Sigma 530DG ST or Metz 36 AF-4


Link Posted 27/12/2009 - 00:17
Having become a grandfather on Christmas Eve it would seem that my K10D is likely to be called upon to work with flash. I'm too chicken to use my old Nissin 360 in case it fries the camera so am considering the purchase of something for this job. It's a very long time since I used flash to any extent and, apart from occasional use of the K10S's own flash, have never done any with a digital camera so I am getting confused in the process.

I don't want to spend too much as apart from this particular family application I'm unlikely to make much other use of flash. I also have to keep the expenditure at a level that will keep grandma happy, although as she was complaining about grain in a few pics I took this afternoon at ISO 1600 in a fairly dark room this might be an opportune moment.

Looking around the Pentax AF 200FG has been ruled out as it seems both expensive and basic but, more especially, it lacks the ability to bounce.

Going down in price the Metz Mecablitz 36 AF-4 seems to offer a lot more and appears to be well regarded by a number of people. Sigma's EF-530 DG ST could obviously give a lot more light. Whether I would need it or not is a different issue, although I suppose it could be useful in terms of depth of field. (Incidentally I use a 16-45 lens if that's material, although I would expect to be at the longer end for this type of shot).

There is quite a significant difference in price between these two. I would be interested to know what people feel about the use of these in the application I have mentioned, their relative strengths and weaknesses and whether the Sigma is worth 70% more thah the Mecablitz.

After these two prices seem to go up quite steeply, but the question should perhaps be asked whether the extra expenditure would be worth my while (I'm thinking especially of modeling lights).

I have found Matthew Miller's "Pentax P-TTL Hot Shoe Flash Comparison".




Link Posted 27/12/2009 - 02:23
Well, for portraits, I'd say you would be better with a FA50 (or whatever fast lens you can grasp!), in a first step...

Then, if you still need it, the Metz should be largely sufficient...

Now, you could also do with cheap wireless triggers for your nissin, and play with off-board strobing (ever went to Even less expenses, and more fun!

Or for about the same price (40$), get a Yongnuo YN460 slave flash, set your k10 in wireless Controller mode (so it triggers the YN, but doesn't participate to the exposure), and fire away...


Link Posted 29/12/2009 - 10:42
Whilst looking around for some low cost old flashes recently I was pleasantly surprised to find that many have low trigger voltages and therefore are perfectly suitable for use with a K-10D or similar.

Why don't you measure the voltage of your Nissin and see if it is low enough? Simply turn the flash on and wait for the ready light to come on. Then using a voltmeter (any digital one should be suitable, the analogue ones may have to low an internal resistance and load the circuit giving a false reading) take a voltage reading between the centre and side contacts of the hot shoe.

As to what is low enough, I have never seen a definite answer from Pentax and opinions vary; however flashes sold as "safe" are in the region of 9 volts or less.


Link Posted 02/01/2010 - 01:02
Thanks for responses.

In the end I ended up using the Nissin as Google threw up a number of comments that the trigger voltage is around 10V which a number of commentators reckon is OK for Pentax.

Out of interest I contacted Nissin who didn't have the information as the current manufacturers bought the brand only and have no information on old models. However they did suggest that a rough guide would be to short the contacts with a bare wire and see if I got a tingle - which I didn't (I don't have access to a voltmeter).



Link Posted 02/01/2010 - 13:04
wasleys wrote:
However they did suggest that a rough guide would be to short the contacts with a bare wire and see if I got a tingle

The motto, if it doesn't hurt you it doesn't hurt the camera

K10D, K5
DA* 16-50, DA* 50-135, D-FA 100 Macro, DA 40 Ltd, DA 18-55
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