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6 Days Ago   #1
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Gary Fong Diffuser/Flash Modes or does anyone actually do this?

So I received my Gary Fong Diffuser in the mail a few days ago, had a little play with it, seems good. A little card came with it, and indeed I did check the videos as suggested on the card for proper use. I wondered if anyone actually follows this advice, or is the advice a little outdated? For a start it says 'Program' mode... where or what does Program Mode mean on a Pentax? I'm guessing not Manual as that takes away a lot of the automation and ease in using a TTL flash? Is it referring to a mode such as TAv or Av?
And then the card suggests setting a fixed ISO of 800 for indoor use and point the flash straight up at the ceiling to get roof bounce (and presumably take the dome off if the ceilings are high), and for outdoor use ISO 100 as fixed, and then no dome and depending upon distance to subject either fire flash straight at them (far away) or up to the sky if close by.

It then got me thinking about how other users here use Flashguns, I have to admit I have not used the 'X' dial at all yet on my K-1 when using flash gun :S

Just wanted to get an idea of our pentax flash gun users here and what mode settings they might set up for flash use.

TIA!

Bruce

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6 Days Ago   #2
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I have an older non-collapsible version. It didn't come with any instructions. I have used it in numerous ways. But not enough to claim any expertise. I'm interested in the replies you may get.
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QuoteOriginally posted by UncleVanya Quote
I have an older non-collapsible version. It didn't come with any instructions. I have used it in numerous ways. But not enough to claim any expertise. I'm interested in the replies you may get.
Well on Sunday I made a bit of a booboo and shot ISO 400 indoors with bouncing flash off a high ceiling with the dome on, suffice to say results were not that stella or indifferent from using non flash hehe...
5 Days Ago - 1 Like   #4
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I have the older, non-collapsible model which didn't come with any sort of instructions. I've used it for years for every event/wedding I've shot.

My set-up is the camera in Av mode, and the diffuser on my Pentax AF540, both on and off camera. I am partial to controlling my aperture above all else. If I can, I will do a couple of test shots and check for exposure, but primarily I let the camera and flash control flash output. I have found, in this set up, the camera does a great job with the exposure. The only time I have to override it is in strange lighting with an unusually high ceiling, or outdoors when the subject is a little farther away from the camera/flash than normal.

High ceilings, such as a church with vaulted ceilings, I point the diffuser up and set the flash for maximum output for portraits. I don't expect any bounce off the ceiling, so I leave the cover on and the flash gives me a nice fill light, especially noticeable in the eyes.

5 Days Ago   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by twilhelm Quote
I have the older, non-collapsible model which didn't come with any sort of instructions. I've used it for years for every event/wedding I've shot.

My set-up is the camera in Av mode, and the diffuser on my Pentax AF540, both on and off camera. I am partial to controlling my aperture above all else. If I can, I will do a couple of test shots and check for exposure, but primarily I let the camera and flash control flash output. I have found, in this set up, the camera does a great job with the exposure. The only time I have to override it is in strange lighting with an unusually high ceiling, or outdoors when the subject is a little farther away from the camera/flash than normal.

High ceilings, such as a church with vaulted ceilings, I point the diffuser up and set the flash for maximum output for portraits. I don't expect any bounce off the ceiling, so I leave the cover on and the flash gives me a nice fill light, especially noticeable in the eyes.
Thanks for the feedback.

I too shoot predominately Av mode, when you take your test shots (if time allows) and adjust, what are you adjusting typically, the camera or flashgun? For example, during my testing I have taken a shot in Av mode, felt the flash was too much, instead of dialling the flash output power down (which is fiddly when the flashgun is off camera (tethered by a vello cable, and trying to adjust one handed quickly etc) I've hit that +/- EV button on the camera, dialled it back a bit and then retaken the shot. I don't think this is quite the way to go about things, I think I'm dialling the overall exposure back (ambient light), however the flash sees this and therefore also pulls back on power for the subsequent shot and I'm left with a more pleasing image.

