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05-11-2018, 07:58 AM   #16
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QuoteOriginally posted by Photobill Quote
The work around with mounting to RF60X on top of the V6II on camera is to use an insulator between the flash's single pin and trigger (black tape) and the flash will work as though it was not mounted on the camera. You will need to make sure the V6 II trigger is set to "short distance"
Cool! Great hack.


Steve

05-11-2018, 11:05 AM - 1 Like   #17
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Hi Bruce, you've taken some nice examples of HSS flash usage there ..... I like those shots, they have the ambient background exposure reduced well and the subject brought out with a subtle but effective amount of flash.


The real question is whether or not you will actually be able to do this stuff with an off-camera flash and softbox in practice. Its one thing to test out at home, but another to actually apply it in real world situations ..... that's certainly my own personal challenge as I don't have anyone who can help, and its only with the family and there's usually just too much else to cope with .... so inevitably I end up doing it the simple way with a single on-camera flash.


The Pros like Neil van Niekerk have the services of assistants who will hold the softbox up on a pole and position it exactly ..... also this removes the big risk of things being blown over and damaged. If you're going to use a lightstand and have the softbox placed statically outdoors then it needs to be weighted to prevent the wind bringing it all crashing down. Of course, if you can manage all of this then its well worth it, as the lighting effect obtainable from an off-camera flash in a softbox nicely placed can be really lovely!

---------- Post added 11-05-18 at 18:08 ----------

QuoteOriginally posted by BruceBanner Quote
Recently I have obtained a Takumar 135mm/2.5 MF lens, which is really an experiment of such to see if I think I could realistically work at a proper professional gig (wedding and portrait work) with something like the Samyang 85/1.4 or 135/2. If so I would also like to be able to HSS with those two lenses also

You cannot use HSS with a manual aperture lens, the shutter speed will not go beyond the max sync speed (1/200th for you). So this rules out the Takumar .... also this will not work for P-TTL, only Manual flash exposure mode. The Samyangs are manual focus 'A - type' lenses, so they will allow P-TTL and HSS, but you should not expect accurate and totally consistent P-TTL exposures, as this requires an autofocus lens.

---------- Post added 11-05-18 at 18:11 ----------

QuoteOriginally posted by BruceBanner Quote
the metz automatically jumps into HSS, whereas the 540II would cap my shutter speed to 1/200th or something and the shot ruined, I have to manually tell it to go into HSS mode, tad annoying.


This is not right, the Pentax also will switch into and out of HSS mode automatically as the shutter speed changes around the max sync speed ... just be sure to set the flash to HS Sync mode before you start. Once its been set initially then it will continue to switch in and out automatically.


I agree that your Metz 44 model will be useful, certainly indoors ..... I question whether it would have the power needed for HSS shots outdoors like you have shown above .... in this type of situation you need all the power you can get. In fact, if you go down the RF60x route, then I suggest you look to a flash bracket that can hold two of them together within your chosen diffuser .... this will help with power and recycling performance, important considerations for events outdoors with HSS.

---------- Post added 11-05-18 at 18:23 ----------

QuoteOriginally posted by BruceBanner Quote
So yeh, one question; The cactus trigger v6ii, it has autofocus help, could one use it without flash?

You can use the AF assist beams from both the on-camera V6II and off camera slave RF60x flashes without actually firing the flashes. You just switch off the group using the ABCD buttons on the V6II so that the flash doesn't fire.

---------- Post added 11-05-18 at 18:28 ----------

QuoteOriginally posted by stevebrot Quote
Does anyone know whether an on-camera V6II with X-TTL update can provide TTL to an RF60X mounted on its hot shoe? It was my understanding that the top shoe was straight pass-through

You still cannot get TTL with an RF60/x on top of a V6II with the X-TTL firmware, via the hotshoe contacts (because of the single pin). The only way is via the 'hack' method to obtain extreme close range radio communication.


What has changed with the X-TTL firmware is that 'TTL Passthrough' no longer exists in its traditional form ..... when a P-TTL dedicated system flash is mounted on top of the V6II (with X-TTL firmware) then TTL is possible, and so is Manual flash mode, but the compensation or power levels are controlled from the V6II and set directly with the V6II ..... a long press of the Menu button cycles between Manual and TTL, then the dial makes adjustments to the compensation/power settings for the on camera flash.


It does work, but it is not very intuitive, and it employs a different approach to the control over the Radio Slaves (which are controlled via the Group buttons) ,,,, therefore I don't find it a very efficient way of working. Hence my own personal abandonment of on-camera 'fill', and I tend to recommend placing a fill light slave above and behind the camera position now.

Last edited by mcgregni; 05-11-2018 at 11:34 AM.
05-11-2018, 12:44 PM   #18
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QuoteOriginally posted by mcgregni Quote
This is not right, the Pentax also will switch into and out of HSS mode automatically as the shutter speed changes around the max sync speed ... just be sure to set the flash to HS Sync mode before you start. Once its been set initially then it will continue to switch in and out automatically.
This is a very fuzzy area. Sync for HSS is through the data pin, not the main sync contact and only happens when the flash says it is in HSS mode and only when the shutter speed is above the X-sync setting.* It may be that the Metz product always signals HSS/FP mode and lets the body deal with any ambiguity.


Steve

* The main sync contact never fires above the X-sync speed.
05-11-2018, 12:56 PM   #19
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No doubt that is right Steve. I should add that I always use a 'dynamic' control mode for HSS, namely Manual, and so my description of working with a Pentax camera and flash is based on manual exposure mode on the camera, and controlling the shutter speed directly. Bruce mentioned using Av mode, but as far as I am aware this is not supported for HSS sync with the Pentax flash, which may be the source of his problems in this respect.

