Pentax X-TTL - can't get manual flash to work

Firmware: PEN.A.001

Camera: Pentax K-5IIs

Flash: Pentax AF540FGZII

What am I doing wrong? I have flashed the V6II twice. I have done a factory reset. But the problems still persist.

1. Manual flash mode. I get dark frames on all shots. I can tell the TX is controlling the RX from the LCD screen. But 1/1 and 1/256 have the same results. Also at 1/1 the flash is not firing at full power.

2. TTL mode. Dialing in minus compensation does nothing to the result. Dialing in plus compensation will result in brighter exposure. Also it is not linear. +1.0 is supposed to be twice as bright but it seems to be more like 1/3 stop.

Comments

  • Thank you for reporting the problems you encountered. I have already passed it to R&D and we will get back to you in 1-2 days.

    Your patience during this time is very much appreciated.

    Antonio Lao
    Brand Manager
    _____________

    To help us better help you, always state the exact firmware version installed on your Cactus device(s), such as: "1.1.013", "NIK.A.001", "v.103", or "A06".

    TTL or HSS not working on Cactus V6 II and V6 IIs? Be sure to check hot shoe connectivity by doing the <CAMERA INFO> check.

    Feel free to suggest an improvement or share product ideas. Contact us directly at info@cactus-image.com.  At Cactus, we listen. 
  • Sorry @SBC our R&D team could not reproduce the problems you experienced.

    Could you confirm that there's a good connection between the camera and the V6 II (TX) mounted on the hot shoe?

    Adjust camera lens zoom or Aperture, do you see numbers pop up on V6 II's display screen?

    Thank you.

    Antonio Lao
    Brand Manager
    _____________

    To help us better help you, always state the exact firmware version installed on your Cactus device(s), such as: "1.1.013", "NIK.A.001", "v.103", or "A06".

    TTL or HSS not working on Cactus V6 II and V6 IIs? Be sure to check hot shoe connectivity by doing the <CAMERA INFO> check.

    Feel free to suggest an improvement or share product ideas. Contact us directly at info@cactus-image.com.  At Cactus, we listen. 
  • Yes. I can use TTL just fine. If I adjust the zoom length, the flash will respond.

    But manual flash still does not work. Flash compensation still does not work properly.

  • Yes. I can use TTL just fine. If I adjust the zoom length, the flash will respond.

    But manual flash still does not work. Flash compensation still does not work properly.

    Let me double check with R&D and get back to you.

    Thank you.

    Antonio Lao
    Brand Manager
    _____________

    To help us better help you, always state the exact firmware version installed on your Cactus device(s), such as: "1.1.013", "NIK.A.001", "v.103", or "A06".

    TTL or HSS not working on Cactus V6 II and V6 IIs? Be sure to check hot shoe connectivity by doing the <CAMERA INFO> check.

    Feel free to suggest an improvement or share product ideas. Contact us directly at info@cactus-image.com.  At Cactus, we listen. 
  • edited November 2017
    Pentax k5IIs + FGZ540
    Firmware PEN.A.001

    Steps/Results:
    1. Set manual mode on RX/See manual mode on Tx, Set 1/1 power on Rx/See 1/1 power on Tx, Push test button/Flash fires on full power.
    2. Set manual mode on RX/See manual mode on Tx, Set 1/64 power on Rx/See 1/64 power on Tx, Push test button/Flash fires on 1/64 power.
    3. Set manual mode on RX/See manual mode on Tx, Set 1/1 power on Rx/See 1/1 power on Tx, Push camera shutter button/Flash fires on 1/64 power.
    4. Set manual mode on RX/See manual mode on Tx, Set 1/64 power on Rx/See 1/64 power on Tx, Push camera shutter button/Flash fires on 1/64 power.

    You can meet this situation if on Rx and Tx not same settings of Flash Profile. If you install same flash profile on Tx and Rx the problem disappears.
  • edited November 2017
    Did you meant to say, you first set the flash mode (TTL or M) on the V6 II set to Transmitter (TX) mode, and then you see the change in power on the display of the V6 II set to Receiver (RX) mode?

