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04-21-2013, 08:28 AM   #1
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Older third party flashes and Pentax P3 compatibility

I am new to the forums and new to Pentax. Just got a very gently used Pentax P3/P30 from a thrift shop for a song yesterday. Now my problem is I have two flashes both a Vivitar 152 and a Braun F20 BLS that I use without issue with my Canon AE-1 and Mamyia 500 TDL. Now I am wondering if either flash is compatible with my new P3. There does not seem to be a plug on my P3 for the little cord for the flash to plug into the camera like my other two and about the only thing the P3 user manual has to say is basically "don't use third party flashes or something bad might happen." Now I know Pentax was looking to sell camera flashlights too but this is hardly helpful. Google also seems to have let me down. Does anyone know of a good resource for finding info on 3rd party accessories like flashes that play nice with Pentax cameras like the P3/P30?

04-22-2013, 02:14 AM   #2
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You can buy a small adapter that goes into the hot shoe to provide a synch socket.

P30 does not have TTL flash so using a dedicated pentax flash doesn't provide much benefit. The camera should work with any flash either in manual or your flash's auto mode. I've used mine with an Olympus T1 and ring flash. The only issue is the trigger voltage. If it is too high then it could possibly damage the camera. Problem is to try and find the specs for the camera. The flash can be measured with a multimeter or check to see if they are listed here Photo Strobe Trigger Voltages

cheers
04-22-2013, 07:39 AM   #3
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Basically any thyristor hot shoe flash will work in manual mode - you set the shutter and aperture based on what the flash tells you. If the flash is also 'pentax' compatible, whatever automation there is will also work - e.g. many Vivitars come in two flavors, one of which is Pentax (and two others) dedicated.

If your two flashes are pc cord only, i.e. not hot shoe, then what wirrah says is the case - you need an adapter. Though, often times getting a new-old dedicated thyristor flas may be cheaper.
04-22-2013, 12:39 PM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by wirrah Quote
You can buy a small adapter that goes into the hot shoe to provide a synch socket.

P30 does not have TTL flash so using a dedicated pentax flash doesn't provide much benefit. The camera should work with any flash either in manual or your flash's auto mode. I've used mine with an Olympus T1 and ring flash. The only issue is the trigger voltage. If it is too high then it could possibly damage the camera. Problem is to try and find the specs for the camera. The flash can be measured with a mulitmeter or check to see if they are listed here Photo Strobe Trigger Voltages

cheers
Excellent advice with one caveat. Somewhere I've read that checking the flash trigger voltage should be done only with a digital multimeter, not the traditional style with a needle meter. Adequate digital devices can be purchased for around $20 at such stores as Home Depot or Lowes. BTW, some flashes have trigger voltages well over 100v, enough for a nasty shock.

04-22-2013, 01:33 PM   #5
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Thanks guys. I will look at the cost of a gently used flash for my Pentax. Then I can just keep my Braun and Vivitar for my other two cameras. Sounds cheaper and simpler.
04-23-2013, 11:16 AM   #6
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So I found a Pentax AF 160SA which is specifically mentioned in the P3/30 user manual and instructions on how to configure it. The flash cost me $28 including shipping. I will keep my Braun and Vivitar for my Mamyia and my Canon. Thanks for the great advice though.
04-23-2013, 01:56 PM   #7
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I think I have one such as well, will try it on my P3!
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