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11-09-2010, 02:20 PM   #1
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Pentax FA 31mm Limited and AF540FGZ Flash limitations

Title is wrong ... should have been "Problems" instead of "limitations".

I have been using my FA 31 Ltd quite a bit as of late, with my K7, and recently started to use it with the AF540FGZ Flash.

I am very much at the beginner's stage for flash use (yeah, after all those months) and I couldn't figure out why the flash would refuse to go into manual mode with this set up.
It does allow me to get in P-TTL but not in manual.

Same thing happens when I use the K7 + AF540FGZ Flash + Carl-Zeiss 85/1.4 (manual focus).

Both lenses set to the "A" and using Av mode on the K7.

Also just tested it with the DA*16-50/2.8 and when I try to change flash mode, it always returns to P-TTL even if I was successful at setting it to manual or auto.

Would someone be kind enough to tell me what I am doing wrong and how to set the camera and flash properly?
Or else: I have a defective flash unit?


JP


Last edited by jpzk; 11-09-2010 at 02:21 PM. Reason: Title correction
11-09-2010, 02:54 PM   #2
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Sorry folks:
just read the manual (again) and only if the camera is on manual mode will the flash be able to be used in manual mode ... ? Really?
It says that if I am using Av, the flash will automatically switch to P-TTL.

This is really getting on my nerves.

JP
11-09-2010, 03:18 PM   #3
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JP, you still want to use PTTL on the flash while you are using M mode on the camera. That way, the power output is set by the flash while you control the balance of ambient vs flash. If you use manual mode on the flash, you will have to set the flash output yourself. You also want to keep A setting on the FA 31mm as well - that way, the flash communicates with the camera on all other settings to get the proper output.
11-09-2010, 04:35 PM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by aleonx3 Quote
JP, you still want to use PTTL on the flash while you are using M mode on the camera. That way, the power output is set by the flash while you control the balance of ambient vs flash. If you use manual mode on the flash, you will have to set the flash output yourself. You also want to keep A setting on the FA 31mm as well - that way, the flash communicates with the camera on all other settings to get the proper output.
Thanks aleonx3!

OK, so I did try that and it worked.

I find it rather difficult to adjust the intensity of the flash until I can get results that I want though.

If I set the camera on manual exposure, the flash still in P-TTL, can I still set the flash to HSS to get just a "fill-in" effect?

I find that the flash overexposes the images a bit and what I would like is just a "tad" of flash to fill in the shadows.

JP

11-09-2010, 05:11 PM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by jpzk Quote
Thanks aleonx3!

OK, so I did try that and it worked.

I find it rather difficult to adjust the intensity of the flash until I can get results that I want though.

If I set the camera on manual exposure, the flash still in P-TTL, can I still set the flash to HSS to get just a "fill-in" effect?

I find that the flash overexposes the images a bit and what I would like is just a "tad" of flash to fill in the shadows.

JP
Yes, this is where it gets tricky. You do want to use HSS when you are using it as fill-flash. When you are outdoors use Av mode would be ideal; this way, your shutter can go beyond the flash sync speed. Don't forget you also have both FEC and camera EC to play with to control the flash output (PTTL usually takes care of this but you still have some degree of control). For indoor shots, keep it to slow sync; if you bounce your flash, that will add another level of complexity - you know what I am getting at. The idea is to take a flash shot that does not look like a "flash" shot.
11-09-2010, 09:45 PM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by aleonx3 Quote
Yes, this is where it gets tricky. You do want to use HSS when you are using it as fill-flash. When you are outdoors use Av mode would be ideal; this way, your shutter can go beyond the flash sync speed. Don't forget you also have both FEC and camera EC to play with to control the flash output (PTTL usually takes care of this but you still have some degree of control). For indoor shots, keep it to slow sync; if you bounce your flash, that will add another level of complexity - you know what I am getting at. The idea is to take a flash shot that does not look like a "flash" shot.
That's what I thought: use HSS for fill-in.
But!

Outdoors: Av and HSS?
Indoors: slow synch?
Both in P-TTL?

Sorry about me so confused, I have a rather long learning curve with this flash thing.

Exactly what you said about taking a pic with flash that does not look like you used it!

JP
11-09-2010, 10:27 PM   #7
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Have a read about what HSS and slow sync are and you'll see their applications in various settings.
P-TTL basically denotes the method the camera uses to calculate flash intensity for the exposure.
HSS in Av mode will allow a shutter speed faster than the flash sync speed depending on the aperture and ISO selected. Slow sync allows for a slower shutter speed than the flash sync speed to get the effect created by 'dragging the shutter' and balancing the flash-exposed and ambient background areas in the frame.
11-09-2010, 10:31 PM   #8
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The flash also offers exposure compensation that doesn't affect the overall exposure of the image, just the exposure created by the flash. I personally use -1 for outdoor shots with ambient light as the main light source. If you research flash exposure compensation, you'll find that many pro's who shoot the other brands use -1.7. Don't know if it's a Pentax difference or my own personal preference, but I often don't get enough flash output with more compensation. Point is, toning down the flash with exposure compensation is pretty easy. The manual will walk you through the steps--an easy mode change and a click or two of exp. comp.

11-10-2010, 11:34 AM   #9
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Thnaks guys!

So, back to reading and experimenting some more.
Decidedly, this flash photography business is not as easy as it seems.

Cheers.

JP
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