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Old Aug 7, 2006, 6:48 AM   #111
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Sarah, you and your Assistants have done a great job and want to thank for all you have done.

It isn't easy dealing with so many different models and so many different people and their individual needs - thanks.
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Old Aug 7, 2006, 8:59 AM   #112
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Thank you for the time and effort you took to put this thread together.
Speaking for myself, I did learn a lot and as a result have many more questions...but then I tend to be a lurker...searching the forum for answers prior to asking.

Thanks once again! :|

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Old Aug 7, 2006, 9:37 AM   #113
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Sarah, Thank you for all of your work on this thread. It is most helpful and is also a good reference for what manuals don't cover. I'm sure I will be coming back to it quite a bit. I hope one of the admins here can sticky it to the top of the forum.
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Old Aug 7, 2006, 4:26 PM   #114
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Excellent Sarah and co. Thanks for all the time and effort spent putting Flash terms into layman speak for all to understand.

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Old Aug 7, 2006, 7:49 PM   #115
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Flash Thread Lesson 5 - External Flashes

When you begin to consider purchasing or using an external flash unit for your Pentax DSLR camera, please think back and refer to our Lesson 2 where we discussed the differences in TTL flash units and P-TTL flash units. Not all Pentax DSLR cameras are equally equipped. Let's review the kind of external flashes that each camera will accept:

1st D - TTL or P-TTL





K100D - P-TTL

While we are reviewing, let's also take a look at the P-TTL External Flashes that are currently, as of 08/07/2006, available:

Pentax 360 AF FGZ

Penta 540 AF FGZ

Promaster 5750DX*

Promaster 5550DX*

Promaster 7500DX*

Sigma EF-500 DG ST PA-PTTL

Sigma EF-500 Super DG ST PA-PTTL

* Promaster External Flash Units use a seperate flash module for various camera models. In researching Promaster Flash equipment, I have discovered three different Pentax flash modules. So please, be very careful when selecting a Promaster External Flash to be absolutely sure that you are getting the actual flash module that your DSLR camera requires.

You will see illustrated in the subsequent photos within this lesson the Sigma EF-500 DG ST flash. That just happens to be the flash I chose. Any one of the External Flashes I have listed above are supposed to work with Pentax DSLR cameras.

All of the illustrations in this lesson, show the External Flash mounted and used while installed on the camera's hot shoe. You should also know that there are also many accessory flash brackets. Some brackets are more expensive than others. Strobofame brand brackets are among the more expensive brackets that are available in the market today. The use of an accessory flash bracket is totally a personal choice.

Here isa photoof the BracketBoy brand bracket. I am not endorsing nor recommending any particular bracket. I am just using thisphototo show youwhat all brackets are designed to do: to move the external flash as far away from the camera's lens as possible to achieve better flash lighting. However, you must keep in mind that using an acessory flash bracket is going to require an additional flash cord to connect the now distance displaced external flash toyour camera's hot shoe.

So now, with the preliminary data and information out of the way, we can take an actual look at our selected External Flash mounted on the K100D camera. Please keep in mind that had any other model Pentax DSLR camera been selected, the actual installation would look very much the same, excepting for very minor, small details.

When mounting the External Flash on your camera's hot shoe, please keep in mind there are four electrical contact pins on the bottom of the male hot shoe found on your selectedExternal Flash that must properly line up with opposite female electrical contacts that are imbedded in the actual structure and design of your camera's hot shoe.

Sometimes the male hot shoe fits rather tightly or snugly into the female hot shoe structure built into you camera's body. Therefore, you must take specal care that the male hotshoe which is a component part of the External Flash unit is insert all the way into the camera's female hotshoe assembly and that all electrical contacts are properly lined up and making proper contact. This is essential because it is through these electrical contacts or pins thatyour camera "communicates" with theExternal Flash.

Here is a photo showing the electrical contacts that are a part of the female hot shoe assembly that is built into your camera's body. Remeber please, that a P-TTL External Flash Unit sends out a pre-flash pulse so that theyour camera and the External Flash Unit can jointly set the needed flashvolume for your proposed or susequent actual photo.

Some of the photos used to illustrate this lesson were taken with either the camera's built-in flash unit or the External Flash unit in the straight forward, non difussed flash position. That kind of flash lighting is often referred to as "direct flash." Keep in mind that most users perceive that kind or type of flash lighting to be somewhat harsh. Direct Flash also casts distinct and definableshadows that are, in some photo situations, not entirely desireable. You can avoid such shadows by using bounce flash, or modified bounce flash,where the the Flash Head is pointed upward at an angle greater than 45 degrees or upward to the full bounce position when the External Flash Units Flash Head is pointed upward at a 90 degree angle deflection from it normal straight foward or direct flash position.

