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07-29-2008, 03:02 PM   #1
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K200D not compatible with 540FGZ P-TTL?

Hi everyone,

An upsetting discovery after my upgrade from K100d to K200D, I noticed that my 540FGZ has lost its ability to properly expose anything. With the K100d, no matter how I bounced the flash, the exposures would come out very pleasant. I often bounce off the ceilings/walls and P-TTL would do the rest. With the K200D, I can't seem to get the FGZ to do anything I want. It almost always way underexposes my pictures and changing the flash output level makes no differences (exposure results are the same when dialed in + or - direction), placing the camera into P mode and turning the EV level to +2.0 has no effect either. I don't think there's anything wrong with the flash and so it would seem that it is the K200D's fault. Do I have a junk unit that can't talk to the FGZ properly?

Oh, one more thing, the system (K200D + 540FGZ) seems to work OK in wireless mode. But that could be because I am holding the FGZ closer to the ceiling/wall rather than P-TTL working properly.

This underexposure affect is much more noticeable on my Sigma 18-200mm than my P-FA 28-70mm.

Does any of this sound familiar to anyone? Please advise.

Thanks.
KC

07-29-2008, 04:25 PM   #2
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I have a Sigma EF-500DG Super and I have the same problem with bounce flash on my K20D. Exposure is dead on with straight flash, but it underexposes badly when I use bounce flash. I have the same problem with my K10D, but not as pronounce as it is with the K20D. I thought it was a problem of compatibility with the Sigma unit.
07-29-2008, 06:01 PM   #3
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Stinks, I was just starting to get good with the K100d and I greedily upgraded to the 200d with new problems to face. Namely, battery consumption is better in the long run but has higher power drain when taking pictures, so my hybrid ni-mh are empty after several shots and then suddenly are full again. UNDEREXPOSURE GALORE with terrible metering and now of course, the fake P-TTL which exposes everything the same all the time on all settings. Damn, I wish I never met that Mark Dimalanta guy at Fry's who introduced me to Pentax.
07-30-2008, 06:07 AM   #4
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I have a K100D and Sigma 530 Super, and I'm having the same problem. With the flash facing forward I get normal exposures. with bounce flash, severe underexposure. I read the (terrible) Sigma manual and as far as I can see it says to set the camera to Manual exposure and try different flash settings. How is that P-TTL, or any kind of TTL?

07-30-2008, 10:37 AM   #5
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Perfect exposures with a K100D and Sigma EF-500 Super here, although I have to remember to use +0.5EV for bounce shots but then I would expect that with the more diffused lighting compared with direct flash.
07-30-2008, 06:31 PM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by xy1981ca Quote
Hi everyone,

An upsetting discovery after my upgrade from K100d to K200D, I noticed that my 540FGZ has lost its ability to properly expose anything. With the K100d, no matter how I bounced the flash, the exposures would come out very pleasant. I often bounce off the ceilings/walls and P-TTL would do the rest. With the K200D, I can't seem to get the FGZ to do anything I want. It almost always way underexposes my pictures and changing the flash output level makes no differences (exposure results are the same when dialed in + or - direction), placing the camera into P mode and turning the EV level to +2.0 has no effect either. I don't think there's anything wrong with the flash and so it would seem that it is the K200D's fault. Do I have a junk unit that can't talk to the FGZ properly?

KC
Would you let us know how high the ceiling was for your k200D and K100D in that case?
Also are the ceiling flat and in white color?
How about 540 in direct flash without bounce?

Daniel
07-30-2008, 08:32 PM   #7
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Make sure you don't have dirty contacts on your flash mount and that it is seated properly. Sounds like your flash is not talking to your camera.

Have you tried setting the flash to Auto mode rather than P-TTL and see if there is any better results?

PK
07-30-2008, 08:58 PM   #8
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My tip would be flash firmware with regards to use on the K20D.

Had the same issue initially with my DG 500 Super on the K10D. Sent it back for a firmware flash and all is well in my bright world.

07-31-2008, 09:08 AM   #9
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My flash has been upgraded, and I still have problem with bounce on the K20D. The upgrade was to fix synchronisation problems with wireless flash anyway, so it does nothing for bounce flash.
07-31-2008, 10:20 AM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by danielchtong Quote
Would you let us know how high the ceiling was for your k200D and K100D in that case?
Also are the ceiling flat and in white color?
How about 540 in direct flash without bounce?

