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02-18-2015, 10:40 PM   #16
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QuoteOriginally posted by ScooterMaxi Jim Quote
Using TAv with flash is not a good solution, HSS or otherwise. The camera is not set up to handle it, no matter the flash mode. Blind luck to not get over-exposures - unless the distance is a bit out of flash range. And HSS at 1/1000 will always give you very little added flash because the range becomes so short at that point.
What settings do you generally use Jim?

02-19-2015, 10:07 AM - 1 Like   #17
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Hi crewl1,

Other than for macro shooting, I avoid the use of pTTL. Even with the K-01/30/50 which have implemented pTTL better than any of the other bodies, the negatives far outweigh the favorables for my needs. I don't do a lot of outdoor bright scene flash shooting, but if I need the equivalent of HSS I just go with an ND filter to bring the exposure down to 1/180 - and shoot either ratio manual or auto to get fill when a wide aperture DoF is needed. If I were shooting wildlife in the shade from a distance, I would simply calculate the distance and set the right ISO based on full manual flash. Of course, not everyone is quick with the math, but its second nature for me because I've used mostly 120 (GN-ft) flashes for decades. If you're about 60 feet away, want to go with f/5.6, it calls for ISO 800.

The problem with TAv is that it is going to mostly meter the scene, and the flash will overexpose most of time if you are at a relatively close range - as the flash will go full power more often than not. Now, I haven't tested TAv on the K-3 specifically, so perhaps you are getting better results. Possibly the long delay between pressing the shutter and getting the exposure allows for full calculation, and proper exposure. The problem for me is that the pTTL delay is unacceptable. I want the camera to respond similarly in all situations. I appreciate that the K-3 has manual ratio flash on-board serving both as a master and with the ability to serve as a virtual controller when set to a low ratio; the system works very well when attaching an optical slave (Wein HS is my favorite) onto the external flash that I typically hand hold from above.
02-19-2015, 10:29 AM - 1 Like   #18
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The only place I can see HSS being useful or maybe necessary are situations where you need high shutter speed due to high contrast such as a dark bird against a bright sky, or a situation where you want to fill a shadow in an otherwise well lit scene. Any movement would show up if a 1/180 shutter speed is used. In situations where without the flash the scene is very underexposed the flash duration will freeze movement.
02-19-2015, 10:57 AM   #19
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QuoteOriginally posted by ScooterMaxi Jim Quote
Hi crewl1,

Other than for macro shooting, I avoid the use of pTTL. Even with the K-01/30/50 which have implemented pTTL better than any of the other bodies, the negatives far outweigh the favorables for my needs. I don't do a lot of outdoor bright scene flash shooting, but if I need the equivalent of HSS I just go with an ND filter to bring the exposure down to 1/180 - and shoot either ratio manual or auto to get fill when a wide aperture DoF is needed. If I were shooting wildlife in the shade from a distance, I would simply calculate the distance and set the right ISO based on full manual flash. Of course, not everyone is quick with the math, but its second nature for me because I've used mostly 120 (GN-ft) flashes for decades. If you're about 60 feet away, want to go with f/5.6, it calls for ISO 800.

The problem with TAv is that it is going to mostly meter the scene, and the flash will overexpose most of time if you are at a relatively close range - as the flash will go full power more often than not. Now, I haven't tested TAv on the K-3 specifically, so perhaps you are getting better results. Possibly the long delay between pressing the shutter and getting the exposure allows for full calculation, and proper exposure. The problem for me is that the pTTL delay is unacceptable. I want the camera to respond similarly in all situations. I appreciate that the K-3 has manual ratio flash on-board serving both as a master and with the ability to serve as a virtual controller when set to a low ratio; the system works very well when attaching an optical slave (Wein HS is my favorite) onto the external flash that I typically hand hold from above.
Thanks Jim I still have a lot to learn and am not as comfortable with manual exposure outdoors with changing light so rely on TAv to keep the lens in its sweet spot and to stop the motion of the birds.
I feel more confident in my manual settings indoors where lighting is constant
I use spot metering on the K-3 when shooting birds and have found the exposures have been very good on the bird even with white feathers.
Adding the flash for fill was a failure at first when I did not use HSS as the 1/180 sync caused overexposure or movement blur or both.
I'm a casual (lazy) shooter so don't have or carry the necessary ND filters etc and rely on the camera to make a lot of decisions for me.
I will have to implement your advice.

