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09-10-2013, 10:55 PM   #1
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Flash for Super Program?

I know that several flash units contemporary with my Super Program provide full support for its TTL OTF flash metering. I am curious as to whether anybody here has had any luck with modern Pentax, Sigma, or Metz P-TTL flashes that claim backward compatibility with TTL film bodies.

I just got a Sigma EF-610 DG Super and while operation is transparent on the K10D, my Super Program does not even seem to know that it is mounted.


Steve

09-11-2013, 04:06 AM   #2
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My Metz 58 AF-1 gives me TTL with my ZX-5n, but no luck with the SuperProgram. I have two SuperPrograms and no TTL with either of them. Let us know how it shakes out - I've had half an eye out for a legacy flash to gain this functionality, but taking the age of the SuperPrograms into account, I'm not sure the cameras are working correctly so I'm reluctant to spend the money.

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Kevin
09-11-2013, 05:53 AM   #3
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Metz SCA flashes will do it, if they support either adapters SCA37x only or as an option.
Generally, the 3-digit SCA adapters understand analog, the 4-digit adapters digital and mixed analog/digital.

Some time after the Super A Pentax switched from merely analog communication to mixed analog and digital communication, probably with the introduction of AF or later with powerzooms.

I am using the Metz 40MZ-2 with a SCA372 on a Super A, and with a SCA3702 on a K200D (on the K200 only with thyristor control of the flash).
With newer Metz flashes, which, with the correct SCA adapter can do p-TTL, you have to find out whether they support 3-digit SCA adapters. If so, they were most likely delivered with a shield to cover the now open contacts on the flash side (3-digit adapters need less contacts).

Some of the newer (digital) brand dedicated Metz flashes (no SCA) may not support TTL if communicated by an analog interface.

EDIT:
I know that the Pentax Mz5n(ZX-5n)+Metz 40MZ-2 fired with one of the adapters, and I think it was with a SCA3701. And the power zoom of the flash reacted correctly on changing zoom length on the lens.
Astonishing: the flash zoom did recognize whether it was used for FF or APS-C. So probably the MZ5n and the K200D do not transmit the focal length to the flash, but the angle of view, or both.
But I did not use it with a film, so I can't be sure whether flash output was really controlled by TTL. But I guess so, as the flash did not refuse to be set to TTL control, so it seems it "understood" the body.

Last edited by RKKS08; 09-11-2013 at 06:47 AM. Reason: Info added
09-11-2013, 07:56 AM   #4
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Thanks for the comments and information. Like Kevin, I wonder if the camera might not be fully functional. I don't even get flash-ready confirmation in the viewfinder or auto set to flash sync speed. This is not a huge thing since I have a couple of generic thyristor flashes and seldom use flash anyway, but I thought it would be good put something up for content in case anybody is considering a modern dedicated flash for their first generation TTL flash bodies.

I suspect that third-party backward compatibility starts with the AF generation cameras. Any LX owners want to chime in here?


Steve

09-11-2013, 08:34 AM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by stevebrot Quote
I suspect that third-party backward compatibility starts with the AF generation cameras. Any LX owners want to chime in here?


Steve
I have the feeling you are correct. The manual states this:

"This product is specifically developed for the PENTAX AF series autofocus SLR cameras. Depending on the camera model, functions and operation may vary."
09-11-2013, 04:53 PM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by Not a Number Quote
"This product is specifically developed for the PENTAX AF series autofocus SLR cameras. Depending on the camera model, functions and operation may vary."
This makes sense. With AF, Pentax added a digital serial interface to the body/flash communication.

If all flash functions depend on this information, it may not even be aware it's sitting on a camera.
09-11-2013, 08:33 PM   #7
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Thanks to RKKS08 and Not a Number for the informative posts. And to Steve for the initial post. By far the most positive results I've had with flash on film have been with the ZX-5n and the Metz 58 AF-1 and TTL. I've put the Metz on both the ME Super and SuperProgram in Autothyristor mode and had satisfactory results, but nowhere near the success with the ZX-5n. That being said, I haven't done a whole lot of flash on film. Now if Pentax could only achieve the same results with P-TTL with my K-5 that I got with TTL on the ZX-5n.

ZX-5n, Portra 400, Metz 58 AF-1



Best to all,
Kevin
09-12-2013, 04:26 PM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by stevebrot Quote
Thanks for the comments and information. Like Kevin, I wonder if the camera might not be fully functional. I don't even get flash-ready confirmation in the viewfinder or auto set to flash sync speed. This is not a huge thing since I have a couple of generic thyristor flashes and seldom use flash anyway, but I thought it would be good put something up for content in case anybody is considering a modern dedicated flash for their first generation TTL flash bodies.

I suspect that third-party backward compatibility starts with the AF generation cameras. Any LX owners want to chime in here?


