Go Back   Steve's Digicams Forums > Digital SLR and Interchangeable Lens Cameras > Pentax / Samsung dSLR, K Mount Mirrorless

Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Old Sep 25, 2008, 11:50 PM   #1
Senior Member
 
tacticdesigns's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2008
Posts: 998
Default

Hello Everyone,

As I've probably been mentioning, I just got a Vivitar 285HV external flash. My 1st external flash for my Pentax K100D, because I was just too scared to hook up my old Vivitar 3700 to my camera, for fear of blowing up my camera.

Anyway, I took my camera and flash down to the park when I took my daughter down and shot this image of my daughter's, friend's, brother. (Isn't that a song or something?)

I'm just so pleased at how well the skin reproduction turned out by tossing so much more light at the subject with the external flash.

If you don't have an external flash for your K100D, get one! It helps get the CCD the light that it deserves! And it will pay you back in spades!

And don't be like me! I complained about my K100D for a year when what I should have done is just sit down and learn how to use the thing!

Take care,
Glen






tacticdesigns is offline   Reply With Quote
Sponsored Links
Old Sep 26, 2008, 8:47 AM   #2
Senior Member
 
mtngal's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2005
Location: Frazier Park, CA
Posts: 16,056
Default

A lovely picture, and you are right - an external flash makes a huge difference, as does discovering some of the ins and outs of the particular camera you are using. There's a huge number of features on mine that I've never used and only sort-of half figured out, but I'm working on it, and having great fun at the same time.
mtngal is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Sep 26, 2008, 9:08 AM   #3
Senior Member
 
kazuya's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2008
Posts: 1,007
Default

that really is a nice candidpicture, but do you have dirt on ur sensor just a spot on the right and a small hairlike mark on the left near the boys head, just spoils what is a great shot

i might invest in an external flash but ive spent so much already, just bought a tripod, might treat myself at xmas

ive still my got my head in the manual most days finding new features all the time, theres so much to remember, i need a big sign on the camera saying check iso before shooting lol

am i right in thinking if i do get an external flash im best to get a pentax one to benefit from all the features?


kazuya is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Sep 26, 2008, 9:20 AM   #4
Moderator
 
Join Date: Aug 2004
Posts: 8,529
Default

Good for you! An external flash is definitely a 'must' IMO - regardless of the DSLR you use. As you've pointed out it's one of those items that, once you see how much it improves shots, you kick yourself for not having sooner.

Congratulations!
JohnG is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Sep 26, 2008, 11:20 AM   #5
Senior Member
 
tacticdesigns's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2008
Posts: 998
Default

Hello Kazuya,

I'm new to using an external flash so I'm a little afraid to answer your question.

I guess it really depends on what you want to do with your camera and flash and how you want to use them.

It's been a while since I looked at the specs for the 360 or 540. I was looking at them when I was shopping for a flash, but they were out of my budget so I ended up figuring out something else.

If you want to have a powerful auto-mode, I would say you are probably better off going with a 360 or 540 because, as you say, they are designed to work with your camera.

My buddy has a Canon XTi with a really automatic flash (I think its the 430 EX or EZ?) Anyway, his flash does TTL exposure control so the camera and flash communicate to figure out how much flash the scene needs + his is auto-zoom, which means that when he zooms out on his lens and takes a picture, his flash automatically zooms out as well so that it can concentrate the light to match the angle of view of the lens. Makes the flash more powerful at that point & can save battery power. It has 2nd curtain sync as well. As he said, he can point it and shoot. But then again, he couldn't figure out how to put the flash in auto-zoom mode. I ended up having to figure that out for him. But now that it's on that mode, he says he's just going to leave it there. And he's been interested in cameras longer than I have and is just as serious about taking images. That's how he shoots!

For how I use my camera . . . I've been noticing that more than half the time I have my camera on manual exposure with manual focusing. I like having manual control. Probably because I am fascinated with cameras and just want to learn how they work and how to take pictures with them in detail. I've actually got a Pentax K1000 sitting in my closet so when I feel I've learned enough on my K100D, I'm going to take it out shooting with film. <grin>

So I ended up wanting to explore off-camera flash use like they talk about at The Strobist ( http://strobist.blogspot.com/ ).

Since I have a very limited budget, I decided to go really cheap on the Flash. (I got a Vivitar 285HV for $80 -- the new Digital SLR safe one) which provides more light than the 540 I believe (I think the 540 has a guide number of 54, the 360 is 36. My Vivitar 285HV I believe is something like 120? [WARNING: Don't read anything I say about guide numbers. I got it all wrong. Read Goldwinger's comment below!] which I figured I was going to lose a lot of light bouncing it into an umbrella), but is not dedicated to the Pentax and thus has much less features than the 360 or 540.

But, it has some nice manual control features (ie. I can manually zoom the flash to wide, normal or tele myself quickly. I just have to get in the habit of remembering to do that.) I can not only put the flash on manual, but I can dial it down so it only puts out either 1/2, 1/4 or 1/16th of its power all with a quick twist of a dial at the front of the flash, which not only controls how much light is output (to control rendering), but at 1/16th power, the duration of the light is really short so it has more "motion stopping" ability.