I get that I'm going to have to pay more attention to my setting, indoors vs outdoors, indoors always point up, remove dome if high ceiling, outdoors point more direct at subject, especially if further away than 3m etc, but I wondered about this fixed ISO 800 recommendation. I typically leave my ISO on auto for Av mode, but maybe I would get better results if I set the ISO to fixed 800 (call this mode Av_indoor_flsh) and fix ISO at 100 (call this Av_outdoor_flsh) etc.
5 Days Ago   #6
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I generally shoot at iso 100-400 with the flash. I keep thinking that 800 would be quite high, but I could see it being necessary once in a while.

In a pinch, if I’m in a hurry I’ll adjust the overall exposure compensation. Otherwise I’ll use the compensation under the flash menu. In my experience it’s usually less than a 1 Stop adjustment.
5 Days Ago   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by twilhelm Quote
I generally shoot at iso 100-400 with the flash. I keep thinking that 800 would be quite high, but I could see it being necessary once in a while.

In a pinch, if I’m in a hurry I’ll adjust the overall exposure compensation. Otherwise I’ll use the compensation under the flash menu. In my experience it’s usually less than a 1 Stop adjustment.
So, do you perhaps set up Av with Auto ISO but restrict the range to being between 100-400?

So would you do the same as me, hit the EV +/- button and dial it back quickly on the camera?

On the K-1 for example, the Flash menu is not that readily accessible, I have to go Menu>push down a few times till I get to Flash Mode>Hit OK, then dial back. I've actually never used this before, but I think I would be quicker pulling back on the actual flash unit. Of course this is a lot easier if the flash is mounted to the camera, its when off body that operating one handed is a tad fiddly.
With that menu setting, it seems like you could set the K-1 to always take a flash pic with a reduced Flash EV value all the time, that might be handy, just leave it under exposed (slightly) indefinitely because what I have found from personal experience thus far is more often than not I dial back after chimping the first shot. Perhaps by leaving it - 0.3 or 0.7 etc it's set to a more natural looking flash (more often than not)...?
5 Days Ago - 1 Like   #8
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Set up your k1 so that the flash compensation menu is accessible using the info button.

What flash mode are you using? P-TTL ?

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QuoteOriginally posted by BruceBanner Quote
So, do you perhaps set up Av with Auto ISO but restrict the range to being between 100-400?

So would you do the same as me, hit the EV +/- button and dial it back quickly on the camera?

On the K-1 for example, the Flash menu is not that readily accessible, I have to go Menu>push down a few times till I get to Flash Mode>Hit OK, then dial back. I've actually never used this before, but I think I would be quicker pulling back on the actual flash unit. Of course this is a lot easier if the flash is mounted to the camera, its when off body that operating one handed is a tad fiddly.
With that menu setting, it seems like you could set the K-1 to always take a flash pic with a reduced Flash EV value all the time, that might be handy, just leave it under exposed (slightly) indefinitely because what I have found from personal experience thus far is more often than not I dial back after chimping the first shot. Perhaps by leaving it - 0.3 or 0.7 etc it's set to a more natural looking flash (more often than not)...?
On the K5 I hit the flash button on the 4 way buttons and the rear dial is set for compensation. For quick change, itís still faster to hit the exposure compensation button. I prefer to shoot 100-400, and will set the auto exposure to that value IF the light permits. I have worked in some very badly lit buildings where Iíve pushed the auto-iso up to 1600 with flash.

But yes, with the K1, I would believe you could program a button for flash control.
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QuoteOriginally posted by BruceBanner Quote
Thanks for the feedback.

I too shoot predominately Av mode, when you take your test shots (if time allows) and adjust, what are you adjusting typically, the camera or flashgun? For example, during my testing I have taken a shot in Av mode, felt the flash was too much, instead of dialling the flash output power down (which is fiddly when the flashgun is off camera (tethered by a vello cable, and trying to adjust one handed quickly etc) I've hit that +/- EV button on the camera, dialled it back a bit and then retaken the shot. I don't think this is quite the way to go about things, I think I'm dialling the overall exposure back (ambient light), however the flash sees this and therefore also pulls back on power for the subsequent shot and I'm left with a more pleasing image.

