Flash gun for K-30?

Started Dec 9, 2012 | Discussions thread
soldbear
Contributing MemberPosts: 804
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Re: Flash gun for K-30?
In reply to Simon Devlin, Dec 12, 2012

IMHO, unless you need high speed sync, p-TTL wireless, trailing curtain sync, there is no compelling reason to buy a p-TTL flash. A flash with auto mode and power ratio settings in manual mode will satisfy you needs.

In fact, I always advise against buying a flash with p-TTL and no auto mode. I'd rather have a flash with auto and no p-TTL than with p-TTL and no auto.

(I don't know where you live, what I write below is for US).

For less than $50, get a used copy of Pentax AF280, Sunpak 422D (it's called 30DX in Europe), 444D (or 36DX in Europe), 383 Super, Vivitar 3700, 5200, 5600, 4600. I don't recommend Vivitar 285HV because its head can bounce, but can't swivel.

For about $100, get a used copy of Nikon SB-25/26/28. They are more powerful, have zoom head, and have more settings in auto modes and more power ratio settings in manual mode. Contax TLA 360 is also good (made by Nikon I guess) if you can find it.

If you think you are lucky, for a bit more than $100, try to find a Metz 54MZ-3/4/4-i (they are all the same when it comes to Pentax support). The problem is that used copies of module SCA 3702 are somewhat rare. A new copy of SCA3702 will set you back $70.

I have 2 copies of Pentax AF540FGZ, but they don't leave home very often any more. My current "go to" flash is a Sunpak 120J (about $180 for a decent used copy), before, it was a Metz 54MZ-4 (now next in line).

Pentax AF280 can communicate with the camera body. The camera can read the settings from the flash and adjust the aperture setting.

Metz 54MZ have "smart" auto mode. The flash can read the ISO and the aperture settings from the camera and set itself accordingly. It even have exposure compensation setting, which is very handy.

All flashes mentioned in this post have low trigger voltage.

A nice thing about the flashes mentioned above is that they will not be obsolete. If later you get a more powerful, more feature-rich flash, they can still be used as back-ups, or secondary flashes.  Also, because they are not "dedicated," they can be used with other camera brands/models.

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