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10-19-2014, 12:16 PM   #1
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Problem with inbuilt flash in auto mode

Hi,

I have recently bought a new K50 camera so I have not yet had the time to really delve into all the settings (plus I am relatively new to DSLR photography, so please forgive if this question comes through stupid.

I namely have a problem with taking photos with a flash in "auto" mode. Everything comes out blurry, which makes me think there is a problem with the shutter being open too long. If I try to do the same in e.g. Av mode, everything turns out normal. Now obviously I must have changed a setting somehow somewhere, but have no idea what that might be.

I was hoping any of you has faced a similar issue and found a solution. Any suggestions will be much appreciated. Thanks!

10-19-2014, 01:50 PM   #2
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QuoteOriginally posted by PerK Quote
Hi,

I have recently bought a new K50 camera so I have not yet had the time to really delve into all the settings (plus I am relatively new to DSLR photography, so please forgive if this question comes through stupid.

I namely have a problem with taking photos with a flash in "auto" mode. Everything comes out blurry, which makes me think there is a problem with the shutter being open too long. If I try to do the same in e.g. Av mode, everything turns out normal. Now obviously I must have changed a setting somehow somewhere, but have no idea what that might be.

I was hoping any of you has faced a similar issue and found a solution. Any suggestions will be much appreciated. Thanks!
Are you able to post a photo with the EXIF info intact? If yes, I'm sure several will take a look and diagnose.
10-19-2014, 03:26 PM   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by PerK Quote
Everything comes out blurry, which makes me think there is a problem with the shutter being open too long. If I try to do the same in e.g. Av mode, everything turns out normal. Now obviously I must have changed a setting somehow somewhere, but have no idea what that might be.
Auto mode can be a bit problematic in that there are multiple options for different subjects. Is there any chance you might have chosen "Night Scene Portrait" for "Auto" mode? That setting may result in slow shutter speed in an attempt to balance the background against the flash.

See my comment below with a better explanation...

Steve

Last edited by stevebrot; 10-20-2014 at 09:41 AM.
10-19-2014, 11:20 PM   #4
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Speaking from my experience from the K-r, Pentax DSLRs automode flash algorithm is programmed to preserve as much ambient light as possbile. This would mean slow shutter speeds down to 1/8 or 1/4 if it's dark, even with the flash on. That's what causes blurry pics when you don't mean it. In Av mode with flash, the shutter speed goes down to a minimum of 1/30, which is fast enough to avoid blurry pics if your subjects are fairly still. Use sport mode and see if it helps. Since my K-r does not have an X mode (max flash sync speed), my method is to turn set my Tv mode to 1/125. I'll just turn to Tv mode for action flash shots.

10-20-2014, 09:40 AM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by stevebrot Quote
Is there any chance you might have chosen "Night Scene Portrait" for "Auto" mode? That setting may result in slow shutter speed in an attempt to balance the background against the flash.
OK...I misread the manual. When in "Auto" mode on the K-50, the camera will automatically select any of a number of "scenes" based on who knows what criteria. It appears that "Night Scene Portrait" is the default for flash when in Auto mode. That is the same as manually setting the flash to "Slow Speed Sync" with the four-way controller. The K-50 manual is truly deficient in regards to explaining flash options, but "Slow Speed Sync" is only useful for a limited number of use cases.

I would suggest avoiding "Auto" mode in favor of "P" mode for when you are wanting the "point and shoot" experience. When using flash, P mode should provide a higher shutter speed appropriate for whatever focal length you are shooting at. Sv mode may also be a good option if you feel confident setting the shutter speed for yourself (say something 1/60s or higher).

Flash photography is a pretty deep subject. Your camera makes taking a basic photo fairly easy, though it is worth learning more about as your skills and familiarity with the camera improve.


Steve

Last edited by stevebrot; 10-20-2014 at 09:45 AM.
10-20-2014, 09:34 PM   #6
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Hi Per,

The camera is trying to avoid blacking out the background.

By changing the shutter speed, either manually or with the Exposure Compensation button, you can get the balance you want - this is the beauty of your DSLR.
10-21-2014, 11:30 PM   #7
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Hi, and thank you all for replying! From what I can see in the photo on the camera, you are all right. In auto mode, indeed, another pictogram is shown, obviously chosen automatically, that depicts the "scene mode" that has been chosen. And yes, when I chose the Av mode, the shutter speed automatically increases to at least 1/30, whilst at the auto it is usually below 1/15.

I agree with you, clackers, that that is the beauty of DSLR, but since I am not the only user of the camera, I need the auto mode sometimes, for those who don't like playing around with settings (to be honest, even I don't feel like doing so ALL the time ).

I am applying two shots I made last night just to demonstrate what has happened (I hope the metadata will be shown, otherwise let me know and I will post them again later). The first one was taken in auto mode and the second one in Av.

It is a relief, though, as according to your replies I am pretty sure that there's nothing wrong with the camera and that I've not messed something up.
10-21-2014, 11:42 PM   #8
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... and the shots...

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10-22-2014, 02:23 AM   #9
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I think they're pretty good examples of varying the shutter speed - the emphasis changes. Is the second shot one or two stops less? At three you'd almost have a black background, which might equally be what you aim for or what you want to avoid.

Last edited by clackers; 10-22-2014 at 02:30 AM.
11-16-2014, 03:12 AM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by clackers Quote
I think they're pretty good examples of varying the shutter speed - the emphasis changes. Is the second shot one or two stops less? At three you'd almost have a black background, which might equally be what you aim for or what you want to avoid.
@clackers, same problem here. Now solved!
Thanks...
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