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04-09-2011, 06:22 PM   #1
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What is a manual flash?

What is a non-manual flash? What does one give me that other does not? I know I'd need a safe sync adapter but manual flashes can be cheaper...if it suits my need. Thanks for help.

edit: I think this may answer my question: http://www.cs.mtu.edu/~shene/DigiCam/User-Guide/FZ-10/Ext-Flash/Flash-Manual-Mode.html

But since I am using manual super takumar lenses, don't I need a manual flash? Or in other words will I have any benefit to a non-manual flash when using manual lenses? Got to go all old school?


Last edited by justtakingpics; 04-09-2011 at 06:34 PM.
04-09-2011, 08:54 PM   #2
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J:

A fully manual flash makes you adjust everything, well, manually. You focus the lens, check the distance on the lens' distance scale, determine the f-stop to use from the flash's indicator, set the f-stop, take the shot.

An automatic flash allows you to choose an f-stop for a range of distances. It is much more convenient. You can even use the manual Super taks with such a flash.

A dedicated flash communicates with the camera and a fully dedicated flash will also adjust the flash exposure using the camera's metering systems.

For me, an automatic flash is the next best choice from a fully dedicated flash. But to learn the basics, and for the cost, a manual flash can be a nice consideration.

Have fun with them!
04-09-2011, 09:17 PM   #3
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Hi jtp,

To expand a little on Dave's post, an Auto Thyristor (Auto Mode) flash has a sensor on the flash unit that cuts the flash off when it senses that the exposure has gotten sufficient light according to the indicated aperture and ISO set on the camera, and within the range of distances also indicated on the flash's calsulator. You can extrapolate from settings suggested by the flash's calculator, as these usually assume film, and digital allows us a greater range of ISO speed latitude than film did with standard processing.

If you want the most automatic operation with your manual exposure lenses, an Auto Thyristor flash would be one to look for.

Learning manual flash is not nearly as hard as it seems at first glance, but truth be told, I use P-TTL virtually all the time, and use Auto mode when I encounter the few situations where it works better.

Scott
04-10-2011, 02:01 AM   #4
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Manual flashes will work but you can also use an automatic flash.

Manual flashes have in general one drawback and that is that they will always output full power which leads to longer recharge times. As explained above, the only variables that can influence the exposure is the aperture and the ISO.

If you can find a manual flash with variable power settings (I don't know they exist as I never looked for one) it's a plus. That way you can use lower output (e.g.1/4) and aperture to influence the exposure. Advantage is that recharging takes less time and therefore your flash will be ready sooner for the next shot (or you can take a few shots in succession without the flash running out of power). With limited power you will (obviously) have lesser reach. Read the flash section in the camera manual, it has some info about guidenumber (which you influence with variable power settings and ISO), aperture and subject distance.

An automatic flash (as explained) measures the light while flashing and cuts off the light when it thinks that the subject is properly exposed. You have to use the same settings for aperture and ISO as on the camera. Change something on the camera and you have to change it on the flash as well.

With (p)TTL flashes, the camera will determine the correct exposure and will instruct the flash to stop the emission of flash light. A camera with pTTL uses a pre-flash to measure (highly annoying) while a camera with TTL measures the light reflected from the film/sensor to determine correct exposure.

04-10-2011, 06:08 PM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by justtakingpics Quote
But since I am using manual super takumar lenses, ....
Note that p-TTL does NOT work with manual lenses. If you set the flash/camera at p-TTL mode, the flash will fire at full power.

Same thing applies if you use a flash unit on cameras of different brand. Whatever-TTL is dedicated to one brand. For example, if I use a flash in i-TTL mode (Nikon) with a Pentax K-7 body, the flash will fire at full power.

This is why I did not and will not buy a flash without auto-mode.
04-10-2011, 06:35 PM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by SOldBear Quote
Note that p-TTL does NOT work with manual lenses. If you set the flash/camera at p-TTL mode, the flash will fire at full power.

Same thing applies if you use a flash unit on cameras of different brand. Whatever-TTL is dedicated to one brand. For example, if I use a flash in i-TTL mode (Nikon) with a Pentax K-7 body, the flash will fire at full power.

This is why I did not and will not buy a flash without auto-mode.
Then I might do just as well with a sunpak or other manual flash until I have new lenses.
04-11-2011, 07:30 PM   #7
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Yes, but as you note, watch out for the sync voltage. Using an adapater is the best insurance for this, as you mention. Otherwise yo are upgrading the camera with the lenses!

Regards,
04-12-2011, 02:35 AM   #8
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If you want to pay 16 bucks instead of 50 for a safe sync, look at this:

Amazon.com: SMDV Hot Shoe Hotshoe Safe Sync Adapter SM-512 for Pentax K-5, K-r, K-7, K-m, x70, X90, K200d, K20d, K100D Super, K10D, K110D,K100D, *ist DL2, *ist DS2, *ist DL, *ist DS, K2000, K-X: Camera & Photo

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