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02-06-2011, 09:40 AM   #16
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If a 50 1.4 is too slow then you need a flash. A "potato masher" is one of those oldschool flash guns that screw on to the tripod mount and stick up over the camera on the left side. New speedlights are better.
The battery packs are for when you are popping the flash at high power thousands of times in a night so you're not changing AAs' every 20 minutes. Your flash is pretty powerful. I looked up your guide number and it's pretty close to my SB800. You should be able to get at least 150 flashes average on a set of batteries.
You don't need to worry about shutter speed stopping motion with a flash. The flash does that.

Flash photography is different then available light. Kind of like driving a car and then flying a plane. With a speedlight, you need to balance everything.

You have to decide do you want a black background? Detailed background? Match ambient light white balance? Fill flash to get rid of shadows on faces?
You set (guess) flash power. Then you use the aperture to control how much flash comes through your lens. Then, your shutter speed controls the brightness of the ambient light/background.

You can use your iTTL to do all that but I can't tell you anything about yours because I have no experience with it. Mine does fill flash very well, which is usually what you want. Yours probably does too.
On camera is ok for weddings if you bounce. Your flash swivels and tilts? Try something like 60% up and 45% to the left off a white ceiling. Point it straight up and pull the bounce card out (if yours does that). Try different angles. You can't bounce off the sky obviously.

Careful with wide apertures. Very easy to botch the focus. It's safer to shoot at f/4 to f/8 or something.

Edit: Why does your flash take "EONS" to cycle? Are you blasting it at full power? What batteries do you use?

02-06-2011, 09:57 AM   #17
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I just looked up your flash. That's the Pentax equivalent of my Nikon SB-800. Your guide number is actually a little higher then mine! You even have wireless optical triggering! There's a nice looking external battery for it too. You have everything you need right there!
You just need to learn a couple strobist techniques and you can make pretty pictures at night.
02-06-2011, 10:08 AM   #18
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I might also add that to minimise whatever noise you may dislike in your high ISO captures, consider 'exposing to the right', meaning to expose the images such that the important highlights in the image are registered at the top quarter of the histogram. This may involve bumping up the EV compensation/flash output, but at least it won't mean flogging your batteries at low ISO and small aperture settings all the time.
02-06-2011, 11:44 AM   #19
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QuoteOriginally posted by Gashog Quote
If a 50 1.4 is too slow then you need a flash. A "potato masher" is one of those oldschool flash guns that screw on to the tripod mount and stick up over the camera on the left side. New speedlights are better.
The battery packs are for when you are popping the flash at high power thousands of times in a night so you're not changing AAs' every 20 minutes. Your flash is pretty powerful. I looked up your guide number and it's pretty close to my SB800. You should be able to get at least 150 flashes average on a set of batteries.
You don't need to worry about shutter speed stopping motion with a flash. The flash does that.

Flash photography is different then available light. Kind of like driving a car and then flying a plane. With a speedlight, you need to balance everything.

You have to decide do you want a black background? Detailed background? Match ambient light white balance? Fill flash to get rid of shadows on faces?
You set (guess) flash power. Then you use the aperture to control how much flash comes through your lens. Then, your shutter speed controls the brightness of the ambient light/background.

You can use your iTTL to do all that but I can't tell you anything about yours because I have no experience with it. Mine does fill flash very well, which is usually what you want. Yours probably does too.
On camera is ok for weddings if you bounce. Your flash swivels and tilts? Try something like 60% up and 45% to the left off a white ceiling. Point it straight up and pull the bounce card out (if yours does that). Try different angles. You can't bounce off the sky obviously.

Careful with wide apertures. Very easy to botch the focus. It's safer to shoot at f/4 to f/8 or something.

Edit: Why does your flash take "EONS" to cycle? Are you blasting it at full power? What batteries do you use?
Thanks for the info. I usu. set it to ttl when I use the flash. There are times with this flash that it will shoot mulit frames, perhaps it is the batteries?

02-06-2011, 11:45 AM   #20
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QuoteOriginally posted by Ash Quote
I might also add that to minimise whatever noise you may dislike in your high ISO captures, consider 'exposing to the right', meaning to expose the images such that the important highlights in the image are registered at the top quarter of the histogram. This may involve bumping up the EV compensation/flash output, but at least it won't mean flogging your batteries at low ISO and small aperture settings all the time.
Thanks for that suggestion.
02-06-2011, 11:48 AM   #21
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QuoteOriginally posted by Gashog Quote
I just looked up your flash. That's the Pentax equivalent of my Nikon SB-800. Your guide number is actually a little higher then mine! You even have wireless optical triggering! There's a nice looking external battery for it too. You have everything you need right there!
You just need to learn a couple strobist techniques and you can make pretty pictures at night.
I guess I'll look into buying the external battery pack. I will also google strobist techniques. Also, the room in which I will be working my next wedding has a very high ceiling, so bouncing off of that won't be an option. I do have the diffuser, so I am able to get decent shots by just angling the flash head slightly.
02-06-2011, 12:21 PM   #22
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Given the difficult conditions for bounce flash you may encounter, another suggestion would be to either get a flash bracket (ugly piece of equipment, but quite handy) or a P-TTL hotshoe extension cable, that will enable you to hold the camera with one hand, the flash in your other and get off-camera like lighting effects once you mater the right angle to hold the flash at. With a StoFen or Gary Fong diffuser you can get some excellent results.

