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Old Aug 25, 2006, 3:21 PM   #171
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mtclimber wrote:
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Well, let's begin The Flash Thread-

Lesson 1

As the title and sub titlesay, we will will be doing this in small easy to understand posts. I have a DS on hand to work with now, and should have a DL and a K100Dto work within thenext week to two weeks. In that way, we will be able to cover all of the current Pentax DSLR cameras on the market today.

While we will focus this thread on Pentax DSLR cameras only, you can logically see that a lot of the information will be be discussing will be transferable in some ways to other cameras and flash units. I plan to move slowly and want to encourage as many questions as you might desire to ask on the Pentax DSLR/Flash topic. So please keep your questions on topic. There are plenty of other threads on the Pentax forum/folder to ask non-flash questions. Or you can begin a total new thread to seek an answer to your question if it does not concern Pentax Flashes

The DSbuilt-in flash is our logical starting point, because the new buyer will soon after his or her camera purchase face the need to use the camera's built-in flash. For the record, the built-in flash on the DS, DL, and the K100D works just about the same.

For those who use the "Auto Pict"selection on the theMode Selector, or those who use the "P", TV", or "AV" selection on the Mode Selector but never change to ISO from the minimum setting of ISO 200, you must keep this important fact in mind.

The Flash Range, which is defined as the distance from the camera's flash to your subject, measured in feet will be limited to certain fixed distances.The camera's built-in flash will over expose (creating a very washed out, white-ish looking looking image) when used at a distance of .7 meters, or about 2 feet or less. The camera's built-in flash will alsounder expose (creating a dark, blackish looking photo, where your subject can not be clearly seen due to heavy shadowing and darkening in the photo) when the flash to subject distance exceeds 12 feet.

Note also that there is also anotherissue to contend with when using the camera's built-in flash. That is lens compatibility. Naturally, the camera will work, as advertised, with the two so called "kit" lenses, the 18-55mm lens and the 50-200mm lens. However, if you are using an older lens you will want to check the lens compatibility chart located on page 151 of the DS manual (if you have a DL or the K100D camera, the compatibility list may be on a different page in your camera's manual), as the lens you are usingmight not function in the way you are expecting. So please sure to check if you are using an older lens. Generally speaking, when you are using non A lenses, the built-in flash will fire at full power. That might cause over exposure.

The final issue we must deal with before beginning to use the camera's built-in flash is that it is recommended that any lens hood be removed. The is done to achieve an even light distribution throughout your photo.

Is you have selected "Auto Pict" on the Mode Selector Dial, the camera's built-in flash will automatically pop up when needed for a photo. However, you must be careful not to be fooled by the flash. In the "Auto Pict" mode you have no choice, the flash is going to fire not once but TWICE. Yes, that is correct. The flash fires the first time for red eye reduction, and then second time to take the photo. Therefore if you seethe firstflash in the viewfinder,and lower the camera, you will take a picture of your foot when the camera's built-in flash fires the SECOND flash that takes the actual photo.

If you have selected P on the Mode Selector Dial, you will have FIVE different flash options. The word AUTO with the lighting bolt (meaning flash) through it, will give you straight automatic flash. The camera's built in flash will fire onlyONCE, not TWICE. The camera (when you push the Shutter release) will measure the surrounding or ambient light in your photo scene, the built-in flash will automatically pop up, and the camera will discharge only the amount of light needed for your photo situation.If the flash is already raised or deployed, the camera will not fire the camera's built-in flash when the camera's light measurement indicated thatthe built-in flash wasnot needed due there being sufficient light in your proposed photo scene.

But you must understand that the auto flash can be fooled. If there is backlighting (light that hits the side or back of your subject's head, leaving their face shadowed and not clearly visible) there will be sufficient light so that the camera's light measurement will signal the built-in flash, and it will NOT fire. The result is that the camera has computed everything based the harsh side or backlighting and your subject's faces will be heavily shadowed or just not visible at all. So it is up to you to identify your photo's lighting when using auto flash. Therefore, I will say this: You have been warned.

The next flash mode that your flash is capable of is indicated by just a single lighting bolt alone, or all by itself (remember that the lighting bolt is a symbol for flash). This mode has three or more names. Some call it the "Flash On" position. The camera manual calls it the "Manual Discharge Mode" positio. And finally a lot of folks, refer to this mode as "Fill Flash." No matter what the name, they are all the same thing.

The camera's manual nomenclature is probably the best description. When your camera's built-in flash is in the Manual Discharge Mode, it will not pop up automatically, and if the camera's built-in flash is not manually poped up, or if it is subsequently retracted, the flash will not fire in the Manual Discharge Mode.

