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01-08-2017, 11:32 PM   #1
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Questions regarding external flash with K5

Hi guys,

Last night I used an external flash for indoor photos for the first time , a Nikon SB-28 in Auto mode. I have always used the pop up flash. I also used a Universal-Cloud-lambency-flash-diffuser-White-dome-cover (this is what it is called on Ebay).

I had a problem:

- Almost all photos were highly saturated (mostly red/pink colors), such that I needed to postprocess all images and reduce saturation. I also did a few with K5 pop up flash and the color saturation was fine. I used "flash white balance" for all pictures. So is this problem with saturation because of the exetrnal flash? Colors were fine, just highly saturated.

Now I have a question:

- While after reducing saturation I am satisfied with results, changing settings constantly while I was using Tamron 17-50 at different apertures and focal lengths was not fun at all. I even forgot a few times to change settings on the flash. So I am considering buying an automatic flash. Metz 58 looks to be a good one, as it also has the thyristor which looks to be helpful, if not necessary for the K5. Metz 58-af2 is unavailable new, and Metz 64 is kinda expensive. Is Metz 58 af1 (which has plastic shoe) still a good choice, or I better pay more and get Metz 64, or another flash (Sigma, Pentax, ...?). I am assuming thyristor is a must (?)

PS: One day in future (unfortunately not anytime soon) I will buy a full frame Pentax so the flash will be used on other bodies in future.

Thanks Pentaxians.


Last edited by kamisu; 01-09-2017 at 12:47 AM.
01-09-2017, 02:02 AM   #2
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QuoteOriginally posted by kamisu Quote
Hi guys,

Last night I used an external flash for indoor photos for the first time , a Nikon SB-28 in Auto mode. I have always used the pop up flash. I also used a Universal-Cloud-lambency-flash-diffuser-White-dome-cover (this is what it is called on Ebay).

I had a problem:

- Almost all photos were highly saturated (mostly red/pink colors), such that I needed to postprocess all images and reduce saturation. I also did a few with K5 pop up flash and the color saturation was fine. I used "flash white balance" for all pictures. So is this problem with saturation because of the exetrnal flash? Colors were fine, just highly saturated.

Now I have a question:

- While after reducing saturation I am satisfied with results, changing settings constantly while I was using Tamron 17-50 at different apertures and focal lengths was not fun at all. I even forgot a few times to change settings on the flash. So I am considering buying an automatic flash. Metz 58 looks to be a good one, as it also has the thyristor which looks to be helpful, if not necessary for the K5. Metz 58-af2 is unavailable new, and Metz 64 is kinda expensive. Is Metz 58 af1 (which has plastic shoe) still a good choice, or I better pay more and get Metz 64, or another flash (Sigma, Pentax, ...?). I am assuming thyristor is a must (?)

PS: One day in future (unfortunately not anytime soon) I will buy a full frame Pentax so the flash will be used on other bodies in future.

Thanks Pentaxians.
Greetings, I have a similar problem when using my Nikon Spdlt SB-24 with my new Nikon D3400. I was getting all kinds of bizarre and mysterious results trying to pair up an Old School Flash Unit with a new technology Nikon digital camera. Finally I decided to try some sensible settings like these; For the camera the ISO was set to 200, then, 1/125s, F/8 and Manual Mode. You may even try AVmode and see what you get. The flash unit was set at ISO 200, F/8, 85mm zoom and then set on A for Auto. The photos came out nearly perfect, only a shade overexposure. So I managed to tweak a little on the aperture setting and at that time, everything seemed okay.
The next day I turned the SB-24 on and every setting I had it on, was gone. I thought perhaps the sensor was dirty or maybe some lint got in front of it, but such was not the case. I even cleaned both hot shoes to no avail. Now the SB-24 does not have TTL with the new D3400 and that may be the reason for the settings being changed on their own. I contacted Nikon and they advised me to purchase (of course) one of the new Spdlts that will eliminate the problems. Although I was able to generate some nice flash photography, all in all, the Old School Flash is not compatible with the new D3400. Hope this helps. I do believe there is a Metz flash for sale on the Marketplace in this forum. Let us know how you succeed. Thanks for the question. I failed to mention that I also have a problem using this Spdlt on my K100D Super camera.