Daniel
Our ceilings have always been 9 feet high, direct flash is usually way harsh and over exposed. But I think that it's my fault for being too close to the subject. However, dialing down does not seem to help in this regard, so it seems like the same problem of camera/flash miscommunication. I am not sure how else one is supposed to do flash macro if you can't dial down your direct flash.
08-03-2008, 05:57 AM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by audiobomber Quote
I have a K100D and Sigma 530 Super, and I'm having the same problem. With the flash facing forward I get normal exposures. with bounce flash, severe underexposure. I read the (terrible) Sigma manual and as far as I can see it says to set the camera to Manual exposure and try different flash settings. How is that P-TTL, or any kind of TTL?
Yesterday I was trying out various things to get the bounce flash working, mostly compensations. Nothing helped. I happened to try bounce flash with the built-in diffuser covering the flash, and it worked like a dream. Very natural looking exposures. My theory is that the bounce was zoomed in too much to hit the subject.
08-03-2008, 06:08 AM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by xy1981ca Quote
Namely, battery consumption is better in the long run but has higher power drain when taking pictures, so my hybrid ni-mh are empty after several shots and then suddenly are full again.
That means your batteries are providing inadequate (real-time) current, and voltage drops. This will definitely, and negatively, affect the microelectronics. The battery indicator is a rather simplistic mechanism, only measuring voltage. As such, you're seeing the voltage drop after shots, but then return when the voltage is sampled again later.

I have a K100D myself and found that it draws so much current that only at least 70% charged Energizer NiMH or Sanyo Enelope. E.g., when a 2000mAh current-time battery drops below 1400mAh or the 2500mAh drops below 1700mAh, the real-time current drops below the 1.5A or so the K100D desires. I'm curious if the K200D is better or worse, sounds like worse. In any case, the K100D/K200D draws far more than the 1A typical you get from the majority of NiMH batteries.

I just finally switched to non-rechargeable Energizer LiFe (e2 Lithium) batteries, which -- like most Lithium combinations -- provides a constant real-time current of around 2.6A until near depleted. They can also sit on the shelf. Twelve (12) batteries for $19 at Costo or Sam's Club, worth the great reduction in headaches.

Some people use rechargeable CR-V3 (RCR-V3), which are 3.6-3.7V Li-Ion and not 3.0V LiMg (non-rechargeable CR-V3) or 1.5V LiFe (Energizer e2 Lithium). These are nominally 3.6-3.7V on closed voltage (and a whopping 4.2V+ open). Even the "regulated" versions will output 3.1-3.3V+ closed, and virtually never 3.0V. The K100D/K200D can only tolerate 6.5V safely, before you chance damaging the microelectronics. A lot of believers think the over-voltage is "better" because it drives the AF motors better. Indeed it does, as over-volting is typically safe for motors, let alone the 6.2-6.6V you get out of even the best "regulated" pair of RCR-V3 will seem like a dream in the AF compared to the only 4.8V (or maybe 5.2V if the maximum charged NiMH is outputting 1.3V instead of the nominal 1.2V).

In my view, the inexpensive cost of the Energizer e2 Lithium, which delivers a solid 1.5V, giving you a perfect 6.0V for AF and no over-volting of the microelectronics, and has a long, long shelf-life as well as the fact that a single set of four (4) has delivered for me (without flash) over 1,000 pictures on my K100D. Not bad for just over $6. As someone who has designed microelectronics myself, there is a reason no electronics manufacturer designs products to use RCR-V3, and only proprietary Li-Ion designs of 3.6-3.7V, 7.2-7.4V, 14.4-14.8V, etc... -- including Pentax for the K10D/K20D.

Last edited by bjsmith; 08-03-2008 at 06:17 AM.
08-03-2008, 06:55 AM   #13
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You can check out the theory of battery voltage dropping too much during a shot just by using MF where camera battery current consumption will be very low if a hot shoe flash is used. There's only 2 things things that gobble up current from camera batteries, AF and the popup flash.

Another thing, you can always tell if P-TTL is working and there's power left in hand (a prerequisite for P-TTL to work properly) from the recycle times. If the flash is taking a few seconds to recycle then you're in trouble with any TTL type of system.
08-03-2008, 10:11 AM   #14
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K20D with Sigma EF-530 DG Super works great in bounce and in direct.
08-03-2008, 01:29 PM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by SteveB Quote
You can check out the theory of battery voltage dropping too much during a shot just by using MF where camera battery current consumption will be very low if a hot shoe flash is used. There's only 2 things things that gobble up current from camera batteries, AF and the popup flash.
Agreed, those will be the two biggest current suckers.
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