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Cactus V6 Flash Compatibility -- Profiling Successes and Failures
Posted By: Class A, 05-13-2014, 08:34 AM

If you have successfully profiled a TTL flash with the V6, please post about it here.

Information whether remote control of power levels is working is welcome for all flash systems supported (Canon, Nikon, and Pentax) and any flash brand.

If you attempted to profile a flash and it did not work, please post about it here as well. Preferably, elaborate what the hurdle was (e.g., did not test as compatible, did not recycle quickly enough, ...).

I'll updated this first post regularly so that it will stay a summary of the experiences. Hence it will be easy to see which flash models are the awkward ones that refuse to play with the V6. I cannot image there will be many models that won't work, but let's see.

Compatible: (in addition to the predefined profiles; see the review for the original list of predefined profiles)
  • Pentax AF200T
    (the respective profile may also be used for the AF280T which on its own does not support profiling due to the lack of a sufficient number of manual levels.)

Don't Work:

Last edited by Class A; 09-30-2015 at 10:44 AM.
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12-21-2015, 03:30 PM   #61
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Hello flash guru's

What does "profiling" mean in the sense of the Cactus? I have been using a trio of Af200T's for my manual flash needs... I note this quote below;


QuoteOriginally posted by Class A Quote
The Pentax AF200T has been successfully profiled and the respective profile may also be used for the AF280T (which on its own does not support profiling due to the lack of a sufficient number of manual levels).
I skimmed in another thread that once "profiled", the cactus will control power levels otherwise not selectable by the simple manual controls.. I.e it will function in any variation as it was working in old TTL mode via the camera... I mean to say, I might be able to get, 1/16, 1/32, 1/64, etc etc, as ratios available over the 1/1, 1/2, 1/4, and 1/8th available as switches on the back

Is that.. correct?

And then... I could control all this from the cactus sitting in my hot-shoe..

12-21-2015, 06:11 PM   #62
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QuoteOriginally posted by tromboads Quote
What does "profiling" mean in the sense of the Cactus?
It means you train the V6 how to control your flash model.

In Rx mode, use the menu until you see "FLASH SETUP" and then change "SKIP" to "START LEARNING" to initiate the process. Check out the manual for the conditions required (you'll need some surface, e.g., a white wall, to reflect the flash from).

QuoteOriginally posted by tromboads Quote
I skimmed in another thread that once "profiled", the cactus will control power levels otherwise not selectable by the simple manual controls.
That's correct.

When extrapolating, e.g., using 1/64 power on a flash that only has 1/2 and 1/4 as power levels, the absolute accuracy may not be great, but you'll definitely get more range to choose from.

QuoteOriginally posted by tromboads Quote
And then... I could control all this from the cactus sitting in my hot-shoe..
Yep.

Last edited by Class A; 12-22-2015 at 08:35 PM.
12-22-2015, 07:32 PM   #63
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QuoteOriginally posted by tromboads Quote
Hello flash guru's

What does "profiling" mean in the sense of the Cactus? I have been using a trio of Af200T's for my manual flash needs... I note this quote below;




I skimmed in another thread that once "profiled", the cactus will control power levels otherwise not selectable by the simple manual controls.. I.e it will function in any variation as it was working in old TTL mode via the camera... I mean to say, I might be able to get, 1/16, 1/32, 1/64, etc etc, as ratios available over the 1/1, 1/2, 1/4, and 1/8th available as switches on the back

Is that.. correct?

And then... I could control all this from the cactus sitting in my hot-shoe..
QuoteOriginally posted by Class A Quote
It means you train the V6 how to control your flash model.

In Rx mode, use the menu until you see "FLASH SETUP" and then change "SKIP" to "START LEARNING" to initiate process. Check out the manual for the conditions required (you'll need some surface, e.g., a white wall, to reflect the flash from).


That's correct.

When extrapolating, e.g., using 1/64 power on a flash that only has 1/2 and 1/4 as power levels, the absolute accuracy may not be great, but you'll definitely get more range to choose from.


Yep.
I was wondering the same thing and find the idea of controlling the AF280T through its TTL interface intriguing.


Steve
12-22-2015, 07:47 PM   #64
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QuoteOriginally posted by Class A Quote
It means you train the V6 how to control your flash model.

In Rx mode, use the menu until you see "FLASH SETUP" and then change "SKIP" to "START LEARNING" to initiate process. Check out the manual for the conditions required (you'll need some surface, e.g., a white wall, to reflect the flash from).


That's correct.

When extrapolating, e.g., using 1/64 power on a flash that only has 1/2 and 1/4 as power levels, the absolute accuracy may not be great, but you'll definitely get more range to choose from.


Yep.

Bloody Hell! Well I best run off and buy 4x then! I've been stuffing around with ND filters over the flashes.. that seems boring now :P

Thank you for all that clarification!

12-22-2015, 08:29 PM   #65
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QuoteOriginally posted by stevebrot Quote
I was wondering the same thing and find the idea of controlling the AF280T through its TTL interface intriguing.