Plus, I think I can get the flash (which I paid $80) for + a remote wireless trigger (which I paid $20 for, but just waiting for it to arrive) + a bounce umbrella, bracket to hold the flash & umbrella + a light stand. All for the cost of the 540, if not even just a 360.

So I get to play with some soft off-camera lighting to keep working on taking better portrait shots of my family.

But the Con is that I can't just point and shoot. I have to think about what the condition is and reconfigure my camera and flash. I've only used the 285HV a couple of times & both times I put the K100D in manual exposure mode shutter speed 1/125th sec. I figured out the F-stop with my light meter to meter for the sunlight & ended up just cranking my flash on manual. I used the manual 1/2 and 1/4 power depending on how much out of the shadows my daughter and friends ended up being.

If none of this techno babble excites you, go with the 360 or 540. If some of it intrigues you, visit The Strobist site ( http://strobist.blogspot.com/ ) to whet your curiousity.

Then figure out what you want to do with your flash and how you want to use your camera and flash.

Then read all you can about what features the different flashes have and how you would control them.

(The manual for the 285HV is here . . . http://www.butkus.org/chinon/vivitar...lash_units.htm )

And then go out and buy the flash!

No matter what flash you get, I'm pretty sure you are going to be ecstactic about it!

And you and your camera will be much happier!

Take care,
Glen

tacticdesigns is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Sep 26, 2008, 11:41 AM   #6
Senior Member
 
tacticdesigns's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2008
Posts: 998
Default

Another 285HV shot - shot the same day.



Wanted to see what I could do with my new Vivitar 285HV. It was a really, really bright day. (At ISO200, 1/125sec it was F16 in the sun and F5.6 in the shadows.) I purposely composed the shot so that my camera was facing towards the sun and put my daughter's and her friend's face in the shadows. From the calculator on the side of the flash, it said that at full manual blast at F16 I was good for 10ft. I stood about 7ft back and just fired the camera. I'm very pleased on how well lit their faces turned out to be and that I still got some blueness in the sky.

I'm thinking that the other parents must of thought I was insane using such a big flash on such a bright day. <grin>

Take care,
Glen

tacticdesigns is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Sep 26, 2008, 3:07 PM   #7
Senior Member
 
mtngal's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2005
Location: Frazier Park, CA
Posts: 16,056
Default

Sigma also makes a P-TTL flash that will work with Pentax cameras - its not as bright as the 540, but significantly cheaper. I have the 540 and find that I still have to learn more about flash to make it work the way I think it should in all situations, but it's been fun playing with it.
mtngal is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Sep 26, 2008, 4:08 PM   #8
Senior Member
 
tacticdesigns's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2008
Posts: 998
Default

Yeah. I write way too much.

I guess what I was trying to say is that picking a flash is personal.

I like to drive standard transmission cars and get caught up in the mechanics of things. As an extension, I've decided to get a flash that lets me muck around with messing things up. And because it's so basic, I'm forced to muck around with things sooner than later.

My buddy likes driving automatic transmissions. He's a really good driver. Better than me. He's focusing on the driving. [NOTE: I meant to say He's focusing on the destination. Ok, forget the analogy. He's concentrating on the final picture.He's working with subject matter, composition, etc. Stuff that I still have to sit down and learn. Yes. He's a better photographer thanme. <grin>]

Both cars get us where we're going.

Just a different ride. Different experience. But we both enjoy driving.

I would have no problem suggesting to someone that they should consider the Pentax flashes. Since they are designed to work with your camera, yes they should have more bells and whistles and be easier.

Sorry for being so long winded.

Take care,
Glen

tacticdesigns is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Sep 26, 2008, 4:50 PM   #9
Senior Member
 
kazuya's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2008
Posts: 1,007
Default

no itmade an interesting read, thx very much.

looks like youve deffinatly got the hang of that flash, what i like about your second photo is the shadows coming towards the camera, very nice indeed


kazuya is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Sep 26, 2008, 9:50 PM   #10
Senior Member
 
Goldwinger's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2008
Location: Winter Haven, Florida
Posts: 6,515
Default

Hello Glen,
Its great having a good external flash isn't it! That was one of my first "must have" after I discovered how poorly my indoor pictures were turning out. After doing a bit of research on the sigma and the Vivitar I finally decided to bite the bullet and get the Pentax 540. I refused to take a shower until the guys at work pulled all their money together and bought me the flash. Just kidding

I knew I would eventually need all the features and didn't want to buy Vivitar or Sigma or even the 360 and then have to put out more money a few months down the road to get the one I really wanted. Although looking back, it wouldn't have been a loss of investment because I could always use it for a second remote flash… oh well.
Anyway I'm very happy with mine and highly recommend it. Also keep in mind when comparing guide numbers, to determine if they are quoted in feet or meters. The 285-HV … GN 120 feet or about 36 meters. $80
The AF-540… GN 177feet or about 54 meters. $320
Sigma 530ST and 530Super are GN 158 feet or about 48meters. $200-$300
So, you get the more flash per dollar spent, as long as it'll do what you want it too.
Keep up the good work!
GW:bye:
Goldwinger is offline   Reply With Quote
 
Reply


Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off



All times are GMT -5. The time now is 5:07 PM.