    So the problem lies in Point 3, after setting the power back up to 1/1, actual flash power does not match.

    However, why are you are not using the same Flash Profile? Which 2 flash profiles did you compared?

    For your Pentax AF540FGZ, you should either use:

    1. AUTO (PENTAX)
    2. PENTAX AF540F
    Thank you.

    Antonio Lao
    Brand Manager
    _____________

    To help us better help you, always state the exact firmware version installed on your Cactus device(s), such as: "1.1.013", "NIK.A.001", "v.103", or "A06".

    TTL or HSS not working on Cactus V6 II and V6 IIs? Be sure to check hot shoe connectivity by doing the <CAMERA INFO> check.

    Feel free to suggest an improvement or share product ideas. Contact us directly at info@cactus-image.com.  At Cactus, we listen. 
  • edited December 2017
    Pentax 540FGZ in Manual mode (a) on Triggers works only if used PENTAX AF540F profile.
    Pentax 540 FGZII doesn't work in Manual mode (a) using any combinations of profiles on RX and TX units (I have done more than 50 shots - no one is good).

    SBC's error is confirmed.
  • edited December 2017
    Could you clarify by "manual mode" are you referring to the mode set directly on the flash?

    Or are you referring to the "manual" power control set on the V6 II by toggling the Group buttons (A, B, C or D)?

    If it is the latter then it is perfectly normal that it will not work because the V6 II can only properly communicate with the flash unit if the flash is set to TTL mode. 

    You need the flash (e.g. Pentax 540FGZ, Metz, etc.etc.) to stay in TTL mode for these functions to work:
    1. manual power control
    2. manual zoom control
    3. automatic TTL exposure (with +/- EV compensation)
    4. high-speed sync
    I will try and shoot a video to walkthrough my setup so that we can be sure we are on the same page.


    Thanks.

    Antonio Lao
    Brand Manager
    _____________

    To help us better help you, always state the exact firmware version installed on your Cactus device(s), such as: "1.1.013", "NIK.A.001", "v.103", or "A06".

    TTL or HSS not working on Cactus V6 II and V6 IIs? Be sure to check hot shoe connectivity by doing the <CAMERA INFO> check.

    Feel free to suggest an improvement or share product ideas. Contact us directly at info@cactus-image.com.  At Cactus, we listen. 
  • Here's the video, general setup.

    Pretty much applies to other camera systems too.



    Hope this helps. Thank you.

    Antonio Lao
    Brand Manager
    _____________

    To help us better help you, always state the exact firmware version installed on your Cactus device(s), such as: "1.1.013", "NIK.A.001", "v.103", or "A06".

    TTL or HSS not working on Cactus V6 II and V6 IIs? Be sure to check hot shoe connectivity by doing the <CAMERA INFO> check.

    Feel free to suggest an improvement or share product ideas. Contact us directly at info@cactus-image.com.  At Cactus, we listen. 
  • Hello, Antonio
    Manual mode on triggers. Flash is always in P-TTL.
  • edited December 2017
    Ok, I have just checked settings and work of triggers.
    All settings of triggers, flash and  like in video.
    Result: it TTL mode all ok. In M mode (like 4:00 on video: Flash in P-TTL, Camera in M, triggers in Pentax - Auto) triggers doesn't work correct.
    Firmware version on camera 1.07.


  • edited December 2017

    Sorry about video quality.
  • Last test.

    Pen.A.001 firmware+540II/540 in TTL mode: all ok.

    Pen.A.001 firmware+540II/540 in M mode: 1 shot ok, after that no good shots or no good shots.

    Last Multibrand hss firmware, M mode: all ok, manual setting up of impulse power work properly (tried 1/1, 1/8, 1/32).

    We have issues only in M mode on Pen.A.001 firmware.


  • Thanks @_aalex_ for the video.

    Let me check with R&D and get back to you.


    Antonio Lao
    Brand Manager
    _____________

    To help us better help you, always state the exact firmware version installed on your Cactus device(s), such as: "1.1.013", "NIK.A.001", "v.103", or "A06".

