Go Back   Steve's Digicams Forums > Digital SLR and Interchangeable Lens Cameras > Pentax / Samsung dSLR, K Mount Mirrorless

Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Old Jun 15, 2007, 1:47 PM   #1
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2007
Posts: 188
Default

Anyone who has read my posts in the Ball Head Reccomendation for Tripod thread will see that by the middle of next week I should have my tripod & ball head on hand & be able to start using them..

My next purchases will be flash units so as to be able to add light as necessary to macro, portraiture, & telephoto shots..

The conventional wisdom is to use the Pentax dedicated flashes, ie. the AF360 FGZ& the AF540 FGZ..

Sigma & others also manufacture flashes for the K10D..What are the advavtages & disadvantages to the third-party flashes compared to the two Pentax flashes??

How important is it for the flash to be capable ofpivoting on it's horizontal axis??..To be able to pivot on it's vertical axis..

What types of set-ups do you have & how do they vary depending upon the type of photography??..

What exactly is needed to set up the Pentax digital cameras for wireless or wired remote flash use??

Of the following listed flash accessories what should I purchase to get started??..

1. Hot Shoe Adapter F

2. Hot Shoe Adapter FG

3. Off Camera Shoe Adapter F

4. F5P 3 ft. Extension Cord for Off Camera Flash

5. F5PL 9.5 ft. Extension Cord for Off Camera Flash

6. Cable Swith 205

7. Remote Control F

8. TR Power Pack III

What's available from other manufacturers that you have used that is as good or better that what Pentax offers??..

Thanks in advance, Bruce



PS.....

The tripod & batteries arrived by UPS as I was typing this post..I feel sorry for my local camera store..Pentax is really screwing them by not having product for them to sell..Coopers Camera Mart has been willing to match, or come really close to matching the big on-line stores like B & H..

They just don't have much to sell..I'm sure that Adorama, B & H, etc, have a greater priority in recieving product because of their greater buying power; but the smaller independant stores need to have Pentax products in the stores to sell..The only way that these places will be able to keep customers & stay in business is by having actual cameras, lenses, etc. for people to touch, handle, & ultimately purchase..

Where the h**l are the Pentax products!!!!..When is manufacturing going to catch up ??

baltochef920 is offline   Reply With Quote
Sponsored Links
Old Jun 15, 2007, 5:27 PM   #2
Senior Member
 
robar's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: D/FW area Texas
Posts: 7,590
Default

to me , flash is your best tool for macros. off camera even better. i have items 1,3,5. get the long cord. i keep mine tied up with one of those small plastic ties. i pull out what i need and coil it back in when not in use. these parts are very expensive if bought retail. i tried for a couple months trying to get them separately on ebay just to always loose. i found a BIN for 48usd + 4 shipping and did the deed. BEST money i ever spent.. i think the Hot Shoe Adapter FG allows the use of the onboard flash.. i think promaster makes a less expensive model for pentax.

also, get or make a grip/flash bracket. it's so helpful for macros and flash..

i've got a DIY cable release and use it a lot when using the tripod. you can get them on ebay for 9.95delivered. i really have not had a need for an IF remote.

wish you would update your profile with your location.

roy
robar is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Jun 15, 2007, 6:49 PM   #3
Senior Member
 
snostorm's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2004
Location: Chicago Suburb, IL, USA
Posts: 2,770
Default

Hi Bruce,

I'll share my experience here also, and take from it whatever you want. . .


The conventional wisdom is to use the Pentax dedicated flashes, ie. the AF360 FGZ& the AF540 FGZ..

That's what I did, I have one of each. I bought the 360FGZ with the DS, and the 540 FGZ after getting the K10D. I also have a 3 other Pentax TTL capable flashes that I use with the DS for different purposes (I got them used, and very inexpensively). I like their quality but they are relatively pricey.

Sigma & others also manufacture flashes for the K10D..What are the advavtages & disadvantages to the third-party flashes compared to the two Pentax flashes??

A very recent firmware update from Sigma has brought the EF 500 DG Super P-TTL up to complete P-TTL compatibility with the K10. The first rechip allowed it to function and meter, but it didn't work in wireless TTL mode unless another P-TTL capable flash was used on-camera as the master or controller. The latest rechip allows wireless control with the onboard flip up flash. It'll now do everything that the 540FGZ will do, except allow use of an external battery pack. It also has a strobe mode, where you can dial in multiple flashes of varying number and speed for one exposure, where neither of the Pentax flashes will. IIRC, all other features are comparible, and the Sigma is significantly less $$$ than the 540FGZ.

