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

Started Dec 20, 2004 | Discussions
RonJohn Senior Member • Posts: 1,720
Pentax Response to Flash Selection for DS...? Hmmm?

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 thing...

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

RJ

"Thank you for contacting Pentax Imaging Co.

While we couldn't advise you regarding the compatibility of non Pentax flashes with Pentax cameras, the problem generally occurs when someone tries to use a flash designed for one of our competitor's cameras on one of our cameras. The pin placement on the hot shoe is generally not the same which causes the short circuiting of electronics inside.

Older Pentax flashes should work on newer cameras depending on what model they are. However, you may not have some features available on newer flashes.

We hope this helps

If you have further questions, please feel free to contact our Customer Service Department at: 800-877-0155 "

Mark Smith
Pentax Imaging Co.

-- hide signature --

Original Message-----
From: Ronald Johnson [ ron@k7uv.com]
Sent: Thursday, December 16, 2004 9:42 AM
To: pentaxinfo_ PAIC
Subject: Are there restrictions on what flashes can safely ...

Comments:

Are there restrictions on what flashes can safely be used with this camera? I can't afford the Pentax dedicated flashes and some of the forums are claiming that some flashes can 'fry' or destroy the whole camera if the trigger voltages exceed some 'arbitrary' voltage. Is this true? How about older Pentax TTL flashes; are they ok to use? There are just 2-3 flashes listed in the DS manual. Please clarify this because I MUST purchase a flash. Thanks in advance...Ron Johnson

martym Regular Member • Posts: 464
Re: Pentax Response to Flash Selection for DS...? Hmmm?

RonJohn wrote:

Comments:
Are there restrictions on what flashes can safely be used with this
camera? I can't afford the Pentax dedicated flashes and some of
the forums are claiming that some flashes can 'fry' or destroy the
whole camera if the trigger voltages exceed some 'arbitrary'
voltage. Is this true? How about older Pentax TTL flashes; are
they ok to use? There are just 2-3 flashes listed in the DS
manual. Please clarify this because I MUST purchase a flash.
Thanks in advance...Ron Johnson

Hi

On page 153 on the manual, it list some older flashes, the AF330ftz and the AF240ft don't swivel or tilt so they can be found on ebay very cheap. The others listed also found on ebay go for more. But there are Vivitar and others that make compatable flashes that are under $100 that you can also check out.
Hope this helps
Marty

jcespite Regular Member • Posts: 291
Re: Pentax Response to Flash Selection for DS...? Hmmm?

martym wrote:

RonJohn wrote:

Comments:
Are there restrictions on what flashes can safely be used with this
camera? I can't afford the Pentax dedicated flashes and some of
the forums are claiming that some flashes can 'fry' or destroy the
whole camera if the trigger voltages exceed some 'arbitrary'
voltage. Is this true? How about older Pentax TTL flashes; are
they ok to use? There are just 2-3 flashes listed in the DS
manual. Please clarify this because I MUST purchase a flash.
Thanks in advance...Ron Johnson

Hi
On page 153 on the manual, it list some older flashes, the AF330ftz
and the AF240ft don't swivel or tilt so they can be found on ebay
very cheap. The others listed also found on ebay go for more. But
there are Vivitar and others that make compatable flashes that are
under $100 that you can also check out.
Hope this helps
Marty

 jcespite's gear list:jcespite's gear list
Fujifilm X-T3 Leica Summilux-M 50mm f/1.4 ASPH Fujifilm XF 18-55mm F2.8-4 R LM OIS OnePlus 3 +1 more
jcespite Regular Member • Posts: 291
Re: Pentax Response to Flash Selection for DS...? Hmmm?

jcespite wrote:

sorry about that.. I posted without a response ... I tried both the pentax af-360fgz (as per the DS user manual) and the sigma ef-500 dg super (for pentax) and found that the sigma was much more powerful. I found the af-360 only slightly better than the internal flash..

martym wrote:

RonJohn wrote:

