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Old May 16, 2007, 8:04 PM   #1
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What is the recommended external flash these days for a DS or K10D? Specifically, I have a DS and may one day have a K10, but in no hurry. I would like to invest in a flash that would work with both models.

I remember pentax had the 340 something and a 540 something, which was a lot more expensive. Sigma I thought had a comparable unit to the 540 but was much less expensive. Also, is the K10 PTTL or TTL?

Thanks
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Old May 16, 2007, 9:06 PM   #2
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PTTL only for the k10d..
this really PMO !!
the sigmas are good flashes. i have the 500dg super which will need to be rechipped when i get the k10d. the newer ones already are.

roy
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Old May 16, 2007, 9:38 PM   #3
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Hi pwithem,

The only completely compatible flashes are the Pentax AF360FGZ and the AF540FGZ. They are the only ones that will work wirelessly with the K10D onboard flash as either the master or commander flash (with firmware 1.1 or later installed in the camera body).

Scott
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Old May 16, 2007, 11:55 PM   #4
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And dispite oddly Promaster themselves saying contray (and yet offering as yet no comparable digital flash... only the 5700 series) My PM 7000M flash works jsut fine.... with one exception... the multi exposure FLASH (strobe) mode does not seem work... but only toyed with it once or twice... for no real need of it.

But PTTL does work and every other auto aspect, including AF assist does on my K10D.

Maybe not on the*ist/ DS's or maybe even 100D, but seems fine on the K10D... maybe functionally more true to the old film Pentax's than the others?.
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Old May 16, 2007, 11:58 PM   #5
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snostorm wrote:
Quote:
Hi pwithem,

The only completely compatible flashes are the Pentax AF360FGZ and the AF540FGZ. They are the only ones that will work wirelessly with the K10D onboard flash as either the master or commander flash (with firmware 1.1 or later installed in the camera body).

Scott
My Sigma works wirelessly with my K10D.

Darren

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Old May 17, 2007, 12:18 AM   #6
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Dal1970 wrote:
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My Sigma works wirelessly with my K10D.

Darren
Hi Darren,

That's the first that I've heard of this -- then I stand corrected.

My understanding from reports from a number of users was that even with the chip upgrade, the Sigma Super needed another external P-TTL flash on the hotshoe to work in wireless TTL mode with the K10, and that the onboard flash wouln't communicate properly with them in this mode. IIRC, even Sigma was stating that this was the case. I guess that's changed. . .

Scott

Edit: I just read a post (posted today) on another forum where the poster states that he received an e-mail from another forum stating that Sigma sent out a message stating that a future firmware version for the Sigma Super would enable wireless P-TTL control by the onboard (popup) flash -- so I guess I'm totally confused about this. . .
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Old May 17, 2007, 1:00 AM   #7
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And again my Promaster 7000M works wirelessly as well with K10D.... only thing that doesn't seem to is the multiflash (strobe multi exposure) mode.... that could be cool to play with but I don't really care about.

Especially for used $30 vs $3-400 for the Pentax's
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Old May 17, 2007, 5:01 AM   #8
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Hayward wrote:
Quote:
And again my Promaster 7000M works wirelessly as well with K10D.... only thing that doesn't seem to is the multiflash (strobe multi exposure) mode.... that could be cool to play with but I don't really care about.

Especially for used $30 vs $3-400 for the Pentax's
Darren and Hayward,

Okay, let me clarify what I mean by wireless TTL mode -

First you set the camera to W in the flash section of the fuction menu. The body and the external flash have to be set to the same channel, and the external flash unit has to be set to wireless, slave, P-TTL mode. You set the onboard flash as either master or controller in the custom menu of the camera.

In controller mode, the onboard (popup) flash on the K10 or *ist D, on shutter button actuation, fires a series (very quickly) of flashes:

1. the camera's flash relays the flash mode of the camera to the remote flash.
2. the remote flash flashes to confirm the subject to the camera.
3. the camera's flash emits another control flash to relay output information to the remote flash unit, then another control flash to relay flash duration for HSS if used.
4. the remote flash fires using the information that has been gathered to illuminate the subject for the exposure correctly. The onboard flash does little to contribute to the exposure while in controller mode.