Generally though I have found that shooting with HSS when I need the fill in the day I don't have to change anything else in my shooting process, and the K-3 gets me the exposure I expect with natural looking results. I may just be lucky, or the K-3 has improved its metering and flash compatibility.

02-19-2015, 11:25 AM   #20
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I also depend extensively on TAv, and carry as little as possible most of the time (other than on the very occasional paid shoots when you need to overpack and have back ups). It isn't lazy. Its just a matter of concentrating on the shot. In decent light, you'd be hard-pressed to see the difference between ISO 800 and 100 on a well-processed image. Mostly you're losing dynamic range. I have some 3200 ISO images that look just as clean and sharp as 400 ISO, especially when processed with C1 v. 8 (LR micro-contrast sharpening doesn't quite get you there, though).

What you're seeing is the flash giving you full output because the further upward from 1/180th you get the less effective flash range you have (really much the same as a graduated ND filter in practice). So, you're getting minimum flash impact (which is always better than the harshness of too much direct flash). So, essentially, you are benefitting from two wrongs making a right.

To the extent that 1/180 is giving you more ambient light than effective flash, you'll get blur. On a bird flying, you could get a very nice effect from going approximately 2/3rds flash to 1/3rd ambient and using rear curtain trigger to allow the faint blur following the frozen image. If the flash is too dominant - either dial back power some, or better yet extend the trailing blur by going with a longer shutter speed.

Personally, I am trying to avoid flash with animals. My 20-year old dog who just died last week was camera shy (alert and with sight to the end). I suspect that wildlife are even more leery of flash than most domestic animals. With their quick reactions, I suspect that pTTL causes a reaction in the birds by the time of actual exposure. Just another of my pTTL rants...
02-23-2015, 11:37 AM - 1 Like   #21
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QuoteOriginally posted by jpzk Quote
Well ... seems like I have some interest with the K3 after all.
I originally wanted to upgrade my old K5 with the K5IIs. That could also be something I would consider still if that is a better camera to use with a flash.

The only "issue" I have is this:

Most of my photography is birding (75%), and some landscapes/portraits.
About 50% of that birding photography is done in good light and the other 50% in less-than-ideal lighting conditions: overcast, or in deep woods where the light is at times rather scarce.
This makes me use high ISO, up to 6400, with the K5 quite often. Results are satisfactory to very good when I don't underexpose.

With the K3, does anyone feel that the need for a flash unit would be ideal when trying to get pictures of some "camouflaged" birds? For instance, last Fall I was after a brown creeper and of course it was "running" along a large tree trunk in a very dense forest: light was not good to say the least.
The results were only satisfactory ( I could make out the bird but lots of details were lost because of noise).

The question: does anyone here use flash for this type of photography with their K3?
If so, what is the best way to go about it in terms of parameters?
The max speed is 1/180s, right? A bit slow for a quickly moving bird I would think.

BTW, the flash I have is the Pentax AF-540 FGZ ( not the new one).

Suggestions would be welcome !

JP
Just found this via my flickr stats
My beamer came from here Buy Better Beamer Flash Extenders and Parts
Here are a couple of shots
This was into direct sunlight


For this one I used HSS


This one was in a dark wood 1/180


Insects in flight at 1/180



Last edited by Ducatigaz; 02-05-2016 at 02:38 PM.
03-18-2015, 09:43 AM   #22
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Holy flash grail !!

That is a lot of information for someone who (me) never used the flash for wildlife!

Here's what a situation I would encounter and needing a flash: (much like what was posted by derrekkite - post No. 4) ...

A brown creeper in the deep bush (where they normally reside) and moving quickly along a tree trunk. That bird in most commonly seen at a 15-20 feet distance, sometimes a bit closer.
I have my K5 and the DA*300/4. Of course, without the flash, I will end up having to crank up the ISO to no end, resulting in less than acceptable images.
Note that I usually use TAv for most of my birding shots.
Now, with the flash .... (with no Better Beamer, for now)

Camera set to ?? Av ... TAv ... ?
In-camera flash setting?
Aperture and shutter speed ... ?
Flash unit set to ... ?
Manual focusing? AF ?

So, what I am getting to is to first find out what basic settings I should be trying first.

Thanks again for the info and patience !