Comments:
Are there restrictions on what flashes can safely be used with this
camera? I can't afford the Pentax dedicated flashes and some of
the forums are claiming that some flashes can 'fry' or destroy the
whole camera if the trigger voltages exceed some 'arbitrary'
voltage. Is this true? How about older Pentax TTL flashes; are
they ok to use? There are just 2-3 flashes listed in the DS
manual. Please clarify this because I MUST purchase a flash.
Thanks in advance...Ron Johnson

Hi
On page 153 on the manual, it list some older flashes, the AF330ftz
and the AF240ft don't swivel or tilt so they can be found on ebay
very cheap. The others listed also found on ebay go for more. But
there are Vivitar and others that make compatable flashes that are
under $100 that you can also check out.
Hope this helps
Marty

 jcespite's gear list:jcespite's gear list
Fujifilm X-T3 Leica Summilux-M 50mm f/1.4 ASPH Fujifilm XF 18-55mm F2.8-4 R LM OIS OnePlus 3 +1 more
racehorse in the desert Veteran Member • Posts: 4,103
Re: Pentax Response to Flash Selection for DS...? Hmmm?

jcespite wrote:

jcespite wrote:

sorry about that.. I posted without a response ... I tried both the pentax af-360fgz (as per the DS user manual) and the sigma ef-500 dg super (for pentax) and found that the sigma was much more powerful. I found the af-360 only slightly better than the internal flash..

The Sigma 500 DG Super, which has all the features of the AF360 (wireless, trailing curtain, P-TTL, etc.) is apparently still not available in the United States. Why, we don't know. The AF360 is adequately powered for up to small groups. I shot 400 images at a wedding tonight using the AF360. The AF360 does work very well.
--
John Power
Racehorse in the desert

'Life is too short to miss out on photography.'

JNR
JNR Veteran Member • Posts: 4,122
Re: Pentax Response to Flash Selection for DS...? Hmmm?

racehorse in the desert wrote:

jcespite wrote:

jcespite wrote:

sorry about that.. I posted without a response ... I tried both the pentax af-360fgz (as per the DS user manual) and the sigma ef-500 dg super (for pentax) and found that the sigma was much more powerful. I found the af-360 only slightly better than the internal flash..

The Sigma 500 DG Super, which has all the features of the AF360
(wireless, trailing curtain, P-TTL, etc.) is apparently still not
available in the United States. Why, we don't know. The AF360 is
adequately powered for up to small groups. I shot 400 images at a
wedding tonight using the AF360. The AF360 does work very well.
--
John Power
Racehorse in the desert

'Life is too short to miss out on photography.'

Seriously, a Monday night wedding?

 JNR's gear list:JNR's gear list
Fujifilm X-T2 Fujifilm 50mm F2 R WR Phase One Capture One Pro Pentax K-01 Pentax K-3 +21 more
rsjoberg Contributing Member • Posts: 566
Re: Pentax Response to Flash Selection for DS...? Hmmm?

jcespite wrote:

jcespite wrote:

sorry about that.. I posted without a response ... I tried both the pentax af-360fgz (as per the DS user manual) and the sigma ef-500 dg super (for pentax) and found that the sigma was much more powerful. I found the af-360 only slightly better than the internal flash..

The built in flash has only 1/3 the guide number of the AF360, and is stuck down close to the lens with no tilt or swivel. The AF 360 you can hold over your head and shoot with wireless TTL control, not to mention it features second curtain sync and high speed sync.

 rsjoberg's gear list:rsjoberg's gear list
Nikon Coolpix A Nikon D7200 Nikon AF-S Nikkor 70-200mm f/2.8G ED VR Nikon AF-S DX Nikkor 35mm F1.8G Nikon AF DX Fisheye-Nikkor 10.5mm f/2.8G ED +5 more
rsjoberg Contributing Member • Posts: 566
Re: Pentax Response to Flash Selection for DS...? Hmmm?

