those same flashes on my K-30 to take pictures of them on those rare occasions when my young professionals come back to visit.
05-31-2016, 09:52 AM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by reh321 Quote
Not quite true. The venerable Vivitar units have an "automatic" mode.
I was waiting for someone to jump in with that. While quite true I often neglect to mention that, mostly because people new to flash are already overwhelmed with options and new concepts. If you are an old hand with some of these old film flashes about, the 'auto' mode using the flashes light meter will work. I use it on my Pentax AF200T.
06-01-2016, 04:43 AM   #8
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Sounds like I should use a Pentax and the 360 seems to have received a solid endorsement. Any advice on a cable or remote shutter trigger for assembly of a basic kit?

06-01-2016, 06:46 AM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by A H Thompson Quote
Any advice on a cable or remote shutter trigger for assembly of a basic kit?
Any wired release using a 3.5mm plug will work, there is nothing brand specific. The Pentax model CS 205 is a good one though pricey. Just do a search on Amazon or wherever for Pentax remotes. Don't get the super cheap ones, I have had plugs that were not to spec and too loose for good contact that did not work reliably.

For wireless (IR) remotes Pentax makes two different ones and AFAIK third party ones work fine as well. The Pentax F control is simple, not expensive and works. They also have a waterproof one: https://www.amazon.com/Pentax-39892-Waterproof-Remote-Control/dp/B0039WP4A2?...=1&*entries*=0
06-01-2016, 11:00 AM   #10
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You can find a cheap wireless IR trigger on eBay for about a dollar. These are great indoors, but in bright sunlight or far away they might not work. In that case you might want to look into radio triggers.

I have a pair of Yongnuo RF-603 II which is a manual flash trigger, but can also trigger the shutter with a Canon C1 cable. (It's a manual flash trigger, so it's not P-TTL capable). It works great since I can use just one to trigger my YN-560 III / IV flashes from the camera. If I want to trigger the camera wirelessly I hold one RF-603 II my hand and put the other on the hot shoe and connect it to the shutter port with the C1 cable. The handheld RF-603 II tells the hot-shoe RF-603 II to trigger the camera, and when the camera fires it triggers the hot shoe RF-603 which wirelessly triggers my YN-560 III / IV flashes. (If you have a different type of flash, you can put in on the hot shoe of another RF-603 to trigger it wirelessly in manual mode.)

Both the Nikon and Canon variants of RF-603 II work for Pentax, they just don't support waking from sleep with a half shutter press - just take a picture to wake the flashes. (I believe only the Nikon variant of the RF-603 v1 will work for Pentax, unless you feel like soldering the Canon version.)
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