Pentax K3 / K3 II - Metz 52 AF-1 - flash does not fire randomly

edited February 2018 in V6 II Problems
Hey guys,

I hope you can help me and we will find out that I am the problem.

I've recently bought some pieces of equipment for external flash including the V6ii.

While testing for the first time, the flash did NOT fire with full power, but it was totally reliable. I apperently solved this problem by updating the firmware to the newest version. My mistake so far.

While testing for the second time, the flash did fire with full power, but it was totally NOT reliable. After adjusting settings or just moving the camera, the flash did not fire at all sometimes.

I have no clue why it does not fire reliably. I cannot reconstruct the issue. Sometimes 3 out of 10 do not fire, somtimes 7 out of 10.

Exposure is fine at 1/16 - when the flash actually fires. Recycle time should not be an issue.

Transceiver and receiver are set to Pentax flash system and I've manually chosen the Metz 50 AF-1 as suggested in another thread because 52 AF-1 is not available in the list. "Auto" does not work properly either.

Any suggestions?

Thanks in advance.
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Comments

  • edited February 2018
    Flash is set to P-TTL as recommended.
    Flash is not new and works fine.
    Adjustments at the Transceiver seem to be transferred fine as the receiver adopts them.
  • edited February 2018
    First, you can "downgrade" to an older firmware version. Perhaps try that and see whether consistency returns.

    Are you turning on the flash first and only then the V6II receiver it is attached to? With my Metz 58 AF-2, the Metz then always switches from regular TTL mode into P-TTL mode, as soon as the V6II receiver turns on.

    You may also want to choose the "SHORT" option for the radio range property. If the transmitter gets too close to a receiver, there is a potential for signal overload, if the radio range property is set to "LONG".

    Two more ideas, if everything else fails:
    1. Try another flash profile. Set both flash system ("Pentax") and flash model ("Metz 52AF1" or similar) manually.
    2. Perform a factory reset with all V6II units.
  • @chriswilson any updates?

    For Metz flashes you have to manually select the flash profile. Choose a similar Metz model under the Pentax list.

    Thank you and I hope it is working for you now.

    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 Class A, hello Antonio,

    thank you very much for your suggestions. I've been on holiday and I am going to test it next weekend at the latest.

    I will forward my feedback.

    Best regards,
    chris
  • Thank you, Chris.

    Look forward to your test results.

    Cheers!
    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. 
  • A quick update:

    Radio range has always been set to "short".

    I've set the flash model manually to 50 AF-1 - tested 44 AF-1 and 58 AF-2 as well.

    Factory reset did not bring back consistency.

    I've switched flash and receiver on in both orders and could not see any difference.

    Dumb question regarding Class A's comment: What do you mean by "regular TTL" vs "P-TTL"?
    As far as I know, there is no "regular TTL mode" with my 52 AF-1. I can choose between "P TTL" and "P TTL HSS" and I would assume that both should work as the v6ii supports HSS. Anyway, I tried each setting and could not see any difference.

    I will test an older firmware version later.
  • edited March 2018
    Meanwhile I have "downgraded" to the latest multi brand firmware (1.1.013). That leads to another issue: the two v6ii don't connect properly. Power changes at the transceiver are not displayed on the display of the receiver, flash does not fire.

    Of course, everything was set manually as mentioned above.

    After switching back to the pentax specific firmware, I run into the issue of missing consistency once again. In this case: I've raised the flash power, see a flash while taking the shot, but the image is pitch black. Another time I meet the effect that I raise power and the flash lowers its output.

    I don't get it... I hope you guys have another idea for me *crossing fingers*


  • Here's a setup video we made for another Pentax user before, see if it sheds any light?



    However we were using an original Pentax flash so the setup is slightly different, where you have to manually select a flash profile vs the auto-detect. But aside from that it should be identical.

    Using X-TTL firmware (PEN.A.001), did you tried the <CAMERA INFO> Check?

    Adjust camera ISO, aperture, shutter speed and lens zoom, do you see numbers popping up on V6 II's display?

