Previous news story    Next news story

Ricoh introduces weather-resistant Pentax flash units

By dpreview staff on Aug 27, 2013 at 22:00 GMT

Ricoh has announced the AF540FGZ II and AF360FGZ II Pentax-branded flash units. Both are updates to existing models, now boasting weather-sealed construction to match Pentax's line of weatherized DSLRs. The new flash units also feature built-in LED lights, intended for video recording. The AF540FGZ II offers a guide number of 54 at ISO 100/ft (178 ft) and the AF360FGZ II has a guide number of 36 at ISO 100/m (118 ft). Respectively, they will be sold for $629.95 and $429.95.

Jump to:


Press Release:

Ricoh Imaging Americas Corporation Introduces Weather Sealed Flash Lineup Completing Weather Sealed Imaging System

AF540FGZ II and AF360FGZ II flash units.

New AF540FGZ II and AF360FGZ II Feature Weather-Resistant Construction and LED Light for Video and Still-Image Capture

Denver, CO, August, 27, 2013 – Continuing its heritage of producing high-performance, rugged and weather-resistant imaging products, Ricoh Imaging Americas Corporation (Ricoh Imaging) today announced the launch of the new AF540FGZ II and AF360FGZ II flash units for PENTAX branded interchangeable lens cameras. The introduction of these two new flash units extends Ricoh Imaging’s impressive family of weather sealed products.

As the final component in Ricoh Imaging’s comprehensive weather-sealed DSLR system, photographers are now equipped with capable tools that embolden them to extend the boundaries of outdoor photography. The new AF540FGZ II and AF360FGZ II were designed with the active photographer in mind and feature significant upgrades like the PENTAX original weather sealing (AW) technology and a new constant light source, making them as robust and versatile as the PENTAX weather-sealed DSLRs and lenses that they will accompany.

"Ricoh Imaging continues to refine our capabilities when it comes to producing products that enhance the photographic experience for our customers," said Jim Malcolm, Executive Vice President, Ricoh Imaging. "The introduction of the AF540FGZ II and AF360FGZ gives consumers access to a complete weather-sealed system which will enable them to approach photography with one less limitation in mind, thereby defining a new behaviors while reducing the boundaries for photographers."

With guide numbers of 178 at ISO 100/ft (54 at ISO 100/m) and 118 at ISO 100/ft (36 at ISO 100/m), respectively, the AF540FGZ II and AF360FGZ II flashes provide a variety of advanced flash applications, including P-TTL auto flash, high-speed synchronization and wireless P-TTL auto flash. Additionally both units feature a LED light to act as a constant light source for video and long exposure photography, while quick recycle times of five seconds on the AF540FGZ II and two-and-a-half seconds on the AF360FGZ II ensure that a shot is never missed.

Pricing and Availability

The AF360FGZ II and AF540FGZ II will be available for purchase at www.us.ricoh-imaging.com and retail outlets nationwide in September 2013 for the suggested retail price of $429.95 and $629.95, respectively.

Major Features:

  1. Dependable weather-resistant construction for demanding outdoor shooting
    With 28 seals applied to crucial parts of the body, including the hotshoe, the new AF540FGZ II and AF360FGZ II feature highly dependable weather-resistant All Weather (AW) construction. When coupled with a PENTAX weather-sealed DSLR camera body and lens, the user can create a highly reliable weather-resistant digital imaging system that assures solid performance even in harsh outdoor conditions, such as in the rain or at locations subject to splashes and dust.

  2. LED light convenient for movie and still-image recording
    Both models incorporate a newly designed, high-intensity constant light LED. This white LED light comes in handy not only for close-distance movie recording, but also for still-image shooting requiring extended exposures. It also functions as a catch light in portraiture and an AF assist light in the dark.*
    * The AF assist light function is available with 645D, K-r, K-5, K-30, K-5 II, K-5 II s, K-50 and K-500 camera bodies. The camera’s firmware must be updated to the latest version to support this function.

  3. User-friendly function settings
    The user can customize the flash operation by presetting as many as nine different flash functions to their preference, including the on/off of the catch-light function using the LED light and the choice of the flash discharge mode in still-image shooting. 

  4. Versatile flash control system
    Both models provide a variety of flash discharge modes,** ranging from the advanced P-TTL auto flash mode in which the flash’s preliminary emission is detected by the camera’s light sensor to accurately control the main discharge level for proper exposure, to manual flash, high-shutter-speed synchronization and wireless P-TTL auto flash. 
    ** Available flash discharge modes may vary depending on the camera body in use.

  5. Other features
  • Bounce flash function, adjustable to angles of -10 to 90 degrees vertically and up to 180 degrees horizontally (new in the 360-series flash)
  • Power-zoom flash to cover angles of view from 24mm to 85mm lenses (in 35mm format)
  • Built-in wide-angle panel that slides out to cover 20mm angle of view (in 35mm format)
  • Automatic setting of discharge angle in combination with a PENTAX  interchangeable-lens  digital camera body
  • Multi flash emission function available
  • Shorter battery recharge time

♦Design and Specifications are subject to change without notice.