Last edited by jpzk; 03-18-2015 at 10:00 AM.
03-18-2015, 11:38 AM   #23
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QuoteOriginally posted by jpzk Quote
A brown creeper in the deep bush (where they normally reside) and moving quickly along a tree trunk. That bird in most commonly seen at a 15-20 feet distance, sometimes a bit closer.
I have my K5 and the DA*300/4. Of course, without the flash, I will end up having to crank up the ISO to no end, resulting in less than acceptable images.
First off, I'm not very experienced in flash use. But in this case, if you use pTTL or Auto, I think a good starting point could be f/4 and ISO 100. The 540 should give you something like 40 ft range with those settings. And if my maths isn't too far off, that flash at full power (in manual) would be about right for f/8 and ISO 100 at 20 ft.

When I use flash I like to have the camera in M. Get the f-stop and ISO in the right ballpark* and let the flash do the rest. With the K-3 pTTL works quite well, I think, although with that rather annoying lag. Auto mode works fairly well, too (I have a Metz 58), both for the K-3 (no lag!) and the K-5 (good exposure also when bounced).


*That ballpark is really quite big. Max range for the flash is quite easy to figure out, and minimum is about 1/10th of the max for any given setting (according to my flash's instructions, anyway).

03-18-2015, 11:44 AM   #24
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QuoteOriginally posted by Ducatigaz Quote
Just found this via my flickr stats
My beamer came from here Buy Better Beamer Flash Extenders and Parts
Here are a couple of shots


This one was in a dark wood 1/180

That second one's a cracker shot !!!
Exactly what I am wishing for !

---------- Post added 03-18-15 at 02:53 PM ----------

QuoteOriginally posted by savoche Quote
First off, I'm not very experienced in flash use. But in this case, if you use pTTL or Auto, I think a good starting point could be f/4 and ISO 100. The 540 should give you something like 40 ft range with those settings. And if my maths isn't too far off, that flash at full power (in manual) would be about right for f/8 and ISO 100 at 20 ft.

When I use flash I like to have the camera in M. Get the f-stop and ISO in the right ballpark* and let the flash do the rest. With the K-3 pTTL works quite well, I think, although with that rather annoying lag. Auto mode works fairly well, too (I have a Metz 58), both for the K-3 (no lag!) and the K-5 (good exposure also when bounced).


*That ballpark is really quite big. Max range for the flash is quite easy to figure out, and minimum is about 1/10th of the max for any given setting (according to my flash's instructions, anyway).
That's a start ... I'll give it a try in my backyard ... dark enough under the trees during late afternoon.
Thanks!
03-18-2015, 01:00 PM   #25
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QuoteOriginally posted by jpzk Quote
Holy flash grail !!

That is a lot of information for someone who (me) never used the flash for wildlife!

Here's what a situation I would encounter and needing a flash: (much like what was posted by derrekkite - post No. 4) ...

A brown creeper in the deep bush (where they normally reside) and moving quickly along a tree trunk. That bird in most commonly seen at a 15-20 feet distance, sometimes a bit closer.
I have my K5 and the DA*300/4. Of course, without the flash, I will end up having to crank up the ISO to no end, resulting in less than acceptable images.
Note that I usually use TAv for most of my birding shots.
Now, with the flash .... (with no Better Beamer, for now)

Camera set to ?? Av ... TAv ... ?
In-camera flash setting?
Aperture and shutter speed ... ?
Flash unit set to ... ?
Manual focusing? AF ?

So, what I am getting to is to first find out what basic settings I should be trying first.

Thanks again for the info and patience !
X mode, f5.6 iso 400 ish. Flash manual at about 1/4 power. Start there. I wouldn't go higher power on the flash because the duration is to long. Start from there, and if over exposed stop down to f8 or the iso to 200, or cut the flash power. I tend to under expose to avoid hot spots especially if wet.

This is assuming the bushes are dark. Shoot without the flash and it should be quite dark. That means any movement will be frozen work the flash duration.
03-20-2015, 08:58 AM   #26
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QuoteOriginally posted by derekkite Quote
X mode, f5.6 iso 400 ish. Flash manual at about 1/4 power. Start there. I wouldn't go higher power on the flash because the duration is to long. Start from there, and if over exposed stop down to f8 or the iso to 200, or cut the flash power. I tend to under expose to avoid hot spots especially if wet.

This is assuming the bushes are dark. Shoot without the flash and it should be quite dark. That means any movement will be frozen work the flash duration.
Thanks for the tips !
I was going to test that tomorrow but we are having "surprise visitors" over the weekend ...
So, I'll get the gear together and get on with the suggestion(s) as soon as I can.

JP
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