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05-25-2010, 04:20 PM   #1
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How a Metz-48 saved my bacon, and a gottcha or two I learned on the way

I had an important family birthday event last weekend at a venue not familiar to me. My folks, having seen the photos I took with my new k-x at Christmas, wanted me to “cover” this event. Not knowing what the venue was like, I purchased an external flash a couple of weeks ago as I was afraid I might face some challenging lighting conditions.

Sure enough, thats exactly how it turned out, it was an indoor event on a bright sunny day. A few months ago I had a bad experience in a similar situation (indoors, sunny day) which I tried shooting without a flash and ended up with many poorly exposed, out of focus shots. After that experience I realized I needed a proper flash.

What I did right this time:

1) Bought an external flash

2) Was pretty successful balancing ambient light with flash by using the techniques described on the planetneil site (shoot with camera on manual, flash on ttl, bounce, underexpose by ~2 stops on camera, adjust EV on flash to taste). I got quite a few nice candid shots, and the group shots turned out really well. I would have been toast for the group shots if I hadn’t had a external flash with me as they were in a fairly dark corner of a room than would have made ambient only shooting at the higher f stops needed for group photos impossible.

What I did wrong:

1) Didn’t realize that using a flash disables the shake reduction system. As a result I set the shutter too slow for some shots and got some blurred shots. Luckily I only lost a dozen or so shots with this, but I’m not going to make that mistake ever again. I should have practiced more with the flash at home before the event to realize this.

2) I forgot to switch from manual to AV priority when I took some shots on the balcony lit by natural light, as a result I way over exposed half a dozen photos. Luckily I reviewed the images after a few shots and realized my mistake. Note to self, when moving from inside to outside don’t only turn off the external flash, switch the camera mode. I could have adjusted manual settings I guess, but by using Av for outside and “M” for inside I was able to effectively “save” my settings and so switch between them with one quick knob twirl.

Oh yeah, the other thing I learned was that my 17-70 is beginning to disappoint me, yet another batch of photos taken with that lens that are only average at best, my keeper rate with this lens is low. I can’t shoot below f5.6 on this lens if I want a remotely sharp photo, and even then it’s not a patch on my ltd primes.

OTOH my DA40 was great, particularly for the group shots, and I was reminded again just how superb my DA70 is, that lens can’t help but take fantastic portraits. I absolutely love this lens.

Only other thing is that I did have to do quite a bit of lens swapping on the day, something I wouldn’t have had to do as much if I owned a 50-135mm . I think this will be my next lens for exactly this kind of situation, but I don’t think I’ll ever be able to part with my DA70, have I told you how much I love this lens?

05-25-2010, 04:45 PM   #2
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QuoteOriginally posted by twitch Quote
something I wouldn’t have had to do as much if I owned a 50-135mm
I'll help your LBA out. Buy this lens. Buy it now.
05-26-2010, 12:16 AM   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by twitch Quote
1) Didn’t realize that using a flash disables the shake reduction system.
It shouldn't if you use the external flash in the hotshoe. SR is disabled only if you use an external flash in wireless mode.
05-26-2010, 03:08 AM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by simico Quote
It shouldn't if you use the external flash in the hotshoe. SR is disabled only if you use an external flash in wireless mode.
You are absolutely right, I just tested it. I must have disabled SR while I was trying out wireless mode last week. What an idiot I am.

05-26-2010, 04:07 AM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by twitch Quote
You are absolutely right, I just tested it. I must have disabled SR while I was trying out wireless mode last week. What an idiot I am.
Well, welcome to the club!

Did I ever tell you about the time when I left ISO400 on my Canon Pro1 on for 3 whole days on a once-in-a-lifetime visit to Croatia, after a visit to a cathedral? (And, yes, ISO400 on that 8Mp sensor looked like ISO3200 on the current crop.

I do not dare count the times when I have the camera at eye-level, see only black, start fiddling with controls only to find out the lenscap is still on.

Ever left with a battery but without SD card. Or worse, with 12Gb worth of memorycards but no batteries? I did both...

Try to shoot the inside of a church or other building and the DA16-45mm still sitting in your hotel room?

Clean the sensor because of a spot on the mirror?

Clean the viewfinder because of dirt on the sensor? Breathe on the sensor to dislodge dust?

And I can go on and on and on...

05-26-2010, 09:16 AM   #6
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Hmmm. Just checked the K-x specs on the web. It seems there is no USER mode on the K-x. Unfortunate. I find USER very handy for setting up a mode you will use often and want to get there by just turning one dial to USER rather than fiddling with a whole bunch of controls. Anyway...where were we?
05-26-2010, 09:24 AM   #7
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Sounds much like my weekend.

I also just purchased a Metz 48 to get shots of 2 of my daughters in 2 seperate college graduations. I probably shouldn't mention my little incident of so shooting inside at ISO 1600 with a 300mm telephoto for the commencement ceremony and forgetting to change my camera settings when I started to take shots outdoors under the trees using the Metz as fill flash.

I caught the mistake in time and got plenty of keepers. For the most part, the Metz did a wonderful job considering I'm a total noob with a flash.
05-26-2010, 09:31 AM   #8
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twitch, thanks for sharing! sounds like you have a good experience and walked away with some some lessons learned. right on!

"know your camera" is one of those things i read absolutely everywhere but still find it tough not to forget a dial here or a setting there.

i am surprised to hear about your experience with the 17-70mm though. that's the next lens on my list and with a recent aquisition of a 50mm 1.7 i was even considering selling my da40 since there would be too much overlap between the 17-70mm, 40mm and 50mm. maybe i should think again though... (actually, i love the da40 so i don't know if i'll be able to bring myself to selling it)

05-26-2010, 03:17 PM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by newmikey Quote
Well, welcome to the club!
I fell much better after reading your list thanks


QuoteOriginally posted by reeftool Quote
Sounds much like my weekend.

I also just purchased a Metz 48 to get shots of 2 of my daughters in 2 seperate college graduations. I probably shouldn't mention my little incident of so shooting inside at ISO 1600 with a 300mm telephoto for the commencement ceremony and forgetting to change my camera settings when I started to take shots outdoors under the trees using the Metz as fill flash.

I caught the mistake in time and got plenty of keepers. For the most part, the Metz did a wonderful job considering I'm a total noob with a flash.
Glad to hear it all worked out. I love my Metz now.

QuoteOriginally posted by pb_red Quote
twitch, thanks for sharing! sounds like you have a good experience and walked away with some some lessons learned. right on!

"know your camera" is one of those things i read absolutely everywhere but still find it tough not to forget a dial here or a setting there.
I'm still learning my camera that's for sure. I really have to remember to do a "pre flight" check list by running through the options in the info menu + ISO/WB/Shutter/Apperture. But sometimes I just don't have time and grab the camera and shoot.

QuoteOriginally posted by pb_red Quote
i am surprised to hear about your experience with the 17-70mm though. that's the next lens on my list and with a recent aquisition of a 50mm 1.7 i was even considering selling my da40 since there would be too much overlap between the 17-70mm, 40mm and 50mm. maybe i should think again though... (actually, i love the da40 so i don't know if i'll be able to bring myself to selling it)
Mines the Sigma (not sure if you were look at the Pentax or Sigma), and to be fair to Sigma I've only read very positive feedback from other owners. I think it's ever since I got the DA70 and then the DA40 that I've become a little dissatisfied. Too much pixel peeping maybe.
05-26-2010, 06:55 PM   #10
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Haha glad you managed to pull some great shots!

I must say, I'm also quite happy to see a fellow Melbournian using a K-x

Thought I was the only one :P
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