I think you'd have to be using some real ancient age stuff to run into the flash trigger voltage problem. Back in the day cameras used a physical metal contact switch inside the camera to fire the flash. They were pretty robust, but could get burnt. A high switching voltage flash could overcome a dirty switch for a longer time, but then a technician would have to open up the camera and clean or replace the contacts. Solid state switches started to replace these 30 years ago and I doubt any high switching voltage flashes have been produced for 25 years or more.

Pentax is pretty cool because the analog TTL flashes still work with the digital TTL cameras. Thus I can use my AF280 in TTL mode with my istD, but you don't want to go sticking Nikon or Canon TTL flashes on your IstD or DS, because it could be bad and Pentax has already warned you against doing it, and so has no warranty liability. However almost any non-TTL flash should be OK.

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
thing...

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

RJ

"Thank you for contacting Pentax Imaging Co.

While we couldn't advise you regarding the compatibility of non
Pentax flashes with Pentax cameras, the problem generally occurs
when someone tries to use a flash designed for one of our
competitor's cameras on one of our cameras. The pin placement on
the hot shoe is generally not the same which causes the short
circuiting of electronics inside.

Older Pentax flashes should work on newer cameras depending on what
model they are. However, you may not have some features available
on newer flashes.

We hope this helps

If you have further questions, please feel free to contact our
Customer Service Department at: 800-877-0155 "

Mark Smith
Pentax Imaging Co.

 rsjoberg's gear list:rsjoberg's gear list
Nikon Coolpix A Nikon D7200 Nikon AF-S Nikkor 70-200mm f/2.8G ED VR Nikon AF-S DX Nikkor 35mm F1.8G Nikon AF DX Fisheye-Nikkor 10.5mm f/2.8G ED +5 more
Leo "Zoom" Senior Member • Posts: 1,639
Re: Pentax Response to Flash Selection for DS...? Hmmm?

Ancient You say? Some current Unomat models (B20, B24) still have 170V voltage...

rsjoberg wrote:

I think you'd have to be using some real ancient age stuff to run
into the flash trigger voltage problem. Back in the day cameras
used a physical metal contact switch inside the camera to fire the
flash. They were pretty robust, but could get burnt. A high
switching voltage flash could overcome a dirty switch for a longer
time, but then a technician would have to open up the camera and
clean or replace the contacts. Solid state switches started to
replace these 30 years ago and I doubt any high switching voltage
flashes have been produced for 25 years or more.

 Leo "Zoom"'s gear list:Leo "Zoom"'s gear list
Panasonic Lumix DMC-GX7 Panasonic Lumix DMC-G7 Panasonic Lumix G Vario 45-150mm F4-5.6 ASPH Mega OIS Panasonic 20mm F1.7 II Panasonic Lumix G Vario HD 12-32mm F3.5-5.6 Mega OIS +6 more
rsjoberg Contributing Member • Posts: 566
Caution!

More caution may be needed than I had thought. Still I think most of them with voltage problems are pretty old and why would one want to hook up some old Kalimar garage sale bait to a $1000 plus camera anyway? Here's a list of strobes that there are reports on:

http://www.botzilla.com/photo/strobeVolts.html

I would be inclined to draw the line at about 24v.

Leo "Zoom" wrote:
Ancient You say? Some current Unomat models (B20, B24) still have
170V voltage...

rsjoberg wrote:

I think you'd have to be using some real ancient age stuff to run
into the flash trigger voltage problem. Back in the day cameras
used a physical metal contact switch inside the camera to fire the
flash. They were pretty robust, but could get burnt. A high
switching voltage flash could overcome a dirty switch for a longer
time, but then a technician would have to open up the camera and
clean or replace the contacts. Solid state switches started to
replace these 30 years ago and I doubt any high switching voltage
flashes have been produced for 25 years or more.