Steve
Note however that the successful profiling report was on the AF200 and the poster only noted that the resulting profile can also be used on the AF280.

I'm sceptical about the possibility of creating a profile for the AF280 without having a AF200 at hand. The reason is that the AF280 only offers one manual power level below full power (at 1/12 power).

For calibration purposes the V6 needs a minimum of two power levels below full power and they should be of the standard powers of 1/2 kind, e.g., 1/4, 1/8, 1/16, etc.

There is one option to create further manual output levels below 1/1 which is to use ND filters in the phase when the V6 asks for manual power levels. One can skip levels, so one or two filters in the case of the AF280 could be enough.

If you only use one filter to simulate one additional power level below 1/1 then accuracy won't be great because the AF280's 1/12 power level will have to pass as 1/8 or 1/16.

All the above becomes irrelevant for any flash model that natively supports at least two manual power levels below full power. Unfortunately, the AF280 is not in this category.

Last edited by Class A; 12-22-2015 at 08:37 PM.
12-22-2015, 09:08 PM   #66
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This is all very interesting, So more or less any flash that has an "auto" setting, well is capable of varying it's duration, "may" be possible to setup with a few ND filters initially?

Does the Cactus have it's own meter in which to check? And really, It just wants to confirm it's selected duration is within the light range it was expecting.

I assume the point is that duration is the same for flashes within a guide number and then the cactus just does a table look up to know what duration to apply to said random flash that's on top of it? And I suppose It can learn the flashes guide number pretty easily if it can measure the light of the wall it was pointing at. Assuming it has it's own meter..

If that's the case I suppose all you have to do is supply a current passed the threshold for the trigger voltage and then you can issue that command for any duration you like. (i.e, control the output of the flash)

If all that is correct, my older AF200s should work with what ever profile the AF200t ends up with. (same guide number)

Can't wait for it to arrive now

Wait easier yet! If it has it's own meter, it could work like an old flash itself and cut the trigger voltage when it wished. I.e Fire at full, cactus goes right my sensor reads 100 units of light, great, lets half that trigger duration and check, great, I have 50 units of light. Sweet. I'll continue /2 all day
12-24-2015, 07:18 AM   #67
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QuoteOriginally posted by tromboads Quote
So more or less any flash that has an "auto" setting, well is capable of varying it's duration, "may" be possible to setup with a few ND filters initially?
Not quite. The prerequisite is not an "Auto" setting, but the capability to be quenched in legacy film TTL style. In my Cactus V6 review, in the section about remote power control, I list the full prerequisite required.

QuoteOriginally posted by tromboads Quote
Does the Cactus have it's own meter in which to check?
Yes, but it is geared towards coping with the high levels present during flash profile creation, i.e., not very sensitive for regular photographic applications. This is not a problem, as the meter's main purpose is measuring flash output for profiling. It is, however, also used for optical triggering.

QuoteOriginally posted by tromboads Quote
And really, It just wants to confirm it's selected duration is within the light range it was expecting.
Yes, it figures out the required quench timing from the light received during profiling.

QuoteOriginally posted by tromboads Quote
I assume the point is that duration is the same for flashes within a guide number and then the cactus just does a table look up to know what duration to apply to said random flash that's on top of it?
I don't think that flash models with the same guide number use the same quench times, as the correct quench times also depend on how the flash pulse is shaped, not just what its overall energy is at full power.

QuoteOriginally posted by tromboads Quote
And I suppose It can learn the flashes guide number pretty easily if it can measure the light of the wall it was pointing at. Assuming it has it's own meter..
It can learn the required quench times easily, but it does not attempt to determine a guide number since the latter also depends on the zoom level and the reflector characteristics.

QuoteOriginally posted by tromboads Quote
If that's the case I suppose all you have to do is supply a current passed the threshold for the trigger voltage and then you can issue that command for any duration you like. (i.e, control the output of the flash)
There is no need to supply a current. One simply has to short the centre pin to ground (the metal that holds the flash). The current is supplied by the flash itself.

QuoteOriginally posted by tromboads Quote
If all that is correct, my older AF200s should work with what ever profile the AF200t ends up with. (same guide number)
I guess it should be very usable, but I wouldn't 100% count on it, because as I said there is more to a flash than its maximum output, measured under rather specific circumstances.

QuoteOriginally posted by tromboads Quote
If it has it's own meter, it could work like an old flash itself and cut the trigger voltage when it wished.
During beta-testing of the V6, it was suggested that the V6 could have an "Auto" feature in which the sensor is used to cut off the flash when enough flash energy has been dissipated (i.e., adding "Auto" flash to any TTL-capable flash), but this apparently could not be realised due to the sensor being optimised for flash profiling, not for metering reflected light from subjects far away.
12-24-2015, 02:01 PM   #68
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And thank you for all that. How very interesting.

Cheers

11-06-2016, 04:50 PM   #69
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No matter how hard I try I can't get my Metz 48AF-1 to profile with my Cactus V6. It just says "FLASH LEARNING NOT SUPPORTED!" and doesn't give me any other options.