Tony

Last edited by Tonytee; 01-09-2017 at 02:11 AM. Reason: Additional Information
01-09-2017, 02:05 AM   #3
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The Metz 44 AF-2 is half the price of the Metz 64 AF-1 and unless you absolutely need the power, is a much better value with the same excellent features. More power, but still more affordable than the 64 is the Metz 52 AF-1. The main differences between the Metz 44, 52, and 64 is power. The advantage of power is a greater range for direct and bounce flash. The disadvantage is size, price, and battery consumption.

Unless youʻre a pro photographer needing to shoot large indoor groups or fill flash on brightly backlit subjects, I think the Metz 44 AF-2 will handle 95% of your flash needs. Yes, in this day and age, I would only consider an auto thyristor flash unit that tilts and swivels and has TTL dedicated to your camera.

Note: Virtually all shoe mounted flash units have plastic shoes. They are designed to break before damaging the camera in case of an impact. Cheaper to replace or fix the flash than the camera.

The Pentax units are generally a little less powerful than the Metz, but more expensive because they are weather sealed. Polaroid and Bolt also make bounce and swivel dedicated units for Pentax for less $$$, but I wouldnʻt consider them a long term solution. The Sigma EF-610 DG and DG ST both look promising in terms of cost, features, and power, but are hard to find. Metz has been making flash units since 1952, so you know youʻre getting a serious unit.
01-09-2017, 07:30 AM   #4
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It may help to upload a few shots (poor and good results) with exif intact. Just in case there are camera settings that might be involved.

01-09-2017, 07:43 AM - 1 Like   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by kamisu Quote
I also used a Universal-Cloud-lambency-flash-diffuser-White-dome-cover (this is what it is called on Ebay).
Have you tried without this attachment? It may be causing a colour shift, even if it's supposed to be 'neutral'.

I agree with uploading samples with exif attached, it might help diagnose the problem.

I use old Nikon flashes myself (an SB-28 being my most used), largely in manual mode but occasionally on camera in auto-thyristor mode. I've never had colour issues that weren't my fault. My most common errors - white balance was off, bouncing off non-neutral coloured surfaces, letting too much off coloured ambient contribute to the exposure, and flash modifiers I didn't account for. I'm sure I've screwed up in a few more ways that I can't think of right now
01-09-2017, 12:13 PM   #6
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Thanks for the replies. Two samples are attached. I think colors are oversaturated.

I tested the flash a few days ago with the attachment and photos were fine, so I do not think it was the problem.

A question:
With a manual flash like SB28 I should set everything manually on the flash (focal length, aperture, iso).
How do flashes like Metz 58 work in Autothyristor mode? Is it like PTTL that everything will be set for the flash automatically based on the settings of the camera? Or still some setting should be done manually on the flash?
Attached Images
View Picture EXIF
PENTAX K-5  Photo 
View Picture EXIF
PENTAX K-5  Photo 

Last edited by kamisu; 01-09-2017 at 12:19 PM.
01-09-2017, 01:12 PM   #7
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Saturation is subjective to a degree. What are some that you think are not oversaturated?
01-09-2017, 01:43 PM   #8
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The colour and saturation aspects must be secondary effects resulting from your flash lighting of the scene .... Flash does not have a primary effect on saturation, but as others have said it does on the colour balance, and a shift towards the warmer tones could be having an impact. Your lighting may also be creating a higher contrast range in the scene and this also can increase the apparent saturation.

If your camera does not 'know' there is a flash firing then it could be using a different white balance setting than for the ones with the built-in flash .... The custom setting 'White Balance when using Flash' controls this, so setting it to 'unchanged' should ensure that every image uses your specified WB setting regardless of what flash you're using.

