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Old Aug 10, 2007, 12:12 PM   #21
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Thanks Sarah,

I don't want to go off topic too much - we can always start another thread if this doesn't answer:

I use a Sigma 500 DG Super flash (and for what it's worth powerex 2700mah batteries).

I almost always use a stofen omnibounce because I don't know if I'm going to be able to or want to bounce (omnibounce is most beneficial for strait on shots to difuse the light and soften it).

FEC is your best friend. Depending on the situation, my battery levels and lens I am anywher from -1 FEC to +1 FEC. The key is to use only the amount of flash necessary and no more - typically I'll waste a few shots figuring out what's "necessary" for a given situation. But that's the great thing about digital - shoot, view pic, adjust FEC and repeat.

It also helps to have a flash that swivels as well as tilts - so you can bounce it off ceiling in portrait orientation.

I typically use a 75 degree angle to - as you said - project the light a bit more.

I also use ISO 400 for indoor shots with flash. Noise performance of my cameras is very good at 400 - this allows for a better background exposure (more important for direct flash shots when you can't bounce)

Now - for times when bounce isn't possible I'm a convert to the necessity of a flash bracket. The added distance from the lens (reducing and virtually eliminating red-eye) and the ability to keep the flash over-top the camera in portrait mode is a huge bonus.

It's also helpful to have high speed synch on a flash so you can use higher shutter speeds when you want/need to (for instance shooting outdoors with shallow DOF and you want to use fill flash - you may have a shutter speed of 1/500 or 1/1000 so high speed synch is beneficial).

Manual flash settings can be extremely beneficial as well - for instance when I took shots of my niece and her friend at their graduation ceremony a manual flash setting was wonderful - the lighting was constant - so having the flash output fooled by white/black robes and faces would have been a problem. I must admit though I use manual flash settings less than I probably should - not unlike manual exposure on the camera can keep the camera metering from being fooled, manual flash settings can keep the flash from being fooled.

By the way, the shots are a mixture of 20d and 1d.
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Old Aug 10, 2007, 1:44 PM   #22
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Thank you very much, John-

I really appreciate the post and the tips. Have a great weekend!

Sarah Joyce
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Old Aug 11, 2007, 5:11 PM   #23
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WOW!!! and more WOW!! JohnG, those photos are great!

Thank you to everyone for such great information. John, you gave me such great information, as did everyone. I can remember back when I started using my first film slr and I was so intimidated and overwhelmed. I'm feeling that way again... Back then, once I started "playing" with it and learning about the settings, it all came to me pretty quickly. I think it will come back... But for now, I'm feeling a bit lost. You all are helping me so much and I appreciate your time and shared info!

I am planning a trip to the city (we don't have a camera shop close, they are about an hour away) and I want to put my hands on the Pentax. I know I love the D80, so I want to take a good look at the Pentax and compare the two.

In a nutshell, would the 18-55 and 50-200mm Pentax lenses do me well to start off with? That's kind of what I'm looking at for the Pentax. (Great rebates for those too.) Sounds like those 2 would be good coverage. What do you think? Or do I need both right away?

I was just going to go with the kit lens 18-135 with the Nikon D80 if I got that one.

And is there a certain flash that would work best for those 2 lenses? I know not all flashes work with all lenses.
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Old Aug 11, 2007, 6:11 PM   #24
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amy-

Here is another advantage to the Pentax. There is a continuing folder in the Pentax DSLR folder on this website, whereI actually wrote an entire flash tutorial for using flash with Pentax DSLR cameras.

The most economical flash for the K100 is the Sigma EF-500DG for Pentax, the Promaster 7500DX, and of course the Pentax flash.

I hope that helps. And yes, the Pentax K100 with the kit lens and the Pentax 50-200mm lens is really a good deal.

Sarah Joyce
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Old Aug 11, 2007, 9:24 PM   #25
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Thank you Sarah... I have been reading and reading, and more reading. It starts to become a bit overwhelming. I will look for your info on flash.

I am looking at both Pentax - K100D and K10D. I do love to crop a LOT, so I was leaning toward the K10D. But I want to see them in person as I know that will help.
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Old Aug 11, 2007, 9:59 PM   #26
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Amy-

Just a thought to really think about. It is probably the teacher in me that makes me say it. However, if you get more proficient at properly framing your photos, you will have to do LESS cropping to do and have better quality photos as a result.

Keep in mind that according to Steve's review of the K-10, the K-10 has an even more advanced and effective SR system than the smaller K-100 model.

Enjoy you trip to the city and have fun playing with the Pentax cameras.

Sarah Joyce
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