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Old Jul 19, 2009, 4:23 PM   #91
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I got a Metz 58 af-1 a couple months ago and still have no clue what I'm doing. So I'm in, of coarse I made it 57 years (so far) with no clue what I was doing.
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Old Jul 19, 2009, 4:31 PM   #92
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FL Gulfer-

You are very correct. The Metz 58 AF-1 is a complex flash unit. I use the Pentax AF-360 and I have been very pleased with its performance and simplicity. Because I have never used the Metz 58, I cannot provide much personal experience for you. Sorry! Perhaps somebody else reading this thread will post some help for you.

Sarah Joyce
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Old Jul 19, 2009, 8:45 PM   #93
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Default Adding an External Flash to Natural Lighting

Well folks-

We are getting near the end. Let's chat one more time about integrating flash and natural lighting. It is rather easy. Keep in mind that you really do not want to overpower your natural lighting exposure, instead, you want to add to it, by lighting the face under the baseball cap, or the big floppy hat etc. etc.

Use you camera to meter the photo scene. Then add the external flash, being careful to not overpower the natural lighting. Here is a good photo sample.

Yes, I know you are getting tired of seeing, my husband, Bradley, but he is once again our subject today. here we have integrated flash with natural light to get the photo that we desired.

Sarah Joyce
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Last edited by mtclimber; Jul 19, 2009 at 11:22 PM.
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Old Jul 19, 2009, 11:42 PM   #94
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Folks-

We are almost at 100 posts on this thread. So, Bradley and I are going to leave early for the next contract and just mozy down the Pacific Coast highway in a very relaxed manner to catch up to our next digital camera contract in San Francisco. Good luck to all of you, and many thanks for enduring a second round of the Pentax External Flash thread.

It did not see much action, but then perhaps it helped a few folks. Good Luck to all, and we will just become tourists,as Bradley and I motor along the Pacific Coast Highway. If you enjoyed this thread that is great. Otherwise, we just cluttered up the band width. Have a great weekend!

Sarah Joyce

Last edited by mtclimber; Jul 19, 2009 at 11:47 PM.
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Old Jul 20, 2009, 4:25 AM   #95
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JohnG View Post
Sarah,
Did you turn anything up in your research that speaks to the metering question I asked and when users might encouter over/under flash exposure and might want to use FEL?
Hi John,

FEL (Flash Exposure Lock) per se is not an option with Pentax P-TTL. There is no way to pre set the flash exposure using the pre flash.

However, for "dragging the shutter" and other flash techniques, there are usually work arounds. For those not familiar, "dragging the shutter" is a technique to prevent that bright subject/black background "flash" look when you use flash in a relatively dark setting. You do this by extending the shutter speed and possibly using a wider aperture to allow the ambient light to have more of an effect to the exposure, thus revealing more of the background. I get around this by metering a background subject to get manual settings for this portion of the exposure with the shutter speed under the 1/180 synch speed. I then make sure that in the menus, exposure metering is set to lock on the AF point selected, and AE is locked when AF locks. Since the camera is set to manual exposure mode, the only effect that the in-camera meter will have is on the flash exposure. I then select a focus point that includes the subject, and just shoot in P-TTL. The preflash meters the subject and sets the flash duration as appropriate for the subject while the manual exposure setting lets in enough ambient light to lighten up the background.

The only real difference in function is that FEL fires the pre flash once to get the initial flash exposure setting, then only fires the main flash when you take the shot. P-TTL will preflash every shot, so if you are shooting any "blinkers", then they will probably blink. I overcome this by reshooting these people with the flash set to "Auto", at a power that gives me close to the manual Av setting I've preset to get the desired amount of ambient light. If I understand FEL correctly (and I have no working knowledge of the system, so I'm probably wrong here), the FEL times out after a set number of seconds, so it has to be done for each subject. This means you have to preflash each subject before recomposing and taking the shot if the time between shots is greater than the 16 seconds or so that it's saved. With P-TTL, I just have to meter the ambient light once, then the rest is pretty automatic. I've shot entire events with one setting, and it works pretty well.