05-11-2018, 06:47 PM   #20
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QuoteOriginally posted by mcgregni Quote
Bruce mentioned using Av mode, but as far as I am aware this is not supported for HSS sync with the Pentax flash, which may be the source of his problems in this respect.
Av mode is supported* as are the other automated exposure modes + M, but how well the feature works depends quite a bit on the subject. It works quite well for the traditional backlit in the sun use case, but not so well to provide classic fill to a high contrast sunlit subject. I suspect that even with full pre-flash attenuation (based mostly on distance), the full intensity of ambient plus pre-flash with the lens wide open exceeds the exposure meter's linear range unless the background "swallows" the flash contribution. I was not able to fully characterize the behavior except to determine that even regular P-TTL was not doing so great.


Steve

* I am using a Sigma EF-610 DG Super, which may be part of why I am getting the strange results. This might be a good thread topic or article.
05-11-2018, 09:18 PM   #21
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@BruceBanner
You've taken some really nice images and in my view your plan of replacing one AF540FGZ II with two RF60x is a good one.

The AF540FGZ II is weather-sealed whereas the RF60x is not and the RF60x cannot be used as an HSS/P-TTL directly on camera, but other than that I only see advantages for the RF60x pair.

Note that you can use the RF60x on-camera as long as you don't exceed the sync-speed (1/180s or 1/200s for the K-1) and don't expect P-TTL. Others have mentioned the trick of sandwiching a V6II between RF60x and camera and using a piece of paper or electrical tape between V6II and RF60x to make the latter work like an on-camera HSS/P-TTL flash.

However, if you get a flash bracket or (better, AFAIC) a flash stand then you could avoid the V6II/RF60x isolation trickery and the -- in my view -- not very ergonomic use of a flash that sits on top of the camera.

Mcgregni makes a good point about large light modifiers potentially being problematic outdoors as they can be blown over by wind, but one should not confound off-camera flash usage with large modifier usage. Obviously more substantial light modifiers are only an option if you go off-camera, but you don't have to use large modifiers when you go off-camera. You could use the off-camera flashes without modifiers or with relatively small modifiers (that are typically meant to be mounted to on-camera flashes). In these cases, off-camera flashes need not be any more problematic than on-camera flashes. Typically you'll be able to place them (using gorilla pods, or similar, or light stands) so that they don't present a hazard for anyone.

The big plus of off-camera flashes is that they give you the option of creating lighting with more dimensionality and of course the option of usefully large light modifiers (also see my "Why Use External Flashes?" piece).


QuoteOriginally posted by BruceBanner Quote
So yeh, one question; The cactus trigger v6ii, it has autofocus help, could one use it without flash?
Yes, the AF-assist works even without flashes in use.

Note, however, that the automatic AF-assist of the V6II will only come on, if the camera would have turned its internal AF-assist light (or that of an attached flash) on. As all Pentax DSLRs I know are very reluctant to use the AF-assist light you may be frustrated with the fact that the AF-assist does not kick in, even when the camera is struggling with focus.

As a potential remedy, there is a "manual AF-assist" option on the V6II which allows you to turn on the AF-assist light manually. Not as convenient as an "auto" feature, but very helpful if the camera stubbornly tries to do without using the AF-assist.
05-11-2018, 11:03 PM   #22
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QuoteOriginally posted by mcgregni Quote
Hi Bruce, you've taken some nice examples of HSS flash usage there ..... I like those shots, they have the ambient background exposure reduced well and the subject brought out with a subtle but effective amount of flash.


The real question is whether or not you will actually be able to do this stuff with an off-camera flash and softbox in practice. Its one thing to test out at home, but another to actually apply it in real world situations ..... that's certainly my own personal challenge as I don't have anyone who can help, and its only with the family and there's usually just too much else to cope with .... so inevitably I end up doing it the simple way with a single on-camera flash.


The Pros like Neil van Niekerk have the services of assistants who will hold the softbox up on a pole and position it exactly ..... also this removes the big risk of things being blown over and damaged. If you're going to use a lightstand and have the softbox placed statically outdoors then it needs to be weighted to prevent the wind bringing it all crashing down. Of course, if you can manage all of this then its well worth it, as the lighting effect obtainable from an off-camera flash in a softbox nicely placed can be really lovely![COLOR=silver]
Thanks for the compliment, I wasn't meaning to go fishing for praise but rather there was perhaps some ambiguity over my ability of flash use, I felt perhaps a few pictures would illustrate accurately my current standing with regards to flash use. I have very few indoor flash shots to show because apart from the initial "OHHhh... me has a flash, must give it a whirl! <bounces flash off walls and ceiling excitedly)" stuff, I really haven't had an opportunity arise to justify it, that and also how I love to shoot wide open, I feel pretty content at f1.8 and ISO 1600-3200 for results.
But I live in the Blue Mountains, it's stunning here and so much of my flash use (and shots in general) get the outdoor experience, and being sunny oz HSS is definitely crucial. I like to feel as tho things go a bit like this;

1) Bright sunny day, blue sky = Flash (raccoon eyes and helping to remove shadows from people wearing hats)
2) Dusk = possible flash, helps to isolate the person from the scene, giving a more 3D effect.
3) Cloudy day = possibly not needed
4) Golden Hour = maybe needed, diffusers and reflectors arguably more important perhaps (still to get some of those also!) but it (flash) can also help and give that 3D effect.