    TTL or HSS not working on Cactus V6 II and V6 IIs? Be sure to check hot shoe connectivity by doing the <CAMERA INFO> check.

    Feel free to suggest an improvement or share product ideas. Contact us directly at info@cactus-image.com.  At Cactus, we listen. 
  • Last test.

    Pen.A.001 firmware+540II/540 in TTL mode: all ok.

    Pen.A.001 firmware+540II/540 in M mode: 1 shot ok, after that no good shots or no good shots.

    Last Multibrand hss firmware, M mode: all ok, manual setting up of impulse power work properly (tried 1/1, 1/8, 1/32).

    We have issues only in M mode on Pen.A.001 firmware.


    We were NOT able to reproduce your findings. 

    From your video, I could not tell exactly if your setup procedure is correct. In particular, when you setup the off-camera flash, did you first switch on the Pentax flash, and then the V6 II to RX mode?

    Before proceeding to further tests, you may first do a factory reset:

    Menu > Preference > Factory Reset

    Thank you and keep us posted.


    Antonio Lao
    Brand Manager
    _____________

    To help us better help you, always state the exact firmware version installed on your Cactus device(s), such as: "1.1.013", "NIK.A.001", "v.103", or "A06".

    TTL or HSS not working on Cactus V6 II and V6 IIs? Be sure to check hot shoe connectivity by doing the <CAMERA INFO> check.

    Feel free to suggest an improvement or share product ideas. Contact us directly at info@cactus-image.com.  At Cactus, we listen. 
  • Thank you for the video. I watched it and done exactly what he did. TTL works fine but manual mode does not work properly - I get underexposed images regardless of the settings - 1/1 to 1/256 makes no different.

    My camera is the Pentax K5IIs and flash is AF540FGZII.

    So the only difference from the video is my camera model.

  • Thanks @SBC for your update.

    Indeed only the camera is different, and unfortunately we do not have the K5IIs. But we will ask our beta testers and see if they encounter similar issues.

    Thank you for your understanding during this time.

    Antonio Lao
    Brand Manager
    _____________

    To help us better help you, always state the exact firmware version installed on your Cactus device(s), such as: "1.1.013", "NIK.A.001", "v.103", or "A06".

    TTL or HSS not working on Cactus V6 II and V6 IIs? Be sure to check hot shoe connectivity by doing the <CAMERA INFO> check.

    Feel free to suggest an improvement or share product ideas. Contact us directly at info@cactus-image.com.  At Cactus, we listen. 
  • edited December 2017
    I have k5IIs too - so it same cameras.

    During using of cross-brand firmware m mode work properly. 
    After Factory Reset  manual mode work properly with FGZ540II and FGZ540.

    Lost errors:
    1. Wrong focus and iso info from camera.
    2. Sometimes TX trigger shows only focus + iso info but doesn't show groups info.

    Thank you Antonio and have nice New year.
  • edited January 2018
    @SBC

    When you are attempting manual power level control, are you still leaving the AF 540 FGZ II in P-TTL mode?

    The V6II can only control the power level of the flash, if the latter is in P-TTL mode. It won't work, if you set the flash to manual mode.

    Given that _aalex_ uses the same equipment but doesn't have a problem, the only other idea I have is that you may not be running the same K-5IIs firmware version. I wouldn't have thought that the camera's firmware makes a difference, but if everything else is the same, perhaps it is worth a try to compare the firmware versions.

    Also, of course, it might help to check your V6II firmware version (on both trigger and receiver).
  • Thanks @_aalex_ and Class A for chiming in.

    @SBC please do check if the Pentax flashes stay in P-TTL mode when mounted on a V6 II.  

    This applies to both on-camera and off-camera setups.  All flashes should always be in TTL mode, either you are manually controlling the power output (M appears on V6 II TX flash group) or using automatic TTL exposure  (TTL appears on V6 II TX flash group). 

    Also, do check if there's a good hot shoe connection between the camera and the V6 II TX.  You can verify this if ISO / Zoom values change as you adjust them on the camera.

    Thank you and keep us posted.