Additional images

Pentax AF540FGZ II Pentax AF540FGZ II
Pentax AF360FGZ II Pentax AF360FGZ II

Comments

Total comments: 41
Macintosh Sauce
By Macintosh Sauce (8 months ago)

SWEET!

0 upvotes
Prognathous
By Prognathous (8 months ago)

The LED is a nice feature for video, but why does it need to be used for AF Assist? A red (near-IR) pattern that only covers the AF sensors is more effective and less obtrusive. To me this is a regression.

1 upvote
emtx
By emtx (8 months ago)

Yep... but at least I hope its sign that video implementation will improve in Pentax cameras.

0 upvotes
Tan68
By Tan68 (8 months ago)

When they say 'white LED' for the video feature, I figure they mean daylight temperature..?

0 upvotes
Ishpuini
By Ishpuini (8 months ago)

WR, metal mount, LED, ... Nice update!! Looks like I'll be upgrading my flashes.

2 upvotes
Kfrog
By Kfrog (8 months ago)

Weather resistant hot shoe flashes. Now that's something you don't often see!

3 upvotes
citrontokyo
By citrontokyo (8 months ago)

Nice. Now that they've got the metal plate and WR I'm finally going to get one. The LED is a nice touch.

4 upvotes
hereford
By hereford (8 months ago)

Yep, I have the old model with the plastics, and the metal will be a much needed improvement.

0 upvotes
TacticDesigns
By TacticDesigns (8 months ago)

Totally wicked awesome is about all I can say about that! Love it!

5 upvotes
SeeRoy
By SeeRoy (8 months ago)

I certainly believe that this is all you can say.

1 upvote
TacticDesigns
By TacticDesigns (8 months ago)

I agree with you!

Totally wicked awesome is exactly what it is! :)

'Finally got swivel on the mid-range flash, like my Nikon SB600 or my buddies' Canon 430EX flash units - the reason why I skipped the Pentax AF360FGZ and got the Pentax AF540FGZ for my Pentax camera. Add to that a metal shoe. Water-resistance. And a LED for video.

As you say . . . all you can say is Totally wicked awesome!

:)

0 upvotes
xmeda
By xmeda (8 months ago)

Finally metal plate and WR

4 upvotes
samhain
By samhain (8 months ago)

Weather sealed flashes- NICE!

5 upvotes
smafdy
By smafdy (8 months ago)

I recently purchased a couple of Pentax bodies (k-5 and k-30), for the sole benefit of the high ISO performance/price point they offer. That said, even with a top notch sensor it can't hurt to have a dedicated flash.

Prior to purchasing a dedicated flash, I did a little research.

Pentax P-TTL implementation apparently sucks when compared to Nikon and Oly (the two other brands I shoot). It seems that P-TTL is virtually worthless the moment you tilt the flash head to bounce the flash. As a result, I shoot only with studio strobes or available light.

I wonder if these units address the problem, or if it is a problem with the implementation within the body, not the flash unit.

Hope someone tests these units, soon.

Link to typical problem:

http://www.dpreview.com/forums/post/38609189

Comment edited 38 seconds after posting
0 upvotes
zos xavius
By zos xavius (8 months ago)

Its only useless if you can't learn to adjust EV compensation. You know you can do that with pentax cameras right? You can also just fire them in auto and use the autothyristor, but even then you usually have to adjust aperture/iso to compensate. Those are decent (if somewhat aging) flashes. I wouldn't hate on them too much. WR is something people have asked for since day 1.

1 upvote
smafdy
By smafdy (8 months ago)

I understand flash (I could, if I wanted to, use old style flash bulbs and the x-sync port), but, to be honest, the other systems are, if the complaints are valid, just easier and more accurate. More dependable.

The complaints/problems seem real enough.

Hopefully, these will address the issues. I have a feeling they won't.

Comment edited 44 seconds after posting
0 upvotes
pedroboe100
By pedroboe100 (8 months ago)

It's true, I've had lot's of problems using pttl. I was hoping they had fixed it with the new k5iis but seems as unpredictable as my old k5

0 upvotes
Greg Lovern
By Greg Lovern (8 months ago)

@smafdy:

My reading of the thread you referenced is that the OP and another poster concluded that the problem was that the OP had been manually zooming the flash to match the lens zoom, but correct exposure required the flash to be always zoomed to max telephoto when used in bounce mode -- and that when allowing the flash to zoom automatically, that's what it did -- always zoomed to max telephoto in bounce mode even though the LCD readout indicated otherwise.

I have a K-7 and a 540. I always allow the flash to zoom automatically, and haven't seen this problem.

0 upvotes
Richard Murdey
By Richard Murdey (8 months ago)

It's pretty widely known that the Nikon flash system is reliably excellent when it comes to metering. Pentax ... no, I mean, honestly there is a lot to like about the Pentax dSLR ecosystem, but the TTL flash metering is not one those things.

