5 P-TTL flashes - which one?

Started Aug 28, 2007 | Discussions
rhavelund New Member • Posts: 6
5 P-TTL flashes - which one?

I am looking for a flash for my K100D.

I have tried doing my homework but any further inputs are appreciated. So far I have narrowed in on 5 models with P-TTL (I have ruled out a few no-names and Pentax's new compact flash) and listed them below along with some specifications and my first comments. Actually I don't know how important the different specifications are. As I have understood, high speed sync is useful when using the flash for filling-in in daylight.

I hope some of you can comment on my list and answer some of the questions I have.

Pentax AF 540 FGZ, 406 EUR
Guied number: 54
Bounce + swivel
High-speed sync

Comments: This one will for sure cover my needs. But it is probably overkill and the price is to high for me (my first flash).

http://www.technikdirekt.de/main/en/foto/fotodigital/blitzgeraete-zubehoer/818291/-/Article.html?

Pentax AF 360 FGZ, 229 EUR
Guide number: 36
Bounce - but no swivel
High-speed sync

Comments: I expect this one will work. But I don't know if I will miss the "swivelability".

http://www.technikdirekt.de/main/en/foto/fotodigital/blitzgeraete-zubehoer/348822/-/Article.html?

Sigma EF-530 DG Super, 272 EUR
Guide number: 53
Swivel + bounce
High-speed sync

Comments: Is it worth going for this one instead of the non-Super (below)? How does it compare to the Pentaxes?

http://www.technikdirekt.de/main/en/foto/fotodigital/blitzgeraete-zubehoer/182126/-/Article.html?

Sigma EF-530 DG ST, 188 EUR
Guide number: 53
Bounce + swivel
No high-speed sync

Comments: Will I miss features from the Super-version? Among these the high-speed sync?

http://www.technikdirekt.de/main/en/foto/fotodigital/blitzgeraete-zubehoer/182098/-/Article.html?

Soligor DG-420 Z, 160 EUR - maybe cheaper

Also known as Dörr D-AF42, Digital Concepts 952AF, and maybe also Sakar "something".
Guide number: 42
Bounce and swivel
No high-speed sync

Comments: Very interesting because of the low price. The Swedish shop Cyberphoto has tested it and recommends it. A few have tried it and given their opinions in this forum. They seem to be satisfied but at the same time none of them are very experienced flash users. Again, will I miss the high-speed sync?

http://www.cyberphoto.se/info.php?article=58427
http://forums.dpreview.com/forums/read.asp?forum=1036&message=22185733

richardday Veteran Member • Posts: 7,972
You forgot one!

The new Metz 58 AF-1 is now available for Pentax and Samsung P-TTL and is fully compatible.

http://www.metz.de/en/photo_electronics/mecablitz_58_AF-1.647.html

They also have P-TTL available for their 54 MZ-4i and 76 MZ-5 with the new SCA 3702 M2 module, but it won't support HSS or wireless P-TTL, whereas the dedicated 58 AF-1 does it all.
--
Richard Day - 'Carpe Diem!'
Gloucester UK

OP rhavelund New Member • Posts: 6
Re: You forgot one!

Great. It's good to have all options listed. It is a bit pricy for me though.

egordon99 Senior Member • Posts: 1,119
Re: 5 P-TTL flashes - which one?

You WILL miss the swivel if you try to bounce the flash up while in portrait orientation.
You WILL miss HSS if you want to do shallow DOF fill-flash shots outdoors.

If you can swing the extra bucks for the Pentax 540, that would be your best bet.

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newpentaxfan Contributing Member • Posts: 661
Re: You forgot one!

I plan to try the 530 Super when it is available. Richard, is the Metz unit shipping yet? Seen any reviews of it?

tiberiu Forum Member • Posts: 53
Re: You forgot one!

Please add to the Soligor list the Exakta DPZ 38 (Pentax) variant. Is the same flash but it's much cheaper. I've got mine one week ago for 115 EUR including taxes here in Romania. No HSS and wireless (well, I don't think my K100D can drive it wireless anyway) but a great entry-level P-TTL with bounce and swivel. You can't beat this price. It worked great at my niece wedding last Saturday.
--
Tiberiu Atudorei

steephill Veteran Member • Posts: 9,861
and three more

the Samsung versions of the 360 and 540 plus the new Pentax AF200. I guess there may also be a Samsung version of this in due course so make that four more.

