Forgot Password
Pentax Camera Forums Home

Show Printable Version Search this Thread
06-19-2018, 07:50 PM   #1
Paul the Sunman's Avatar

Join Date: Aug 2011
Location: Melbourne
Photos: Gallery
Posts: 2,922
Which mode do you use with flash, and why?

Which shooting mode do you use with P-TTL flash? I normally use TAv on my K1 when not shooting with flash, but that mode tends to unnecessarily select a high ISO if I have flash attached in low light. Consequently, I usually use M mode with 1/200 sec exposure (sync speed), whichever aperture is suitable for the shot, and ISO 100 if I can get away with it (if the flash illumination is sufficient). I therefore rely on the flash unit to get the exposure right. I would be interested in hearing what others find most convenient. (I am not talking about HSS here, which is different.)

Last edited by Paul the Sunman; 06-19-2018 at 08:00 PM.
06-19-2018, 08:14 PM   #2
Loyal Site Supporter
Loyal Site Supporter

Join Date: Feb 2007
Location: Monterey County, California
Posts: 133
P, because for some reason with the flash on I’m usually firing away and I don’t want to have to think about it. I will sometimes spin the aperture dial while in the P mode with flash.
06-19-2018, 08:25 PM   #3
Paul the Sunman's Avatar

Join Date: Aug 2011
Location: Melbourne
Photos: Gallery
Posts: 2,922
Original Poster
QuoteOriginally posted by BWG Quote
P, because for some reason with the flash on Iím usually firing away and I donít want to have to think about it. I will sometimes spin the aperture dial while in the P mode with flash.
Interesting. Do you explicitly set the shutter or aperture in P, or just rely on the program line? Do you fix the ISO or leave it on auto?
06-19-2018, 08:40 PM - 1 Like   #4
Fogel70's Avatar

Join Date: Sep 2009
Location: Stockholm, Sweden
Photos: Albums
Posts: 2,226
I do not use flash often, but when I do I usually end up using M-mode, as it is often hard to control how the mix between flash and ambient light will be with any automation turned on.

06-19-2018, 09:09 PM   #5

Join Date: Sep 2012
Location: NY
Photos: Gallery | Albums
Posts: 4,383
I have used the camera in Manual mode with common settings such as Shutter 180, Aperture F11, and ISO 200 or 400. The flash setting I use in conjunction with the camera is P-TTL mode. Since the flash is in P-TTL mode, it reads the camera settings and meters the subject along with factoring in the camera settings to provide correct lighting.

The camera settings can slightly vary from what I mentioned above to suit user needs for different scenarios, along with the flash power, but using camera settings that allow for the flash power to be conserved should be considered while shooting if possible.

An Auto mode such as TAV is not necessary for use while utilizing P-TTL, due to the P-TTL actually being the automation itself. That is why Manual mode is useful and provides full control of camera settings while using P-TTL.

Last edited by C_Jones; 06-19-2018 at 10:31 PM.
06-19-2018, 10:08 PM   #6

Join Date: Jun 2009
Posts: 11,913
For run-and-gun flash (P-TTL), I usually just use X mode, set ISO low, aperture as required for the subject, focus, shoot.
06-19-2018, 10:38 PM   #7
Billk's Avatar

Join Date: Jun 2012
Location: Melbourne, Victoria
Posts: 340
QuoteOriginally posted by rawr Quote
For run-and-gun flash (P-TTL), I usually just use X mode, set ISO low, aperture as required for the subject, focus, shoot.

Me too for run-and-gun, usually with F8.

I prefer to use manual everything for flash photography when I don't have to shoot on the run.
06-19-2018, 11:19 PM   #8
Senior Member
chrism888's Avatar

Join Date: Feb 2012
Posts: 131
Manual mode for me always when using flash, much more control to achieve the intended result

06-20-2018, 05:18 AM   #9
ChristianRock's Avatar

Join Date: Jul 2013
Location: Woodstock, GA
Photos: Gallery | Albums
Posts: 7,560
Either I go all manual or use P. I find the other modes unreliable (except X of course, which also works well).

I also like to work with my AF280T in which case I'll use Av and set the ISO and to a fixed value, and aperture to match the flash settings.

Last edited by ChristianRock; 06-20-2018 at 08:44 AM.
06-20-2018, 06:01 AM   #10
CarlJF's Avatar

Join Date: Sep 2014
Location: Quebec City
Posts: 1,163
Mostly X-Sync or M if I need HSS.

For casual shots, I often use Av mode, adjusting ambient exposure with exposure compensation and, if needed, dialing the inverse flash compensation (it adds up to exposure compensation). For example, -1 exposure compensation and +1 flash exposure compensation will give a picture with ambient light underexposed by a stop and a correctly expose flash (-1 EC added to +1 FEC giving 0), which often works nicely with backlighting.

In all cases, ISO is manually set.
06-20-2018, 08:11 AM - 2 Likes   #11
mcgregni's Avatar

Join Date: Sep 2012
Location: Surrey, England
Posts: 2,603
Some great advice here already!

I think there's 2 other decisions to be taken before deciding which camera mode to use .....

1) Any ambient light to be recorded alongside the flash exposure?
2) If yes to 1 above, then will that ambient light be variable (eg from changing shooting angles and directions, or the natural light changing strength)

If there is no ambient light being recorded, eg indoors or a studio situation, then choose M camera mode and fix the exposure time at the max sync setting (1/180th or 1/200th).