The last three built-in flash modes available only in the P, Tv, and Av modes are easily understood. The first simply addsa preliminary red eye reduction flash to the auto flash. The second simply adds the preliminary red eye reduction flash to the manual discharge mode. The third is the Flash off mode. This is indicated by the flash symbol (the lightening bolt) with a diaoginal line through the lightening bolt.

So keep in mind one other little built-in glitch. If you manually deploy the flash rather than letting the flash pop up by itself in the"Auto Pict",P, TV, or Av Modes, the flash will fire at full power with out and reduction created through measuring the ambient light in your proposed photo.

So there is your first installment. Let me know if it is clear enough, and whatever questions that you have about just the camera's built-in flash, as we add more lessons, the possible questions will naturally also increase.

MT/Sarah
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Old Aug 25, 2006, 6:35 PM   #172
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viccils-

If there was some message in your posting, apparently I did not see it. If you have a specific question, I will be happy to answer your questions.

MT/Sarah
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Old Aug 27, 2006, 5:28 PM   #173
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Thank you Sarah for your excellent tutorial.

I guess I am a noob as far as flash goes even though 30 years ago I managed okay with my old Nikkormat and a Vivitar 285.

Yesterday I got a Promaster 5550. The box says, "Pentax *ist module". It seems to work okay on the K100. It does not seem to overexpose while bouncing although it does leave what to me is too much of a red shift.

Here is Moulder the border collie right out of the camera, ISO 400, 1/125, f/4, flash swiveled and bounced to left corner near ceiling of trailer which is mostly brownish, +2 compensation.



Cropped, levels, color balance adjusted, some burning/dodging.



Haven't done the diffuser thing yet. I bought the flash mostly for fill outdoors in very contrasty mid-day thou-shalt-never-shoot in light for underexposed birds.

Just beginning to feel my way.

3 bows,

f

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Old Aug 27, 2006, 6:01 PM   #174
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That is an excellent crop.
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Old Aug 27, 2006, 7:15 PM   #175
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nlp239

Just got a second 285, a newer 285HV actually. Traded a smaller Vivitar flash with bounce card (plus a little cash) for it.

Crash

2DreamMaker on ebay had the pieces I needed so I have bid on them (try that first before using buy-it-now)

I will put together my lighting kit and let you see how it works over the next couple of weeks.

BTW I thought I was off topic because I am talking about a manual flash kit, not TTL or P-TTL.

Ira
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Old Aug 27, 2006, 7:32 PM   #176
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fogueira-

Thanks a lot for the photo samples using the Promaster External Flash. Both samples look excellent for a bounce flash situation. I was especially impressed with the crop showing great detail in Moulder's face. Congratulations

Ira-

On that Vivitar 285HV flash- what is the trigger voltage. I had assumed that the HV model might not be usable due a higher trigger voltage.

MT/Sarah
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Old Aug 27, 2006, 8:41 PM   #177
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Monza76 wrote:
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BTW I thought I was off topic because I am talking about a manual flash kit, not TTL or P-TTL.

Ira
Certainly not off topic IMHO, manual flash techniques are needed just as much as TTL/P-TTL, as I think we all use manual lenses from time to time, and thus need to know the manual techniques in order to compensate, or just to understand what setup is needed.

I have been playing with my new Sigma flash, but on manual lenses I have to set the zoom and power output (or so it seems) so knowing manual techniques would be a godsend!

Darren
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Old Aug 28, 2006, 1:49 AM   #178
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Dare I say it, Darren-

The expectation is that as an accomplished photograher, you should be able to deal with any exposure variations or camera variations that might occur.

Not to worry, Darren, you are doing a good job of it.

MT/Sarah
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Old Aug 28, 2006, 5:49 AM   #179
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Thanks Sarah. It is as everyone always says - practise, practise, practise.

Fortunately mygf encourages me a lot to get out and shoot as much as I like. When we are out somewhere, she will take her camera (the one she bought me for christmas!) for a few pics and then find somewhere to sit while I mess about for an hour or so.

She seems to now find it more interesting to take pics of me crawling and laying on the floor!!!



Darren


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Old Aug 28, 2006, 7:17 AM   #180
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mtclimber wrote:
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Ira-

On that Vivitar 285HV flash- what is the trigger voltage. I had assumed that the HV model might not be usable due a higher trigger voltage.

MT/Sarah
Sarah-

I don't have a digital meter so I am not certain, however I only intend to use it as a slave, I use a small cheap hot shoe slave unit as you can see in this photo (shot with my Pentax p&s)

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