    Make sure you have securely mounted the V6 II (TX) on camera hot shoe so there's a constant communication between the camera and the transmitter. This is by far the weakest link of all, more than anything else. 

    Keep us posted.  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 March 2018
    Hi Antonio,

    thanks for your answer.

    I've already watched the video before I started this topic. The only difference in camera check (~1:45 in video - hope you meant that one) I can see is the "on" in the video versus the 1/1 on my display. See the attached file. I am using X-TTL firmware (PEN.A.001).

    Furthermore I've tried to eliminate possible hardware / mounting issues right after my problem appeared for the first time. This was done by cleaning contacts, switching the V6 II from transmitter to receiver (second one the other way around) and switching cameras as I own a K-3 and a K-3 II.

    I don't get your point regarding camera settings and popping numbers. Should there be any visible difference after changing settings? Manual shows relative flash power (1/64, 1/32...), TTL shows exposure compensation (0.0, 0.3...). 

    Are there any other settings / images, which I could provide, that might help?
  • Hi Chris,

    This is what I mean by <Camera Info>:



    Adjust:
    ISO
    Shutter Speed
    Aperture
    Lens zoom range

    And you will see numbers "pop up" on the display.

    Does this happens on your setup?

    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. 
  • Hi Antonio,

    thanks for the video. Now I do get your point.

    I have activated the camera info setting in the menu, but up to now I have never seen the behaviour shown in the video.

    Any ideas beside cleaning the contacts once again?

    Thanks in advance.

  • Hmm...

    Push the V6 II all the way into camera's hot shoe. On some Fujifilm cameras, you will hear a faint click sound.

    Remove the metal spring plate from camera hot shoe, this will ensure a more consistent communication. 

    FYI we are rolling out a new production batch - as a running change - which made it so that you no longer need to remove the camera metal spring plate for optimal hot shoe  connection. Shipments that went out to dealers late February will have the new bottom hot shoe.  As for Cactus Store, probably starting in April/May, all V6 II will have the new version.  

    Anyway, please let us know if the above 2 tips helped.

    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. 
  • Dumb question regarding Class A's comment: What do you mean by "regular TTL" vs "P-TTL"?
    Sorry, that only applies to Metz models that support both analogue TTL and P-TTL, like my Metz 58 AF-2. The 58 AF-2 will be in analogue TTL mode per default and only change to P-TTL when it detects a P-TTL capable device.

    Regarding your attempted downgrade to V1.1.013: Have you updated all units? The "1." versions are not compatible with the "A." versions. If the two units do not communicate when both have V1.1.013 installed and are operating on the same channel, etc. then at least one of your units is defective. Seems unlikely, though.

    The symptoms you describe appear to be consistent with a bad connection between camera and transmitter unit. Normally the appearance of the "P" symbol (in the camera icon) after an auto detect of the camera using the V1.1.013 variant (do not manually set the camera system to "Pentax" for this to work) is a good indicator that the connection between camera and transmitter is fine. However, I had a V6II beta unit that passed this test but still had intermittent connection issues afterwards. The slightest movement of the unit on the hot-shoe would cause inconsistent firing.

    You could experiment with rotating the transmitter in the hot-shoe a bit to see whether you find an angle that works. However, even if that works, it is unlikely to result in a long-term solution as even just pressing buttons on the V6II could move it out of its sweet spot. I'm only mentioning this as a potential way to establish that indeed consistent firing is possible when the hot-shoe connection is fine.

    I noticed you tried swapping the units with respect to their transmitter and receiver roles already. Too bad that this didn't help. The only other approach I can think of is to experiment with the position of the transmitter -- push it in tightly and/or try to pull it back ever so slightly afterwards -- and tighten the locking lever very well. Don't use excessive force, as you don't want to break it off, but make sure you reach its natural limit. With the flaky beta unit I had, this helped.


  • Hello Antonio, hello Class A,

    thanks for your feedback once again.

    Removing the metal spring plate from camera hot shoe did not lead to an improvement in consistency. And I still don't have any ISO or whatever changes displayed on the transmitter.