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richardday Veteran Member • Posts: 7,972
Re: You forgot one!

newpentaxfan wrote:

I plan to try the 530 Super when it is available. Richard, is the
Metz unit shipping yet? Seen any reviews of it?

Apparently it is shipping, SRS are even rumoured to have sold a few.

No reviews yet, I'm hoping to get my hands on one to try out soon.
--
Richard Day - 'Carpe Diem!'
Gloucester UK

RBellavance Senior Member • Posts: 1,232
Re: You forgot one!

richardday wrote:

They also have P-TTL available for their 54 MZ-4i and 76 MZ-5 with
the new SCA 3702 M2 module, but it won't support HSS or wireless
P-TTL, whereas the dedicated 58 AF-1 does it all.

Are you sure ? The data sheet on the Metz website does not metion Pentax/Samsung for HSS functionality: http://www.metz.de/en/datenblatt_pe/338/

Otherwise, it looks like a very capable unit.

OP rhavelund New Member • Posts: 6
Re: and three more

Well. I am not considering the Pentax AF200 but it is good to have it in the thread anyway.

Pentax AF-200FG, 127 EUR
Guide number: 20
Only basic functions. No orientation control.

http://www.pentax.co.uk/_uk/photo/products/index.php?cameras&gruppe=flashes&produkt=30465&id=uebersicht .

I have a hard time finding information on the Samsung models. Are they the same as the Pentaxes? Will they work without any problems on a Pentax camera?

Samsung SEF-54PZF, 367 EUR
Guide number: 54
Bounce + swivel
High-speed sync (most likely)

Comments: This is the only one I an find on Samsung's site.

http://www.samsungcamera.com/product/pro_acc_view.asp?prol_uid=2134&cat_uid=13&sac_gid=3

Samsung SEF-36 PFZ, 249 EUR
Guide number: 36
Bounce. But what about swivel? If it's similar to the Pentax it does not.

Samsung SEF-42A, 242 EUR
Guide number: 42
Swivel + bounce

Comments: Is this an old model? It doesn't carry the PFZ in its name as the others. And I have read it is for the "Pro 815"-camera which is not a DSLR.

Laurens Senior Member • Posts: 1,391
Re: 5 P-TTL flashes - which one?

Do "swivel" adapters exist?

Laurens

headmj Contributing Member • Posts: 609
Re: 5 P-TTL flashes - which one?

A twist on the old saw "you can never be too powerful or too flexible". You will miss the ability to swivel the head. I now have a 540 because the 360 did not swivel and was far too weak for large groups. I don't know anything about the Metz flashed but they sure have a good reputation. Out of your first list I would buy the 540. You will not need to upgrade.

Mike

structuresguy Senior Member • Posts: 1,561
Re: You forgot one!

Well, it would be nice if they shipped some of the 58's across the pond. I really want to upgrade my flash, and will get a Pentax 540 if I have no other choice. But I would like to consider the Metz, but no one in the states has it even listed. Have you heard anything about when it will be available in the US?

Thanks

Andrew

allenlx Regular Member • Posts: 275
Re: 5 P-TTL flashes - which one?

Are you sure that the "Soligor DG-420 Z...Also known as Dörr D-AF42, Digital Concepts 952AF, and maybe also Sakar "something"." is P-TTL? I know it's sold as such on ebay, but I have read quite a lot of comments on it and some people have stated categorically that it is NOT a real P-TTL flash. If you look at this model on the Sakar website for example there is no mention whatsoever of P-TTL, so this is rather odd.

I decided that I didn't want to spend the money on a serious P-TTL flash now so I have just bought a used Nikon (SB25) as suggested in another thread. It seems to work well in Auto mode and it cost me one TENTH (€39) of the price of a Metz AF-1 or a Pentax 540FGZ. The drawbacks are that with a Pentax camera you can't use its more advanced features like HSS, second curtain sync etc., and of course the AF light doesn't work.

Matthew

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OP rhavelund New Member • Posts: 6
Re: 5 P-TTL flashes - which one?

I cannot say I am all sure that the Soligor is P-TTL. I have not seen it nor tried id. But from what I've read (among them the thread I am linking to) it should be.

