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Old Dec 13, 2007, 2:19 PM   #1
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I own a Pentax K100D. I have the kit lens and a Sigma 70-300 telephoto. My girlfriend is looking for a Christmas gift and I think I've narrowed it down to two accessories.Choice 1:
Pentax SMCP-FA 50mm f/1.4
or
Choice 2:
Pentax AF360FGZ Flash
Both are around the same price, but I am not sure what to purchase. I like shooting nature, wildlife, and landscape, but would also be interested in starting to photograph family events (birthdays, weddings, etc...) that would be primarily indoors. Would the f/1.4 lens cover indoor use for what I need or is a flash going to be necessary? Anyone have experience with either of these two products?
Thanks so much.
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Old Dec 13, 2007, 4:15 PM   #2
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I ownthe 360 flash and the A 50mm 1.4 (manual focus). The 50 is great for indoor work, if you can fit your subject in to the field of view and you aren't limited by the shallow DOF. I find for family gatherings that I use the 360 with the kit lensmuch morethan the 50mm.

If I were you, I'd see how much I shoot at 50mm and see if that is really a useful focal length for you.
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Old Dec 13, 2007, 4:21 PM   #3
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Hi rdb4198,

I'm primarily a bird shooter who also likes to shoot events like parties and such.

Looking at your preferences (especially nature and wildlife), I'd consider spending a bit more and look seriously at the Sigma 500 Super or the new Sigma 530 Super, mostly for the power and secondarily for the tilt/swivel. I'd recommend the 530 Super, since it'll have updateable firmware via a USB port, so you wouldn't have to send it to Sigma to get it updated as Pentax tweaks their P-TTL system in the future.

I've found that flash, at times, can help at significant distances, and the 360 is a bit lacking in that respect. It's much more economical to use a flash in these cases than to search out fast long telephoto lenses, and it'll save you money in the long run if you get a flash that will serve well in the most situations.

Just about any external flash will do the job for events, if you are using direct flash, but sometimes the extra power comes in handy when bouncing the flash (sometimes the only way is to bounce off the wall in back of you, the shooter, and bouncing takes some power). Also, getting flash shots that don't look like flash shots sometimes means that you have to use flash modifiers and they always consume some extra power. If you get somewhere close to the highest GN, then any shots you can't get aren't because you lacked the power, it's because the shot just wasn't possible.

The tilt/swivel head is almost assumed with the best of the flash diffuser/bouncers like the Lightsphere and my favorite, the Demb bouncer/diffuser. They allow for both landscape and portrait shot bounce orientation by swiveling the head to 90 degrees and using the tilt either straight up or at normal orientation making for very fast adjustment from one to the other -- hard to explain, but if you look up either Gary Fong or Joe Demb, you can see how it works at their sites. These flash modifiers (they both can be replicated pretty easily for the DIYers) eliminate the shadows and soften the light so it looks very natural, and that's gotten to be pretty important to me, at least.

Of course, it's alway easy to recommend that someone else spend more money, but in this case, I'd say it's worth it.

But. of course, YMMV

Scott
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Old Dec 13, 2007, 7:42 PM   #4
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ditto scott!!

also consider getting an off camera cord. a few $$$$ but some of the best you'll spend.. the kit lens is a little slow but does produce excellent images..

roy
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Old Dec 13, 2007, 10:47 PM   #5
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Does the Sigma 530 Super support high-speed synch?

Many of the non-Pentax flashes seem to not fully support all the features available to the K10D (ie when using either of the dedicated flashes)...
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Old Dec 14, 2007, 11:06 AM   #6
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david,
my 500 super does support HSS. what are you using it for??

roy
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Old Dec 15, 2007, 12:43 AM   #7
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Nothing yet - still making do with the on-board for now...

...but I find that being tied to 1/180s as the fastest speed is sometimes a bit limiting (esp. for situations such as outdoor fill flash); so if I was to consider a non-Pentax flash, I would want it to support all the various modes the 360 (and 540) offer, including HSS.

And I find that most of the advertising/review literature for the various flashes is often rather sketchy on their exact features or K10D feature compatibility.
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