If you do want to mix ambient and flash exposures to create a balance of your choice, then that opens up question 2 above .... if the ambient light is stable and your shooting situation is static, then also choose M camera mode, but this time you make a specific choice of exposure time, progressively lengthening it to increase the level of ambient exposure.

However, if outdoors in sun and clouds, or moving around a lot, then Choose Av mode. In this scenario I also take Carls approach and dial down the EC for the ambient a bit, and then find a good flash compensation (FC) setting to get my desired lighting balance between the two. The advantage of Av mode in this type of environment is that the camera metering will respond to changes in natural light levels (say for example you moved to a position where more sky was in the frame), and adjust the ambient exposure accordingly, but keeping your EC setting and compensating automatically. Of course like all automation, its not always going to get every shot spot on, but if you wish to concentrate on moving, framing and capturing subjects then its a great help.

One thing to be aware of is that the camera metering system will automatically determine whether the flash exposure is fulfilling a 'full flash' or 'fill flash' role, and this is based on an (unknown) ambient EV level. So, in brighter conditions when the subject has a good amount of light falling onto it, the flash exposure will be reduced accordingly automatically, to take on a 'fill' role. However, in darker conditions where the subject is not well illuminated by natural light, then the flash will be more powerful to light the whole subject fully. So for this reason we will find that flash compensation settings may need to be different for the same subject depending on the amount of natural light measured at the time. This of course only applies to P-TTL flash mode ..... if we want to remove this aspect of flash automation and gain more total control then we will need to use Manual Flash mode.
06-20-2018, 08:44 AM   #12
retired sw engineer
Loyal Site Supporter
reh321's Avatar

Join Date: Nov 2014
Location: South Bend, IN, USA
Photos: Gallery | Albums
Posts: 18,021
I usually use manual everything the few times I use flash - this is one time that camera automation can think too much.
06-20-2018, 10:56 AM   #13

Join Date: Jul 2016
Posts: 436
When I use the P-TTL flash, is always on camera and usually just for fill. I set my camera on M mode, with reasonable settings to register ambient light or light from other external flashes.

I don't remember where I read about this trick, but I use it a lot and I think is great: in M mode, +-EV camera compensation is 'equal' to FEC compensation, so just dialing EV compensation on my camera I can control easily +-5EV stops of compensation on my flash, way more than my flash 'officially' allows (only -3EV to +1EV), and it's quicker to set because I don't need to push, dial or dig into any flash menu. If I need to compensate only for 'ambient' light, I just dial the rear/aperture dial, P-TTL, flash contribution will remain the same.

M mode
+-EV for flash contribution
+-Av for ambient/external flash light

06-20-2018, 11:02 AM   #14
Senior Member
j0n4hpk's Avatar

Join Date: Apr 2009
Location: California
Photos: Gallery | Albums
Posts: 220
Like ChristianRock, I use the Pentax AF-280T flash unit with my K10D. What I do is that I set both the camera and flash to the same fixed ISO (in this example, ISO 100), the camera mode to Tv (yes, Tv) and the shutter speed at 1/180s or higher and the flash mode to dedicated Automatic at Red or Green setting. The reasoning: Av for some reason sets the camera to a slower shutter speed than 1/180s and as soon as the flash recycles to full charge it sets both the camera's shutter speed to X (1/180s) and the lens aperture to the correct setting (f8 or f4, depending on the color of the dedicated auto setting). Of course if you are mixing environmental light with flash, setting the camera to Av is a better option.
06-20-2018, 01:40 PM   #15
Forum Member
Robot camera's Avatar

Join Date: Mar 2013
Location: Milton Keynes, Buckinghamshire
Posts: 94
For run and gun, using the camera's flash for fill and another, main flash handheld off camera on the Pentax lead, I use manual mode. I adjust the shutter speed to get light sources in the scene look fairly 'natural' and convincing. The camera's flash is set to -2 stops, the other to +2, so the main flash exposes correctly. At f/5.6 and used just for fill, the camera's flash recharged pretty quickly and kept up well with my Metz AF-52 (or whatever it's called), especially at close subject distances. I tend to use 400 ISO for everything as a minimum; this is the consequence of shooting lots of Tri-X and HP4 or 5 film in the past. Works for me!

  • Submit Thread to Facebook Facebook
  • Submit Thread to Twitter Twitter
  • Submit Thread to Digg Digg
Tags - Make this thread easier to find by adding keywords to it!
flash, iso, lighting, mode, photo studio, strobist
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search

Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Your vehicle: what do you have, why do you like it, and what do you not like? Auzzie-Phoenix General Talk 2301 4 Days Ago 08:53 PM
Filters do you use them & which ones and why & when??? Gold Coast Pentax SLR Lens Discussion 38 03-31-2018 12:52 PM
what metering mode do you use and why? hockmasm Pentax DSLR Discussion 18 11-15-2010 05:26 AM
Which Noise Reduction programs do you use and why? aaronius Digital Processing, Software, and Printing 25 11-12-2010 08:23 AM
Do any of you have another hobby which you use you camera to take pictures of? PentaxPZ Photographic Technique 30 08-04-2008 08:25 PM

All times are GMT -7. The time now is 01:24 AM. | See also:, part of our network of photo forums!
  • Red (Default)
  • Green
  • Gray
  • Dark
  • Dark Yellow
  • Dark Blue
  • Old Red
  • Old Green
  • Old Gray
  • Dial-Up Style
Hello! It's great to see you back on the forum! Have you considered joining the community?
Creating a FREE ACCOUNT takes under a minute, removes ads, and lets you post! [Dismiss]