The thyrstor mode is very different to P-TTL ....P-TTL uses communication between camera and flash to exchange information ....auto/thrystor has no such communication. The flash acts independently in determining the flash exposure, which it does by having the aperture and ISO information dialed in by the user. .... The distance part of the equation is completed once a reflected light return is received at it's sensor, and the output is cut once it detects something bright enough (bright enough for the aperture and ISO its been told are being used).

Because this is all independent of the camera, in order to record the same amount of flash exposure on the camera sensor, then the exact same aperture and ISO settings need to be set on the camera. For this reason thyrstor mode should be used in conjunction with Manual camera mode. Flash exposure adjustments are made by offsetting the balance between camera and flash settings (neither one knows what the other is doing).


Last edited by mcgregni; 01-09-2017 at 01:49 PM.
01-09-2017, 01:50 PM   #9
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Auto thyristor mode on dedicated Pentax flashes can set ISO and aperture in some cases but that's it. PTTL actually allows camera to set flash exposure in real time. Auto thyristor is based on a set light level expected by the onboard sensor. Like old non ttl metering filters on the lens light list due to larger than expected internal light losses etc will impact exposure. But much of flash work isn't terribly complicated and works reasonably well as it did before ttl was dreamed up.
01-09-2017, 02:53 PM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by kamisu Quote
Thanks for the replies. Two samples are attached. I think colors are oversaturated.
I tried to pick out things I thought were white, and it does look like your camera may have added some extra magenta to the scene, but it's hard to tell (it could just be pink reflecting off white stuff). Why would it do this at what appears to be a little girls birthday party already overloaded with pink? Who knows! This is why I try to turn off as much automation as possible, especially when working with off brand flashes.

In the custom menu, entry 10 (it's on C2) is called "WB Adjustable Range". From the exif, it looks like you have this set to "On", which lets the camera fiddle with the WB, even though you've it set to flash. These adjustments should be small, but I'd rather it not change it at all in case the camera outsmarts me (I don't need any help outsmarting myself), so I prefer to set this to off.

It looks like you bounced the flash off the ceiling? In this case, you don't need to set the focal length on the flash to match your camera in any way. Set it to whatever gives you the result you want - longer focal length will give a tighter beam of light and a smaller light source from whatever you bounce it off of. This can let you make a more directed light source instead of lighting up the entire ceiling. Neither way is the 'best', but both ends are worth experimenting with.

QuoteOriginally posted by kamisu Quote
I tested the flash a few days ago with the attachment and photos were fine, so I do not think it was the problem.
It might not hurt to show one of these? Not to be a pain, but it's hard to judge if those toys and decorations are the right shade of pink without seeing them, so an example that you're happy with might be enlightening as well.
01-09-2017, 03:54 PM   #11
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UncleVanya, attached photo is with popup flash at the same birthday party, looks less saturated.

BrianR, I should admit that there were a lot of pink objects, so reflection could be a problem. Thanks for letting me know about focal length when bounce flash is used. I do not have any of those test photos, I just wanted to make sure flash is working fine and I was happy with results, but for the birthday party, I had the problem with saturated colors.

Mcgregni, I thought flash white balance could also work with a manual flash, thanks for the information, although white balance was almost ok.

Overall looks like flash photography is much more challenging/interesting when using an external flash.

I am also getting the impression that an automatic flash in autothyrister mode will not be much more convenient than a manual flash, as K5 has a bad reputation for bounce flash in P-TTL mode, and if Auto mode is not much different from manual (if needs changing settings on the flash), then may be I better continue using my manual flash. Any thoughts on this?
Attached Images
View Picture EXIF
PENTAX K-5  Photo 
01-09-2017, 04:58 PM   #12
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My take...

"Quick take my picture"! - Auto or P-TTL if you haven't already setup the flash and balanced the lighting.
Set shots or shots in the same environment with simple lighting - Manual or P-TTL or Auto
Complex multiple flash setup - Manual with triggers, and ? I'm out of my depth - this is an area I'd like to learn more about. I recently purchased equipment to begin this education.
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