I get that I'm going to have to pay more attention to my setting, indoors vs outdoors, indoors always point up, remove dome if high ceiling, outdoors point more direct at subject, especially if further away than 3m etc, but I wondered about this fixed ISO 800 recommendation. I typically leave my ISO on auto for Av mode, but maybe I would get better results if I set the ISO to fixed 800 (call this mode Av_indoor_flsh) and fix ISO at 100 (call this Av_outdoor_flsh) etc.
Very quickly, Bruce:

1. Set your exposure so the background level is as you want it - go to Manual if you like so that Live View tells you straight away, or take a test pic and chimp. Fix the ISO so the camera can't become aggressive with it.

2. Indoors, the Fong's main illumination will be from the ceiling with the secondary fill from all directions so that the eye sockets aren't panda-like.

3. Work the FEC to taste. You can do it from the flash, I prefer to do it rolling the dial from the customized Info panel as PSchlute has mentioned (note that the flash and camera FEC are cumulative eg -1 and +1 will cancel each other out). I start at -1eV. What I'm usually looking for is to get a nice skin colour - I chimp to get the adjustments right.

Last edited by clackers; 5 Days Ago at 07:28 PM.
4 Days Ago   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by pschlute Quote
Set up your k1 so that the flash compensation menu is accessible using the info button.

What flash mode are you using? P-TTL ?
I actually like the Info button being that shortcut thing, I find that useful on occasion, so I set Raw/Fx1 as being the Flash shortcut, so much better, thanks!

P-TTL yeh I think, I mean in that my camera would be in TAv or Av mode, and then the flash just doing its auto thing, I toggle the mode on the 540II depending on the scenario, so for example if outdoors on a bright sunny day and shooting wide i will press mode till i get HSS, for dark night shots do the second curtain thing so that the flash fires last, and then i think its called first curtain flash which is kinda the norm (this is like default)? Honestly hitting mode and adjusting the flash dial for power is about as much as I have gotten into for flash. I get confused with all this P-TTL and TTL (although I understand that means Through The Lens, I just don't fully understand its implications).

QuoteOriginally posted by twilhelm Quote
On the K5 I hit the flash button on the 4 way buttons and the rear dial is set for compensation. For quick change, itís still faster to hit the exposure compensation button. I prefer to shoot 100-400, and will set the auto exposure to that value IF the light permits. I have worked in some very badly lit buildings where Iíve pushed the auto-iso up to 1600 with flash.

But yes, with the K1, I would believe you could program a button for flash control.
Yeh I recalled that the K-50 I think had flash on a directional pad button, was a bit stunned to not see it on the K-1.

Restricting the auto ISO is not something I have done much, sounds like a good time to put that into practice! I might try and create two dedicated flash modes, indoors and outdoors, indoors being 100-800, outdoors fixed at 100 (obviously meant for reasonable daylight).

QuoteOriginally posted by clackers Quote
Very quickly, Bruce:

1. Set your exposure so the background level is as you want it - go to Manual if you like so that Live View tells you straight away, or take a test pic and chimp. Fix the ISO so the camera can't become aggressive with it.

2. Indoors, the Fong's main illumination will be from the ceiling with the secondary fill from all directions so that the eye sockets aren't panda-like.

3. Work the FEC to taste. You can do it from the flash, I prefer to do it rolling the dial from the customized Info panel as PSchlute has mentioned (note that the flash and camera FEC are cumulative eg -1 and +1 will cancel each other out). I start at -1eV. What I'm usually looking for is to get a nice skin colour - I chimp to get the adjustments right.
If using Auto ISO and restricting the values (say 100-800), is there a way to 'fix' the iso as you say, or do I take the shot (without flash firing), take note of the ISO level, hit the ISO button and remove auto and now toggle to what it suggested and fix it at that?