    I can clearly see and hear that the V6 II is all the way in the hot shoe.

    I have double checked the firmware issue by myself as it has kinda worked with V1.1.013 (both units, of course) once before. Probably I made a mistake with the channels - dunno. By the second time, I ran into the same issue of firing with less than 100% I have described at the very beginning.

    "The slightest movement of the unit on the hot-shoe would cause inconsistent firing."

    This is exactly what it feels like. There seems to be something like a loose connection.

    I get your point regarding experimenting of rotating the transmitter. But as you mentionged yourself, this is not the long term solution, which I am looking for.
  • Yes, I wasn't looking for a solution as such, just trying to troubleshoot as in pinning down the source of the issue.

    Try to set the camera system to "MANUAL" and check whether triggering is reliable as long as you do not exceed the sync speed (1/180s). If this works, it seems clear that your V6II units do not make sufficient contact with the smaller pins in the hot-shoe.

    In this case, I don't see any other option than replacing your units. Did you get them from a dealer and are the units still under warranty? If so, you should be able to receive replacements or get them repaired.
  • N.B., do the flashes work fine directly on the camera? There is the unlikely case that the camera's hot-shoe itself has an issue.
  • Thanks Chris, please do update us on mounting the flash directly on camera hot shoe and if it is functioning as intended.

    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. 
  • The flash works perfectly fine on both cameras.
  • Thanks for confirming that your flash unit is indeed working. 

    While I am waiting for our R&D team for recommendation on troubleshooting your setup, my quick suggestion is whether this might help - removing the metal spring plate from your camera hot shoe. 

    Here's a video showing how it was done on an Olympus:



    From reading your previous description when you had PEN.A.001 installed on your V6 II but you never see Camera Info popping up on V6 II's display, this is the main issue, and not with firmware versions. 

    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 March 2018
    Hey guys,

    thanks for your answer.

    As already mentioned on march 21, "removing the metal spring plate from camera hot shoe did not lead to an improvement in consistency."

    I've been exclusively testing with 1/160s lastly.
  • Thanks for the update.

    I will report back after R&D gets back to me. 

    Basically, I would suggest you to use PEN.A.001. As long as you are getting a feedback on Camera Info: ISO / Lens Zoom, you should be able to fire the Metz mounted on a V6 II with manually selected flash profile. 

    Unfortunately we do not have a 52 AF-1 to test for you in our studio.

    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. 
  • Thanks for your effort!
  • Hi,
    the Metz 58 AF-1 works with the Pentax Auto or any of the other Metz Profiles on my K1.

    The manual says: "Profile Editor available for a PC or Mac“.
    But i only can find a Cactus V6II Profile Editor for Windows on the download site.
    Where can I find and download it? To make acustom Profile?

    Cheers Peter

  • Hi @Pid, there isn't a Profile Editor for Mac. Sorry!

    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. 
  • will there be a Profile Editor for Mac, as mentioned in the manual? That would be great.
  • edited April 2018
    Guys, this topic ain't about Metz 58, K1 or availability of mac software. I'm waiting for suggestions regarding my issue and would appreciate if you could discuss elsewhere as I always receive an email on new answers.

    Thank you.
  • Hi Antonio,

    I have bought a new pair of v6ii for testing.

    First impression:

    The camera system is detected with those ones, but camera info is only shown if I change the ISO. Aperture and shutter speed changes are not mirrored on the v6ii display.

    Any ideas on this?

    By now, I can't say anything about flash consistency, but I hope to find the time for testing within the next 1-2 days.
  • (tested with and without metal spring plate)
  • Interesting. So what do you see?

    Is it just blank for the other values? I have never seen only ISO values pop up and not zoom.

    As you know Pentax only brings up ISO and zoom values, whilst all other currently compatible camera systems transfers also aperture and shutter speed, just not Pentax.
    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 April 2018
    Ahh, good news. Probably I've overlooked that you mentioned only zoom and ISO are brought up by Pentax. That is exactly what I see.

    Now I'm looking forward to my extensive testing even more.

    I'll keep you posted.
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