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04-24-2017, 11:23 AM   #1
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Pentax AF080C ring flash for portraits

Okay I generally hate flash but really want to try a ring flash for portraits to get that 90's style fashion look! Is the AF080C powerful enough for portraiture? The guide number is only 8 I believe although I am a bit confused by these ratings. It seems people only use this for macro work so googling has been a lost cause.

04-24-2017, 12:29 PM   #2
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What effect are you after? A "ring" catchlight?

If so, maybe what you really need is a "beauty dish."
04-24-2017, 02:34 PM   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by gutter rock Quote
Okay I generally hate flash but really want to try a ring flash for portraits to get that 90's style fashion look! Is the AF080C powerful enough for portraiture? The guide number is only 8 I believe although I am a bit confused by these ratings. It seems people only use this for macro work so googling has been a lost cause.
I have this flash and can give advice. Short version: it's a short range macro flash for cameras with full analogue TTL protocol. Stay away from it otherwise - it's good for what it was designed to do, but IMO that isn't portrait work.

Do you have the flash now, or are you only thinking about getting one? The mounting ring is designed to go on a lens with a 49mm filter ring - putting step-down rings on a lens with a much larger front element (particularly a DA lens) might cause vignetting, depending on your lens and your camera (full frame vs APSC).

If you're going to use an AF080C, you really need a camera that supports TTL protocol - and in digital that means *istD, *istDS or *istDS2 - 13 years old and 6MP crop cameras. Otherwise you will probably find yourself constantly having to guess the right setting and retaking a lot of pictures. I have one, and at close range I am constantly dialling my K-5's ISO down to 80 and closing the lens all the way down, even at quarter power. Don't expect to be able to use your ultra-fast portrait lens wide open with any ease, unless you're using a flash-compatible exposure meter and your camera/lens/flash unit is on a tripod.
04-24-2017, 05:11 PM   #4
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Thanks for the info. I was thinking of getting one. I am mainly looking to get that shadowless look with the black outline around the person that the ringflash delivers. The catch lights in the eyes are just another interesting positive but not the main interest for me. I will actually mostly be using this with film cameras. I have a K10D but it has been collecting some dust since I have returned to film. I have several old Pentax bodies, KX, MX, LX, ME Super, and one newer body, a PZ-1P. I think the PZ will handle the flash with TTL but if it isn't powerful enough, no since picking it up I guess. May look into building one possibly.

07-16-2017, 06:30 AM   #5
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Sigma EM-140 DG

I tried to use Sigma EM-140 DG macro flash for portaiture, with no success because:
* Flash guide number is very low for recommended portraits distance;
* There was strong red-eyes effect (as the light source is very close to the lens axis).
Also Sigma EM-140 is a 'fake' ring flash, as there are two separate left & right side small size light sources which are not true 'half-rings' as one could expect.
07-16-2017, 08:38 AM   #6
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I found that with the AF080C ring mounted on the lens, it gives the most awful red-eye that you ever would see.

I mount the ring on a flash grip out to the side of the ist ds.

Here are some indoor using ist ds with the Pentax K 1:2.8 24mm and the AF080C ring on the bracket.
TTL mode with the flash as fill
https://app.box.com/s/ih6pl7gndrjswuhi4jo1k135sg7s96bk
https://app.box.com/s/bup8tsfkt9m2a2gar8zoyisjpxmx076k
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