When you say you start at -1ev do you have the camera set up like that from default? Like... it's already at -1 before you've even taken your first shot? It could be the lens I'm using (FA50mm) and shooting wide and the distance to subject but I am sure almost every test shot I am dialling back, hence was wondering if to quicken things up I can set a user mode to recall the -1 flash.

I noticed that adjusting the flash compensation on camera doesn't reflect in the flashgun, does that mean we can achieve greater power? Or is + 2.0 the max on the flashgun and also having the +2 on the camera doesn't actually take it/make it +4 (even tho it kinda is, it's just we've achieved max power already on the gun)?

Cheers for all the feedback!
4 Days Ago - 1 Like   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by BruceBanner Quote
If using Auto ISO and restricting the values (say 100-800), is there a way to 'fix' the iso as you say, or do I take the shot (without flash firing), take note of the ISO level, hit the ISO button and remove auto and now toggle to what it suggested and fix it at that?
That starts to be a lot of mucking around, Bruce, you end up where it's more practical to stay in Manual. The ISO stays where you want it, and you'll even get that exposure accurately shown in Live View, so you can see if the bokeh lights or the lamp in the corner are as bright as you want them to be.


QuoteOriginally posted by BruceBanner Quote
When you say you start at -1ev do you have the camera set up like that from default? Like... it's already at -1 before you've even taken your first shot?
Yep. "I start at -1eV." Indoors or outdoors.


QuoteOriginally posted by BruceBanner Quote
It could be the lens I'm using (FA50mm) and shooting wide and the distance to subject but I am sure almost every test shot I am dialling back, hence was wondering if to quicken things up I can set a user mode to recall the -1 flash.
Probably. I just leave it there. It's my default under all circumstances, day or night, popup or bounced.

QuoteOriginally posted by BruceBanner Quote
I noticed that adjusting the flash compensation on camera doesn't reflect in the flashgun, does that mean we can achieve greater power?
Yes.

If you had five flashes, through the camera, you raise or lower the overall lighting of the subject or scene, but you can still go around and adjust each one - lower the level of the snoot on the face, lift up the rim light on the hair, etc.
4 Days Ago   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by clackers Quote
That starts to be a lot of mucking around, Bruce, you end up where it's more practical to stay in Manual. The ISO stays where you want it, and you'll even get that exposure accurately shown in Live View, so you can see if the bokeh lights or the lamp in the corner are as bright as you want them to be...

... Yep. "I start at -1eV." Indoors or outdoors.
Sounds like you like your Manual mode muchly. I was a Manual only kinda guy for awhile there, but I found it took time to get the right shot, and with a wedding on the horizon (maybe) I am slightly nervous about timing and configuring, which is why I have headed (mainly) to Av with Auto ISO (and defining the Auto ISO Parameters). What I did not do is decide on a range for Auto ISO.

Am I to gather then that if I decided on Auto ISO and set the upper limit to say... 800, then if the scene called for a higher exposure (and I'm in all that auto flashgun mode etc) then it will deliver higher flash power accordingly (to compensate)?
Like... I'm just curious to see/know/understand lol, that if I set auto ISO to 100-800, and then a -1 EV like you, if the shutter speed minimum is say 1/80th (Auto ISO Parameter restriction), and the aperture quite wide (2.8-4 or summin) and then the scene dictates 800 ISO is necessary, will the flashgun drive more power to the shot (because everything else is already kinda maxed out)? Does that make sense? Like if ISO is not at its max setting 800, then that kinda tells me from a lighting scene perspective that there is room to move from the constraints I have set out, therefore the flash fired would behave in that -1 EV fashion...