I forget that other parts of the world have wind. I come from Scotland where wind is apparent on a daily, it's rare to get a still day than a windy day. Australia is the polar opposite, it's still very often, but when it's windy it's chaotic, and in summer deadly as it assists bushfires etc. So whilst I take your point seriously it is not something to factor in quite as much or with regularity of shooting outdoors here, and if it's still/quiet in the morning, it's typically still all day, Australia's weather can be very consistent from the moment the day starts till it ends, it's rare for us to get a '4 seasons in one day' unlike Scotland!
Also, I use a Gary Fong Diffuser, it does not attract the same 'sail' as a softbox would, and might be what I use typically over a softbox, I will have to test and see (I am yet to obtain a softbox so that's another item to add to the list). As someone who shoots prime lenses only (not by choice, more due to financial constraints), I tend to 'work' with a lot of 'baggage', I would definitely use a light-stand that allows for me to hook my belt pouches or backpack to the light-stand to also assist in keeping it steady.


QuoteOriginally posted by mcgregni Quote
You cannot use HSS with a manual aperture lens, the shutter speed will not go beyond the max sync speed (1/200th for you). So this rules out the Takumar .... also this will not work for P-TTL, only Manual flash exposure mode. The Samyangs are manual focus 'A - type' lenses, so they will allow P-TTL and HSS, but you should not expect accurate and totally consistent P-TTL exposures, as this requires an autofocus lens.[COLOR=silver]
Hmm... I knew that the Takumar would not work by not being A lens, but I am curious to hear you say the bold highlighted passage. If the camera is getting everything it needs (shutter, aperture and ISO feedback), just because you are not relying on AF and choose to use MF... why would you say it's P-TTL exposures would be possibly more problematic than using AF lenses? Curious indeed.

I don't mind chimping at all anyway, I will need to regardless of lens and focusing method, my HSS experience to date stems from chimping and dialing some flash exposure compensation one way or another anyway. But really I have a strong focus to invest in a Samyang 85/1.4, because optically it challenges the rare and super pricey (used) FA 85/1.4, the only difference (really... all things considered) is it's lack of AF. I have spent a month shooting MF and tbh I'm not heading back to AF use on any of my lenses anytime soon :/ I enjoy the experience and greater control using MF, I frame my shots better, I do things quicker because I'm not looking for so much focus confirmation, bla bla bla.... don't want to turn this into a 'manual focus pro and con thread' but a good deal of motivation of seeking off camera flash is to move away from a vello cable and allow me to shoot with both hands on the camera. It is even quite feasible that the flash might stand quite near me, right next in fact, as if it was on a bracket, and I have not really looked into flash brackets but I quite like this idea too. If I could sell the 540II, get the bracket, then I essentially also get quick 'indoor bounce off ceiling' kinda affair by keeping the v6ii trigger mounted all the time to the K-1 and use a RF60x with bracket... (if one is left on the bracket for quick assembling etc).



QuoteOriginally posted by mcgregni Quote
This is not right, the Pentax also will switch into and out of HSS mode automatically as the shutter speed changes around the max sync speed ... just be sure to set the flash to HS Sync mode before you start. Once its been set initially then it will continue to switch in and out automatically.


I agree that your Metz 44 model will be useful, certainly indoors ..... I question whether it would have the power needed for HSS shots outdoors like you have shown above .... in this type of situation you need all the power you can get. In fact, if you go down the RF60x route, then I suggest you look to a flash bracket that can hold two of them together within your chosen diffuser .... this will help with power and recycling performance, important considerations for events outdoors with HSS.[COLOR=silver]
What I have found is than in Av mode it's initally stuck at 1/200th, then activating HSS on the 540II toggles it on, but I am sure as the shutter speed changes depending where you aim it, that if a certain time elapses (perhaps the camera even turns self off), then upon resume it gets stuck again, it seems to be something that constantly needs checked... annoying, and in this regard the Metz is friendlier.

Again back to the bracket point. On Thursday I did some more school shots outside, I used my Pentax KP+DA15mm, Vello cord and 540II. It was fairly bright, I was fairly close to the kids, I thought the flash fired would be fairly weak and therefore the recharge cycle quick. But in reality no. Now if you have ever shot a group photo of adults together, you might want 5-6 shots so that one in among all of that has a favourable pic where all parties are looking their best, with kids it's a million times worse. You need like 3x as many shots, more like 20 pics! Using HSS in this regard was hit and miss as some shots I took has the flash fired, others not.

Now I know that there are super expensive (possibly non pentax compliant) strobes that have incredible recycle times, typically they are studio ones with assistance from battery packs, but your point about having a couple of RF60x's mounted got me thinking... Can such a set up mean that when I take a shot, flash A is activated, flash B did not fire, I fire again and now flash B kicks into action and flash A is recycling, and then now a 3rd shot fires and perhaps flash A has finished and can now fire etc, basically in fairly rapid firing succession you get more flash keepers and less shots of the party dimly lit etc... Can this be done? Like you say, weddings, dusk or whatever, no problem getting the K-1 fully kitted out with a cumbersome bracket and multiple flashes mounted if it means capturing more of those evening moments in dim lighting etc.


QuoteOriginally posted by mcgregni Quote
No doubt that is right Steve. I should add that I always use a 'dynamic' control mode for HSS, namely Manual, and so my description of working with a Pentax camera and flash is based on manual exposure mode on the camera, and controlling the shutter speed directly. Bruce mentioned using Av mode, but as far as I am aware this is not supported for HSS sync with the Pentax flash, which may be the source of his problems in this respect.
Av definitely is supported, all those shots above are in Av mode I believe (or at least the non wedding ones were).

QuoteOriginally posted by Class A Quote
@BruceBanner
You've taken some really nice images and in my view your plan of replacing one AF540FGZ II with two RF60x is a good one.
Thanks, tho as I said above I was only meaning the images to showcase my current level of use, Christopher Rankin I am not lol.