In Master mode, the flashes communicate in a similar manner, but both flashes fire to illuminate the scene. Each flash can be preset to provide a percentage of the illumination, and compensate automatically for each other.

This is pretty brainless for the operator -- as long as the camera settings are within the parameters of the P-TTL system, you'll get proper exposure the majority of the time, regardless of the shutter and aperture settings, changes in distance, and ambient light (tho realize that P-TTL isn't perfect). The K10D or *ist D body must be set to W in the function/flash menu to access this feature. High speed sych also works in this mode if the external flash is set to that.

This is different than the remote slave function, where the external flash fires, either at full power, or at a preset fractional power, and is only triggered by the onboard flash -- no communication between flashes occurs other than the remote slave triggers off the light of the onboard flash, and it will work in any flash mode in the function menu of the camera body. Normally for slave remotes, you have to compensate for the additional flash(es) by cutting back on the exposure manually (usually by stopping down the lens) -- and the onboard flash will always at least contribute to the exposure. Also, most external flashes in slave mode will fire on the pre-flash instead of the main flash, unless they are "digital slaves" that ignore the pre-flash and fire on the second (main) flash.

Many users are fooled into thinking that their external flash is working in wireless mode, when it's only firing as an optical slave because they can see the external flash fire, and they get a reasonable exposure, but this is not necessarily the case. BTW, HSS will not work correctly with optical slaves.

One way to test if wireless TTL is working is to take a couple of test exposures.

Set the camera body to W in the fuction menu/flash section. Set the "flash in wireless mode" in the custom menu to 2 (controller). Make sure that the channels on the camera and flash match by whatever procedure the flash mfg has established. For the Pentax branded flashes, you:

1. turn both the camera and flash off,
2. mount the flash in the shoe,
3. turn on the external flash to wireless,
4. turn on the camera and wait until the meter turns off,
5. switch to slave mode on the flash with the mcs button,
6. switch the modeling switch to modeling (yellow), which allows channel switching,
7. set to whatever channel by pushing the channel button, and then return the modeling switch to the white position.
8. remove the flash unit from the shoe.

Make sure that the external flash is set to P-TTL mode and the onboard flash is up. Have the ISO set to 100-200, aperture priority, aperture set to f5.6-f8. The shutter should automatically be slower than 1/180 because the flash is up, Ev and flash comp should be at 0.0. WB, flash zoom on the external, lens used, are all irrelavent.

Take one exposure with normal indoor lighting only, with no light source in the frame, holding the external flash in front of the camera so the head is in the frame with the flash pointed across the frame, at right angles to the lens, or very slightly angled towards the lens. Do not point the flash directly at the lens opening.

Next, lay the external flash facing away from you on a table. Aim the camera so the back of the flash is included near the bottom of the frame and take another shot.

When you look at the images, all you should see in the first is a black frame, with only a white hot spot where the external flash fired in the exposed image. In the second, you should see everything in front of the flash head exposed reasonably, and everything in back of the flash's lens should be extremely underexposed.

The reason that you'd get these results is that the onboard flash is only acting as the controller, and not cotributing to the exposure. If this is how these two images turn out, then it's truly working in wireless TTL mode. If not, then it's not. . .

I'm skeptical about the Sigma's and Promaster's compatibility in this regard at this time, but I don't own either, so can't say with any certainty. My only information comes from others who do own them and whose word I have some reasonable confidence in. Obviously, I (and they) can be wrong, and I'm willing to learn something new.

Let us know how things work out.

Scott






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Old May 17, 2007, 10:05 AM   #9
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thanks for the input guys! i'll have to read over it closer later make sure I'm understanding the wireless part right. Even so, sounds like the 500dg super is a good way to go. The pentax 540 is fairly expensive and the 500 dg seems to have more capability than the 360...
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Old May 17, 2007, 12:43 PM   #10
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Snostorm - I bow to your wisdom.


Darren

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