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Old Dec 31, 2006, 12:09 AM   #1
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I am in the market for an external flash for my K10D, and would like some suggestions on a really good one.


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Old Dec 31, 2006, 4:08 AM   #2
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Hi Nathan,

I just received a Sigma EF-500 DG Super for Christmas. I am still learning to use it and probably only have about 25 shots taken using it, but no complaints thus far. I know there are several other users of this flash on the forum too.

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Old Dec 31, 2006, 7:51 AM   #3
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i've got the sigma 500 super. no complaints.. altho i think it will need to be rechipped when i upgrade to the k10.

oh, the sigma 500 non-super is a super deal at around 130usd.
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Old Dec 31, 2006, 9:45 AM   #4
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Hi Nathan,

If you want the most features, the Sigma EF 500 SG Super P-TTL (as already mentioned), and the Pentax AF 540 FGZ are the way to go, with the Pentax AF 360 FGZ following a bit behind because of less power and a tilt only head. I got an AF360 when I bought my DS almost 2 years ago, and got an AF 540 recently, and am very happy with both.

As Roy said, the Sigma EF 500 ST P-TTL is probably your best bet for a budget flash -- but you give up wireless P-TTL control (with another compatible external flash), strobe, hi speed sych, rear curtain synch, strobe, and probably some other features I've forgotten. If the bells and whistles might prove useful (even if you're not prepared to use them now), then get either the big Pentax or the Sigma Super and save yourself some buyer's remorse and money in the long run. At the high end, Metz has apparently said that they are working on a P-TTL module, but have no ETA, and have said in the past that essentially it wasn't that high on the priority list, but that might have changed if the K series bodies sell well enough.

BTW, there is apparently a serial # cutoff for the Sigma units that have to be rechipped -- try the Sigma site -- I think it's posted there -- units that already have the correct chip are after the cutoff.

The only other alternatives that I have heard of that are completely P-TTL compatible (communicate with the camera) are the Promaster 5750 with appropriate digital module (has some followers and seems to be a decent flash), and a Digital Concepts flash (the only thing I remember is that the user had the first one burn out and die, and the replacement he got actually blew up!)

Of course, any non-dedicated Auto Thyristor flash where the flash is metered within the flash unit will also work, but will have some limitations in range, versatility in camera settings, and level of automation. The Sunpak 383 is often touted as one of the best bangs for the buck in this group. Fully manual flashes will always work if you're willing to, and can do the guide # thing.

The last alternative is to augment the onboard flash with one or more digitally compatible slave flashes (but make sure that they can ignore the preflash and fire on the second flash). For this you either need a digital slave flash or a digital slave module that fires a standard flash through it's hot shoe.

Might as well cover everything -- If you want to mount the flash off camera, you'll want to check out the Promaster TTL extension cord -- 3 ft coiled cord with a male hot shoe connector to go in the camera shoe, and a hot shoe on the other end for the flash. The only other alternative is to get the Pentax stuff (it's all listed on B&H with either of the FGZ models under accessories) which is more expensive, but more versatile -- if you can find them in stock somewhere.

That's about it, I think -- hope that helps.



PS -- The Pentax AF 540 FGZ is the only P-TTL flash that can use a high speed external power supply, so if that's important (gives faster cycle times and many more flashes) then it's the only game in town.
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