This is the TR-3 power pack I mentioned earlier: http://www.pentaxwebstore.com/detail/PTX+37225
with a thread discussing it here: https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/pentax-camera-field-accessories/94324-tr-...batteries.html
02-06-2011, 12:27 PM   #23
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QuoteOriginally posted by Ash Quote
Given the difficult conditions for bounce flash you may encounter, another suggestion would be to either get a flash bracket (ugly piece of equipment, but quite handy) or a P-TTL hotshoe extension cable, that will enable you to hold the camera with one hand, the flash in your other and get off-camera like lighting effects once you mater the right angle to hold the flash at. With a StoFen or Gary Fong diffuser you can get some excellent results.

This is the TR-3 power pack I mentioned earlier: PentaxWebstore TR Power Pack 3
with a thread discussing it here: https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/pentax-camera-field-accessories/94324-tr-...batteries.html
Thank you for those links and the info.!!!

02-06-2011, 01:17 PM - 1 Like   #24
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QuoteOriginally posted by strictlypentax Quote
I do have the diffuser, so I am able to get decent shots by just angling the flash head slightly.
I don't see how this is going to work. The diffuser you have (which is anything else but "fairly priced") works if nearby walls and a ceiling help to also reflect some light on the subject. If there is no such support than it does not effectively enlarge the light source.

Decent shots depend on "soft light" and the latter can only be achieved by large light sources. Your flash head is a pretty small light source and the diffuser doesn't change that (without additional support from surrounding surfaces).

What you need in the absence of any supporting walls/ceiling is a beauty dish or a portable softbox.

Hope this helps.

P.S.: If you did comparison shots with and without diffuser and liked the diffuser shots better than it will have been due to a) nearby surfaces reflecting light spread out by the diffuser and b) reduction of the direct flash power. The second effect may make your images look a bit better even in the absence of supporting surfaces but you can achieve this affect more economically by reducing the flash power (flash exposure compensation or manually). The latter would help with your recycle times.

Last edited by Class A; 02-06-2011 at 01:23 PM.
02-06-2011, 03:43 PM   #25
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QuoteOriginally posted by Class A Quote
What you need in the absence of any supporting walls/ceiling is a beauty dish or a portable softbox.
or a shot-through umbrella only on the subject(s).

I use multiple flashes with gels no stronger than 1/4 power, prefer 1/8, iso 400-800-1600max, and use anything that can bounce light but still keep the atmosphere same.

k20 is safe at iso 800; and 1600 with pp. f2.8 is good for my case but hardly use. I keep at f4-5.6
A led flash light is used for focus aid.

Hope this helps
02-06-2011, 04:18 PM   #26
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Everyone keeps mentioning multiple flash set ups. I'm wondering how you do this at a wedding and reception where people are moving around constantly? I don't have more than one 540 anyway, so I won't be able to shoot that way, but I'm wondering how it's done.
02-06-2011, 04:32 PM   #27
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Pentax K-x at 12800 ISO and FA 50/1.4 shoots lower light than I can see to manually focus with, ofcourse AF will not work at those light levels.
02-06-2011, 04:47 PM   #28
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QuoteOriginally posted by strictlypentax Quote
Everyone keeps mentioning multiple flash set ups. I'm wondering how you do this at a wedding and reception where people are moving around constantly? I don't have more than one 540 anyway, so I won't be able to shoot that way, but I'm wondering how it's done.
Radio triggers (eg cactus). and a couple of flashes on light stands (or held by an assistant, or fixed to a wall or frame somehow via clamp) at the reception hall. The flashes can be cheap manual ones, the triggers aren't expensive either.
02-06-2011, 04:47 PM - 1 Like   #29
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QuoteOriginally posted by strictlypentax Quote
Everyone keeps mentioning multiple flash set ups. I'm wondering how you do this at a wedding and reception where people are moving around constantly? I don't have more than one 540 anyway, so I won't be able to shoot that way, but I'm wondering how it's done.
I think you're making this more complicated than it needs to be.
I think you need to watch these 3 videos;



I learned a lot by watching the whole dvd set (2discs)
just watch these, try it out yourself, and learn all about it untill you know it from heart. you can do wonderful things using only one light and a limited setup, just don't doubt it and don't be hesitant of bumping your iso up over 400.. you do pp anyway
02-06-2011, 05:00 PM   #30
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Noise reduction software. possibly the most convenient lowlight enhancement tool ever.
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