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Old Jun 26, 2003, 1:08 PM   #1
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Default flash usage question

Here is a link to a recent picture I took (posted to the wildlife section):

http://www.stevesforums.com/phpBB2/v...ic.php?t=11378

I had asked people to feel free to edit the picture to improve it. Klaus did that, and posted something more like what I had wanted to do myself (I'm not good with PS, ya see.)

This got me me wondering about flash usage. Is there any chance that I could have used a flash to fill in the front side of the heron, but not blow the hilight that Klaus fixed so well? Did I need a lower power flash setting? A higher aperture? flash sync prevented a higher shutter speed. Could it have been done at all? Use a better flash? If so, how? Any ideas?

Eric
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Old Jun 27, 2003, 2:50 AM   #2
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Default Re: flash usage question

Quote:
Originally Posted by eric s
Is there any chance that I could have used a flash to fill in the front side of the heron, but not blow the hilight that Klaus fixed so well? Did I need a lower power flash setting? A higher aperture? flash sync prevented a higher shutter speed. Could it have been done at all? Use a better flash? If so, how? Any ideas?
In my opinion, there are multiple ways to improve your already good shots. FIRST, is it possible to use a reflector in the right hand side of the image to get some sun light? SECOND, a small low-power flash may be very helpful. If your camera does not use preflash, the Sunpak DS20 which costs you less than $30.00 may be used in the slave mode to illuminate the right hand side. Since such a cheap small flash does not have aperture setting, one has to use flash-subject distance to control its intensity. THIRD, use a good slave flash. Again, the Sunpak PZ5000AF is a very good one with a very reasonable price ($150.00). You can use it as a slave flash and dial in the aperture you wish to use. Then, shoot. Note that the dialed in aperture does not have to be identical with the aperture being used on the camera. This is the trick for controlling the intensity the fill flash.

Hope this helps.

CK
http://www.cs.mtu.edu/~shene/DigiCam
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Old Jun 27, 2003, 9:42 AM   #3
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I agree that the fill flash would help the neck (which was darker than I wanted) but wouldn't that blow out the head even more? This is what happened when I tried the rather weak built in fill flash, but I am very ignorant in the ways of flash usage! I don't know if proper technique could have done it.

I like the idea of the reflector... it would have scared the bird away (when I moved to the right for a better angle he flew away), but I didn't think of using one. Humm.... I'll have to add a small reflector to my list of items to consider buying. Thanks for the tips.

I've heard good things about the sunpak flashes. Nice to know they are reasonably priced. I had been considering something much more powerful to use with a better beamer flash extender (my targets are normally much further away!) I assume something like the Metz 54 could be dialed down to give a similar effect as the lower power Sunpak DS20?

Eric
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Old Jun 27, 2003, 10:28 AM   #4
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Fill-in flash is a great idea-- if you have TTL flash metering! It's built in to my Olympus, and you can actually take a picture of the external flash unit pointed directly into the camera and get a properly exposed image. I routinely use this for properly exposing subjects that are strongly backlit with excellent results. One point, though-- if you are using the built-in flash, you'll probably need to set it to ALWAYS fire if you are taking backlit subjects; often there is enough light spilling from behind your subject to tell your camera the flash isn't needed for the shot. Only if you have your aperture set too large for the minimum power flash will you get gross overexposure.
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Old Jun 27, 2003, 11:03 AM   #5
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Eric

Don't forget on your 10D, you have FE lock with flash. ie use the AE lock button on your camera to do a spot metering with the flash to obtain the correct exposure for a specific part of the subject! (*FE lock on page 100 of the manual on using the built-in flash)

BTW this FE lock also works wirelessly all through TTL with one or more 550EX flashes off the camera... to do your fill/ratio. Otherwise you can also use Flash Exposure Bracketing with its high-speed burst (FEB on page 104-105 of the manual on using the 550EX on how to select the brackets). 8)
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Old Jun 27, 2003, 12:39 PM   #6
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lg

I assume the fill flash on the camera does TTL, but I don't actually know. Time to go back to the manual.