QuoteOriginally posted by Class A Quote
... Mcgregni makes a good point about large light modifiers potentially being problematic outdoors as they can be blown over by wind, but one should not confound off-camera flash usage with large modifier usage. Obviously more substantial light modifiers are only an option if you go off-camera, but you don't have to use large modifiers when you go off-camera. You could use the off-camera flashes without modifiers or with relatively small modifiers (that are typically meant to be mounted to on-camera flashes). In these cases, off-camera flashes need not be any more problematic than on-camera flashes. Typically you'll be able to place them (using gorilla pods, or similar, or light stands) so that they don't present a hazard for anyone.

The big plus of off-camera flashes is that they give you the option of creating lighting with more dimensionality and of course the option of usefully large light modifiers (also see my "Why Use External Flashes?" piece).
Just so we're clear, I am not up to date with the lingo, but would my Gary Fong diffuser be considered a 'light or small modifier'? And I also have gorilla pod for exactly that kinda use, fasten to tree branches etc =)
Thanks I will check that link out.



QuoteOriginally posted by Class A Quote
Yes, the AF-assist works even without flashes in use.

Note, however, that the automatic AF-assist of the V6II will only come on, if the camera would have turned its internal AF-assist light (or that of an attached flash) on. As all Pentax DSLRs I know are very reluctant to use the AF-assist light you may be frustrated with the fact that the AF-assist does not kick in, even when the camera is struggling with focus.

As a potential remedy, there is a "manual AF-assist" option on the V6II which allows you to turn on the AF-assist light manually. Not as convenient as an "auto" feature, but very helpful if the camera stubbornly tries to do without using the AF-assist.
So how does the manual AF assist on the v6ii work? Like in a concert setting, from the photo pit will I be emitting a constant beam of light or something to assist the K-1 in AF? Or is the assist clever somehow and assists more subtly?
05-11-2018, 11:28 PM   #23
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QuoteOriginally posted by BruceBanner Quote
why would you say it's P-TTL exposures would be possibly more problematic than using AF lenses?
My guess is that AF lenses provide the camera with distance information and that helps with the P-TTL exposure.

However, the distance information is rather crude (only a low number of zones are supported, not accurate distance) and I find P-TTL exposures to be a variable experience in general. So I'd say you shouldn't be deterred from using a manual A-lens.

QuoteOriginally posted by BruceBanner Quote
But really I have a strong focus to invest in a Samyang 85/1.4, because optically it challenges the rare and super pricey (used) FA 85/1.4, the only difference (really... all things considered) is it's lack of AF.
I fully agree. The Samyang 85/1.4 does not get as sharp as other 85mm when stopped down, but it is amazingly sharp at f/1.4 already and has a wonderful bokeh. I have a copy and like it a lot.

QuoteOriginally posted by BruceBanner Quote
would my Gary Fong diffuser be considered a 'light or small modifier'?
I would refer to it as a "diffuser" (as opposed to a light former like a softbox or umbrella). Note that a diffuser only makes sense indoors. Outdoors it is even detrimental because you are not only not increasing the size of the light source, you are also sending a lot of light in all sorts of useless directions.

Diffusers work by exploiting nearby surfaces (such as walls, ceilings, etc.) as secondary light sources. Hence, indoors they can help to soften the light, but they don't give you much control at all. You'll have to use the existing bounce surfaces with intent to get good pictures out of a diffuser. With a proper light modifier like an umbrella or softbox you'll be a lot less dependent on the environment and, first and foremost in your case, they work outdoors.

QuoteOriginally posted by BruceBanner Quote
So how does the manual AF assist on the v6ii work?
There are several modes:

I think the most useful one is where you activate the light manually on the V6II and it turns itself off when you take the shot.

There is also a mode where it stays on all the time and just temporarily turns itself off when you take the shot.

The standard mode just follows the camera's instructions so in my experience it will stay OFF most of the time.

The V6II manual (which you can download) does not describe the manual AF-assist feature but the firmware update release notes (also available for download) do.

05-12-2018, 10:37 AM   #24
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Points about Av Mode and HSS

Thanks to Steve and Bruce for making me look at this again, and I was wrong to say that Av is 'not supported' .... indeed it is supported, and the Manuals for the AF-540FGZ (I & II) state that any mode other than 'P' ('Programmed AE') can be used for HSS .... presumably this also rules out green mode.


My own thoughts on this have been formed by practical application and efficiency in use. Testing showed that if the HS Sync mode is set, then in Av mode the shutter speed is able to pass the max sync speed, and the HS Sync mode will switch on and off automatically. However, I do feel that this way of operating is not intuitive in the context of HSS working. The reason for this is that I find that I am actually changing the aperture in order to control the shutter speed .


The thing about HSS is that the aperture is not really a 'priority' in terms of needing firm control. It is mostly a set-it-and-forget it kind of setting for the majority of real world scenarios when we would be using HSS (ie mostly we want a wide aperture, and we want to stick with it). ISO also is a set-it-and-forget it thing for HSS .... ie set ISO 100 and keep it ...(there's no point in using any other ISO for HSS, right ..... ?)


So that leaves shutter speed as the main variable, and the actual exposure controlling value. This is the setting that we are going to be manipulating to gain precise control over our ambient exposure and allow our flash-lit subject to pop out. Also when the sun goes behind clouds and back out again, then we need to instantly change our shutter speed to adjust.