    Antonio Lao
    Brand Manager
    _____________

    To help us better help you, always state the exact firmware version installed on your Cactus device(s), such as: "1.1.013", "NIK.A.001", "v.103", or "A06".

    TTL or HSS not working on Cactus V6 II and V6 IIs? Be sure to check hot shoe connectivity by doing the <CAMERA INFO> check.

    Feel free to suggest an improvement or share product ideas. Contact us directly at info@cactus-image.com.  At Cactus, we listen. 
  • Yes, the Pentax flash is in P-TTL all the way.

    Yes, the zoom, ISO, power ration values changes when I change them from the camera.

    But what I see is not what I get. I.e. setting the power to 1/1 or 1/256 will still get me dark frames.

    I have done multiple factory resets and even re-flashed the V6 II twice. Problem remains.

    Anyway, I will just use it in P-TTL mode until a new firmware is release. Or if I need manual power control, I will re-flash it with the older cross-brand firmware. 

  • Firmware: PEN.A.004
    Camera: Pentax K-5IIs
    Flash: Pentax AF540FGZII

    Initially I was happy there is new firmware. But upon testing, I still get the same problem. Flash is in TTL mode all the way. When changing Tx setting from TTL to manual, display on Rx shows the correct corresponding setting.

    Manual mode - still getting dark frames. From 1/1 all the way to 1/256. All no image.

    TTL compensation - +/-0 - normal image. -5.0 - still normal image. +5.0 - get brighter image.


  • Regarding the dark frames, in case you are using HSS shutter speed, say over 1/200s, the flash has to activate the HS feature as attached in the following picture.


    The TTL compensation probably hit the lower power level. So, you don't see much change. However, if you can keep a long distance between the object and the flash, the difference will be significant.

    Ray Chan

    Senior Product Specialist
     
    Cactus®
    Harvest One Limited
  • Hi Ray, I was not using HSS. Shutter speed was set to 1/60.
    As for TTL compensation, thank you for the advise. I shall try a subject further away across the room .

    I installed the multi brand firmware to try out. Everything looked good. I was able to shoot with various power ratio - 1/1 all the way to 1/256. Every photo came out as expected.
    I did even need to switch the AF540FGZII to HSS mode. Using just the normal TTL mode on the flash, I was able to take photos from 1sec to 1/8000sec - every photo came out as expected, no banding or cut-off.

    BUT with multi brand firmware, I do not have TTL.
  • I re-installed the Pentax firmware PEN.A.004 for further testing.
    1st the good news (sort of) - TTL compensation works at distance more that 1.5M. For still life, it still does not work properly, even if I close to smaller apertures like f5.6 all the way to f/16. So I can use the Cactus for portraiture but not close up and still life.

    Manual power ratio with Pen.A.004 firmware. I can make it work with the following conditions:
    1. Cactus set to rear sync.
    2. Set Cactus to Normal HSS and flash to HSS mode, AND use shutter speed above 1/180.

    With rear sync, the camera limits me to 1/90 fastest shutter speed. I can go lower but not higher.
    With HSS, I have to shoot above sync speed. Anything above 1/180 will give me a nice image. 1/180 and below will give me a dark frame.

    Conclusion. I will reserve the cactus for outdoor portraiture where I can use the HSS and TTL compensation and look for other solution for still life and close up.
  • It's probably the flash mode issue. When you shot in s-sync, ie 1/180s or below, please turn off the FP function in the flash. That will probably fix the dark frame problem.
    Ray Chan

    Senior Product Specialist
     
    Cactus®
    Harvest One Limited
  • As per your suggestion:
    Cactus V6II - set HSS to OFF
    Camera - set to 1/90s
    Flash - set to normal TTL mode (non HSS)

    Result - still getting dark frames.
  • I meant to turn off the HS feature on the flash, not the V6 II. Press the sync button on the flash. Please see the attached picture.


    Ray Chan

    Senior Product Specialist
     
    Cactus®
    Harvest One Limited
  • That was what I did exactly.

    "As per your suggestion:
    Cactus V6II - set HSS to OFF
    Camera - set to 1/90s
    Flash - set to normal TTL mode (non HSS)"
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