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03-31-2022, 06:43 AM   #1
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Using a Metz Pentax flash at a museum

Hello,

I have a Pentax Kx and a Mets 44AF-1 Pentax flash.I will soon be visiting a railway museum in France. Am I being overly optimistic thinking that this flash will help when photographing locomotives or would I be better off taking a tripod?

03-31-2022, 06:58 AM - 1 Like   #2
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I'm assuming the museum is indoors....?

If so, I would opt for the tripod or a monopod. I have a flash, but rarely use it any more. Flashes can be so tricky to use, due to the shadows, red-eye, and other artifacts they cause....unless the light is bounced off a relatively low ceiling and spread over the field of view evenly, I prefer not to use one.

And I would think a railway museum would be likely to have higher ceilings (if indoors) that might not help much with a bounced flash.

My 2-cents worth...

Mike
03-31-2022, 07:31 AM   #3
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My issue with flashes in railroad museums is that the subjects are so large
(and usually painted dark colors) that if you use an on-camera flash, all you get is the nearest part with everything else lost in the dark. I would also lean towards a tripod, unless you can do off-camera flash with a wireless trigger.
03-31-2022, 07:32 AM   #4
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I would go tripod ; I expect reflections would be a problem using flash - from what I expect will be shiny surfaces of the subject.

03-31-2022, 07:45 AM   #5
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Im surprised a museum would allow flash photography, but agree with the others, you would need multiple flashes to help. A tripod is the way to go, but check first to see what is allowed.
03-31-2022, 07:50 AM - 1 Like   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by Bauie Quote
Am I being overly optimistic thinking that this flash will help when photographing locomotives or would I be better off taking a tripod?
Most if not all museums are using overhead directional spots to light the objects/artifacts on display. You should have enough light to photograph without a flash. The other factor is that most of the museum lights are 3,200 Kelvin. Your flash is 5,500 Kelvin. There is temperature difference making matters worse. You are better off cranking up the ISO in your camera and if need be use a tripod. To light up any space overriding the ambient light, you will need multiple flashes on stands and a bunch of other lighting gear which is not practical for a casual visit. Most fine art museums do not allow use of flash anyway. If you decide to use a flash, you need to check and make sure the museum is ok with it.
03-31-2022, 11:18 AM   #7
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if a tripod is allowed Id use one.

03-31-2022, 11:50 AM   #8
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I also vote for a tripod. Beyond stability, a tripod would allow:
1. Use longer exposures at narrower apertures for more DOF.
2. Use of longer exposures to make other visitors or crowds "Disappear"
3. Use of longer exposures and small apertures allowing you to "paint" features that are in shadow with a small flashlight . This technique can really make some interesting images.

I look forward to seeing your pictures.
03-31-2022, 01:10 PM   #9
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Don't use the Metz 44AF-1 flash, because of the size of your subjects. Railway museum items are too big for that single flash.

See the inverse square law:
”In photography and stage lighting, the inverse-square law is used to determine the "fall off" or the difference in illumination on a subject as it moves closer to or further from the light source. For quick approximations, it is enough to remember that doubling the distance reduces illumination to one quarter”. If the subject is a locomotive and you take a picture from the front, looking towards the back, then the Metz flash is not the right tool. What is in the background will be too dark.

More than that, museum light has a different color and mixing different kinds of light sources doesn't look good. See color temperature, measured in Kelvin, such as ”warm” 3200K, that is very different than 5500K, such as the Metz flash.

Use a tripod, if that is allowed. Use a wired shutter release or the 2s-timer. Don't use more than ISO 200 with the Pentax Kx. ISO 100 is best. That means long exposures anyway. The longer the exposure, the better the image quality. F8 or F11 will give more depth of field than F5.6
03-31-2022, 01:17 PM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by ramseybuckeye Quote
Im surprised a museum would allow flash photography
The vast majority of my picture-taking* over the years has been in museums, and while most are strict about flashes and tripods, train museums are usually an exception.
Aviation/aerospace museums are usually okay with flashes, too - with similar challenges due to the size of the subjects.

*I hesitate to call what I do "photography"
04-02-2022, 06:02 AM   #11
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Original Poster
Thanks for all your helpful replies. A flash is a bad idea. I had hoped to not carry a tripod but I'm an old film photographer and all my tripods are built like tanks and weigh a ton. Having a look around there are some new generation tripods which are quite light and small to carry. The Manfrotto BeFree looks really good. I'm often amazed at how good the shake reduction feature is on my M-x but as some posters have said, I should stay on 100-200 ISO. Thanks again for all your replies.
04-02-2022, 06:10 AM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by Bauie Quote
he Manfrotto BeFree looks really good
That is my primary tripod, suitable for most needs. Enjoy!
04-02-2022, 07:05 AM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by THoog Quote
... if you use an on-camera flash, all you get is the nearest part with everything else lost in the dark.
That was my thought as well when I read the post. The inverse square law strikes again.
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