Can we use a manual mode flash (specifically the Lumopro LP 160) On-Camera as well ? What are the cons of this ?

The only one I can think of is no TTL support.

Note : I will be using this with a Pentax k-x.

(Update : I confirmed from the manual that the flash does work on-camera fine. Would still like to know the cons of using a manual flash, as compared to one with an automatic mode)

My understanding is that a decent flash should have both manual plus automatic modes, and the manual modes typically get used more (esp off-camera). Is this correct ?

  • \$\begingroup\$ "As well" as what? \$\endgroup\$
    – mattdm
    Oct 18, 2011 at 14:18

2 Answers 2


Automatic modes are for when you want convenience and fast setup; manual mode is for when you need precision and repeatability. Therefore, automatic modes are preferred when moving around, the scene is dynamic or you don't have time to tweak the lighting; manual mode is more suitable for studio or location setups.

Having a manual flash on-camera vs. having it off-camera means you cannot do anything else neither with your hot shoe (e.g. radio trigger transmitter) nor with your pop-up flash (e.g. fill light).

Having a manual flash on-camera vs. having a more advanced flash on-camera means you are missing out on all the advanced features depending on data communication with camera, like TTL metering, high-speed sync, rear curtain sync or automatic zoom of flash head.

  • \$\begingroup\$ Thanks Imre - this covers both the comparisons that are relevant, and helps me get to a more informed decision for my specific use. From what I now understand, it would be good for me to have an Advanced flash which can be used on-camera. Later, I can always add a manual off-camera for studio type stuff (unlikely I will do that much) a d use the advanced flash to trigger it, if required. (There is always other mechanisms to trigger manual flashes anyway). \$\endgroup\$
    – Abhinav
    Oct 18, 2011 at 11:31
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ @Abhinav when choosing the advanced flash, you might find valuable info in the overview mattdm has made about Pentax flashes - pttl.mattdm.org \$\endgroup\$
    – Imre
    Oct 18, 2011 at 14:03
  • \$\begingroup\$ Whether an on camera manual flash (or off camera manual flash connected via a wired connection) can be used with rear curtain/2nd curtain sync has more to do with the camera than the flash. Cameras that don't lock out rear curtain sync from the menu when a TTL flash is not detected are usually capable of firing the manual flash just fast enough to get the burst in before the second curtain begins to close. \$\endgroup\$
    – Michael C
    Sep 4, 2017 at 6:43

I had a Metz 36C-2 which I bought for my Finepix S9600 which I sold some time ago and use this flash with my Pentax K-x. It is possible, but it needs longer time to adjust and it is not usable for quick shooting. I had the possibility to borrow Olympus DSLR with some Olympus TTL flash and it was really not comparable. Much more comfortable, quick and easy - I could more focus on what I am shooting and not on external flash setting.

Now I am thinking about buying P-TTL flash - probably also by Metz because it is cheaper than Pentax or Samsung flashes.

  • \$\begingroup\$ I have a Metz 58AF-1. While it's powerful and has many features, it still makes you muck around with the flash too much - its user interface is menu-driven with four soft buttons, so to adjust anything you have to watch the small LCD and use multiple key-presses in correct order. So it might be not the best choice if you really want to "focus on what you're shooting" - get something with dedicated buttons for its settings. \$\endgroup\$
    – Imre
    Oct 21, 2011 at 6:14

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