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07-16-2007, 06:28 AM   #1
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K10D Flashgun

I was set to buy a Pentax 540 flash but.. does the Sigma 500 Super DG do everything that teh Pentax one does on the K10D? (not bothered about build quality or anything... just compatability / accuracy of exposure / functions/control/ power.. want to use it for gigs mainly and some occasional portrait/experimental work, possibly weddings/occasions as the onboard flash leaves a shadow). The Sigma is so much cheaper see... should I get it?

07-16-2007, 07:21 AM   #2
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QuoteOriginally posted by Christian Quote
I was set to buy a Pentax 540 flash but.. does the Sigma 500 Super DG do everything that teh Pentax one does on the K10D? (not bothered about build quality or anything... just compatability / accuracy of exposure / functions/control/ power.. want to use it for gigs mainly and some occasional portrait/experimental work, possibly weddings/occasions as the onboard flash leaves a shadow). The Sigma is so much cheaper see... should I get it?
People are going to say either is excellent and both are terrible and everything in-between. Some will try and tell you exact settings that work every time; some will say experiment is the key. Others will recommend entirely different equipment.

Buy the one you like-the one that makes you most comfortable. What ever measure you use for comfort: dollars, flash power, ergonomics, what the bloke down the street might say or have.

And then get a couple sets of batteries and put some real effort into understanding what the manual say and what the unit will do. There are NO magic settings, no perfect combination of user to flash to camera. In the end there is only your vision and if you understand enough about the equipment to meet at least part of that vision.

I wish I could say "good luck" with real conviction in this situation, but I cannot. What you really need is somebody to kick you swiftly in the seat of your pants while shouting "get out there and shoot something!"
07-16-2007, 07:56 AM   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by Christian Quote
I was set to buy a Pentax 540 flash but.. does the Sigma 500 Super DG do everything that teh Pentax one does on the K10D? (not bothered about build quality or anything... just compatability / accuracy of exposure / functions/control/ power.. want to use it for gigs mainly and some occasional portrait/experimental work, possibly weddings/occasions as the onboard flash leaves a shadow). The Sigma is so much cheaper see... should I get it?
At risk of driving you even crazier with all the decision-making...

The Samsung equivalent of the Pentax 540 is about the same price as the Sigma. I've just ordered one... maybe if a few more people do, they'll pull their finger out and get some stock in !!!
07-16-2007, 08:10 AM   #4
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Christian:
yes, but the 500 super is missing: PC sync port, can't rotate as much, and external battery connection. It does support wireless-PTTL (only w/ the latest firmware so make sure wherever you get it from lets you test and return it if it doesn't work).

Oddly, in the US, the Samsung flash isn't available yet, nor is the Samsung FA35/2 equivalent which is unfortunately. The 500 Super flash here is $200 vs. $325AR for the Pentax 540.

07-16-2007, 09:45 AM   #5
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Get the Pentax AF500. Its the older model but should still be just as good right?
07-16-2007, 02:06 PM   #6
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Thanks for that. The Samsung version of the 540 is interesting. I'll look into availability. The sigma is £140 and the Pentax is £310 over here. So quite a bit more. If the Samsung one is the same as the Pentax and £140ish that might be good. I heard the Pentax has exposure problems which is worrying.

Hmmm tricky thing is it's hard to try then all as none of them are in stock anywhere of course. Any other ideas? I'll probably get an omnibounce with it. And try doing some stuff like this guy's gig photography... http://www.andrewkendall.com/pages/photogallery/809/8.php (have a look around the site. he's v good. NME magazine photographer)
07-16-2007, 02:21 PM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by FotoPete Quote
Get the Pentax AF500. Its the older model but should still be just as good right?
No P-TTL so won't work except in manual and (possibly) auto modes. (Where "auto" is defined by the flash metering using an on-flash sensor instead of through the lens.)

For a manual/auto flash without any sort of TTL functionality, there are far cheaper flashes out there than even older used Pentax TTL units that are explicitly designed for manual/auto flexibility, as opposed to having such features as an afterthought.
07-16-2007, 02:21 PM   #8
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I have both

Well actually I have the EF500DG ST and the AF540FGZ.