The Sigma EF 500 DG ST P-TTL has the same power, but will not work in wireless TTL mode, doesn't do High Speed Synch, and has many fewer features, but it's powerful, has a tilt and swivel head, and is relatively inexpensive.

The two downsides to third party flashesare that theyreverse engineer the P-TTL protocalls to make them compatible, as wasillustrated when their original P-TTL flashes were great for the D series bodies butdidn't work with the K series models unless they were rechipped (which they did for free). Pentax apparently tweeked the protocalls, keeping them compatible with their own flashes, but the Sigmas didn't work until updated. This could also happen again if Pentax makes changes in future bodies (and there is room for improvement) The other downside is a relatively minor difference in build quality, with Pentax getting the nod, IMO.

If you want a pro level gun, Metz has been promising a P-TTL module, but I'm not sure when or for what model. The word is that it will not be wireless TTL compatible though. I don't keep up with their stuff and have never used it -- a bit too pricey for me, very good stuff from what I hear though.


How important is it for the flash to be capable ofpivoting on it's horizontal axis??..To be able to pivot on it's vertical axis..

Head tilt pretty much allows you to use bounce flash and adjust the angle if using bounce cards or diffusers like the Stofen Omnibounce

Head swivel basically comes into play if you want to use creative angles to bounce the flash (like off of a wall in back of you, or to the side) or if you want to bounce the flash off the ceiling while shooting in portrait orientation. If you plan on using a flash modifier like a Gary Fong Lightsphere or Whaletail, or a Demb Flash Diffuser (my personal preference), thenswivel allows you to easily use them as intended for both landscape and portrait oriented shots.

Another alternative to a swivel head is to get a flash bracket, which will allow you to use a tilt head only flash with almost the same facility as a tilt/swivel, but you'd have to fire the flash by wireless TTL, optical or RF slave, or with a dedicated remote cord (with only the first and last giving TTL metering)

What types of set-ups do you have & how do they vary depending upon the type of photography??..

I've picked up a lot of stuff used (and cheap), but I have a number of brackets, tripod to cold shoe adapters, a Promaster dedicated remote cord, a Pentax dedicated remote cord (FG hot shoe adapter, F5P 3' cord, and F off camera hot shoe combo).

Suffice it to say that I have stuff to handle about any situation, but in reality, most of my use is with an external mounted on the camera's hotshoewith a Demb Flash Diffuser for events. The cords are basically for the DS since it doesn't do wireless TTL. The Pentax remote cord setup was found used for a good price, so I got it for its capability to be used with a longer cord, and it's ligher and more flexible than the Promaster, but the PM is one piece, a lot cheaper (if compared new to new)and considerably more robust.

I recently got a Better Beamer, and I've experimented only a bit with using it for birding. It's supposed to give you 2-3 stops more light at longer distances. I haven't been able to give it a fair trial yet, but so far, it seems to work better with a TTL flash on the DS than with P-TTL (I think that the preflash robs too much power, and isn't strong enough to allow reasonable metering at longer distances, but I haven't used it enough to be sure.

What exactly is needed to set up the Pentax digital cameras for wireless or wired remote flash use??

For wireless TTL, you just need either of the Pentax guns or the Sigma with the latest firmware, and your K10 with firmware 1.1 or later installed. Remember to set the onboard flash to W in the function menu and set the Wireless Mode in the Custom Menu to either Control or Master, and set the gun to wireless. It works pretty well in my limited experimenting.

For wired, you need a dedicated cord that goes from the hotshoe on the camera to an off camera hotshoe for the gun. No special settings for either the camera or gun are needed.

Of the following listed flash accessories what should I purchase to get started??..

1. Hot Shoe Adapter F

2. Hot Shoe Adapter FG

3. Off Camera Shoe Adapter F

4. F5P 3 ft. Extension Cord for Off Camera Flash

5. F5PL 9.5 ft. Extension Cord for Off Camera Flash

Or the Promaster dedicated TTL cord already mentioned. The difference between the hotshoe adatper F and FG is that the F allows you to mount another external flash on the camera in addition to having a plug for the cord, so you need either of the Hot Shoe adapters + one of the cords + the Off Camera Shoe Adapter.

