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Old Mar 9, 2006, 10:51 AM   #11
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Since this topic was cross posted to two different forums, I've merged the two threads together into one (with one of the the redundant first posts removed).

So, if it looks a bit strange with answers out of sequence (or similar duplicate posts), it's because of the way it's been merged (posts from both threads were merged into one thread).

Since this thread is primarly about how the flash works with a KM DSLR, I am keeping it in the Konica Minolta DSLR forum. The original topic is still in the External Flash Forum, too (only if you click on it, it will take you to this merged thread in the Konica Minolta DSLR Forum).

Cross posting is discouraged, since posters may not be aware that there are two separate threads, and may not notice the replies from others.
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Old Mar 9, 2006, 1:29 PM   #12
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sorry, I wasn't sure which forum was the best, so I cross posted. Anyway, to get back to the subject. when I am talking about overexposure, I mean that the picture is almost completely white. There is no TTL metering or communication between the flash and the camera at all it seems. It just fires at full force regardless. That seems to be different from the previous one they sent me which underexposed. I went to a camera store today to try another KM5D to make sure the problem is not with the camera, and the problem was the same. I am going to call Sigma, but I am pretty much through with this and ready to get a Minolta flash.

Here is an example of what I am getting at the regular "TTL" setting. On the other hand the high speed sync setting which Sigma recommends way underexposes. I took a couple of test shotsat the store with the Minolta 3600HS and they came out perfectly. I am ready to ditch Sigma.


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Old Mar 9, 2006, 1:36 PM   #13
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One is probably chipped different compared to the other.

Sigma reverse engineers the protocols used between the camera and flash (or between the camera and lenses).

So, sometimes they don't get it right for new camera models, and make changes during production.

Sometimes they can rechip (or reprogram) a lens or flash to work better with a newer camera model.

That's why I mentioned that someone said they got theirs working OK after the second trip back to Sigma. They probably reprogrammed the lens' firmware with a newer version that is more closely matched to newer camera models (or, they have some way to adjust what is stored in the camera's EEPROM somewhere, so that the algorithms used are a better match).

You also see compatibility issues with some Sigma Lenses, and sometimes Sigma can rechip them to work properly on newer cameras.

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Old Mar 9, 2006, 2:02 PM   #14
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I just talked to Sigma. I will send it in for service once. If they don't get it right, I will exchange it for a Minolta flash. I have already wasted three weeks on this.

Thanks for your help, Jim.

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Old Mar 9, 2006, 2:07 PM   #15
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I decided to avoid the preflash and exposure issues entirely, since even KM flashes may need a trip back to them for calibration to work right on a KM DSLR. ;-)

Some people's work OK and some peoples require recalibration by KM. It has to do with the "curve" used for the preflash from what I understand.

I spent a total of $48 on my flash system, and that includes two strobes, and I don't need any preflash, since they have built in sensors to measure reflected light during the exposure.

* $16 for a third party adapter to give the 5D an ISO standard hotshoe. If you can't find a third party adapter, the Minolta FS1100 will work at slightly more (but, less than $30 from most vendors).

* a Sunpak 222 Auto with tilt and two aperture ranges for a smaller flash unit (GN of about 72 feet at ISO 100) for $7.00 from KEH (and they even threw in a nice, coiled PC Sync Cord with it).

* a Sunpak 333 Auto with tilt, swivel and zoom head with multiple auto aperture ranges, as well as better manual settings (full, 1/2, 1/4, 1/8, 1/16).

GN runs from 86 feet to 120 feet at ISO 100, depending on the zoom head setting. I got this one for $25 (like new in box in 10 condition from the used department at B&H).

Total Flash System Investment: $48

Both strobes have nice scales for aperture needed for the selected auto range based on the ISO speed selected (aperture choice needed varies with ISO speed), going from ISO 25 through ISO 1000.

It's not a fully automated solution. But, you can get them working OK by selecting one of the auto aperture ranges and setting the camera to match (or use manual power settings if desired).

You'd lose some of the fancy features of a dedicated flash (HSS, Wireless), and the flash isn't aware of the camera's settings (you need to set the apertures to match).

But, it's better than a manual power only solution and you don't have to worry about any preflash issues at all.


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Old Mar 9, 2006, 2:13 PM   #16
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Well, the whole purpose for me getting the flash was to not have to worry about exposure issues and deal with manual settings. So far I am actually getting better results using my Sunpak 422 on my Panasonic FZ30 setting exposure manually. Do you know if that flash would work (manually of course) if I use the hotshoe adapter on the KM 5D?

The Minolta 3600 flash that I tried seemed to be getting the exposure right. So, I am going to give Sigma one more shot at rectifying it. Otherwise I'll exchange it for the 3600 or 5600. I rather spend a few bucks more and don't have the headache any longer.
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Old Mar 9, 2006, 2:21 PM   #17
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Yes, nooner , one of our forum members has a Sunpak 422D and a Metz 32Z he uses with an FS1100 on a 5D.