Now, in Av mode, sure , the speed will adjust in response to the metering situation, but it will do this for every time the camera is moved, even when setting up and getting it positioned. The result can be constant changes to shutter speed and flicking in and out of HS mode on the flash. This can lead to confusion and doubt about whether the sync mode is set and exactly what shutter speed is going to be used.


So, that's why I feel that only M mode is really recommendable for HSS work .... we get the needed fixed aperture and ISO, and can isolate the shutter speed as our 'priority' variable to control things, and it remains fixed whenever we move the camera around, giving confidence that our settings remain good for the next shot.

---------- Post added 12-05-18 at 17:46 ----------

QuoteOriginally posted by BruceBanner Quote
If the camera is getting everything it needs (shutter, aperture and ISO feedback), just because you are not relying on AF and choose to use MF... why would you say it's P-TTL exposures would be possibly more problematic than using AF lenses?


As ClassA said, there's distance information involved in the equation, which is provided by the focussing system and known focal length (can be constantly updating with an AF zoom lens). You can use P-TTL with a manual focus 'A-type' lens, but it is less likely to produce consistently good flash exposures ..... I find that my AF Pentax lenses allow extremely well pitched flash exposures first time, and the same exposure level for every shot, unless something changes in the scene that affects the metering.


Just be aware that with manual focus lenses you may have to use Manual flash mode in order to gain consistent exposures for multiple shots in a sequence.

---------- Post added 12-05-18 at 17:48 ----------

QuoteOriginally posted by BruceBanner Quote
What I have found is than in Av mode it's initally stuck at 1/200th, then activating HSS on the 540II toggles it on, but I am sure as the shutter speed changes depending where you aim it, that if a certain time elapses (perhaps the camera even turns self off), then upon resume it gets stuck again, it seems to be something that constantly needs checked... annoying,

Use Manual camera exposure mode for HSS working

---------- Post added 12-05-18 at 17:54 ----------

QuoteOriginally posted by BruceBanner Quote
your point about having a couple of RF60x's mounted got me thinking... Can such a set up mean that when I take a shot, flash A is activated, flash B did not fire, I fire again and now flash B kicks into action and flash A is recycling, and then now a 3rd shot fires and perhaps flash A has finished and can now fire etc, basically in fairly rapid firing succession you get more flash keepers and less shots of the party dimly lit etc... Can this be done?

The idea of having two flashes working side by side in the same group is not for one to fire alternating with the other ..... rather it is to ensure that each flash only has to output half the light than it would if working alone. Both flashes combine their output into one, therefore each uses only half the output, so this means that they consume half the power and recycle quicker as a result. So you get more efficiency, kind of approaching the performance that a larger studio strobe type light might have.


In practice, with the Cactus system, to do this you set both flashes to the same group, and place them together on a dual bracket, aiming their beams outwards to produce a wide and even spread into the diffuser (eg a big umbrella). I always pull out the 'wide angle panel' on my RF60xs to help get the widest spread. With both flashes set to the same group they work in tandem and fire together .... in TTL mode the each send out the same amount of light, thereby each requiring half the output level than one alone would be asked to provide.

Last edited by mcgregni; 05-12-2018 at 10:59 AM.
05-12-2018, 10:59 PM   #25
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QuoteOriginally posted by BruceBanner Quote
Now I know that there are super expensive (possibly non pentax compliant) strobes that have incredible recycle times, typically they are studio ones with assistance from battery packs, but your point about having a couple of RF60x's mounted got me thinking... Can such a set up mean that when I take a shot, flash A is activated, flash B did not fire, I fire again and now flash B kicks into action and flash A is recycling, and then now a 3rd shot fires and perhaps flash A has finished and can now fire etc, basically in fairly rapid firing succession you get more flash keepers and less shots of the party dimly lit etc... Can this be done? Like you say, weddings, dusk or whatever, no problem getting the K-1 fully kitted out with a cumbersome bracket and multiple flashes mounted if it means capturing more of those evening moments in dim lighting etc.
An option with the Cactus setup is you can set them up to fire group A&B-C&D in succession or group "A" then "B" then "C" and then "D" & start back at "A" again.
This feature would allow you to partially get around recycle time per flash but would be a little spendy. It is usually used for multiple exposures on a frame. (Commonly used for dancers)
05-13-2018, 12:05 AM - 1 Like   #26
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QuoteOriginally posted by BruceBanner Quote
Can such a set up mean that when I take a shot, flash A is activated, flash B did not fire, I fire again and now flash B kicks into action and flash A is recycling, and then now a 3rd shot fires and perhaps flash A has finished and can now fire etc, basically in fairly rapid firing succession you get more flash keepers and less shots of the party dimly lit etc... Can this be done?
Yes, this can be done with a Cactus V6II and two (or four) RF60x.

Your idea is a good one and it can be realised using "group cycling". You'd have to assign the flashes to different groups (say "A" and "B") and the V6II will then alternate between these groups (if you activate "group cycling"), giving you an increased effective recycling speed advantage.

Mcgregni is correct that one often assigns two or more flashes to the same group to increase the effective power, but there are also many applications in which you use multiple flashes, each in their own group. With the V6II it is easy to control all groups simultaneously, so I distribute my flashes over multiple groups and use the flexibility if I need to but otherwise just control them all simultaneously.

EDIT: Just saw Photobill's response. I had my browser open for quite a while and when I started typing my answer Photobill's response hadn't been there yet.
05-13-2018, 08:17 AM   #27
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I should add that another advantage of assigning two flashes side by side to the same group, when using a large diffuser such as an umbrella, is that the spread of light is wider across the whole area of the diffuser. As I said before I pull out the wide angle panels on my flashes when using them this way, and angle the heads slightly outwards to spread the light widely around the whole circumference of the umbrella.