It's good to hear u have a -1 EV as standard as that was the direction I was thinking of heading in, I'm kinda curious as to if lots of other shooters also (after awhile) also make this adjustment, like as if the correct standard given is just too much and gives an effect none of us actual photographers want
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QuoteOriginally posted by BruceBanner Quote
Sounds like you like your Manual mode muchly. I was a Manual only kinda guy for awhile there, but I found it took time to get the right shot, and with a wedding on the horizon (maybe) I am slightly nervous about timing and configuring, which is why I have headed (mainly) to Av with Auto ISO (and defining the Auto ISO Parameters). What I did not do is decide on a range for Auto ISO.
Remember that you're not talking about the exposure on the subject, but the exposure on the background ... the so-called ambient level.

Once you're in a particular room, or posing people against that wall or whatever, the exposure on your camera doesn't need to change unless the conditions themselves do ... the sun comes out, somebody turns on a lamp, whatever.

As a matter of fact, with TTL across any of the brands, the exposure can be thrown shot to shot by reflective elements such as glass or metal, and variation in how dark the background is. In M mode, you get the ambient right with test shots before you start shooting, then just click away once you're happy. You get both predictability and consistency - effectively, you're now doing studio shooting.

If conditions or your locations are changing minute by minute, one of the automated modes then makes perfect sense. My defaults are -1eV for the camera, -1eV for the flash. You're trading off precision for speed, getting more keepers out of candid shots.

QuoteOriginally posted by BruceBanner Quote

Am I to gather then that if I decided on Auto ISO and set the upper limit to say... 800, then if the scene called for a higher exposure (and I'm in all that auto flashgun mode etc) then it will deliver higher flash power accordingly (to compensate)?
Not as such. The background will typically be darker than you want, the subject the same. It's two different exposures, body and flash.

Camera flash algorithms do have to guess whether you want the subject or the scene lit. Canon agonized over it ... I think at one time focus distance was considered in their version of TTL, then dropped.


QuoteOriginally posted by BruceBanner Quote

It's good to hear u have a -1 EV as standard as that was the direction I was thinking of heading in, I'm kinda curious as to if lots of other shooters also (after awhile) also make this adjustment, like as if the correct standard given is just too much and gives an effect none of us actual photographers want
It's not a correct standard, it's just the default. Like the industry standard 18% grey for exposure, this simply doesn't suit a lot of shooters and their situations.

Quite a few cameras of different brands I've used seem to like to drop the shutter speed down to 1/60 or 1/30s even when using flash in an automated mode, maybe to make sure the background doesn't turn to black. Then the subject can appear to have a floating head!

Last edited by clackers; 4 Days Ago at 11:14 PM.
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QuoteOriginally posted by clackers Quote
Remember that you're not talking about the exposure on the subject, but the exposure on the background ... the so-called ambient level.

Once you're in a particular room, or posing people against that wall or whatever, the exposure on your camera doesn't need to change unless the conditions themselves do ... the sun comes out, somebody turns on a lamp, whatever.

As a matter of fact, with TTL across any of the brands, the exposure can be thrown shot to shot by reflective elements such as glass or metal, and variation in how dark the background is. In M mode, you get the ambient right with test shots before you start shooting, then just click away once you're happy. You get both predictability and consistency - effectively, you're now doing studio shooting.

If conditions or your locations are changing minute by minute, one of the automated modes then makes perfect sense. My defaults are -1eV for the camera, -1eV for the flash. You're trading off precision for speed, getting more keepers out of candid shots.



Not as such. The background will typically be darker than you want, the subject the same. It's two different exposures, body and flash.

Camera flash algorithms do have to guess whether you want the subject or the scene lit. Canon agonized over it ... I think at one time focus distance was considered in their version of TTL, then dropped.




It's not a correct standard, it's just the default. Like the industry standard 18% grey for exposure, this simply doesn't suit a lot of shooters and their situations.

Quite a few cameras of different brands I've used seem to like to drop the shutter speed down to 1/60 or 1/30s even when using flash in an automated mode, maybe to make sure the background doesn't turn to black. Then the subject can appear to have a floating head!
Thanks clackers, that helps.
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