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Old Oct 27, 2006, 12:53 PM   #1
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I recently purchased a Sigma EF500 ST DG for my Canon Digital Rebel XT and I also bought a Sto Fen diffuser.

I am really new with flash photography and would appreciate someone sharing their wisdom with me.

I grasp the bounce flash concept.

It seems like most of the time when I use the Sigma flash,I wind up with serious overexposures. The attatched pic is an example. It was taken in a meeting room, no outside lighting, fluroscent lighting, Sigma 28-70 f2.8 at 70mm lens, the sigma flash with diffuser and the flash pointed straight upat the ceiling which is white ceiling tile and teh ceiling height is about 10 feet. I was about 20 feet from the subject in this picture. Adjusting the flash head downward slightly increases the overexposure problem.

Use of the diffuser also seems to increase the over exposure issue and I thought it would do the opposite by providing more even lighting. I do have the flash compensation setting on the camera set to underexpose slightly and teh flash itself is set for TTL

All that said can someone give me some rule of thumb guidelines? It there a way to tone down the flash strength?

Would appreciate any comments.

Thanks.
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Old Oct 27, 2006, 5:49 PM   #2
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Yes there is a way to tone down the flash strength. I don't own that flash, but the manual should tell you how.
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Old Oct 27, 2006, 9:33 PM   #3
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I bought it second hand and it didnt come with a manual so Im sort of stuck
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Old Oct 28, 2006, 9:50 AM   #4
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Hi David,

First thing to do is move your subject farther from the background to avoid the shadows around the ears.

Next is to try using aperture preferred and set the ISO to 100 and F-stop to F/8. Your camera shutter speed should probably be 1/60th. with the flash activated.

You can also try using the auto feature on the flash and not use TTL. On some cameras, TheTTL will not function properly if the flash is tilted. I'm not sure if yours is one like that or not.

Also I see you use your lens at it's longest length which is 70mm so I don't think you will have a problem there. Set your camera a little above the subjects head pointing the lens down just a little and focus on the eyes, Don't shoot streight at eye level into your subjects face.

Next is to call Sigma and get a manual for the flash if all else fails.

Ronnie.


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Old Oct 28, 2006, 6:50 PM   #5
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Ronnie

Thanks for your response. I will try your suggestions. One thing I have been messing around with is shooting in portrait mode to see how the camera sets itself and then trying to duplicate those settings in both aV and tV modes

I have also been messing around with the on board flash and have got some decent results by making a diffuser by covering the flash with like a piece of Wal Mart bag

I think what I am going to try is as you suggested, pull the subject further from the back drop, come closer to the subject so that I am not zoomed all the way out and use the camera flash with my home made diffuser, I will try the settings you suggested as well and set the white balance

I am very interested in your remark about shooting slightly down and focusing n teh eyes. The sample pic you used looks exceptional. Can you explain your suggestion?

Again, thanks
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Old Oct 28, 2006, 9:31 PM   #6
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Hi David,

Just set your tripod a little bit higher then your subjects head. Do not have the lens at subject eye level. Do focus on the eyes though! Setting the lens to 70mm is what you want if you have the room.

I just did 79 portraits at a church school for Grandparents day and had to have them done in 1 & 1/2 hours. These are all of Grandparents and their Grandchildren. The room I had to use was kind of small so I had set my 18/200 lens from 35mm to 65mm. (Depending on how many people in the scene) White balance setat auto and I used ISO 800 and set my camera (Nikon D-200)in Manual mode and used 1/60 shutter speed at F-20 to get as much depth of field as possible. I used two travel light 750 flash units and my backdrop is a pho-tek background in a bag. I could have used my SB-800 and SB-600 flashes and got good results but I really needed the speed for this project. Using the mono-lights was really the best way for consistency and speed. If it was just a few pictures I would just use the Nikon flash on a stroboframe press-t bracket.

You really need to get the manual for your flash. I can't help you much there because I use Nikon equipment and do not know very much about how Canon or Sigma functions. I know that the Canon cameras are very good and the Sigma flash is probably OK but is it compatible to use TTL with your camera?

Ronnie

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