Pentax Response to Flash Selection for DS...? Hmmm?

Started Dec 20, 2004 | Discussions thread
Godfrey Forum Pro • Posts: 29,505
Re: Pentax Response to Flash Selection for DS...? Hmmm?

RonJohn wrote:

Here's the Pentax response to my question which is at the end of
this posting. I'm still confused about the flash trigger voltage

It's simple: Once upon a time, flash triggering was done with a simple set of metal contacts on the older, mechanical or electronically timed shutters. They could stand huge voltages due to being utterly dumb and simple, somewhat crude. Nowadays, flash triggering is achieved by transistorized microelectronics integrated into the shutter's control electronics. Much much more accurate and precise, but not as capable of withstanding huge voltages.

I make it a rule not to use flashes with greater than 6V trigger voltage on electronic cameras, at least not without a Wein Safe Sync between camera and flash. It's very easy to measure the trigger voltage of any flash: all it takes is a volt-ohm-meter. Charge up the flash until the ready-light comes on, then measure the DC Voltage across the center terminal of the flash foot and the side terminal. Good flashes for electronic cameras read 6V or less. That's it.

Also, I didn't realize there were different 'hot shoes.' I thought
a hot shoe was a hot shoe!

There are dozens of different flash mountings extant. The basic ISO flash shoe has a conformant size and shape, can take any flash with a simple hot foot. Dedicated flashes have additional terminals, not specified in the ISO spec, which allow information to pass from camera to flash and vice-versa. Since there's limited space in the shoe, there are only so many places to put terminals... the result is that two flash units with similar looking mounts might prove incompatible, and in some cases cause damage.

... There are just 2-3 flashes listed in the DS
manual. Please clarify this because I MUST purchase a flash. ...

Based on what they replied, older Pentax flash units should work fine although you might not get all the functionality desired. Sunpak, Vivitar, Metz and others all make Pentax dedicated models that should work fine too, again possibly with some restrictions on functionality based upon the specific unit.

I use a non-dedicated Sunpak 383. It's reasonably powerful and not hellishly large and heavy, has a tilt and swivel head and an external autoflash sensor. It can be used at three aperture settings or on manual output (with power output control). I use it in conjunction with a few Lumiquest bounce/diffuser accessories and, occasionally, a flash meter ... Although, with a digital camera, the best meter is to snap a frame or two and check the histogram, adjust the aperture to suit. Cost is about $70 or so currently.

I'd like to get a dedicated unit or two as well, to have access to second-curtain sync and other features of the Pentax DS camera, and will probably go for either the Pentax AF360 or Sigma EF 500 DG Super ... but only when I feel I really need it.


Keyboard shortcuts:
FForum PPrevious NNext WNext unread UUpvote SSubscribe RReply QQuote BBookmark MMy threads
Color scheme? Blue / Yellow