When there is only one flash pointing towards the centre of the umbrella it does not fill up the circumference, so there is a hotspot at the centre and then a fading of intensity towards the edges. This can create uneven lighting on a subject or even the hotspot can be seen on the face of your subject. Whilst the two-flash approach will still have two hotspots, because they are spaced apart and their intensity is half of what a single one would be, their effect is far less noticeable. The result is overall softer light, and as we know softer light is good light!


Regarding your diffusers Bruce, like ClassA I don't see the Gary Fong 'Lightsphere' as suited to this sort of outdoor work (you are referring to the 'lightsphere' I assume?). This is because a lot of the light disappears through the sides of the plastic, losing you effective power, plus the front of the item is still a small light source. This will be a double whammy power loss with HSS working. Gary Fong does show his Lightsphere in diagrams being used outdoors, but this would not be for situations where flash light is the main source of light on a subject .....(he uses his 'PowerSnoot' for when the flash is the main light source) .


Outdoors the Lightsphere works only in situations where the flash is providing a subtle fill in addition to quite strong ambient light on the face .... an example of this is provided in the work of our Pentax compatriot LeRolls, with his beautiful outdoors fashion photos (helped along ably by all the beautiful women he manages to coax into posing for him ..... hmmmm, that is the part of photography I am still hoping to master more and more!). LeRolls uses his P-TTL flash on an extension cord with the Lightsphere, holding it off to one side. BUT ... his images depend strongly on good quality and directional natural light primarily .... the flash just lifts things a little. In this situation then no doubt the Lightsphere helps with a little softeneing. Also its used fairly close to the subjects and only needs to provide a small amount of illumination.


In your scenarios Bruce, and especially for any HSS working, your flash is going to be the main light source on your subjects, therefore you need the nicest light you can get. This is going to come from a big softbox or umbrella ideally. Bigger ones can be situated a little further back from the subject, thereby allowing more flexible framing ..... small diffusers will have to be sited very close to your subject, therefor restricting the framing options you have, as you have to shoot very tight.

Last edited by mcgregni; 05-13-2018 at 08:36 AM.
05-13-2018, 02:36 PM   #28
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QuoteOriginally posted by mcgregni Quote
Points about Av Mode and HSS

Thanks to Steve and Bruce for making me look at this again, and I was wrong to say that Av is 'not supported' .... indeed it is supported, and the Manuals for the AF-540FGZ (I & II) state that any mode other than 'P' ('Programmed AE') can be used for HSS .... presumably this also rules out green mode.


My own thoughts on this have been formed by practical application and efficiency in use. Testing showed that if the HS Sync mode is set, then in Av mode the shutter speed is able to pass the max sync speed, and the HS Sync mode will switch on and off automatically. However, I do feel that this way of operating is not intuitive in the context of HSS working. The reason for this is that I find that I am actually changing the aperture in order to control the shutter speed .


The thing about HSS is that the aperture is not really a 'priority' in terms of needing firm control. It is mostly a set-it-and-forget it kind of setting for the majority of real world scenarios when we would be using HSS (ie mostly we want a wide aperture, and we want to stick with it). ISO also is a set-it-and-forget it thing for HSS .... ie set ISO 100 and keep it ...(there's no point in using any other ISO for HSS, right ..... ?)


So that leaves shutter speed as the main variable, and the actual exposure controlling value. This is the setting that we are going to be manipulating to gain precise control over our ambient exposure and allow our flash-lit subject to pop out. Also when the sun goes behind clouds and back out again, then we need to instantly change our shutter speed to adjust.


Now, in Av mode, sure , the speed will adjust in response to the metering situation, but it will do this for every time the camera is moved, even when setting up and getting it positioned. The result can be constant changes to shutter speed and flicking in and out of HS mode on the flash. This can lead to confusion and doubt about whether the sync mode is set and exactly what shutter speed is going to be used.


So, that's why I feel that only M mode is really recommendable for HSS work .... we get the needed fixed aperture and ISO, and can isolate the shutter speed as our 'priority' variable to control things, and it remains fixed whenever we move the camera around, giving confidence that our settings remain good for the next shot.
Good advice.

I typically have Av mode set on 3 of my User Modes with different ISO Auttosettings (Slow, Normal and Fast) so that I have some control over the minimum shutter speeds (quick tangent, I noticed the KP takes things one step further and allows you to manually set minimum shutter speeds etc rather than only having Slow, Normal or Fast, neat!).
In Australia, on bright sunny days I have found it very useful. If shooting outdoors and wide open I can get 1/6000th of a second at times, but then if directing more to shaded spots it drops to 1/800th of a second etc, and then on jobs where I move from outside to indoors it's a godsend, it's just one more thing I don't have to think about so much. If when taking the shot the flash is too much or too little, I either press the +/- exposure compensation on the camera and tune accordingly, or directly control the flash power from the camera body or flash unit.
But I think this is where the issue with HSS and the 540II arise, if the camera auto turns off that maybe what keeps the shutter speed 'stuck' at 1/200th etc and I need to activate it a second time etc.

But I take your point about Manual mode and the ISO being at 100, and the aperture fixed to what you want it to be, leaving the shutter speed as the other variable of which to control exposure, I will definitely start practising that and report back.




QuoteOriginally posted by mcgregni Quote
As ClassA said, there's distance information involved in the equation, which is provided by the focussing system and known focal length (can be constantly updating with an AF zoom lens). You can use P-TTL with a manual focus 'A-type' lens, but it is less likely to produce consistently good flash exposures ..... I find that my AF Pentax lenses allow extremely well pitched flash exposures first time, and the same exposure level for every shot, unless something changes in the scene that affects the metering.

