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11-01-2007, 01:29 PM   #1
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Trying to learn how to use

an external flash. I just bought the 540 for my K10, but am really at a loss for what to do with it. I still have a LOT to learn about photography as a whole, so anything anyone can offer on in what situation to use this and how to use it properly would be so very helpful.

Basically, I know I want it for reception type situations to add more light, but I also want to learn how to use it as "fill flash" which is a concept I have read a lot about, but have yet to really comprehend.

Thanks!

Misty

11-01-2007, 03:38 PM   #2
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anyone?
11-01-2007, 10:32 PM   #3
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Try here:
Strobist

Cheers
Kenny
11-01-2007, 11:15 PM   #4
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If you are indoors then better bounce the flash off a ceiling instead of using it directly, as long as the ceiling is not too high or colored in a strong color. You can also use the bounce card to bounce some light forward. Some people like to add diffusers to the flash such as the sto-fen and similar.

I recommend using manual mode with flash because in manual you have the control of the shutter speed. Remember you cannot go beyond 1/180 seconds unless you use HSS mode.

Now for fill flash, try this. put the flash on the camera, but dont turn it on. go to av mode and set your aperture, notice the shutter speed, especially if its indoors and the shutter speed is long, now turn on the flash and watch the shutter speed change, thats not good because now its not fill flash, its dominating flash and the ambient is being toned down.

To have it not change, set the flash to HSS mode via the selector on the flash, go to M mode, select the same aperture, and press the green button, it should give you the same shutterspeed you had in Av mode (assuming the ISO is the same, note that auto iso does not work in M mode, make sure its the same) but with the flash on. So now you will take the picture with the same settings as you would without flash, but the flash will fire at a reduced level and fill in some foreground shadow. Note if you dont use HSS sync the shutter speed will still change. If you dont want to use HSS then one trick I have done is to turn the flash off, use the green buton to set shutter, and then turn the flash back on, because its manual the shutterspeed will not change unless you press the green button so it will stay the same.

Consider using manual flash it may sound difficult but experiemnt a bit with it, there are some very powerfull things you can do with the manual flash, for instance: once you have set the flash power to light your subject correctly, say a person standing in front of some background, and the shutterspeed is set so the background is as bright as the person, now if you want the background darker, then just change the shutterspeed so its faster, the background will be darker but the foreground will stay the same, very powerfull technique.

More notes: BEWARE: if you are using fill flash indoors then that means part of the lighting, usually foreground, will come from the flash, and part of it, usually background, will be the ambient light, now if the ambient light is tungsten lights then you will have a problem. your flash is daylight balanced and so if you set the WB in your camera to flash or daylight then the foreground will look right but the tungsten lit background will have a color cast. In order to fix this you can put correction filters on your flash, these will color the light from your flash so that it matches the color of the ambient light and your WB will look the same.

Quite a lot of stuff there I know, but flash is a very important tool once you learn to use it. flash is also one of those things that if you dont now how to use it and just leave it in auto pointing straight forward, wil make your shots look terrible.

strobist is an excellent suggestion. it does deal with off camera flash, but mentions a lot of things that are relevant also if the flash is on the camera.

Let me link you to some relevant strobist articles:
Color correcting flash: Strobist: Lighting 101: Using Gels to Correct Light
Balancing flash and ambient indoors, take note of the comparison pictures, this is using manual flash so the flash is consistent and then you can use the shutter to adjust the background:
Strobist: Lighting 102: 3.3 - Balancing Flash/Ambient Indoors
more on balancing flash and ambient:
Strobist: Lighting 101: Balancing Flash and Ambient, Pt 1
Strobist: Lighting 101:Balancing Flash With Ambient, Pt 2

good luck, play around with this a lot and experiment, post pictures and questions of you have them

11-01-2007, 11:29 PM   #5
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btw this should go in the accessories forum, not in the lens forum
11-02-2007, 05:15 AM   #6
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Easier way to do outside fill-flash - Put camera in Av mode, flash in HSS mode. Fire away! The camera will set the shutter speed for the overall scene (based on your selected f-stop), and the P-TTL metering of the flash will determine how much flash power is needed to "fill in" the subject. Adjust EC (for the background) and FEC (for the subject) to taste.