I have mentioned it before, but I want to repeat that you have to be very aware of the fact that the ceiling or wall or that any filter being used on your flash discharge lens will directly affect the color of the light used in your photo. If you use a white ceiling, the light will not ake on any color and it will be pleasantly and fully useable. However if you bounce light of of a light green or blue ceiling, the light so reflected into your photo will take on a measurably green or blue tinge. IMHO that will adversely affect the appearance of your photo.

On the Sigma EF-500 DG ST PA-PTTL External Flash that we selected and used to illustrate this lesson, the Flash Head can both be tilted and sweviled by pressing the appropiate built-in buttons that release the flash head to complete the necessary tilting and sweviling motions desired. Most of the other flash unit will probably include these same or similiar functions. Some Promaster External Flash Units incorporate an unusual small secondary flash unit ibuilt-into the face of the External Flash Unit's actual structure than can be set to provide a small amount of fill flash when the External Flash Unit's Flash Head is moved into the bounce position. You would have to refer to the specific Promaster documentation for those particular flashes to get specific information about this fill flash function, which can electively be turned on or off, as desired. I just wanted youto know that that design feature is available and incorporated into certain Promaster models.

For close-up or macro fans you should also know that Promaster also makes a ring flash unit that utilizes the same flash module that is used in their regular External Flash Units. Using that same flash module for two flash units could save you some money in the purchase price of the second, or in this case, the ring flash.

Next we will show you a series of captioned photos showing the various External Flash Unit, Flash Head positions. In our next Lesson Continuation, we will show various flash photos that can be taken using the Flash Head positions that we are demonstrating/showing to you intoday's External Flash Unit-Hardware Section.

Our first photo shows the External Flash Unit with the head in its normal or direct flash position.

Our next photo shows the External Flash Unit with the Flash Head elevated to the 45 degree position that is sometimes called the "semi bounce" position because this Flash Head position allows part of the light from the flash to be bounced and the balance of the flashoutput to be spilled intoyour photo and to actin a fill flash fashion.

Our next photo shows the External Flash unit's Flash Head in the straight up, or 90 degree position, where you are using a full bounce (all of the flash output is fullyprojected, or mostlyfully projectedtoward a ceiling or a wall. Please remember that the full bounce position is very useful because it provides soft, shadowless light.

Our next photo shows the accessory flash filter lensthat built into the Flash Head of our selected External Flash Unit. It is stowed in the upper horizontal lip of the Flash Head. When that fliterlens is pulled outward and swung downward 90 degrees into position over the face of the flash discharge lens it widens or modifies the projected flash light coverage to a much wider pattern to provide a wider light coverage that is required for wide angle lenses with a focal length of less than 18mm.

Our next photo illustrates how bounce flash can be utilized from a wall when taking a photo in the vertical or portrait format.

Our final photo shows how a photo being taken in the horizontal or landscape format, can also use a vertical wall for bounce flash when the Flash Head is sweviled.

So today (08/07) we have shown all of the hardware functions of our selected External Flash Unit. Please understand that this Flash Thread is provided to you to help you only better understand the selected External Flash Unit.This Flash Thread in no way will prepare you totally to use this selected External Flash Unit nor is iot designedto answer every or all questions that you might have.To achieve total preparation and all possible information, we stronly recommend that you thoroughly read and understand the documentation for your own selected External Flash Unit.


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Old Aug 7, 2006, 7:55 PM   #116
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Nicely done, Sarah! Thank you very much for the entire thread.

Regards, Lawrence
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Old Aug 7, 2006, 10:15 PM   #117
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Excellent job! I have learned much through the thread which I continue to re-read. Though I'm a Nikon D50 owner, I have been able to translate most if not all of the info to help me learn.

Bravo! I can't say I am happy the lessons are over, but I think you have done all of us an invaluable service!

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Old Aug 12, 2006, 12:00 PM   #118
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This is excellent and should be a sticky in this forum.

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Old Aug 12, 2006, 12:32 PM   #119
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Just a picture of another flash bracket. This Stroboframe allows the camera to flip up for vertical shots while the flash stays put.

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Old Aug 13, 2006, 12:57 PM   #120
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I was playing with the Sigma EF-500 DG st today and i'm wondering if it has a tiristor control in it. My old flash, An old, but very flexible Philips flash, has, it keeps the unused power in the "thing that gets loaded"so it will load faster, and youre not wasting power.After shutting dow the Philips I can unload itby pressing the test button -it flashes- . When I shut-of theSigma, pressing test won't give a flash.

Not a big deal, but maybe somebody knows ?


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