Some other conditions where P-TTL needs some work are shooting with a reflective surface in the frame. Any reflections of the flash in the frame will give you a very underexposed shot as the metering system tries to prevent blowouts. I haven't tried it yet, but some have said this has been addressed with the K7. The work around is to watch for the reflection in the viewfinder right before the viewfinder blacks out for the exposure. You can see the scene light up with the preflash, and you need to be aware of any bright highlights as the preflash illuminates the scene. If this occurs I immediately reposition either the subject or myself so the reflection doesn't come straight back at the camera, telling the subject that I have to retake the shot without even chimping it.

It seems that a number of members of various Pentax fora have given up on P-TTL. The most common scenario is that the system either consistently under or overexposes shots. There are a number of causes of this IMO. Setting AE to match the AF point and AE to lock when AF locks is an important one, regardless of how you want the flash to act. The flash system works better at higher ISOs than the camera's native ISO. I usually shoot at ISO 400-800 as this gives me shorter duration flashes which allows for better recycling times, but doesn't bring much noise into the equation. The flash reflection thing is another reason for underexposure.

Over exposure is probably mostly caused by the flash not completely seated in the hotshoe. the contacts don't match, the flash can't communicate with the body, and always fires at full power since the body doesn't realize that a P-TTL flash gun is attached. Another reason might be that the flash is set up incorrectly because a switch has been moved or a setting changed by accident.

The last is just my opinion, but on other fora, a big scare was initiated by some users whose Pentax flash units got stuck on the camera because the locking pin in the flash unit's shoe got bent and wouldn't retract. I've always locked both my 360 and 540 down and have neither removed the pin, deactivated it, or used the flash without locking it down. In 5 years of use, I've never had a problem removing either flash unit. I seriously think that this mostly unfounded fear of having the flash get stuck is a major reason why there have been a lot of "problems" with P-TTL exposure -- the flash wasn't properly positioned in the hotshoe so the contacts were not secure. If the unit doesn't lock down easily, then it's not fitted completely into the shoe. If it locks down easily, then I'm assured of correct positioning of the contacts and correct P-TTL function. I also remove the flash from the shoe whenever I'm not using it to prevent any additional exposure to accidental knocks.

I think that at least some of the users that had the sticking problem either forgot to unlock their units before trying to forcefully remove it, or the flash unit got knocked hard while attached to the hot shoe (possibly without the owner's knowledge). My longtime experience with retail customers tells me that very few people will admit that they have done something that might have caused a failure of an expensive item. This is understandable, since it's potentially a lot cheaper to try to blame the product and try to get it repaired or replaced under warranty. It is possible that some units were made with a faulty pin, and it would be a PIA to have to send both the cam and the flash to have it removed by Pentax, but I only know what I know, and my experience says that both the shoe lock and P-TTL work fine for my admittedly limited use.

-- sorry for the rant. . .

Another flash subject that might be of interest to some would be flash modifiers -- personally, I like the Demb Flipit with diffuser for most applications. It's about the same price as most other modifiers, is very compact to carry, and is very versatile for effects.

Scott
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Old Jul 20, 2009, 10:13 AM   #96
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Thank You very much Sarah... I have enjoyed your post. Just back from the Thousand Islands, NY and on my "down time" I took to reading your post. I got the AF 360 and IMHO it has been the most important purchase even above new lenses. It took my onboard flash actually "breaking" before I made the leap to an external flash.... now wishing I had purchased the flash when I got my camera. Anyway, Thank you again for taking the time on this post.

Rob
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Old Jul 20, 2009, 11:58 AM   #97
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Thanks a lot, Scott-

You solved the FEL/FEC issues nicely. I appreciate the help. Because I am currently with just the K-2000, I had to surmise they might be features of the K-20 or K-7.

Sarah Joyce
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