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Old Jul 28, 2008, 11:20 AM   #1
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Hi, I am new here and Ihope I am posting this question in the right place. I did search to see if I could find the answer but perhaps searched in the wrong area etc.

I just got the Pentax k10d. I can not seem to get the flash to work. I have read the manual, done google searches and tried everything mentioned. It seems pretty simple, pop the flash up and it forces it.

I have a couple lenses from my slr pentax and I was wondering if they were causing the problem, but they are compatible FAJ and FA.

I am definetly not a pro and I have a lot to learn but this seems like a no brainer and I am feeling really stupid. I hope someone can lead me through this.

Thanks so much!
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Old Jul 28, 2008, 11:55 AM   #2
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There are at least a couple of things you can try. Press the function button on the bottom right rear, then press the down arrow to bring up the flash menu and move the green box around "Flash On" if it is not already there. If the flash still doesn't work, try going to the last item on the Custom menu and reset the defaults. Someone else may have additional suggestions.
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Old Jul 28, 2008, 12:13 PM   #3
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Hi w_i,

That's pretty much it, press the little button on the left of the pentaprism housing (it won't pop up automatically when the camera thinks it's needed as in some cameras), the flash pops up, and this you should see that your shutter speed has dropped to 1/180 or slower and the lightening bolt "flash charged" indicator lights up in the bottom left corner of the viewfinder.

There is also a flash mode menu in the Fn Menu which is normally in the far left position which indicates "flash on", so you might want to check this, but the flash should fire in any of the possible modes (press the Fn button on the back of the camera, then press the down button on the four way to access this menu.

The only other thing I think could prevent the flash from firing is you might be shooting in too bright an area. Try it indoors in a normally lit room at night, or with the window shades drawn.

Does the camera take an exposure without activating the flash with the flash popped up, or does nothing at all happen when you press the shutter? If the camera doesn't fire the flash, but the shutter fires in a dimly lit scene, then I'd say there's probably something wrong with the flash, and I'd at least call Pentax Tech Service and ask them to walk you through the steps to check if the camera needs to be sent in for a warrantee repair (if it's brand new, you might want to call your dealer to see if you can exchange it for another camera).

That's about all I can think of -- and it wasn't a stupid question -- these cameras can sometimes be confusing, even for experienced DSLR shooters.

Scott
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Old Jul 28, 2008, 2:14 PM   #4
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Your lenses shouldn't be the cause of the problem. I've used A, FA and DA lenses without problems using the in-camera flash. I discovered that if you use manual lenses the flash fires max power, which ends up being more figuring and fiddling than I want to do, but that's another story.
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Old Jul 28, 2008, 3:51 PM   #5
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mtngal wrote:
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Your lenses shouldn't be the cause of the problem. I've used A, FA and DA lenses without problems using the in-camera flash. I discovered that if you use manual lenses the flash fires max power, which ends up being more figuring and fiddling than I want to do, but that's another story.
Harriet,

It is well worth the time to learn how to use flash manually.

The onboard flash is too harsh or very much underpowered. It wasn't meant to replace the flash unit but it is better than nothing and can be used as fill when using a wireless set-up.

You are correct in saying that flash is another story. Most won't take the time to learn the use of it since the results aren't as immediate or satisfying let alone consistent for the most part.
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Old Jul 28, 2008, 10:28 PM   #6
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vIZnquest - I am another one perplexed by the flash. I used my 360 this weekend, but found it caused me more problems than not. Was photographing cemetery stones in shadows. I either ended up with black photos or you could tell I used a flash.

I should go find the flash thread again and see if I can make any sense of it now. Has anyone ever put that flash thread into one piece of text to print out? I tried piecing it all together into a Word document one time, but was overwhelmed with it all. (I do better reading things I need to retain from paper than off the screen.)

Patty
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Old Jul 28, 2008, 10:34 PM   #7
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Thank you for the replies. I have sent an email to Pentax.

The camera will shoot in dark situations with the flash up. In settings that I know if should be going off. I have reset all default settings, incase I set something up wrong. But I still get the same response.

I hope I can get it settled quickly as I am eager to get taking more pics!
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Old Jul 28, 2008, 11:30 PM   #8
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I know I should figure out how to manually use a flash - it would probably help when I find myself in strange situations as well as helping me understand flash (I know I don't at the moment, I'm just in the point and shoot mode at the moment).

