Go Back   Steve's Digicams Forums >

LinkBack Thread Tools Search this Thread
Old Oct 8, 2007, 5:14 PM   #1
Senior Member
Old Engineer's Avatar
Join Date: Jun 2007
Posts: 179

Using Pentax K10D with Sunpak Super 383:

I needed more flash capability than the on-board pop-up flash on this camera would provide. After looking over the seller's prices, and the flash offerings, I chose the Sunpak Super 383. Now that I have a bit of experience with the combination I would like to report my findings to give information to others looking for help in such matters. My findings are not biblical, so anyone having a different idea than mine, I will not be offended at all. I am still very much a novice.

First off, for those having a concern about the voltage reading at the positive and negative points of the flash unit's base when the unit is turned on, I tested it at 7.1 volts. Other sources confirm this, and it is said to be safe on the K10D.

Secondly, whereas this writing pertains to the Pentax K10D, it seems to me that much of what is written here can aptly apply to many other DSLR cameras.

I bought with the Super 383 and a Sto-Fen Omni-Bounce attachment package including rechargeable batteries and their charger from Amazon. Amazon sub-let the order to Ace Camera Co.. The Omni-Bounce came with an adapter which retains the diffuser head. The adapter can stay in place, while the diffuser can be slipped on or off. Both the adapter and the diffuser required some filing off of rough edges before they would fit properly. I finally had to lubricate the adapter to get it attached to the flash unit. Even then it was very tight.

I also bought a Sunpak Digital Slave Unit with a pre-flash cancellation feature. On specific occasions I will attach the Super 383 to this and mount them on my mini tripod off camera, letting the on-board flash trigger the 383 through the slave unit, to get unusual lighting sequences.

There are probably several ways to use the Super 383 with the K10D, but here is what has evolved as the method I will most likely stick with. It does work for me.

Although I bought the 18-55mm Pentax lens with the camera some of its automatic features must remain ineffective when using the Super 383. This is, of course, not true when the Pentax 360 or 540 flashes are used, but the missing features can be easily overcome, and the dollar savings made it practical for me not to go the total Pentax route.

Here are the camera settings I use:

Set the Mode Dial to Manual (M).

Set the Focus Mode Lever to Manual (MF).

Set the shutter speed to 180 with the front e-dial. The flash will not work at higher numbers, but will work with lower numbers.

Set the f-stop to whatever is indicated when you set up the settings on the flash unit.

Set the camera ISO to whatever seems best in view of your experience. I usually set mine at 100 ISO. You might want a higher number in lower-light situations.

It does not seem that the flash settings obtained with the FN button make any difference in this setup. At least, the red-eye feature becomes inoperative, And I believe the other choices do too. The red-eye omission may be unimportant for one reason. The flash emission will be diffused by the diffuser. Also, when the light is bounced, less light reached a subject's retinas and the bounce back from the retinas would be toward the diffused light, not the camera.

Using the FN button, I leave the AWB (auto white balance) and center focusing on, although I can't say whether they would be operative anyway.

I leave the anti-shake switched on as a routine practice. I can't imagine any reason for it to ever be off.

If there is sufficient ambient light you may be able to focus the lens through the viewfinder. If not, you can get close by rotating the focusing ring on the lens until the red focus indicator flashes momentarily in the viewfinder. Or you can focus automatically with an AF lens on the subject before switching the camera to manual operation. If the distance of the subject is changing as you shoot, that, of course, will not work.

The settings on the flash are as follows:

Slip the slide switch over to "Batt" if that will be your power source on the flash.

Move the top slide prong right or left until the ISO window below it shows the same ISO you set on the camera. Change the ISO both at the camera and at the flash unit if you change either.

Use the vertical slide prong at the left to show the lens to subject distance in the window alongside it. For example, the "A" position is for 2 feet to 15 feet. This will bracket in the window above the distance numbers the f-stop you should set on the camera. Note that the ISO and distance settings both affect the f-stop setting required. At the "A" distance range, with ISO = 100, the f-stop will be f-8. As an example, change the ISO on both camera and flash unit to200, still using the "A" range, and the f-stop needs to be f-11.

The position of the flash head will to some extent affect the brightness of the resulting photographs, but not always as you expect, for the flash intensity is self-adjusting, and that affects the amount of light the flash throws off. Be sure the hole with the green ring around it at the front bottom of the flash unit is not blocked by a finger. It is that hole which will regulate how much light the flash unit is allowed to emit when the flash goes off.

There is an adjustable setting from "Full" to "1/16[suP]th[/suP]" on the rear of the flash unit. Supposedly, this adjusts the length or intensity of the light emitted when the flash goes off. The difference resulting from changed setting with this adjustment are not greatly noticeable on subjects at close range. There may be noticeable differences at greater ranges, but I have not tested that supposition.

Now the value of digital photography comes into play. Unless you are very experienced in using this flash it is hard to get your first shots right. You may need to take several advance shots before you get the adjustments right for your needs. The speed you have in viewing digital pictures will let you narrow down the choices quickly, resulting in superior photographs.

If you are photographing a scene where your first shots must be good, for example--a bride coming down the aisle, it might be prudent to set up a mock version in advance to be sure you know what to do.

Old Engineer

Old Engineer is offline   Reply With Quote
Sponsored Links
Old Oct 8, 2007, 8:15 PM   #2
Senior Member
danielchtong's Avatar
Join Date: Dec 2005
Posts: 2,893

Old Engineer wrote:
Using Pentax K10D with Sunpak Super 383:
Now the value of digital photography comes into play. Unless you are very experienced in using this flash it is hard to get your first shots right. You may need to take several advance shots before you get the adjustments right for your needs. The speed you have in viewing digital pictures will let you narrow down the choices quickly, resulting in superior photographs.

Old Engineer
Simply put: it is straightly manual as it does not do pttl. You will have to do more test shots for locations with diffent light illumination. It may be ok for a small area with the same light situation. Your input confirms what I did with Pentax 280T ttl flash.

Daniel , Toronto
danielchtong is offline   Reply With Quote

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are On

All times are GMT -5. The time now is 11:09 AM.