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Old Mar 6, 2005, 1:20 AM   #1
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Today I finally got up the nerve to try my external flash on my FZ20.. I've been considering the Sunpak 383 (or equiv) for a portable flash but right now, I need another flash like I need a hole in the head. Anyway, my flash is a Metz 50MZ5 which is a handle mount flash.. Way overkill for a lot of situations but I picked it up a few months ago dirt cheap. The flash fires via an electronic module that fits on the shoe and actually holds the auto exposure sensor so there's not much danger of a high voltage spike in the camera. It is also the computer that sets the flash. The flash has a fill flash so when the main head is aimed elsewhere the fill can be used at 1/4, 1/2, 3/4 or full power (or turned off). The main unit fires based on the set desired exposure.

So... I put the flash on the camera and right away, even without turning the flash on, the camera recognized there was Something on the hot shoe. Turn it on, point, focus, shoot and below is the result.. 1/60 sec, f2.8, iso 100 (external was in Preset mode, this is important to the lesson learned)

To say the least, not very pleasing.. Of course I realize that the setup is manual and the camera does nothing to adjust flash output (knew that when I bought the camera). But I figured I could at least manually set the camera. With that in mind, I try to stop the aperture down (in aperture priority, my preferred method).. No can do... Fixed at f2.8... What the H??? Okay, I can get around this, switch over to Shutter priority and go to 1/500... Again, No can do.. Limited to 1/250.. Okay, try a few, set the exposure bias down -2, get something more reasonable but I can do just as well with the built in flash..

Still a little too hot for my liking but I can swivel the flash head and bounce it off the wall or something (the dog was 4 feet from me), dial down the fill and finally came up with..

Still better but I actually like them a bit darker than this so the white hair on his chest isn't washed out. Fiddle around with it some more, same settings on the camera but slightly different on the flash...

and ...

Other than a resize none of these photos are post processed in any way (sorry exif chasers, photoshop 5 strips it out).. Again, Preset external mode.. Not happy with being unable to set my own settings for exposure.. In fact, I'm downright ticked (I have other words for it but Steve won't let us post that sort of language).. Thinking my options are limited with respect to external flash, I decide to have a quick look in the manual fully expecting to see that I'm sol when it comes to using my own settings.. Fortunately, that's not the case..

So.. the lesson.. Before you get all worked up about something you think you Can't do, check the book.. When all else fails... READ THE MANUAL..

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