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Old Nov 3, 2010, 2:35 AM   #1
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Default Fill Flash Technique

Hi All,

So, I just got the Sigma EF-530 DG flash for my Pentax K-X. I've been trying to learn how to use Fill Flash, but I find it either too light or I am still seeing shadow. What is the technique?

Also, beside setting the flash to "TTL", is there anything else I need to set on the camera itself, if I want to use P-TTL?

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Old Nov 3, 2010, 4:13 AM   #2
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Hi from what I can see the camera has the following modes flash off, fill in, slow sync and auto mode. I would set the flash to TTL and then try the different modes and see what gives you the best results. You may need to set yourself up in tv mode on the camera and set the speed yourself this way you wont have a slow shutter speed giving camera shake. To get the best out of flash I try to bounce off ceilings or walls
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Old Nov 3, 2010, 12:04 PM   #3
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Pentax doesn't use TTL mode any longer. It is all P-TTL since the *ist DS or DL. You will hear the two modes mixed together, though.
Using P-TTL, you are telling the camera to expose for a flash picture, and it will set the sync speed for flash, and use the reflected pre-flash to set the aperture. If you are outdoors, on a sunny day, this may result in overexposure. If you have a fill-in mode, try that, as it will adjust exposure for ambient light and just use the flash to reduce shadows somewhat. You also should have HSS mode, which allows you to use the flash at shutter speeds higher than sync speed.
If you are comfortable using manual settings, set your exposure with the flash off, then lower it 1/2 to 1 EV, turn your flash on, set it to about 1/4 power, and try that. Adjust up or down as needed. It takes practice, but you will soon learn what works under what conditions.

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Old Nov 3, 2010, 12:26 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by raylee011 View Post
Hi All,

So, I just got the Sigma EF-530 DG flash for my Pentax K-X. I've been trying to learn how to use Fill Flash, but I find it either too light or I am still seeing shadow. What is the technique?
Like non-flash work, there is no single solution for how to do flash photography. There isn't a single "this is how you do fill flash" answer any more than there is a simple answer for how to set a camera's exposure without using flash.

Over brightness can be caused by several factors:
1) being too close to the subject and using direct flash
2) shooting in light that's too bright for the camera/flashes synch speed to provide an accurate exposure
3) the way the flash meters is different than the way YOU wish it would meter (same as with a camera - leave a camera in auto mode and it doesn't choose the best exposure 100% of the time).

Shadows can be caused by a lot of factors too:
1) Power output isn't enough to fill all shadow areas - this can be a result of the camera's exposure being too close to ambient so very low flash power is used
2) directionality of light - guess what - if you shoot a direct flash at an object there's going to be a shadow behind that object - bouncing the light puts the shadow DOWN (but doesn't work if there's nothing to bounce off and also isn't always desirable from a direction standpoint). This is often why studios will use 2 main strobes so you have light sources from two different directions - each one filling in the shadow cast by the other light source.

As with anything about photography, there's no single answer. You've got to address things on a case by case basis. If you post a photo and specify what it is about the photo you don't like, we can give you better answers as to what might have gone wrong in the photo and what you could consider doing differently to get a better result - for that type of shot. A different type of shot in a different situation may have a different answer.
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