My latest unhappy discovery is that the camera won't use an external flash wirelessly with a manual lens (I was actually using my 77 Ltd with a manual extension tube). I also discovered that the flash mounted on the camera at full power is way too powerful for macro even using f22. I'd need to get all the cables etc. to do macros with a flash and a manual len, so I can put the flash further away, I guess.
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Old Jul 29, 2008, 3:58 AM   #9
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mtngal wrote:
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I know I should figure out how to manually use a flash - it would probably help when I find myself in strange situations as well as helping me understand flash (I know I don't at the moment, I'm just in the point and shoot mode at the moment).*

My latest unhappy discovery is that the camera won't use an external flash wirelessly with a manual lens (I was actually using my 77 Ltd with a manual extension tube).* I also discovered that the flash mounted on the camera at full power is way too powerful for macro even using f22.* I'd need to get all the cables etc. to do macros with a flash and a manual len, so I can put the flash further away, I guess.
Hi Harriet,

One thing to consider doing is attaching a bounce card or diffuser to the popup flash. It might cut the amount of light enough to allow you to get into proper exposure range, and it'll give you softer light.

You might have also have a few other workable options that you haven't considered. The AF540 FGZ also has an "Auto" mode that might work for you. Press the "Mode" button until you're in the "A" mode on the flash, press the "S" button until the ISO is flashing, then turn the thumbwheel to match to the ISO of the camera (for shorter distances, you'll want lower ISO, and for more working distances, higher ISO), then press "S" again to get the aperture value on the LCD flashing, and turn the wheel to the one that you want to use. If you're shooting macros, you'll want to leave the zoom at the shortest FL setting for the most diffused light. The dotted line at the bottom of the flash's LCD will indicate your "distance from the flash" range.

Set camera to M mode, with your shutter speed to anything 1/180 or slower so the flash will synch, and make sure your aperture matches the one indicated on the flash.

Take a test shot. If it's overexposed, you can either use a smaller aperture, increase the distance from the subject, or if you're using a diffuser, try angling the head higher (less directed toward the subject) or making the light even more diffuse by maybe adding a sheet of white tissue or using the built in "wide angle" diffuser screen in addition to the accessory diffuser. Once you get a decent exposure, you should be able to shoot pretty automatically within a relatively limited range, using only aperture adjustments to tweek the exposures. I think you should be able to get a decent consistent exposure this way, without having to go completely manual.

The thing to remember about using the flash's "Auto" mode is that all the metering is done in the flash, and other than triggering the flash for the exposure, the camera does not communicate with the flash. For the same subject distance, you can expect a constant light output from the flash from shot to shot (since the metering is done by the sensor on the flash), and any changes that you make to aperture or ISO will alter the exposure just as it would if you where shooting with a constant light source.

This mode is also useful when you run into a Preflash "blinker". Since it eliminates the preflash, you should be able to get good shots of them with their eyes actually open. Just make sure that you're within the operating distance. If you get underexposures, you have the choice of using a wider aperture or a higher ISO (you shouldn't need to reset anything on the flash).

You can also use this mode with the flash off camera -- all you need is an old single pole hot shoe to hot shoe synch cord (with just one contact in the center) or a hot shoe to synch adaptor, a synch to hot shoe adaptor, and a synch cord to connect them. You might be able to pick one of these up used for a couple of bucks at an old time dealer with a drawer full of old stuff, or at a camera show or swap meet since it's essentially obsolete stuff.

You can use this mode wirelessly by using a Non P-TTL flash on the camera's hot shoe (or using a manual lens, which will force a single full powered flash only) and using your 540 in Slave SL2 ("dumb slave")mode. The "Auto" mode of the flash will work here also, but remotely (and wirelessly, but without TTL metering). Finally, a "digital" optical slave trigger (that fires the slave on the second flash) with a hot shoe will allow you to fire the 540 with the pop up flash as the trigger when using "A" capable MF and AF lenses and P-TTL mode for the popup.

If you want to only have the remote flash contribute to the exposure using this technique, you can essentially block the on-camera flash by taping a piece of exposed and developed color film over the flash's lens (the BLACK part at the beginning of the roll. If you don't have any old film ends, or if 35mm film isn't big enough, try going to a camera shop or photo finisher (if they even exist anymore) and ask them if any of them shoot Med Format stuff and have some developed exposed film ends lying around (or scrounge them from some other customers). If you get a couple of pieces, you'll be set for life (as long as you don't lose 'em :-)) The exposed film will block most of the visible light, but let enough IR light through to fire the external in slave mode (as long as the slave unit isn't too far away and has a line of sight to the on camera flash).

This is really not as difficult as it might sound -- :-)
I'd be happy to try to explain any of this in more detail if needed. . .

Scott
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Old Jul 29, 2008, 7:37 AM   #10
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Ah, HAH!:idea: I've just printed out your post. Some of it is over my head, but the first part of it made sense (I think). I didn't realize you could do that! I can see an excuse to play with the flash this afternoon...

Thanks, Scott!
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