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Old Jul 16, 2009, 6:59 PM   #61
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My hope had been to provide a simple and easy to execute formula that virtually everyone on the Pentax Forum could handle with ease. But I think that moving to a demonstration of using the Manual Mode will probably be required to demonstrate how to get the very best photos.

Sarah Joyce
I think we actually have a pretty knowledgeable group here so the basics are fine to start but I'm sure the majority are or would be incredibly quickly be above this. It is only when using the more manual settings can you start to really be creative which is what I think most would aspire too. When I look at some of the shots in the Pentax group then I see some very skilled members and I know flash can be feared but it is a great tool.... without light we can't take a good shot so I definitely think there is a benefit it going deeper into this so everyone sees how simple it is and how much of a gain can be made.
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Old Jul 16, 2009, 7:14 PM   #62
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Thanks, Mark-

I appreciate your excellent input-

You are probably more correct in evaluating the technical skills of this Pentax audience, than I. So we will press onward into setting up flash in the Manual Mode. Thanks!

Sarah Joyce
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Old Jul 16, 2009, 9:13 PM   #63
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Default Photo Sample #9

Well folks-

The moderator (Mark) is sure you can handle this, so here we go!

Firstly move the Mode Selector to the M or Manual position, and let it settle in. Please keep in mind, we not not going to Manual Focus, instead we are using the M selection on your camera's Mode Selector. When M is selected on the Mode Selector, and the camera is powered up, the exposure metering system on the camera will be fully operative. Your camera will begin to show how the current aperture and shutter speed relate to the proper exposure for the photo environment.

Your job will be to increase or decrease the aperture and shutter speed so that it nears the correct exposure. This is quite easy to do as your camera will report to you on the camera's LCD screen how the current aperture and shutter speed relate to the correct exposure, by expressing the setting in terms of a direct read-out factored in terms of EV, or Exposure Compensation.

In the case of this photo, I adjusted the aperture and shutter speed so that the setting of those two factors was -0.7 EV below the correct exposure, as called for by the camera's metering system. Then, I brought the camera viewfinder to eye level, and took the attached photo.
It is just that simple. Here is the photo recorded.

Sarah Joyce
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Last edited by mtclimber; Jul 16, 2009 at 9:37 PM.
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Old Jul 16, 2009, 9:14 PM   #64
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Default Reflection is the key

I could not justify the high cost of the best Pentax flash, so I bought a Sunpak Auto 383 Super instead. I also bought one of the translucent plastic caps to broadly disperse the flash's intensity. I have only a little experience with flash use outdoors, but have learned how to use reflective surfaces indoors. I know that sometimes a flash, or even more than one, can be more effective if used away from the camera, particularly for artistic shadowing effects, but I have only used my flash directly mounted on the camera.
A flash such as mine, which can pivot 90 degrees up and down, and almost 360 degrees on a vertical axis, is almost infinetely adjustable as regards direction. I consider that facility to be a necessity.
When indoors, and a flash is either necessary for illumination, or useful for an effect, it is little trouble, and almost intuitive, to pick out the room surfaces from which the desired lighting can bounce from. Sometimes, particularly when shooting at a subject 25 or 30 feet away, a stright-on shot will be best. Sometimes a ceiling bounce will work best. Sometimes even a rearward flash will do the trick. After a little practice anyone smart enough to use a well-endowed camera can figure out the best flash approach.
Using a flash outdoors must be addressed altogether differently, for there is no bounce available unless created by portable screens. When outdoors, off-camera flashes may be needed, but I think a little experimentation will let a shooter find a satisfactory way to get good results. The object is to not get a blinding spot on a 1940's era shiny car fender, but to consistently light sufficiently the shadowed areas. That kind of photography, for the casual shooter, may take extra time and equipment to obtain worthwhile pictures. I imagine it will almost always require multiple photographs for most of us to get the one good one.
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Old Jul 16, 2009, 9:48 PM   #65
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Old Engineer-

Many thanks for your post. Your Sunpak 383 is a manual flash unit, rather than a TTL flash unit that you set by referring to a chart on the back of the flash unit based on distance, aperture, and shutter speed.