I noticed his post on another forum a while back, when he mentioned he gets great results from both of these inexpensive strobes.



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Old Mar 9, 2006, 2:28 PM   #18
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More Comments:

You'll find a lot of differing opinions. But, personally, based on reports I've seen, I don't think they've got the algorithms with preflash to help judge exposure working as well as you could get out of a cheap, auto thyristor type solution yet. ;-)

With film, most cameras use off the film metering to help know when to terminate the flash burst. When they went to digital, the sensors are too reflective for that purpose. So, they use a short preflash (or series of preflashes) to help judge the length of the main flash burst needed.

It's not an exact science yet, since the cameras are also trying to take things like focus point, metering and focal length into consideration. The algorithms are probably pretty complex.

In contrast, an old auto thryistor solution is a simple approach. The sensor built into the flash measures reflected light during the exposure. When it sees enough for the aperture range selected, it terminates the output.

No preflash needed, and it's a more advanced approach than a manual power settings only solution (since you'd need to make changes to the camera and flash as subject distance changed if you were not using one with Auto aperture ranges).

I wouldn't change apertures very often for indoor flash use anyway (for example, set it at f/5.6 and leave it with flash). So, it's not a big deal to use manual exposure on the camera, setting the aperture to match the aperture range on the flash, with a shutter speed that's about right (for example 1/60 second at ISO 200 and f/5.6).

Then, let the flash worry about adjusting it's output based on reflected light it sees for the selected aperture range. It's got it's drawbacks. But, what solution doesn't. ;-)

P.S.

One solution that offers the "best of both" is the Metz 54MZ series strobes (54MZ3 or 54MZ4) using their latest SCA3302M5 foot for Minolta. There is also a newer M6 version out (but, most stores won't have it yet). Metz can also reprogram an older SCA3302 to the latest version.

It's aware of the camera settings, so you don't have to manually match them up. It also supports HSS and wireless *and* has a built in sensor to measure reflected lighting during the exposure if you want to use it's Auto mode (which works just like the Auto ranges would on a cheap Auto Thryistor Flash unit, only the flash is already aware of the camera's settings, so you don't have to make changes to the flash as you make changes to the aperture you want on the camera).

It's a popular choice for those that don't want a system using a preflash, and don't want to mess around with setting the camera and flash to match whenever making aperture changes on the camera.

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Old Mar 9, 2006, 7:43 PM   #19
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Thank you for your help, Jim. I feel that in my case it is a little more than them not having it quite right yet. If you look at my picture above, the flash blasts at full power regardless of subject distance and exposure settings. There is no way that Sigma could sell a single flash if that is how the pictures come out. So, I think I got a defective unit - TWICE!!! Don't forget: the Minolta flash I used worked perfectly and it uses the same TTL technology! So, I'll give Sigma one shot at fixing it. Only problem is, my vendor (cameta) won't take it back once it went to repair. So, what do I do if they don't get it right? Maybe not tell the vendor that I sent it in to Sigma???

I also contacted Nooner to find out what his experience with the Sunpak 422D has been. And while I can think with f-stops etc. I really want a working TTL system. Do you know if the Sunpak has an auto function?
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Old Mar 9, 2006, 8:00 PM   #20
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rduve wrote:
Quote:
Thank you for your help, Jim. I feel that in my case it is a little more than them not having it quite right yet. If you look at my picture above, the flash blasts at full power regardless of subject distance and exposure settings. There is no way that Sigma could sell a single flash if that is how the pictures come out. So, I think I got a defective unit - TWICE!!!
It's probably not defective. It's probably just chipped with firmware that didn't take newer KM models into consideration.

Older Minolta flashes that are not considered to be compatible have the same problem (fire at full power when used on a KM DSLR),


Quote:
I also contacted Nooner to find out what his experience with the Sunpak 422D has been. And while I can think with f-stops etc. I really want a working TTL system. Do you know if the Sunpak has an auto function?
Yes... I don't have one, but looking at the back of this flash in photos I see included with Ebay listings, it's going to work the same way as my Sunpak 333 Auto.

You select an Auto Aperture Range, set the ISO speed scale to the desired speed, and it will show you the distances you can shoot at for the range selected and what aperture to use.

For example, at ISO 200, with one of the ranges, it will show an Aperture of f/5.6 for 3 to 25 feet. So, you set the camera to ISO 200 and f/5.6 and shoot within 3 to 25 feet (letting the flash control it's own output, based on how much reflected light it sees).

That's just the same way my Sunpak 333 Auto works. You can then experiment with the settings to "fine tune" it for best results (you may decide to shoot with a different but similar combination of settings). I've found my Sunpak 333 Auto to be pretty much "spot on" using the suggested aperture (bare flash with no diffifuser).

But, this setting will assume that the flash is the primary light source, and you may want to dial in more ambient light, which would take some experimentation to try and find a settings combination that works well (without slowing down shutter speeds so much that you'd get motion blur from ambient light exposure).



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