Any help would be greatly appreciated.

obin
11-06-2016, 07:34 PM - 1 Like   #70
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QuoteOriginally posted by Obin Robinson Quote
No matter how hard I try I can't get my Metz 48AF-1 to profile with my Cactus V6.
If it is the Pentax dedicated model then someone managed to create a profile for it with the V6.

What mode is your 48 AF-1 in? It should be "TTL" mode. Avoid "P-TTL" mode if you can. Manual mode shouldn't work either but then I've read that some Metz models offer TTL communication even in manual mode.

Have you tried another Pentax flash profile, like that for the Metz 58 AF-2? One of them should allow you to change power levels of your flash remotely. Once you get that working, you know the flash mode to use for calibration as well.

If you can find a working profile that has a similar guide number then you don't strictly need a custom profile. Accuracy should be acceptable nevertheless.

P.S.: Have you updated the firmware recently? I'd perhaps avoid the very latest version (released in October this year) as it is meant to make the V6 compatible with the V6II. I have successfully profiled flashes with the previous firmware versions, but haven't used this latest one yet.

Last edited by Class A; 11-10-2016 at 02:51 AM.
11-07-2016, 10:50 AM   #71
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QuoteOriginally posted by Obin Robinson Quote
No matter how hard I try I can't get my Metz 48AF-1 to profile with my Cactus V6. It just says "FLASH LEARNING NOT SUPPORTED!" and doesn't give me any other options.

Any help would be greatly appreciated.

obin
Didn't read the last posts. Did you upgrade your Metz 48 AF-2 to the latest firmware version and upgrade the V6 firmware to V2.1.001? In the release notes you can find the following hint:

"Compatibility:
- Fixed the compatibility issue on Metz 48 AF-2 for Pentax after updating the flash
firmware to 6.0."

Update:
Sorry, didn't realize your're talking about Metz 48 AF-1. So my hint may be obsolete.
11-07-2016, 02:38 PM   #72
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QuoteOriginally posted by Class A Quote
If it is the Pentax dedicated model then someone managed to create a profile for it with the V6.

What mode is your 48 AF-1 in? It should be "TTL" mode. Avoid "P-TTL" mode if you can. Manual mode shouldn't work either but then I've read that some Metz models offer TTL communication even in manual mode.

Have you tried another Pentax flash profile, like that for the Metz 58 AF-2? One of them should allow you to change power levels of your flash remotely. Once you get that working, you know the flash mode to use for calibration as well.

If you can find a working profile that has a similar guide number then you don't strictly need a custom profile. Accuracy should be acceptable nevertheless.

P.S.: Have you updated the firmware recently? I'd perhaps avoid the very latest version (released in October this year) as it is meant to make the V6 compatible with the V6II. I have successfully profiled flashes with the previous firmware versions, but haven't used this latest one yet.
Thanks for all the suggestions. I tried everything suggested other than going to an older firmware. I am going to contact Cactus and see if there are other issues possibly causing a problem. The flash triggers but I can't adjust the power level at all.

obin
11-07-2016, 05:00 PM   #73
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QuoteOriginally posted by Obin Robinson Quote
The flash triggers but I can't adjust the power level at all.
Just to rule out one potential error source: As the V6 uses analogue control, you will not ever see power levels change on the back display of the flash.

I hope you are testing by firing the flash with the V6 test button and checking visually whether the flash output changes.

For further troubleshooting with us or Cactus, please provide the firmware versions of the flash and the V6 units and also state the mode the flash is set to.
11-07-2016, 06:02 PM   #74
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For the Metz 48 AF-1 I have firmware 6.0 dated 27.07.2016. For the Cactus V6 I have firmware V2.1.001. I reset the Metz flash and that brings all the settings back to factory but keeps the firmware version. The flash is in TTL mode and the Cactus V6 is set to learn a new Pentax flash profile. I am testing the flash by pushing the V6 button and in all instances the flash output is weak as if I have it set to 1/128 power. When I put the flash back onto my Pentax Q7 it operated normally.

Any help is greatly appreciated.

obin
11-10-2016, 03:21 AM - 1 Like   #75
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QuoteOriginally posted by Obin Robinson Quote
For the Metz 48 AF-1 I have firmware 6.0 dated 27.07.2016. For the Cactus V6 I have firmware V2.1.001.
Have you tried it with older firmware versions for the V6 before upgrading?

If not, try again with V1.1.019 for the V6. It is easy to downgrade to an earlier firmware. Just use the Firmware Updater and select "Check for latest firmware" and you'll see older firmware versions available for download as well as the latest.

I just found some time to check profiling with the latest V2.1.001 version and it does not work with my Metz 58 AF-2. The older V1.1.0019 version, however let's me profile the 58 AF-2, so I'm hopeful you may be successful with the 48 AF-1 as well (provided Metz did not remove analogue TTL capabilities with their latest firmware version).

BTW, sorry for having posted an incorrect link before. I meant to point to the actual report regarding the Metz 48 AF-1 profiling success but somehow only used a generic link to this thread. If you are lucky, user "nono" (@nono) is still around and may be able to help you.
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