 rsjoberg's gear list:rsjoberg's gear list
Nikon Coolpix A Nikon D7200 Nikon AF-S Nikkor 70-200mm f/2.8G ED VR Nikon AF-S DX Nikkor 35mm F1.8G Nikon AF DX Fisheye-Nikkor 10.5mm f/2.8G ED +5 more
JNR
JNR Veteran Member • Posts: 4,122
Re: Caution!

rsjoberg wrote:

More caution may be needed than I had thought. Still I think most
of them with voltage problems are pretty old and why would one want
to hook up some old Kalimar garage sale bait to a $1000 plus camera
anyway? Here's a list of strobes that there are reports on:

http://www.botzilla.com/photo/strobeVolts.html

I would be inclined to draw the line at about 24v.

Actually, Pentax says the camera is OK up to 600 hundred volts (seems optimistic based on the reports). There are a lot of good old Vivitar 383s out there, though, and you wouldn't want to risk with that high-voltage unit. The 285s are OK, though. Here's a comment from a Pentax user:

http://www.botzilla.com/photo/photoBook/pbook.html#msg200

JNR

Leo "Zoom" wrote:
Ancient You say? Some current Unomat models (B20, B24) still have
170V voltage...

rsjoberg wrote:

I think you'd have to be using some real ancient age stuff to run
into the flash trigger voltage problem. Back in the day cameras
used a physical metal contact switch inside the camera to fire the
flash. They were pretty robust, but could get burnt. A high
switching voltage flash could overcome a dirty switch for a longer
time, but then a technician would have to open up the camera and
clean or replace the contacts. Solid state switches started to
replace these 30 years ago and I doubt any high switching voltage
flashes have been produced for 25 years or more.

 JNR's gear list:JNR's gear list
Fujifilm X-T2 Fujifilm 50mm F2 R WR Phase One Capture One Pro Pentax K-01 Pentax K-3 +21 more
Chris Senior Member • Posts: 1,009
Re: Pentax Response to Flash Selection for DS...? Hmmm?

RonJohn wrote:

While we couldn't advise you regarding the compatibility of non
Pentax flashes with Pentax cameras, the problem generally occurs
when someone tries to use a flash designed for one of our
competitor's cameras on one of our cameras. The pin placement on
the hot shoe is generally not the same which causes the short
circuiting of electronics inside.

This is about the dedicated Pentax contacts. If you put a flash whose contacts match one or more contacts on the Pentax hot shoe, and that same flash wasn't meant to support Pentax, the signals on those dedicated contacts might cause problems to the either the flash or the body. It says nothing about voltages.

Older Pentax flashes should work on newer cameras depending on what
model they are. However, you may not have some features available
on newer flashes.

So if older Pentax flashes have high voltage, you seem safe. Still I would ask specifically about the max x-contact voltage. There is a lot of confusion on this, Canon say

We hope this helps

If you have further questions, please feel free to contact our
Customer Service Department at: 800-877-0155 "

Mark Smith
Pentax Imaging Co.

-- hide signature --

Original Message-----
From: Ronald Johnson [ ron@k7uv.com]
Sent: Thursday, December 16, 2004 9:42 AM
To: pentaxinfo_ PAIC
Subject: Are there restrictions on what flashes can safely ...

Comments:
Are there restrictions on what flashes can safely be used with this
camera? I can't afford the Pentax dedicated flashes and some of
the forums are claiming that some flashes can 'fry' or destroy the
whole camera if the trigger voltages exceed some 'arbitrary'
voltage. Is this true? How about older Pentax TTL flashes; are
they ok to use? There are just 2-3 flashes listed in the DS
manual. Please clarify this because I MUST purchase a flash.
Thanks in advance...Ron Johnson

JensR Forum Pro • Posts: 17,971
Flash Trigger Voltage *ist DS (info from Pentax)

Hi!

Actually, Pentax says the camera is OK up to 600 hundred volts

[...]

http://www.botzilla.com/photo/photoBook/pbook.html#msg200

Hm, this is a message of 2003 about the Pentax film cameras of 2002. I personally would be very sceptical (as are you, I understood).

