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Old Oct 19, 2007, 8:10 PM   #1
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Help please.

Being almost totally new to external flash use, I need some help on how to use a Sunpac 383 Flash on my S9100.

Does anyone out there use this set-up ? My understanding is it works real well as a non dedicated unit on the S9100.

I think I have figured out the Manual workings ? but cannot seem to get it to work right set on Auto. The Finepix Manual states to hold a piece of white paper in front of lens to get the correct ISO. I did this several times in custom flash settings and still cannot get the flash to fire. The camera seems to stay on ISO 400 !!!!

Would someone out there in flash tech land please advise me the correct step by step procedures.

Right now I am having a major senior moment trying to get it to work.

Many Thanks, RAG.
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Old Oct 19, 2007, 8:14 PM   #2
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The easiest way to use a Flash like the Sunpak 383 Super is by using manual exposure, setting the aperture on the camera to match the aperture the flash tells you to use for the Auto Range you pick.

You'll have 3 different Auto Ranges to choose from.

For example, the middle range on my Sunpak 333 Auto shows 4 1/2 to 30 feet with the zoom head extended (my 333 Auto is a similar flash to a Sunpak 383 Super, only my 333 Auto has 3 position manual zoom head on it).

The flash will show you the aperture to set the camera to for the selected Auto range on the flash (you'll have 3 different auto settings with different distances shown from short to long), based on what ISO speed you want to use (it will have a sliding iso speed scale, and the aperture you need to set will vary by ISO speed).

For example, with my Sunpak set on the middle range using ISO 100, I can shoot at f/4 at anything from 4 1/2 to 30 feet with the zoom head extended. It changes with my zoom head position, but wouldn't with a 383 Super.

If I move the ISO speed slider to ISO 200, it will show f/5.6 as the aperture to set on the camera for that selected range. If I move it to ISO 400, and can shoot at f/8 within the same distances shown for the range I selected, etc.

In addition to 3 different Auto Ranges with different distance ranges and aperture settings, the flash will have manual power settings. I've got full, 1/2, 1/4, 1/8 1/16 on my Sunpak 333 Auto.

The Sunpak models like the 383 Super have a built in sensor that measures reflected light during the exposure. When it sees enough reflected light for the selected Auto Range, it terminates the flash output. So, the flash is controlling the exposure.

You just need to set the flash and camera to match for iso speed and aperture. Then, use a shutter speed that's appropriate for the amount of ambient light you want to let into the image (shutter speed has no bearing on the amount of light from the flash the camera sees, since the flash burst is very short). Usually around 1/100 second is good for a starting point.

Then, tweak exposure from there. For example, if your photos are underexposed, try using a higher ISO speed for the same flash settings, or opening up the aperture another stop (i.e., from f5.6 to f/4). Or, if you're getting overexposed photos, do the opposite (go to a lower ISO speed or close down your aperture a stop). But, the defaults should be pretty close if you set the camera and flash to match using one of the available Auto ranges on the flash. I'd probably set your white balance to either Sunny or Flash.




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Old Oct 19, 2007, 8:37 PM   #3
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Jim C.

Thanks for the fast help.

Seems to work ok in Manual mode (White)

I tried it in Green Red and Orange modes, setting the Aperture on the camera.

Went into the menu and set the WB to custom and shot using white paper. Camera tells me WB setting is ok. Then go back and take a shot and flash does not respond.

By the way I have a Sync Cord plugged in when in G.R.O. modes re the 9100 manual on using external flash.

What the heck am I doing wrong ?

Thanks RAG.


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Old Oct 20, 2007, 2:14 AM   #4
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JimC.

I followed the Finepix manual and once again connected the Sync Cord as it stated in the procedure for setting up external flash. The flash now works with the cord and the camera set to Manual.

What operational difference is the Sync Cord making ? I don't see anything change.

Why does the camera manual inform one to set up the flash this way ?

Thanks, RAG.
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Old Oct 20, 2007, 8:32 AM   #5
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If it will only fire with a sync cord, you probably don't have the external flash option turned on in the menus (which probably activates the hotshoe).

It's the last choice on the second page of your record options screens (change EXTERNAL FLASH to ON).



Why are you setting a custom white balance with a white piece of paper?

If it's not measuring the flash, you're just reading the room light and setting white balance for it. That's going to make your photos blue if you use a flash. ;-)

For flash, you probably need to set your white balance to either flash or daylight (sunny) if it's providing most of the light.


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Old Oct 20, 2007, 12:03 PM   #6
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JimC.

Thanks.

Yes that's the first thing I did, change over to external flash in the menu.

Maybe I confused you. It works ok now with or without the cord. I just wondered why the S9100 owners manual, section using external flash states in the procedure, "using the sync cord". It also states to use a piece of white paper to set WB using a camera custom setting.

When I tried the this WB procedure, it either totally over exposed or the external flash would not work at all. I gave up on this, as I believe this is used only for flashes with automatic flash control ( Next page in the owners manual)

Never the less the owners manual is very confusing. It does state external flash unit must meet the following requirements. 1. The Aperture can be set. 2. External flash sycn can be used. 3. The sensitivity can be set.

I just don't understand why the use of the cord, when the flash works ok without it. What am I missing here ???

Thanks, RAG.


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Old Oct 20, 2007, 12:49 PM   #7
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ragfuji wrote:
Quote:
I just wondered why the S9100 owners manual, section using external flash states in the procedure, "using the sync cord".
It's got a section on using a sync cord, in case you want to use a sync cord (to get your flash off camera), or if you're using a flash that requires a sync cord. Not all flashes use a hotshoe.

Quote:
It also states to use a piece of white paper to set WB using a camera custom setting.
I see where it looks like it can do that (fire the flash while setting a custom WB). But, it's probably more trouble than it's worth unless you plan on trying to let a lot of ambient light in using slow shutter speeds and/or high iso speeds at wider apertures. The daylight WB setting should get you pretty close with the flash providing most of the light.

Quote:
When I tried the this WB procedure, it either totally over exposed or the external flash would not work at all. I gave up on this, as I believe this is used only for flashes with automatic flash control ( Next page in the owners manual)
It's got Auto Settings. ;-) You still need to set the camera and flash to match for ISO speed and aperture and shoot within the distances shown on the flash for the range selected, and you still want to use manual exposure on the camera. That's what it means by Auto. The camera can't control the flash settings with any of them. But, your flash has both manual power settings (1/16, 1/8, 1/2, 1/4, full) as well as 3 Auto Ranges.

It's Auto modes are when the flash is measuring it's own output and terminating the flash burst when it sees enough light for the aperture and iso speed selected on both the camera (using manual exposure) and the flash.

You're probably too close for the range selected and settings you're using on the camera and flash. You'll see the distances you can use one at when you select an Auto Range on the flash (using the camera in manual exposure mode with the same ISO speed and aperture the flash says to use). You may have to tweak it with some cameras (as I explained in my first post to this thread).

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Old Oct 20, 2007, 3:02 PM   #8
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JimC

Thanks. that clarifies it.

Appreciate all the help.

RG.


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