The Sigma gives me more consistent flash pictures than the Pentax it is also more powerful.

Yes it does lack the Battery pack socket, but unless you plan on doing paperazzi style machine gun flash photogrpahy you won't need one. I used my Pentax flash for over 150 shots in one session on one set of batteries.

I hope you find the flash that suits you.

07-16-2007, 06:53 PM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by crashman Quote
The Sigma gives me more consistent flash pictures than the Pentax it is also more powerful.
Hmmm... I doubt that the Sigma is the more powerful of the two, since it has a guide number of 50, while the Pentax's is 54.
07-17-2007, 02:18 AM   #10
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Thanks Crashman. It's good to hear from someone who has both. I think the guide numbers are based on different ermm 'things' so if you if you say that the sigma is more poerful I'm inclined to believe you. I'm not too fussed about the power... as long as it's in that sort of range.

Anyo other comparisons woudl be much appreciated... most people will say to me that you should get the proprietry units .. but for half the price , if nobody has anything bad to say about it other than build quality ... then... does it have exactly the same functionality / compatability????
07-18-2007, 09:01 PM   #11
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I think I am correct

QuoteOriginally posted by RBellavance Quote
Hmmm... I doubt that the Sigma is the more powerful of the two, since it has a guide number of 50, while the Pentax's is 54.
Guide number (148ft/ISO 100) in manual mode, seven-step adjustment from 1/1 to 1/64, approx. 2.6 - 26.3 ft. effective flash range, bounce head. Requires 4 AA batteries. Catalog No.: 30425 AF540FGZ Flash
refer Pentax Imaging: AF540FGZ - Flashes - Cameras by Pentax



It has a maximum guide number of 165 in feet or 50 in meter at 105mm focal length (ISO 100)
refer Sigma - Flashes

Crash
07-19-2007, 05:02 AM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by crashman Quote
Guide number (148ft/ISO 100) in manual mode
I suspect that's a misconversion between meters & feet on Pentax's part. 148' is 44m (i.e. a GN of 44), and every other Pentax site I've looked at (France, England) as well as the PDF manual refers to a maximum GN of 54m (i.e. 178').

But I've just noticed something: the Sigma's maximum GN is for a zoom setting of 105mm, and the AF540's is for 85mm. The Sigma's GN is "only" 48m (158') at that zoom setting (85mm).
07-19-2007, 05:13 AM   #13
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I just sold my EF500 Super to a friend to buy the 540. The UI/Controls on the 540 are MUCH better than the Sigma, That alone probably makes it worth it for me! Plus I upgraded to the K10D, and didn't want to bother with getting the Sigma rechipped.

I just got the flash last night (the Pentax 540), but I've been very happy with it just shooting stuff around the house. I got the wireless working the K10D's pop-up flash (with the popup as either controller or a master which is nice) The Auto-flash is nice too, the Sigma doesn't have an Auto sensor. It's easy to switch to HSS mode as well. I found dialing in +.5FEC is usually needed though (I had a similar "problem" with the Sigma)

To be fair though, pictures with the Sigma flash on my DS came out really good, it was more of a usability/compatability upgrade for me.
07-19-2007, 10:48 AM   #14
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The build of the Sigma is good, but I liked the build on the Pentax units more. I agree with egordon99 - the UI is MUCH better than the Sigma. Another poster above said that the Pentax swivels more - I also found this feature extremely useful.

With my limited experience using a hotshoe flash, I found my exposures consistent depending on how I use the bounce. Sometimes I get a litte over exposure (+.5 and rarely +1 EV depending on what lens I use) when the flash is pointed directly at the subject within the 2 metre range, but it is still a whole world of difference compared to my pop-up.

One thing to note - with the 540 mounted on my K100D and hanging from my neckstrap, the rig is so top heavy that it flips forward. It's something to be aware of when you are walking in a crowd.
07-21-2007, 04:07 AM   #15
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thanks for all the info. I'm not particuarly sure what all that meant, so still not sure which of the two is strongest... although they're both prob on a par I guess?

What's auto flash?
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