6. Cable Swith 205

I use a Canon RS60-E3 -- works fine and cheaper than the Pentax. There are Chinese or Korean knockoffs available ever cheaper, but I personally don't trust their quality -- absolutely a case of prejudice, but it's my money. . .:-)

7. Remote Control F

Very useful, IMO, especially with the K10 as it has both front and back receivers. Just remember to set up the remote in the shutter mode of the function menu. Downside is that it's very small, and could get lost easily. I carry mine in a little zipper case with the wired remote. If I used the grip more, I'd carry it in the space provided there.

8. TR Power Pack III

Not worth it, IMO. It does extend the number of shots per battery set, but it doesn't speed up the recharge times that significantly, especially when the gun fires at full power. I was definitely disappointed in the performance.

Edit: I just found a hidden setting on the 540FGZ that allows both the internal batteries and the TR III to charge the flash to get faster charge times. It at least halves the time it takes to charge for the next flash.


Bottom line -- I'd just pick the gun you want, get itand play with it a while. It'll become apparent what else you'll need to pick up to accomplish what you want to do after that.

I feel sorry for my local camera store..Pentax is really screwing them by not having product for them to sell..Coopers Camera Mart has been willing to match, or come really close to matching the big on-line stores like B & H..

I agree, I rely on local pro level shops to get most of my odds and ends used stuff, and I buy my camera bodies from a local shop, waiting the extra time and paying sales tax in addition to the matched B&H price. I also use them for large or important prints -- the small independent dealers have been hurt badly by digital and drug store film processing services. The photofinishing end used to at least pay the overhead, and now it's pretty much lost.

They just don't have much to sell..I'm sure that Adorama, B & H, etc, have a greater priority in recieving product because of their greater buying power; but the smaller independant stores need to have Pentax products in the stores to sell..The only way that these places will be able to keep customers & stay in business is by having actual cameras, lenses, etc. for people to touch, handle, & ultimately purchase..

I think the problem here is more in inventory allocation and mfg marketing. Most of the small dealers can't afford to stock Pentax stuff that will sit on the shelf while the great majority of the people either already own or are primarily looking to buy either Nikon or Canon since that's what they've seen the pros using andheard about from their friends. Also, the trend to much faster model cycles have made them wary of stocking expensive items that might become obsolete in a matter of months now.

The third party lensmakers are even caught in this bind. They have to reverse engineer the SSM protocalls, and there are no final production lenses to get them from -- and if they introduce old style in-camera motor driven AF lenses, will the Pentax users buy them?. . .or wait for their HSM version to come out. . . a tough situation for both of them.

Scott






snostorm is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Jun 15, 2007, 7:31 PM   #4
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2007
Posts: 188
Default

robar wrote:
Quote:
to me , flash is your best tool for macros. off camera even better. i have items 1,3,5. get the long cord. i keep mine tied up with one of those small plastic ties. i pull out what i need and coil it back in when not in use. these parts are very expensive if bought retail. i tried for a couple months trying to get them separately on ebay just to always loose. i found a BIN for 48usd + 4 shipping and did the deed. BEST money i ever spent.. i think the Hot Shoe Adapter FG allows the use of the onboard flash.. i think promaster makes a less expensive model for pentax.

also, get or make a grip/flash bracket. it's so helpful for macros and flash..

i've got a DIY cable release and use it a lot when using the tripod. you can get them on ebay for 9.95delivered. i really have not had a need for an IF remote.

wish you would update your profile with your location.

roy
Thanks for the adviceRoy & Scott..

Roy, I am in Baltimore, MD

How do you access your profile so that you can change it??..Through the members link??..When I did that it would not allow changes.

Bruce
baltochef920 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Jun 15, 2007, 8:38 PM   #5
Senior Member
 
snostorm's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2004
Location: Chicago Suburb, IL, USA
Posts: 2,770
Default

baltochef920 wrote:
Quote:
How do you access your profile so that you can change it??..Through the members link??..When I did that it would not allow changes.

Bruce
Hi Bruce,

Access through My Account link button at the top of the page.

Scott
snostorm is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Jun 15, 2007, 9:42 PM   #6
Senior Member
 
snostorm's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2004
Location: Chicago Suburb, IL, USA
Posts: 2,770
Default

I have to amend my previous post. I said that the TR III battery pack didn't make that much diference in the recharge times for the 500 FGZ. In the last couple of minutes I learned that there was a setting on the flash to allow the use of both the internal batteries and the battery pack to charge the flash to cut the charging time. It makes a significant difference -- cutting the charging time at least in half

I thought that if I just edited the post, this might go unnoticed, so I'll do both.

Scott
snostorm is offline   Reply With Quote
 
Reply


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 Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off



All times are GMT -5. The time now is 4:15 PM.