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10-19-2009, 03:53 PM   #1
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Join Date: May 2007
Location: Hitchin UK
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K110D + AF540FGZ, limited auto flash?

I really like my K110D, but latterly I've got an AF540 and struggled to get them to work together. According to the flash manual, the flash ought to switch to P-TTL even when the camera is set to manual flash in shutter and aperture priority modes.

In reality, I have struggled to get an auto flash mode at all (auto flash options greyed out on the camera Fn menu, flash claims to be in P-TTL but then exposure is wrong on the picture). I have loads of underexposed shots where the camera was set wrongly to manual flash. I have found that I can get auto flash in AUTO PICT mode, but I normally use aperture priority so typically I don't get an auto flash option.

This seems like a wetware problem rather than a fault. Can anyone give me an English explanation of what options I should get, and how to get the camera into an auto flash mode more often?

10-19-2009, 04:28 PM   #2
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Join Date: Jul 2009
Location: Perth, Australia
Posts: 180
This is a product wide issue with the older DSLR bodies. I have the same problem with the AF360FGZ and my K10D.

I've learnt to use the flash in MANUAL mode instead and just set the strength of the flash. Usually shoot at 1/4 or 1/8 for outdoor shots and 1/16 for portrait. The only downside to this is that you can't use HS mode and you are stuck with a synch rate of 1/180

Apparently this is due to the camera adjusting for the lowest common denominator (i.e. any reflections etc) so most of the time you will get underexposed shots.

This is extreemly frustrating and can be corrected in PS but I'd prefer the shot was taken correctly from the camera.

This is one of the biggest reasons I'm going to the K-7.
10-25-2009, 11:05 AM   #3
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Location: Hitchin UK
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Original Poster
Thanks - so the product genuinely does not work as described in the manual?
10-25-2009, 11:35 AM   #4

Join Date: Nov 2007
Location: Western Canada
Posts: 4,094
I have a K10D and the Pentax 360 flash. In all my years (41+) of using Pentax equipment the 360 flash is the only piece of Pentax equipment that I have been unsatisfied with...I agree with the other poster re; the 540.

I don't find the manual useful, in fact it doesn't even mention the K10D..

10-27-2009, 01:57 AM   #5
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Join Date: Jul 2009
Location: Perth, Australia
Posts: 180
QuoteOriginally posted by MEtoK110D Quote
Thanks - so the product genuinely does not work as described in the manual?
Actually, the product works TOO well and that is the problem.

This happens with both the AF360FGZX and AF540FGZX flashes. It's not the flash that is the problem, its the P-TTL metering in the camera itself.

As already mentioned, the camera takes in the LOWEST denominator and that being any reflectinons caused by the flash. Reflections such as flash off glass etc is taken into account (no matter how minor in the picture) and the camera will adjust accordingly.

With the K-7, the algorithim isn't so strict hence why the "out of the box" performance is better, but some areas are overexposed.

This is predominantly evident if you use flash fill and shooting indoors (facing a window). With the K10/20D you will notice that the picture is underexposed and in the backround, all detail outside (out of the window) will have full detail and correct exposure. On the K-7, you will notice correct exposure will be concentrated on your subject in your frame and any background subjet will be overexposed to compensate for this.

Hope that makes sense.

It's a catch 22 really as you can't have best of both worlds. This all comes down to the lack of dynamic range in cameras (which I think will take years to improve on).

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