I guess I should have metered off the heron's head and that would have under exposed the bird... but that is recoverable in PS.

NHL
I actually did manual bracketing with the built in flash, with exposure comp. It did make for a better exposure, but I still blew the head out every time. I didn't think of FE lock. I should learn more about that. Thanks for the tip/reminder.

I've never had a camera with *any* type of flash before the 10D (my prev was the Pentax K1000. Bullet proof, but almost totally manual and only has a hot shoe.) So I'm still learning a lot about this.

Canon put out a pamphlet called "flash work" which is supposed to be very good and detailed about how eTTL works. I saw this post on another fourm from Chuck Westfall, Director/Technical Information Dept. Canon USA:
Quote:
Canon USA offers the "Flash Work" brochure (publication number CT2-1705-002) for people who are interested in learning the basic concepts of E-TTL, FEL, FP Flash, FEC, FEB and other related Canon flash terminology. If you haven't read it yet, please order a free copy through our Customer Support Center at 1-800-828-4040.
but as of 6/3/2003, they are out. This link, with all its bad spellings and some bad translations, is the complete booklet:

http://eosseries.ifrance.com/eosseri...fonctions.html

I will moste certainly read it when I get a ETTL capable flash.

Thanks for all the ideas and suggestions.

Eric
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Old Jun 27, 2003, 1:56 PM   #7
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* FE works everytime, just like on a regular exposure, ie if you don't lock on the subject and recompose, the camera will re-evaluate the shot for the whole frame, with flash or without flash! * FE lock with flash will hold the flash exposure based on the center spot and will hold this exposure with a TTL pre-flash, either with the built-in or the 550EX as you recompose your shot.

If you have multiple 550EX (or the Sigma 500DG Super), when you press the lens stop down button on the camera. All the units will emit a continuous modeling light pulses so you can evaluate the lighting balance/ratio (or shadows) and change them accordingly. All this is done wirelessly as well as the TTL metering. I thought this was very cool with my Minolta 9xi, and now available on this new 10D as well. 8)

* FE lock and Wireless ratio all with TTL:
http://www.eos-magazine.com/News_03_550EX.html
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Old Jun 27, 2003, 11:51 PM   #8
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Eric,

Quote:
Originally Posted by eric s
I agree that the fill flash would help the neck (which was darker than I wanted) but wouldn't that blow out the head even more? This is what happened when I tried the rather weak built in fill flash, but I am very ignorant in the ways of flash usage! I don't know if proper technique could have done it.
A slave flash could also be bounced or diffused in addition to a direct fill. Here are some light modifiers: http://www.lumiquest.com/ or you could use a mini softbox. Depending on the position of the flash, the head portion can be exposed properly.

Quote:
Originally Posted by eric s
I like the idea of the reflector... it would have scared the bird away (when I moved to the right for a better angle he flew away), but I didn't think of using one. Humm.... I'll have to add a small reflector to my list of items to consider buying. Thanks for the tips.
There are small five-in-one reflectors in white/silver/gold/black and diffuser. Here is an example: http://www.bhphotovideo.com/bnh6/con...=128414&is=REG

Quote:
Originally Posted by eric s
I had been considering something much more powerful to use with a better beamer flash extender (my targets are normally much further away!)
Then, try this: http://www.kirkphoto.com/brackets.html#xtender
I am aware of that Sunpak will release a tele-flash; however, since I do not have experience in using it, I cannot comment and/or recommend it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by eric s
I've heard good things about the sunpak flashes. Nice to know they are reasonably priced. I had been considering something much more powerful to use with a better beamer flash extender (my targets are normally much further away!) I assume something like the Metz 54 could be dialed down to give a similar effect as the lower power Sunpak DS20?
The Sunpak PZ5000AF is a very powerful flash; however, it is big and a little heavy. I believe it is worth $150.00 because its output power is similar to Nikon's SB80DX. In manual mode, it has a power ratio between 1/1 and 1/64. With 1/64, its output is much weaker than the DS20.

CK
http://www.cs.mtu.edu/~shene/DigiCam
Nikon Coolpix 950/990/995/2500/4500 user guide
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