For indoors where the flash is the main light source, I go to manual mode on the camera body, select ~1/100s and whatever f-stop gives me my desired DOF. The P-TTL metering of the flash will output the correct amount of flash to illuminate the scene. And covered the bouncing aspect nicely; I usually add +1 FEC on the flash gun when bouncing, for some reason the 540 always underexposes so the +1 takes care of that.

Keep in mind that the flash range is determined by the ISO and the f-stop, so when doing indoors work and the ceiling is high or the subject is far away, you may need to boost the ISO or open up the lens a bit to increase your flash range.

Good luck!
11-02-2007, 05:20 AM   #7
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Probably should have written a bit on WHEN to use Fill-flash outdoors When the subject (the wife) is in shadow (say at the edge of the woods) and the background is very bright (the river and sky just beyond said woods ) Without flash, your camera will probably bring down the exposure to keep the sky from blowing out. EXCEPT now the subject is underexposed
Bump up the EC, the sky blows out So using the fill-flash will provide enough light to brighten up the wife while the shutter speed/ISO/f-stop will be set so as to properly expose the beautiful river and sky just beyond the woods.

The example I used was when I finally began to grasp the concept of fill flash.
11-02-2007, 05:26 AM   #8
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great info here. Thanks all.

11-02-2007, 05:32 AM   #9
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Thanks everyone, and sorry, I didn't even realize what catergory I was posting in I guess after I saw SLR, my mind went into blonde mode and I didn't read the lens discussion part!

I appreciate the links and will certainly be reading up!
11-02-2007, 06:40 AM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by egordon99 Quote
Easier way to do outside fill-flash - Put camera in Av mode, flash in HSS mode. Fire away! The camera will set the shutter speed for the overall scene (based on your selected f-stop), and the P-TTL metering of the flash will determine how much flash power is needed to "fill in" the subject. Adjust EC (for the background) and FEC (for the subject) to taste.
This may be working out for you, but I just checked this again on my k10d:
with flash in p-ttl HS mode:
Flash is off
Go to Av and select f2.8, shutter speed is 1/10
Turn the flash on
Shutter speed changes to 1/125
Flash to normal sync mode
Shutter speed chagnes to 1/100
Flash back to HS mode
Shutter speed changes to 1/125
Change to manual mode, set f2.8, press green button
Shutter speed changes to 1/10

I cant get it to work like i want unless I use M.
11-02-2007, 06:57 AM   #11
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If you're getting f/2.8 and 1/10s, I don't think you're outside in bright, contrasty light (where you would most often use "fill-flash") Where are you getting that kind of meter reading? I would think indoors at night with dim houselights (with high ISO to boot)


QuoteOriginally posted by and Quote
This may be working out for you, but I just checked this again on my k10d:
with flash in p-ttl HS mode:
Flash is off
Go to Av and select f2.8, shutter speed is 1/10
Turn the flash on
Shutter speed changes to 1/125
Flash to normal sync mode
Shutter speed chagnes to 1/100
Flash back to HS mode
Shutter speed changes to 1/125
Change to manual mode, set f2.8, press green button
Shutter speed changes to 1/10

I cant get it to work like i want unless I use M.
11-02-2007, 07:16 AM   #12
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Yep indoors. Im just stating how I want my fill flash to work, and thats at the same settings as if there was no flash. 1/125 indoors at iso 200 that would mean the background would go black and then youve got that flash look again. As I said it might work for you outdoors in Av mode, but its still changing the shutter and if I am outside and I have metered for the background then any change to the shutter means it will be wrong, if the way I had it was right
11-02-2007, 07:36 AM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by and Quote
I cant get it to work like i want unless I use M.
Have you tried slow-sync mode ? I believe that's what it's meant to do. At least, that's how I use it, with some negative flash compensation.
11-02-2007, 07:41 AM   #14
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Ah yes, slow speed will do that, sorry
I use M normally anyway so I guess I didnt look into it that thoroughly. I stand corrected
11-02-2007, 04:06 PM   #15
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Well, I tried the flash out, not sure I like the results. What should I have done differently here? I don't know if I really knew how to set the thing right.
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