Flash for K-3 II

Discussion in 'Pentax' started by G&R, Feb 6, 2021.

  1. G&R


    Can an analogue flash be used with the K-3 II or does it need something from the digital age - is there a tutorial on this topic?
  2. That depends on the flash's #trigger voltage. Previous Pentax DSLRs wanted that to be pretty low.
    Look your flashes' specs up on the Internet. - I think laymen like us can make mistakes trying to measure it exactly. - But if you measure "too high" that should be true.
    Maybe even RTFM (the camera's should list exact specs somewhere...)
    If your flash's Voltage is too high, trigger it with a safe hotshoe flash via a slave cell.
    "Safesync" gadgedts exist. - I never bothered to get or test them.
    Any film camera TTL or SCA flash should be safe.
    • Film camera TTL won't work.
    • DSLR "ETTL" might be a bit off with 3rd party flashes; usually within exposure compensation range.
    Flashes will be usable in manual or auto modes. "Adorama TV" on YouTube is full of Daniel Norton tutorials on setting up flashes according to trial and error.
    #histogram chimping helps a lot.
    #Tethering might be even better.
    #radio triggers exist and are either a trouble shooting nightmare or more expensive than getting a top of the Yongnuo line hotshoe flash for Pentax. They also introduce lag; so you shouldn't sync above 1/125 sec with them to expose your entire frame...
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  3. AJG


    I've used ancient Vivitar 285HV flashes--the second version that has a lower sync voltage--with my Pentax DSLRs up to and including my K3's with no problems. Jochen is right that knowing the sync voltage is critical since some old flashes made in the era of totally mechanical cameras had very high voltage that would fry modern electronic cameras. My experience with Pentax TTL flash hasn't been that great. I have their most recent 540 flashes and get very inconsistent exposures with them. They are otherwise well made, weather sealed, recycle very quickly on rechargeable NiMh batteries and have a wide range of manual power control, but the TTL just isn't as good as the non TTL auto exposure of the 30 year old Vivitars that I still have. I haven't used the Yongnuo flashes so I don't know if they are any better than the Pentax flashes in TTL mode.
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  4. G&R


    Following this advice I tried to buy a 285HV. It turned out to be an older 285, but I tested it anyway, and followed this guide:

    Measuring the Voltage on a Vivitar 285 Flash | Jeff Geerling

    The 285 is flashing, but the multimeter is reading 0V when fully charged - is that possible? (the multimeter is reading rechargeable 1.2V batteries correctly).
  5. AJG


    I don't know how to test sync voltage, but there are also adapters--the Wein Safe Sync hot shoe adapter will go into a regular hot shoe and reduce the voltage to a safe level. They are $49.95 at B&H, which is a lot cheaper than repairing/replacing your camera. Or you could continue to look for the 285 HV model which is safe in my experience with 8 different Pentax DSLRs.
  6. Or you could just get a Godox or Yongnou.

    Don't know how well the TTL stuff works I'm afraid, I only use mine on manual.
  7. G&R


    Ah... the guide was not idiot proof. Another way to test is to push the multimeter's needle through the flash connector as though the needle were the bracket of the camera's hot shoe. 4.96V :)
  8. Isn't that exactly what the picture in the guide suggests?
  9. G&R


    Only if you know what you are doing ;)

    The image does not display the actual targeted metal contact on the flash. As an un-initiated I followed the general path of the needle shown in the image and landed the tip of needle on a nearby, but incorrect, piece of metal. 0V recorded, which I knew was wrong but did not know why. Later, I slid the needle into the flash so that they locked together in the same way that the flash and hotshoe would lock together (e.g. the needle is fixed and does not drop out) and doing that is not what is shown in the image. Only after 4.96V was recorded did I know the needle was in the right place, and that is how I came to find the intended contact. The guide is clear if the reader has a little bit of prior knowledge.

    BTW, International Standards Organisation (ISO) mandates cameras support 24V. By definition only manufacturers that use cheap non-specification components would have an upper limit of 6V. DSLRs from actual premium brands such as Minolta and Fuji support 400V and 600V respectively .. :eek:
    Last edited: Feb 23, 2021
  10. That's understood then.

    There's a website which is getting rather dated now, in which the trigger voltage of many flashguns is given:

    LINK ----- Photo Strobe Trigger Voltages

    Be aware that the measured voltage depends on the sensitivity of the measuring instrument used. Multimeters draw a small but finite current and will depress the voltage below the open circuit value.
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  11. I just noticed this thread and wish I'd seen it sooner... I use two different flashes for my K-3 II, first, a late-90s Sunpak 383 Super (actually I use two, in my home studio setup, one for the camera, the other strobe-triggered). The above-linked chart says ("Your Call" for this unit, but I use it on my K-3 II (and a K-5 previously) with no problems at all.

    The second flash which stays in the bag I use for the K-3 II is a dedicated Metz 24 AF-1 (the Pentax version obviously); I use it in those rare occasions I ever need to use flash when I travel with the camera.

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