The output of the flash is entirely consistent, meaning that the intensity of the output of the flash unit is always the same and it CANNOT be tweaked either to a higher or lower light output.

Using a manual flash, where the light output is always the same, and it requires some trial and error shots. Based on the exposure obtained for the photo environment, you, the photographer, will have to adjust the camera to obtain the correct exposure.

A manual flash represents how flash units used to work in the days of film. A manual flash unit is measurably less expensive, but not anywhere as precise as the modern TTL flash units.

Sarah Joyce
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Old Jul 16, 2009, 9:51 PM   #66
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Default 100% Crop of the Above Posted Photo-Photo Sample #9

For all of you sharp eyed folks, here is a 100% crop of Photo Sample #9. Enjoy!

Sarah Joyce
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Old Jul 17, 2009, 3:44 AM   #67
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Originally Posted by mtclimber View Post
Many thanks for your post. Your Sunpak 383 is a manual flash unit, rather than a TTL flash unit that you set by referring to a chart on the back of the flash unit based on distance, aperture, and shutter speed.

The output of the flash is entirely consistent, meaning that the intensity of the output of the flash unit is always the same and it CANNOT be tweaked either to a higher or lower light output.

Using a manual flash, where the light output is always the same, and it requires some trial and error shots. Based on the exposure obtained for the photo environment, you, the photographer, will have to adjust the camera to obtain the correct exposure.

A manual flash represents how flash units used to work in the days of film. A manual flash unit is measurably less expensive, but not anywhere as precise as the modern TTL flash units.
Sarah Joyce
The Auto 383 Super does have the ability to change the power output, it also has some form of auto light metering.

Manual settings: Full power, , , 1/8, 1/16
Auto settings: f/2, f/4, f/8 (at ISO 100)


However it doesn't communicate with the camera and the camera doesn't communicate with it so you have to set the exposure manually but it does mean you can use it to get nice balanced lighting, or completely unbalanced if that is your desire.

I'm sure Old Engineer can give us some more insights into the practical use of this sort of unit. I know that it is still quite a popular flash for wedding/portrait shooters who like to use the "Onelight" method of photography.
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Old Jul 17, 2009, 5:24 AM   #68
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I would like to add on here - I suggest you NOT adjust aperture up or down just to control exposure. You should set the aperture for the desired depth-of-field (DOF). That's the great part about using flash - you aren't required to use shallow DOF - but then again there's no need to use more DOF than you need to.

Instead, let shutter speed and ISO be the way you control the exposure. Don't give up your creative control of DOF by ignoring aperture's role in it. You can still do shallow DOF flash work:


Or, when you need to, narrower apertures for group shots:


the point being - use aperture to control DOF just as you would normally not to control how close to ambient you are. Shutter and ISO will work for that with less impact to your creative control.
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Old Jul 17, 2009, 5:44 AM   #69
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Sarah, You are entirely correct, of course. But, given a little time and practice, I believe I can get an acceptable (to me) result using the old fashioned flash. The money I save with the cheaper flash will let me buy several nice bouquets and dinners for my wife, thus allowing me the liberty to buy a flash. Sugar, not vinegar, you know. It is awfully hard to convince my finance-manager/wife that any flash is needed, let alone a super-dooper one costing several hundred bucks. She's not a meany, but is the reason we don't need you folks to pay more taxes so we will at least have bread, sometimes cake.
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Old Jul 17, 2009, 7:26 AM   #70
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May I also suggest that what frustrates new flash users is ending up with flash-burned subjects or under-exposed subjects. Really not unlike when NOT using a flash and letting the camera choose the exposure. Sometimes the camera chooses wrong. The key for a user is to understand HOW the camera meters and under what circumstances the camera would make a mistake.

Sarah - perhaps you could discuss how the pentax flash system does it's metering and how it may differ than the camera itself. And how to recognize situations where flash's automatic metering may be incorrect and using techniques like FEL would be appropriate.

I realize we wanted to keep things simple - but as was pointed out, it's an experienced crowd here. I think this would be very beneficial to our new flash users.
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