Steve
I agree that it seems the TTL type flash units are delineated at AF bodies and are not backward compatible. I also have other brand flash units - as well as bodies, and this seems to also hold true for those.

Of course the AF-280T on an LX has thus far been a very competent combination.

09-13-2013, 04:25 AM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by LesDMess Quote
Of course the AF-280T on an LX has thus far been a very competent combination.
If I was living in the US, I would probably go for it.

Living in Europe, I prefer the comparable Metz 32MZ series. As it had been a brand independent bestseller in the late eighties, you can now have it for a steal.
Slightly more power than the 280T, with 2 adapters working with every Pentay body ever built (pTTL replaced by thyristor control).

And as the power zoom recognizes correctly the focal length of the lens (if communicated), even more power if not used with a 50mm lens.
And the power zoom even adapts automatically to APS-C bodies, in reducing the output angle for cropped sensors.
09-13-2013, 02:32 PM   #10
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Another post says the Mecablitz 48 AF-1 supports TTL on the LX. Whether or not later models support "analog" TTL is unknown. All the AF film Pentax SLRs have the "digital" contact on the flash shoe.
09-13-2013, 04:03 PM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by Not a Number Quote
Whether or not later models support "analog" TTL is unknown.
About the brand dedicated models, I don't know.

The SCA (multi brand) models work well with any old TTL
Just use a SCA372 adapter for bodies without the added serial communication, and a SCA3701 or SCA3702 for any AF model, including DSLRs. Of course, with the old flashes pTTL is not possible.

I don't have a manual of the latest SCA models.
Only if it would tell the flash is not compatible with 3-digit SCA adapters, pre-AF bodies would not be supported.

EDIT: Of course, the reverse is also true. If a flash doesn't support 4-digit SCA adapters, it will not work with bodies of the SF or any later series.
I don't know which was the first Metz flash supporting 4-digit Adapters, but any MZ series will, because MZ means motor zoom. And to get the information about focal length, the serial communication is needed.

Last edited by RKKS08; 09-13-2013 at 04:35 PM.
09-13-2013, 05:33 PM   #12
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According the the SCA matrix on BH Photo's website the 4 digit adapters only support TTL on the AF SLRs.

Metz SCA Module Feature Chart for Pentax Camera

The instruction manual on the Metz website for the 3702 SCA adapter (Pentax) says it only supports TTL for the AF SLRs also

SCA Adapter: Metz
09-14-2013, 12:55 PM   #13
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That's what I said.
QuoteQuote:
Just use a SCA372 adapter for bodies without the added serial communication, and a SCA3701 or SCA3702 for any AF model, including DSLRs.
It's just that very old flash models don't support 4-digit adapters (as they didn't exist in their time). This will apply for most or all of the "CT" series (28CT, 32CT, 36CT).
And I am not sure whether the very latest models still support 3-digit adapters.

But in the middle range, they support both of them (32MZ, 40MZ, and more). There were also some cheaper models of the same era without motor zoom (no "MZ" in the name), which also should accept 3- as well as 4-digit adapters.

EDIT:
All this doesn't mean the older series do not work with Pentax DSLRs or AF SLRs, but in thyristor mode only.
When my K200D was new, I used for quite a while my old 32CT7 in thyristor mode. I then switched over to the 32MZ because of the motor zoom, and then to the 40MZ-2 because I needed more power for bouncing in rooms with darker ceilings.

Last edited by RKKS08; 09-14-2013 at 01:09 PM. Reason: Information added
09-14-2013, 01:50 PM   #14
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I just re-read my last post, and found it could lead to mis-understandings if we speak about thyristor mode, ignoring TTL functionality.

My experience, based on usage with a limited number of bodies, adapters, and flashes, is:
  • Metz flashes produced before the AF age and because of this fact not supporting 4-digit adapters, will work with a SCA372 on ALL Pentax bodies (at least from the MX/ME up to the K200D).
  • Metz flashes which are younger and support 3- as well as 4-digit adapters, will NOT work properly or not even fire if used with 3-digit adapters ON AF BODIES. For these flashes you must use 4-digit adapters, BUT FOR AF BODIES ONLY. To use the same flashes with older bodies, you MUST use 3-digit adapters.
As I said, these statements are NOT related to TTL functionality. For this, please have a look at my earlier postings.
09-14-2013, 02:27 PM   #15
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Just one more remark about the Metz SCA372 adapter.

As far as I remember, it just adds (in thyristor mode) a signal to the body if and when the flash output had been sufficient to get a correct exposure. Some, but not all Pentax SLRs could display this in the viewfinder. It was an advantage for series of shots, when you didn't take your eyes off the viewfinder in between, specially when using a winder.
SLRs in TTL mode won't use this signal, as the body itself has all the information. And with DSLRs Pentax has skipped support for this feature (they want to sell pTTL flashes).

That means, in most cases a SCA371 would do as well.
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