Just be aware that with manual focus lenses you may have to use Manual flash mode in order to gain consistent exposures for multiple shots in a sequence.
Noted. I did think that with A setting MF lenses (like the Samyang, and even a AF lens like the DFA 100 thrown into MF mode), you do actually get focus confirmation (with the AF lenses that confirmation point can be off centre, other MF lenses just at centre), and I would have thought this would give all the info back to the unit for flash to work as if it's using AF. I get that things may get a little weird if using a MF lens and frame the shot where the subject is not in the center but off to the side, you get the focus right for them, however the MF confirmation at the centre is relaying differing info to the flash unit about the distance and therefore power to push out. Would this be an accurate description of where things get weird? Perhaps with flash and MF, try and have the subject in the centre of the shot for more accurate exposure?


QuoteOriginally posted by mcgregni Quote
The idea of having two flashes working side by side in the same group is not for one to fire alternating with the other ..... rather it is to ensure that each flash only has to output half the light than it would if working alone. Both flashes combine their output into one, therefore each uses only half the output, so this means that they consume half the power and recycle quicker as a result. So you get more efficiency, kind of approaching the performance that a larger studio strobe type light might have.


In practice, with the Cactus system, to do this you set both flashes to the same group, and place them together on a dual bracket, aiming their beams outwards to produce a wide and even spread into the diffuser (eg a big umbrella). I always pull out the 'wide angle panel' on my RF60xs to help get the widest spread. With both flashes set to the same group they work in tandem and fire together .... in TTL mode the each send out the same amount of light, thereby each requiring half the output level than one alone would be asked to provide.
QuoteOriginally posted by Photobill Quote
An option with the Cactus setup is you can set them up to fire group A&B-C&D in succession or group "A" then "B" then "C" and then "D" & start back at "A" again.
This feature would allow you to partially get around recycle time per flash but would be a little spendy. It is usually used for multiple exposures on a frame. (Commonly used for dancers)
Cool, so sounds as tho there are a couple of options to help with 'flash spamming', either going between the two flashes or using both at the same time but the discharge less (and therefore recycle time quicker).

Photobill... what do you mean by 'spendy', do you just mean 'expensive' because of the battery/power costs?

QuoteOriginally posted by mcgregni Quote
I should add that another advantage of assigning two flashes side by side to the same group, when using a large diffuser such as an umbrella, is that the spread of light is wider across the whole area of the diffuser. As I said before I pull out the wide angle panels on my flashes when using them this way, and angle the heads slightly outwards to spread the light widely around the whole circumference of the umbrella.


When there is only one flash pointing towards the centre of the umbrella it does not fill up the circumference, so there is a hotspot at the centre and then a fading of intensity towards the edges. This can create uneven lighting on a subject or even the hotspot can be seen on the face of your subject. Whilst the two-flash approach will still have two hotspots, because they are spaced apart and their intensity is half of what a single one would be, their effect is far less noticeable. The result is overall softer light, and as we know softer light is good light!


Regarding your diffusers Bruce, like ClassA I don't see the Gary Fong 'Lightsphere' as suited to this sort of outdoor work (you are referring to the 'lightsphere' I assume?). This is because a lot of the light disappears through the sides of the plastic, losing you effective power, plus the front of the item is still a small light source. This will be a double whammy power loss with HSS working. Gary Fong does show his Lightsphere in diagrams being used outdoors, but this would not be for situations where flash light is the main source of light on a subject .....(he uses his 'PowerSnoot' for when the flash is the main light source) .


Outdoors the Lightsphere works only in situations where the flash is providing a subtle fill in addition to quite strong ambient light on the face .... an example of this is provided in the work of our Pentax compatriot LeRolls, with his beautiful outdoors fashion photos (helped along ably by all the beautiful women he manages to coax into posing for him ..... hmmmm, that is the part of photography I am still hoping to master more and more!). LeRolls uses his P-TTL flash on an extension cord with the Lightsphere, holding it off to one side. BUT ... his images depend strongly on good quality and directional natural light primarily .... the flash just lifts things a little. In this situation then no doubt the Lightsphere helps with a little softeneing. Also its used fairly close to the subjects and only needs to provide a small amount of illumination.


In your scenarios Bruce, and especially for any HSS working, your flash is going to be the main light source on your subjects, therefore you need the nicest light you can get. This is going to come from a big softbox or umbrella ideally. Bigger ones can be situated a little further back from the subject, thereby allowing more flexible framing ..... small diffusers will have to be sited very close to your subject, therefor restricting the framing options you have, as you have to shoot very tight.
It was Christopher Rankin who first put me onto the idea of a lightsphere and vello cord, I questioned him about that technique and he was very helpful and forthcoming with his approach. When you get the fong diffuser you get a few instructions on how to use it, for indoors and outdoors;



I've had mixed results outdoors with the dome on, sometimes I feel it helps, other times not so much.

Anyway I digress... it's time to put a B&H order in today as I noticed another item I require has been reduced and I should strike while the iron is hot! Therefore I could do with a little more assistance before putting the order in (you've all been so helpful thus far )

So let's start a shopping list of things I need and know what I am currently shopping for and what I still have to get (? in bold indicate have no clue and am welcome to brands and suggestions).