Regarding the Nikon: Sounds like a very good alternative. But apart from some missing features, I guess it takes some skills without the P-TTL and you need to work a bit more with the settings (actually I am not to sure what P-TTL does)?

KSV Veteran Member • Posts: 3,351
It has been debated many times

My preference list (seems to be close to consensus) is:
1. Pentax 540 – will cover everything and anything

2. Sigma 500 DG Super – as good as 540 while in “current rechiped mode”, but you WILL have headaches later on when Pentax upgrade firmware once again. Mine does everything after second rechipping with firmware 1.1 and it seems to me that people have problems with firmware 1.3 and no update available as yet. I had Sigma because 540 was not available yet at that time.

3. Pentax 360 – nice flash, but luck swivel head and a bit underpowered. Swivel actually translates into tilt in portrait mode, thus absent of swivel means no portrait bouncing flash. Earlier or later you miss it.

4. Everything else. With absent of high speed it is almost does not matter what to get (with tilt and swivel) and cheaper is better. High speed VERY useful, virtually indispensable under strong sun.
Old Chinese says “Pay more upfront and cry only once”. IMHO it is very true.

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KSV Veteran Member • Posts: 3,351
About P-TTL

P-TTL stays for “pre-flash”. Old “film” TTL metered light by jading reflection from film surface proven not good enough with digital because sensor reflect light as mirror and therefore error is huge. With P-TTL camera emit pre-flash and meter required amount of flash “by notmal means”. P-TTL is only mode used in K10D, thus everything else became manual. Not a drama at all in studio – with digital it is very easy to find correct settings – but not really suitable in more dynamic situations. If money really problem, I would suggest to get older second-hand “tyristor” style flash for time been. There was numerous discussion that such flashes use high voltage that can damage camera, but I have not read any “damage report” as yet.

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allenlx Regular Member • Posts: 275
Re: About P-TTL

KSV wrote:

P-TTL stays for “pre-flash”. Old “film” TTL metered light by jading
reflection from film surface proven not good enough with digital
because sensor reflect light as mirror and therefore error is huge.

Just out of curiousity, is this really true of the TTL system of the first Pentax DSLRs? I know they could work with 'classic' TTL, but was the system simply not good enough?

Matthew

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a200user Regular Member • Posts: 212
Re: It has been debated many times

I have the AF360FGZ for my K100D. I am a bit disappointed. And not just because it does not swivel. It underexposes when in P-TTL mode leaving the impression that you would want a more powerful flash. However I have tried the identical scenes with the same flash in Auto Mode and my images seem perfectly exposed. Although I only spent US$179 on the flash, I could have spent a lot less for an auto flash. When I first got this flash it completely underexposed everything in P-TTL until I was advised to go to the K100D menus and set the "Link AF point and AE" to ON in the Custom Setting Menu - see page 137 of the K100D operating manual. This resulted in a huge improvement along with setting flash exposure compensation on the AF360 to +.3. This results in good exposure of my subject, but I still prefer the Auto mode results. Downside in Auto mode is that you have to manually set ISO, aperature, and focal distance to match what you have the camera set for. Another alternative (here in the US) is the Promaster 7500DX which had been available in Nikon, Canon, and Minolta dedication and just recently is available in Pentax. I have one for my Konica-Minolta A200 and it works great in P-TTL mode. It bounces, swivels, and I believe has HSS. If the Promaster 7500DX would have been available in the Pentax dedication at the time I purchased the AF360 I would have gone with the Promaster.

stern Senior Member • Posts: 1,735
Re: You forgot one!

tiberiu wrote:

Please add to the Soligor list the Exakta DPZ 38 (Pentax) variant.

got this one too via amazon.de (exakta DPZ 38AF-P , the "P" stands for pentax P-TTL- a neat unit for appr. EUR 100 dependent on where you buy it - the flash is made in germany). the only thing i might miss is HSS (goes for at least double the price - i'll manage with 1/180 for thos 3 or 4 shots per year)

Is

the same flash but it's much cheaper. I've got mine one week ago for
115 EUR including taxes here in Romania. No HSS and wireless (well, I
don't think my K100D can drive it wireless anyway) but a great
entry-level P-TTL with bounce and swivel. You can't beat this price.
It worked great at my niece wedding last Saturday.
--
Tiberiu Atudorei

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