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Old Mar 4, 2007, 9:38 PM   #1
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So like all I've been reading the flash thread. I'm looking to buy an external flash. Now understand that most Pentax's are P-TTL. I don't have a problem changing some settings on the flash, ever since I switched the camera from auto modes to manual its been fun times.Not really sure how much I'm going to use it.It might be really good forsome of those macro shots. Oh... One more thing, don't want to spend more on the flash than the I did on the camera.

So I'm open to suggestions...

Here's some ideals I had.

Obviously the Pentax 360 is good. $175 after rebate.

Sunpak 383 seems a lot more manual but good. $80 new.

Promaster 7000m (according to Promaster email response, will not work properly and always fires at full power) $80 new.

I'm sure there are plenty of other options out there. I'm open to suggestions and would love to here the reason why you would buy one over another.

Thanks for all the help,

Fred
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Old Mar 4, 2007, 9:59 PM   #2
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Hi Fred.

This (flash matter) is a 'First' step for me, also. I have the K10D, and had just ordered the Pentax 360. Yes, it is about $175 (after the rebate), which is not a bad price, at all, for that unit. But I do believe that I will be sending it back - unopened (as soon as it gets here), and the reason for that is within finding out just how important the "swiveling" feature might play into my photographic efforts. As the 360 does not house that feature, I will be looking at getting the 540 (when it becomes available), or another comparable unit incorporating the above mentioned desired feature.

I don't know enough to comment on the other units that you mentioned, but am sure that someone else just might chime in, shortly. Good luck.

Blessings,

Nathan
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Old Mar 5, 2007, 12:41 AM   #3
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Fred, you will open a whole new can of worms when you start using flash and fun can it is.

If you require High Speed Sync (HSS) in other words the ability to shoot at shutter speeds faster than 1/180sec (Day time flash fill on bright days) then get the AF360 or AF540FGZ.

If you plan on shooting portrait (camera at 90degrees)and want to bounce your flash off the ceiling then you need a flash that can swivel and the AF360 doesn't.

Don't forget the Sigma EF500 DG ST and the EF500DG Super both swivel too. Basically the same flash except the Super has the ability to wireless flash and High Speed Sync.

I have used the EF500DG ST for over a year with my DL and found no problems, I have just ordered the AF540FGZ for my second flash for the HSS.

Hope this helps.

I highly recommend a flash with P-TTL.

Crash
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Old Mar 5, 2007, 2:57 AM   #4
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Hi Fred,

If you're a gadget freak, and might explore a lot of the possibilities of flash photography (high speed synch, trailing curtain sych, optical slave, modeling flash, and remote P-TTL controlled by the onboard flash -- D and K10 bodies only), then the only choices are the Pentax 360 or 540. The Sigma Super also does all of this plus strobe (controlled multiple flashes in one exposure), but it cannot do the remote with only the onboard flash -- it would require two flash units. The non-swiveling head of the the 360 can be worked around with a flip flash bracket. The top line flashes also give you a red AF assist light which can be used without firing the flash at exposure time -- much less conspicuous than the buzzing onboard "AF assist".

If you're looking for something that you'll only use occasionally and want to spend a lot less, then I'd opt for the Sunpak 383, or possibly a used Pentax AF 280T (normally thought of as a TTL flash, but it also has Auto and Manual modes, has tilt and swivel, great build quality, and it can be found for as little as $50 used) to use as an Auto Thyristor flash. It's not difficult, and you only have to set it once for a shoot as long as you stay within the Auto range, then you can chimp and tweak the aperture setting to make any corrections. Auto flashes also have the advantage of no preflash which causes some people to always blink -- the Pentax flashes can also be set up for Auto Thyristor use -- I often switch my AF 540 to Auto mode when I come across one of these people.

Another inexpensive option might be a digital slave as recommended by Sarah (mtnclimber) in her Flash Thread. Make sure that you get a "digital" slave that can be set to fire on the second flash of the onboard.

A couple of forum members have stated that the Promaster 7000 is actually a P-TTL flash. I can't vouch personally -- but I have seen them offered pretty inexpensively. Caveat Emptor applies here, IMO. The Promaster 5750DX has gotten some pretty good recommendations from members of various fora -- with the Pentax digital module, it's definitely P-TTL, and the module can apparently be used with their upcoming ring flash. Cost for the 5750 w/module is about the same as the 360 after rebate.

I personally have the Pentax AF360 FGZ and the AF540 FGZ. I have occasion to use these flashes pretty extensively, and even have the TR Battery Pack 3 for the AF540, which extends the battery life and decreases the recycle time (but not as much as I had hoped). the AF540 is the only P-TTL flash that offers an auxillary battery pack as an option. The wireless remote with the K10 after the firmware update is pretty cool, and works flawlessly in my limited testing. Though P-TTl can be fooled by light sources or reflections in the frame, these flashes work great, and shouldn't be effected by future tweaks of the P-TTL protocols unlike the third party flashes as the Sigmas which have been reverse engineered, and might not be fully compatible with future bodies (as Sigma found out after the Kseries bodies came out). I also use a lot of flash modifiers (bounce, bounce cards, diffusers, and such), and both these flashes work well as long as I do my part. The Sigmas have been known to have exposure problems with Stofen Omnibounces (but they might have worked this out with the rechips for the Kseries bodies).

As you've probably discovered, flash mfgs, even Pentax, are a little lax in their stated compatibility specs making this choice more difficult than it needs to be.

Hope this helps a little.

Scott


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Old Mar 8, 2007, 3:27 AM   #5
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snostorm wrote:
Quote:
A couple of forum members have stated that the Promaster 7000 is actually a P-TTL flash. I can't vouch personally -- but I have seen them offered pretty inexpensively. Caveat Emptor applies here, IMO. The Promaster 5750DX has gotten some pretty good recommendations from members of various fora -- with the Pentax digital module, it's definitely P-TTL, and the module can apparently be used with their upcoming ring flash. Cost for the 5750 w/module is about the same as the 360 after rebate.
And then again the P dedicated 7000M (P-TTL functional) can be had used for $30 or even new around $100

So far I have heard of no true actual case "it coulld damage your camera" BS that Promastwer wants to put out about the 7000 on a Ptx DSLR, rather likely just to sell the new big $$$ DX's

And then again the BS their automated FLASH EXPERT spews out is pure form letter... there is SOME CAMERA out there damaged (maybe) but we can get the NEW bigger bucks just for saying so.

I have seen the exact same word for word (but the your camera here) form letter spewed out for MULTIPLE brand cameras.

Maybe I just have never seen it... but are the DSLR Pentax's truly electrically inferior to their fim predicessors.... and long predated the 7000 or DX's even being around?
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Old Mar 10, 2007, 10:43 PM   #6
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Thanks for the responses. Seems like the external flash can be complicated.

I ended up picking up a Vivitar283 flash off ebay for $26. Figured theres nothing to loose. Definitely can see the need for one that has High Speed Sync, especially if its going to be used outdoors for macros. But for not I'm going to try and learn how to use this one the best I can...

Here's a shot straight out of the camera (less theframe) of my most cooperative model. He work's cheap as well.



Thanks for looking,

Fred

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