Scenario 1; I want a single wireless flash setup for outdoor shooting, using MF lenses like the Samyang 85/1.4 (and possibly DFA100/2.8). A V6ii will be on the K-1 and because I will have two hands on the camera (to focus) I will need the Flash unit (RF60x) to be on a portable light stand. I would wish for the light stand to have some kind of hook so that if there is a slight wind I can detach my utility belt or backpack and hook onto it to give it some stability during the shot. I won't be carrying sandbags with me :|
I need a couple of suggestions for appropriate light modifiers/diffusers to use in this scenario, perhaps a 'still/non windy day' and a 'slight breeze day' so that I can decide which one to bring and which has the least chance of acting the most like a said

I photographed this guy at an event recently, and I feel like I want to move in that direction;



The difference here is he's clearly using AF and a wide angle lens to get close to the subject, I'd want the flash and modifier on a stand, stand further back and take the shot with the 85/1.4. I mean he's got to walk around all day holding the flash and camera, I really so no difference in mounting the flash onto a light portable lightstand and walking around with that (for events like this).

Scenario 2; I want a 'heavy duty' flash set up for those jobs where the light is seriously lacking, evenings at weddings, dance/stage, cool artistry shots at light such as empty skateboard parks etc, but where quick recycle charge times can assist. I'm thinking a v6ii with a dual flash bracket and two RF60x's mounted would be best, but what kind of diffuser/modifier could attach to such a rig as this (for the flashes will be fairly close to the K-1 etc). Suggest away!

Scenario 3; Studio/School Photography/Office portraits. I need one continuous light source recommendation, controllable power output (dim or make stronger), something that will work along/compliment with the RF60x's for a studio shots.



Shopping List;

- v6ii trigger x1
- RF60x x2
- portable light stand?
- less portable light stand, for studio use x2?
- diffuser/light modifier for outdoors (portable)?
- diffuser/light modifier for studio (less portable)?
- flash bracket capable of mounting two RF60x's (for demanding jobs such as weddings)?
- One gentle continuous light source to assist in providing workable light for setting up studio shots where the environment is dimly lit?
- Backdrops (will leave for another day as I am undecided on this point thus far).

I really feel as though if I sell the 540II, the Metz 44 AF-2 can replace it for when those rare situations arise that a simple direct flash mounted for ceiling/wall bounce will be enough. The 540II will sell for a fair bit (its even still under warranty) and helps fund some of these transactions. I am hoping the Metz 44 could also be used as a hair (snoot) light in a studio set up with the V6ii trigger (on camera) and the Rf60x firing (and taking lead from that). If I can get away with a single V6ii unit I think I would like that better, than buying two and having to connect it up to a flash unit. Worse case scenario is in that setting I have a continuous light source (fill) one strobe (RF60x) key light
and use the other RF60x for back hairlight (and the metz 44 continues to collect dust and only be used for the rare scenario outlined above). I dunno... I just get irritated over the idea of having to concern myself with two vgii triggers/receivers, the RF60x has one built into it, and it's $185, the v6ii is $95, so with my maths it's $90 more for a 'all-in-one' solution, a less flimsy wobbly rig and less battery operated things to concern myself over.

The X factor in all of this is that I am pretty much a 'prime' shooter. For proper event shootings I will often have my KP with me and a different focal length attached. I'm wondering if I should actually get two v6ii triggers for this reason, so that I can quickly put the K-1 away and bring out the KP for a shot that still requires flash but a different focal length. But in all honesty I think I would just swap lenses. Can two v6ii triggers control the same flash even? This idea starts to fall apart if putting the K-1 down, bringing the KP out, having to tinker with settings on the v6ii or flash unit to fire... all because I simply really need a different focal length...
One day I may have a 70-200 and a 24-70 mounted on each, but that day is far far away...

TIA for advices and feedback!
05-13-2018, 07:29 PM   #29
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QuoteOriginally posted by BruceBanner Quote
Can two v6ii triggers control the same flash even?
Yes, they can.

QuoteOriginally posted by BruceBanner Quote
- flash bracket capable of mounting two RF60x's (for demanding jobs such as weddings)?
Using multiple flashes with one modifier is often a good idea (Mcgregni pointed out some of the advantages).

When just using one flash per modifier, there is the main distinction between "forward firing" and "backward firing" mounting. If you choose the former, the Godox S Type bracket is really useful as it allows you to use Bowens mount modifiers. Just bear in mind that a small speedlight shouldn't be paired with gianormous modifiers.

When using the "backward firing" mounting approach, you just need a swivel or similar and it is then also easy to let more than one flash contribute. Furthermore, I like the "backward firing" approach because it puts the flash inside the light modifier. If the stand topples over, the light modifier will work as an "airbag" for the flash.

As if further reasons were needed, "backward firing" also helps with avoiding hot-spotting. I believe a forward firing solution should almost always involve a diffusor of some kind, otherwise even an internal baffle will only do so much to disperse the light within the light modifier.

Last edited by Class A; 05-13-2018 at 07:38 PM.
05-13-2018, 10:11 PM   #30
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BruceBanner
"Spendy" I meant the cost of the flash units ☺. If you did get a full Cactus system (4) RF60's & (1) V6II it would be $800 😲 (to fire A,B,C then D)
I have the new "Flashpoint XPLOR 600PRO on its way. I had the original XPLOR 600 and loved it but sent it back to update to the pro version.
amazon.com : Flashpoint XPLOR 600PRO TTL Battery-Powered Monolight with Built-in R2 2.4GHz Radio Remote System (Bowens Mount) - Godox AD600 Pro : Camera & Photo?tag=pentaxforums-20&
Recycling Time: 0.01 to 0.9 @ full power
And check this out 10 FPS @ 1/16 power. With 600 watts of power, 1/16 power isn't bad.
This setup is not much more than (4) RF60's & (1) V6II. It is easy to move around mounted on a light stand with a bounce umbrella.

Last edited by Photobill; 05-14-2018 at 03:31 PM.
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