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Old Nov 10, 2006, 6:14 AM   #1
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Since I sold my *ist DS, I have no more automatic external flash gun to use anymore with my Pentax DSLR. It is just because Pentax has already dropped support for their dedicated TTL flash gun products in their K series line of DSLRs.

But then I decided to sell my DS without thinking twice just because my K100D won my *ist DS in almost every performance aspect except the larger finder (but the K100 is brighter) and the TTL flash support, only. Now that I have got back some bucks which is roughly equal to the street price of the latest but very expensive Pentax model 540 flash gun.

In the Pentax land, there are only two choices, the 540 and 360. The 540 is good but it is too expensive to my tolerance (for $375 I can get one). Also, actually I prefer TTL flash mode than P-TTL which is hardly more predictable and controllable (but it is more "intelligent" though, sometimes).

Now surprisingly, there is a competitior which I have found to compete with the 360 (costs $170, for me):-

http://www.suntax.com.sg/product_dis...tomatic+System

It is a simple very old-type Automatic flash gun with external flash light sensor in the front of the flashgun. I do believe it can work very good by that design if it is made to be accurate. I don't mind to set Tv and Av manually as I used to set all these manually when I use an external flashgun.

Guess what about the price of this feature rich but simple designed flash unit? It costs only $37, i.e., one-tenth of the huge price of the Pentax 540 flashgun! Do note that flashgun is not something high tech stuff and thus I regard the prices of those Japanese "high-end" flash units are actually very unreasonable - it just owing to that they made their flash units to be proprietary!

Now that I've narrowed down my choice to 360 Vs this one 3rd 3rd party flash gun which virtually cost me "nothing". I don't want to buy into another Pentax flashgun unit anymore in heart as it's all Pentax's fault to drop support of their good and reliable TTL flash and have turned my existing excellent Pentax flashgun into obselete (just that they thought that they needed to follow what C and N did and bet that their old customers must buy their newer flash gun unit).

But for the cheap Suntax flash gun above, I shall lose AF assistance beam plus I am not much confident on the accuracy and quality as well as reliability of the unit. Nonetheless, I shall go to the shop and tried it out, before I shall re-consider to get a 360 (which I still cannot force it into TTL mode on my MZ-S). I hope that the Suntax can give me some surprise afterall.

I shall let you guys know about what I found about the Suntax flash later on after my trial. In the meantime, any views are welcome on the choice of an external flashgun for the K100 or K10! Or, asking alternatively, which flashgun (make/model) will you choose if you need to buy one??

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Old Nov 10, 2006, 3:41 PM   #2
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My only choice in the end - Sigma EF500 DG Super. Great flashgun, cheaper than the Pentax unit, and does the same job. It has all the exes ie slow-sync, high-speed sync, strobe etc.

Don't go for the ST or standard model though - not even an LCD on that one.



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Old Nov 10, 2006, 11:43 PM   #3
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Thanks for the reply. How much does the Sigma cost and does it totally compatible with the K100D? (I think it is an older model for years now)

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Dal1970 wrote:
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My only choice in the end - Sigma EF500 DG Super. Great flashgun, cheaper than the Pentax unit, and does the same job. It has all the exes ie slow-sync, high-speed sync, strobe etc.

Don't go for the ST or standard model though - not even an LCD on that one.



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Old Nov 11, 2006, 6:02 AM   #4
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I have the ST model of the sigma 500 and its more than fine for my ist DS - but the model I have is incompatible with everything after the ist DL so you must make sure you get the DG model for P-TTL
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Old Nov 11, 2006, 6:45 AM   #5
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errno_gmm wrote:
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I have the ST model of the sigma 500 and its more than fine for my ist DS - but the model I have is incompatible with everything after the ist DL so you must make sure you get the DG model for P-TTL
I bet the ST model is just TTL flash but not P-TTL.

Actually, my Pentax dedicated TTL flash works fine with my *ist D and DS but it has become virtually obselete on my K100D - it just always output full power at Auto position which is essentially the same as at the Manual High position.

I still miss my good old reliable Pentax flashgun quite and it is quite accurate on both my *ist D and DS (on *ist D it is even more accurate but the reproduced colors of DS is better).

I just wonder why the K10D, as the rare middle class of DSLR by Pentax since the *ist D in 2003, cannot have a simple sensor for TTL autoflash, which is very cheap to make. Even my $180 MZ-30 has one and supports the TTL flash flawlessly.

Some newer Pentaxians just argue that there is no point to support a system more than twenty year old but I strongly disagree here. What's the point to make the excellent TTL flash system to be obselete? .. except Pentax want us to buy new flash guns. Also, Pentax, by doing this, may have put many potential older Pentaxians off by getting a K10D, simply because we need to sacrify our existing Pentax TTL compatible flashgun in the end with the K10D.

Well, we all know Canon and Nikon has done this also, but why follow? Pentax is not C and N, they actually need to retain their old customer base with more efforts, or, at least with their good old sturdy ethnics and belief in backward compatibility. I have a Nikon friend who also feels sad about his Metz flash had become obselete after getting a D200. IMHO, I feel that nowadays those large Japanese makers/players in the DSLR field are really somehow unethical but only trying to s_u_c_K as many bucks as possible from their old customers and supporters.

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