I today received an email from Pentax Germany, saying:
"The maximum voltage is 30V."

This of course does not do away with the problem of short circuiting the electronics by mounting a flash with non-matching contacts, as described here:
http://forums.dpreview.com/forums/read.asp?forum=1036&message=11529584

CU
Jens

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
thing...

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.

Godfrey

Joseph Tainter Forum Pro • Posts: 11,454
Re: Pentax Response to Flash Selection for DS...? Hmmm?

FWIW, I bought a Vivitar 6000 AF macro flash to use on my PZ-1p bodies. The first one I tried it on, the camera froze after a few uses. I took it off and the camera came back to life. I put the flash away, figuring it was just a bad investment.

Then, with some trepidation, I tried the same flash on my D. The combination works fine. What's more, even though this flash does only TTL, exposures with it are fine.

When I asked Vivitar about trigger voltage, the reply I got was "less than 6 volts".

Joe

rsjoberg wrote:
I think you'd have to be using some real ancient age stuff to run
into the flash trigger voltage problem. Back in the day cameras
used a physical metal contact switch inside the camera to fire the
flash. They were pretty robust, but could get burnt. A high
switching voltage flash could overcome a dirty switch for a longer
time, but then a technician would have to open up the camera and
clean or replace the contacts. Solid state switches started to
replace these 30 years ago and I doubt any high switching voltage
flashes have been produced for 25 years or more.

Pentax is pretty cool because the analog TTL flashes still work
with the digital TTL cameras. Thus I can use my AF280 in TTL mode
with my istD, but you don't want to go sticking Nikon or Canon TTL
flashes on your IstD or DS, because it could be bad and Pentax has
already warned you against doing it, and so has no warranty
liability. However almost any non-TTL flash should be OK.

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
thing...

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

RJ

"Thank you for contacting Pentax Imaging Co.

While we couldn't advise you regarding the compatibility of non
Pentax flashes with Pentax cameras, the problem generally occurs
when someone tries to use a flash designed for one of our
competitor's cameras on one of our cameras. The pin placement on
the hot shoe is generally not the same which causes the short
circuiting of electronics inside.

Older Pentax flashes should work on newer cameras depending on what
model they are. However, you may not have some features available
on newer flashes.

We hope this helps

If you have further questions, please feel free to contact our
Customer Service Department at: 800-877-0155 "

Mark Smith
Pentax Imaging Co.

Joseph Tainter Forum Pro • Posts: 11,454
Re: Pentax Response to Flash Selection for DS...? Hmmm?

I got lucky and found a used AF 360 FGZ at KEH. If you can't afford a new one, you might just keeping looking for used.

If you can't wait, there are several older Pentax flashes that, as another posted noted, come up on eBay regularly and inexpensively. Some people have exposure trouble with these, since they may do TTL but not P-TTL. YMMV. It's hard to figure out when TTL works and when it doesn't. One solution is to use the old-fashioned "auto" flash feature that some of these have. A sensor in the flash itself reads the light amount and the flash shuts itself down when there has been enough light. Go to Boz's site to find out which models have auto and/or TTL. Some very experienced people have used auto and gotten good exposures.

But for the long-term you really will be better off with a P-TTL flash. Put aside the money you'd otherwise be spending on film.

Joe

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
thing...

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

RJ

"Thank you for contacting Pentax Imaging Co.

While we couldn't advise you regarding the compatibility of non
Pentax flashes with Pentax cameras, the problem generally occurs
when someone tries to use a flash designed for one of our
competitor's cameras on one of our cameras. The pin placement on
the hot shoe is generally not the same which causes the short
circuiting of electronics inside.

Older Pentax flashes should work on newer cameras depending on what
model they are. However, you may not have some features available
on newer flashes.

We hope this helps

If you have further questions, please feel free to contact our
Customer Service Department at: 800-877-0155 "

Mark Smith
Pentax Imaging Co.

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