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Old Mar 21, 2008, 2:57 PM   #1
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I'm thinking about getting a flash (new or used) for my K100D but I have no idea what is compatible with the DSLR's? Is there a type of flash or
something that I need to look for when buying a flash? Does anyuone have a brand recommendation or any tips?

I'm really kinda of flash-stupid so any tips you can give me are appreciated.
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Old Mar 22, 2008, 12:40 AM   #2
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I don't know much about flashes, either. However, the K100 isn't able to use TTL flashes - you'd need P-TTL. Don't ask me the difference because I don't really understand it. You can also use older flashes, but they would be manual (you'd have to figure out the aperture/distance etc.) and you need to make sure they don't have too high of a trigger voltage - that can fry your camera. I ended up getting the Pentax 540 for Christmas and love it. There are cheaper ones out there that will work, but I just really fell in love with this one when I tried it in the store.
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Old Mar 22, 2008, 11:34 AM   #3
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As Mtn gal pointed out, the 540 FGZ is a great flash and what I use myself. It is however, fairly large and heavy and close to $400. The 360 is about $100 less, slightly less powerful and only tilts for bounce, not swivel. Other manufactures are now making PTTL compatible flashes for Pentax and worth checking out. As far as what will work with your camera:

PTTL (Pentax through the lens metering) In this mode, the flash fires a preflash which is read by the camera sensor to determine correct amount flash needed. The preflash is so close to the main flash exposure that it is not noticible as a separate flash.

TTL (through the lens metering). Older film SLR and Digital SLRs up through the DSII had a sensor that read the flash off the film or image sensor to limit the output to the correct exposure duration needed.

A (automatic) The flash has a CCD sensor to determine when correct exposure in reached and limits flash duration accordingly.

Your K100D will work with either PTTL or A but lacks the separate flash metering sensor to work in TTL.

Relative output is measured in guide numbers in either feet or meters at a specific ISO. Guide no. in feet/10 = apeture needed for correct exposure. The other factor is the angle spread of the light specified for the guide number. This is usually stated as a lens focal length for example, 50mm (approximately 50 degrees on a 35mm camera or FF digital) The wider the spread, the lower the guide number and the larger aperture needed or shorter automatic range. A good rule of thumb is a flash with a guide number of around 100 with the lens you are most likely to be shooting with will handle most situations. With these parameters the AF360 guide number is 94, the guide number of the AF540 is 148. The eqivilent lens for your K100D to a 50mm on a 35mm film camera is approximately 33mm. This is the middle of the range on the 19mm-55mm kit lens.

I hope this helps you understand the difference. If you are looking at a non Pentax branded flash, you might want to make sure it offers PTTL dedication for full compatiblitiy with your camera.


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Old Mar 22, 2008, 12:17 PM   #4
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Thanks you two. Very helpful! I did some looking for P-TTL flashes and found some 3rd party alternatives to Pentax. Some good, some cheap-o models. Circuit City has the Pentax 360 on sale for $150...but they don't have any in stock. I think that would have worked best for what I wanted the price was certainly right.

Thanks for the help!
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Old Mar 22, 2008, 12:42 PM   #5
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Promaster makes a 7500DX model that works like a charm with the K100D. It also has fill flash, diffuser, stand and basically all the bells and whistles to fulfill just about any flash need. Tilts, swivels as well. I use the abetterbouncecard technique with it and get some excellent results of well exposed shots without the look of obviously using flash to make the shot.

The 7500EDF is compatible with the K10D.
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Old Mar 22, 2008, 1:37 PM   #6
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Lately I've been partial to using the flash on manual mode in order to apply just enought flash to illumintate the subject. My experience with any kind of TTL metering has been a light that (IMO) comes across a bit harsh for my tastes. Together with the Stofen Omni Bounce as well as their bounce card I find that switching my camera to manual mode has produced some very nice results..almost as if a flash was never used. Here is an example where I used a slow shutter speed with a mild flash to capture the slight motion in the hand, yet fill in the shadows in the subject. You can see a hint of the flash on the tip of the subject's nose! Of course this method requires the time to do some trials before ending up with a good exposure.

Jay

Greenfield Village, Dearborn, MI.


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Old Mar 22, 2008, 5:08 PM   #7
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I would agree with the recommendation by Viznquest of the PROMASTER 7500. I have a lot of experience with PROMASTER and their dealer network and can recommend them highly. You can go to www.promaster.com for information and a list of dealers, many of them internet. Good luck in your search.
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