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10-10-2012, 03:23 PM   #1
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Fill Flash

I have a KX and was trying to use fill flash at the beach yesterday. With the flash off, the camera metered a shutter speed of 4000 (it was very bright, with the sun coming towards me). I was trying to do a portrait, but the faces were in shadow. I popped up the flash to do fill flash, and the shutter speed maxed out at 180, even in manual mode. Of course this didn't work as everything was completely washed out. Is there a way to force my KX to stay at a very high shutter speed with the flash? Ideally I'd like to do this with both DA lenses and M42 lenses.

10-10-2012, 03:30 PM   #2
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Yes ! Its called high speed flash sync. You need a flash unit that supports it though. The built in flash does not support this. They also need to be rather powerful because the working distance is greatly reduced. Which is most likely why nobody includes it as feature in the little built in flash.
10-10-2012, 03:33 PM   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by Kozlok Quote
way to force my KX to stay at a very high shutter speed with the flash
Short answer is no.

You could try HSS (high speed sync) I think the K-x has that mode, but not 100% sure. That will allow faster shutter speed but at the expense of a lot of power, which might not be a problem in that type of shot.

You could also go to M mode, you would still be restricted to 1/180 but you can set the exposure manually so you might be able to get a more balanced shot.
10-10-2012, 04:28 PM   #4
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The only other option that I'm aware of is to get a really dark neutral density filter, which is just cutting down on a lot of light entering the lens, so that it forces the camera to a shutter speed at 1/180 or slower. I'm not sure about how the neutral density filters are spec'd and packaged - I think they are rated in f-stop multiples of darkening. To get from 1/4000 to slower than 1/180, I'm thinking this is a 5 f-stop reduction. But then I'm not sure how this will work with a flash, since that is trying to add back light into the faces. Seems like there ought to be some combination that will get you what you want, though.

10-10-2012, 04:40 PM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by GlennG Quote
The only other option that I'm aware of is to get a really dark neutral density filter
...
To get from 1/4000 to slower than 1/180, I'm thinking this is a 5 f-stop reduction.
The ND filter will also reduce your flash strength by those 5 stops. Pretty significant if you need some reach.

Last edited by tuco; 10-10-2012 at 10:53 PM.
10-10-2012, 04:54 PM   #6
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Short answer - No.

You need a more powerful flash, because High Speed Sync (syncing at high shutter speeds) requires the flash to fire a multitude of small flashes over a short period of time. These small flashes are much less powerful than a single flash, and consequently you need to be much closer to the subject.

Other alternatives are to use a shade/screen to shade and difuse the sunlight. This usually requires and extra person to hold the shade.

Or, use a reflector to bounce light from the sun up into the shadows. Also requires an extra person.

Regards

Chris Stone
10-10-2012, 05:15 PM   #7
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This is frustrating I know but the previous posts have covered it. A faster Flash synch speed would help but not a Pentax feature at the moment.

This may be the sort of situation where a reflector would help (something shiny to reflect sunlight on to their faces - if you have something athand).
10-10-2012, 07:50 PM   #8
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Original Poster
Thanks all!

10-10-2012, 08:48 PM - 1 Like   #9
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I was on the coast last weekend and stumbled onto a photographer taking some pictures of a couple in just the same situation. They had a really nice location, Haystack Rock at low tide, and everything looking good except bright light coming from behind the subjects so their faces were in shadow. The solution was a very large reflector held by an assistant to shine light back on the subjects. Looked to me like it worked great, I was amazed at the difference it made when the helper lost target or put the reflector down.

The helper got a real workout. If you are familiar with the Oregon coast, think 20mph winds as a calm day. It was very calm, but I was still surprised he did not just take off into the sky like a kite.
10-10-2012, 10:59 PM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by jatrax Quote
...
The helper got a real workout. If you are familiar with the Oregon coast, think 20mph winds as a calm day. It was very calm, but I was still surprised he did not just take off into the sky like a kite.
Cannon Beach? If so, I was so close to going last weekend. I've gone about this time for the last several years.
10-11-2012, 05:09 AM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by tuco Quote
The ND filter will also reduce your flash strength by those 5 stops. Pretty significant if you need some reach.
Good add, and thanks. I mulled my answer over last night and I had thought about that, too. Maybe that can be offset a little by using the most powerful flash setting and standing as close as possible. I also thought of stopping way down, but that also has the effect of greatly limiting whatever flash light that one might be trying to add back in. And, of course, you lose DoF with that move.
10-11-2012, 08:26 AM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by tuco Quote
Cannon Beach?
Yep, really awesome weekend. Weather was great. The photographer I watched was a petite girl, who really seemed to know what she was doing. Huge Canon & lens, not sure which one but in her hands it just looked enormous. My k-5 & DA*16-50 looked positively tiny comparatively.

I enjoyed watching a pro at work almost as much as taking my own shots. It is a pleasure to watch someone who takes their craft seriously and makes sure the details are handled. Dozens of other folks taking snapshots of the same scene and they will have a black blob in the center with a bright blue sky in the background. She will, I am sure, have some great shots because she knew what needed to be done and did not cut corners.
10-11-2012, 09:20 AM   #13
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in reading the posts there are a couple of things that come to mind, in addition to High Speed Sync, a ND filter, and a reflector, that were mentioned.

The Op was shooting into the sun, or bright sky, and had a shutter speed of 1/4000, what was the aperture. with a sky / sun background, there is no need for shallow DOF so stopping down would help quite a bit. Bokeh from shoting wide open is not likely a concern here.

Also, it was mentioned that pentax was limited to 1/180 and that other cameras were better, thile that may be true, it is totally irrelevant, as the difference between 1/180 and 1/250 when the natural lighting is asking for 1/4000 is insignificant. Lets not go down that tangent here.

A slight repositioning may also help, unless the intent is to halo the subject with the sun.

The last option is to forget the background and meter off the subjects face using spot metering, and let the sun and sky burn out. If it is a beach, I am suprised that there is not more reflection off the sand / water to light the subject even in the shadows.
10-11-2012, 02:57 PM   #14
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Oh, and I forgot one more trick - post processing. My software (PSP X2 Ultimate), there is an option to add fill flash. The colors that I get when I use it are not the greatest, but it does help some.
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