Pentax K200D Flash
The Pentax K200D features a built-in, pop-up flash, which operates in either Auto, Flash On (forced flash), Auto + Red-eye reduction, Flash On + Red-eye reduction or Wireless mode. First and Second Curtain sync modes are available, as well as Slow-sync. To release the flash from its compartment, press the Flash Up button on rear panel, left of the eyepiece. Close it again by pushing the flash head back down.
The Pentax K200D's built-in flash has a guide number rating of 43 feet (13 meters) at ISO 100, translating to a range of about 15 feet at ISO 100 with an f/2.8 lens. (About average power for an SLR.) A Flash Exposure Compensation feature controls the flash exposure -2.0 to +1.0 stops in 1/2 or 1/3-stop increments. Maximum sync speed is 1/180 second, though if an external flash that supports high-speed sync is used, such as the Pentax AF540FGZ or AF360FGZ, maximum shutter speed with flash is 1/4,000 second.
In Wireless mode, the built-in flash can be used as a controller for multiple wireless slave flashes (including the Pentax AF540FGZ and/or AF360FGZ flash units). The built-in flash can be set to contribute to the exposure, or to act only as a controller. The Pentax wireless flash system offers four control channels, so up to four camera/flash setups can be used in the same area without interfering with each other. The K200D can connect on any of the four control channels: You program it by setting a flash unit to the desired channel, attaching that flash to the camera and then half-pressing the shutter button. This sets the camera to the channel the flash was set up for. After this, the flash may be removed and used as a remote unit, controlled by the camera.
Normally, all flashes used (whether on-camera or remote) contribute equally to the exposure, however each external flash can be set to one of the following ratios: 1/1, 2/3, 1/2 or 1/3. Additionally, each flash can be adjusted to under- or overexpose in 0.5 stop increments from -3.0 stops to +1.0 stop. All of this is relative to the overall flash exposure that can be adjusted on the camera by from -2.0 stops to +1.0 stop. Alternately, the Pentax flash units offer a Contrast-Control-Sync mode (CCS for short), which drops a flash's power to half of normal. Units set to CCS mode can thus be used to provide "fill" illumination. When used with the K200D, and when the K200D's internal flash is also contributing to the exposure, the external flash in CCS mode will expose normally, while the K200D's built-in flash will cut its exposure contribution by half.
The Pentax K200D also has a top-mounted hot shoe for attaching an external flash unit. Like most entry-level digital SLRs, no dedicated PC-sync terminal is provided, but an adapter is available to connect from the K200D's flash shoe to a single external Pentax flash unit.
Flash Test Results
Coverage and Range
Good flash performance, with uneven coverage at wide-angle, but good coverage and intensity at telephoto. Much lower than average positive exposure compensation required.
|Normal Flash, Default Exposure||Slow-Sync Mode, -0.3 EV|
Coverage and Exposure. Flash coverage was a bit uneven at wide angle, with falloff in the corners of the frame. However, at telephoto, coverage is much more even. Indoors, under incandescent background lighting, the Pentax K200D's flash performed very well, requiring no exposure compensation (0.0 EV) for a (very) bright image in our Indoor Portrait scene. With the camera's slow-sync flash mode, results are quite bright even with -0.3 EV compensation, though the longer shutter time results in a much stronger orange cast from the ambient background lighting.
ISO 100 Range. The Pentax K200D's flash was bright and powerful, with good intensity all the way to about 15 feet at ISO 100 at 18mm. At 55mm, flash images started out a bit dim, but flash intensity didn't fall until about 9 feet.
|Manufacturer-Specified Flash Range|
Manufacturer-Specified Flash Test. The Pentax K200D's guide number is 13 meters in auto mode at ISO 100, which translates to about 12.2 feet at f/3.5 and 7.6 feet at f/5.6. In the shots above, the K200D seems to perform at least as well as Pentax says it will, producing good exposures at the rated distances with its ISO set to 100.
Note: Our standard test method for flash range uses a fixed setting of ISO 100, to provide a fair basis of comparison between cameras. With the above test, we're also looking at whether their stated specification rings true.