1 upvote
JustDavid
By JustDavid (8 months ago)

No-one has said that the P-TTL issues have not been fixed in the new units... Let's wait for tests.

0 upvotes
emtx
By emtx (8 months ago)

Lets see and only real world shooting will answer to it. They fixed K5 AF to very good level, new ltds are out - with rounded blades and better coating (pity no WR), so let us hope they addressed P-TTL issues here (Thinking about LDs for video is sign that they consider video implementation more seriously). If yes - than its great and whole system got upgrade. Follow up can be only new DSLR and lenses. But Pentax proves to be alive, address the problems and moving on.

Comment edited 1 minute after posting
0 upvotes
KL Matt
By KL Matt (8 months ago)

Wow. This has been at the top of a lot of people's lists for many years now. Makes you really wonder what's next in the new body/ lens department. The video led is a really nice touch.

3 upvotes
tkbslc
By tkbslc (8 months ago)

Do you really need flash in the rain? There's no ceiling to bounce from and with direct flash, I think you'll just make a bunch of white frozen raindrops.

Cool on paper, I guess.

2 upvotes
KL Matt
By KL Matt (8 months ago)

Rain is not the only way to get wet. Think water sports. Or skiing, for that matter -- ever drop your camera into the snow? And if you're hiking or camping, you may want your camera to be protected from the elements even when you are not using it, so that the next time you want to, it still works.

12 upvotes
tkbslc
By tkbslc (8 months ago)

What are you using flash for in those scenarios?

1 upvote
xmeda
By xmeda (8 months ago)

As fill-in flash.

Start taking some pictures, you'll find out.

15 upvotes
Karroly
By Karroly (8 months ago)

Personally, I sometimes use the built-in flash to fill-in outdoor portraits of people about 1.5 to 3 meters away and it's OK. I do not need a weather-resistant & powerfull flash for portraying elephants 20 meters away in a rain forest...
IMHO the target customers for these expensive flashes are snobs that do not want them to be spoiled by drink splashes when partying...

1 upvote
tkbslc
By tkbslc (8 months ago)

Riiiight. Everyone takes awesome portraits with fill flash while camping and hiking. I'm so ignorant.

0 upvotes
Freestyler
By Freestyler (8 months ago)

As someone who spends much time Birding and Wildlife photography, and even sometimes doing insects in flight @1/8000th shutter on riverbanks, I can honestly say you have no idea how much a WR flash is desirable to many of us.... At least we can agree on your ignorance.

9 upvotes
CortoPA
By CortoPA (8 months ago)

If you ever took a shot of rain or snow at nite, you'd know.

0 upvotes
RichardBalonglong
By RichardBalonglong (8 months ago)

tkbslc: Using flash isn't always about bouncing into something, isn't always about creating portraits of narcissist models... Weather sealing isn't always about rains or storms, but it's all about protection from harsh environment that can kill your equipment... Learn more about strobe photography and go out and shoot and you'll see...

3 upvotes
Couscousdelight
By Couscousdelight (8 months ago)

Outdoor macro needs a good WR flash too.

0 upvotes
KL Matt
By KL Matt (8 months ago)

Not to mention sports. News flash: they don't call games off for rain. If you're the photographer, and you need flash for whatever you're doing, that means standing out in the rain with your speedlight. This means goodbye to the plastic bag if you shoot Pentax. I'm not saying Pentax AF is what pro sports photographers are looking for, but for high school sports etc. this is really great.

0 upvotes
KL Matt
By KL Matt (8 months ago)

And the seals will also keep out dust. There is a soldier in Afghanistan who has used his Pentax gear in very harsh desert conditions with no problems. Now he can take a flash with him.

0 upvotes
andy le anh
By andy le anh (8 months ago)

KL Matt, flash in water sports and skiing? Or sport in general. How far are you from them to fill this WR flash?

0 upvotes
KL Matt
By KL Matt (8 months ago)

Andy, wha HUH?

0 upvotes
Greg Lovern
By Greg Lovern (8 months ago)

Wow, weather-sealed flash units! Cool.

3 upvotes
D1N0
By D1N0 (8 months ago)

They won't work with any Ricoh Branded camera. It's Pentax

0 upvotes
Richard Butler
By Richard Butler (8 months ago)

They're Pentax branded, but it's Ricoh that's launched them.

4 upvotes
Brentliris
By Brentliris (8 months ago)

I'll be interested in these flashes.. I think weathersealing is a plus for effect photographer in bad weather it will open up some interesting possiblitites

0 upvotes
Archiver
By Archiver (8 months ago)

Ricoh bought the Pentax camera/imaging division, and the company became Ricoh-Pentax Imaging for a year. Now the company has changed back to Ricoh, but they retain the Pentax brand name.

Comment edited 29 seconds after posting
0 upvotes
Total comments: 41