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08-30-2014, 11:55 AM   #1
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Newbie Strobe question ...

Help!! I hardly ever shoot with a flash and I've promised myself that I will get a nice P-TTL someday, but for now, on those rare occasions where I feel I need to use flash, I just use the built-in flash on my K500. I am fond of shooting with my M and K prime manual lenses, and on those time when I need flash, all my shots are WAY over-exposed (like everything is white and I cannot even see the subject, level of over-exposed). Obviously, I have no freakin' clue how to shoot with manual lenses and flash. So here's the question(s) ..

1. Can one shoot with manual lenses and the built-in flash?
2. If so, how, and is there a guide or a post that can help me figure this out?

I'm 1) A strobe idiot, or 2) it simply cannot be done. (I'm betting it's #1)

Thanks!!

08-30-2014, 12:19 PM   #2
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It's #3 : The camera does not know the selected aperture and just blasts the flash at full power (or at least always the same high power level).
Using an inexpensive manual flash could solve your problem, but would delay the P-TTL flash more...
08-30-2014, 12:30 PM   #3
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A manual strobe may be all you need. P-TTL doesn't work with M or K lenses, only A or newer. Strobist 101 is your friend
08-30-2014, 12:50 PM   #4
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Use a smaller fstop or increase the distance from your subject until you get more reasonable exposures.

I suggest you check your camera's manual for the guide number for the built in flash and then you can compute exposure accordingly.

Remember to set your shutter speed for 1/180 sec or longer. Be in 'M' mode.

QuoteOriginally posted by Kozlok Quote
Strobist 101 is your friend
excellent resource.

08-30-2014, 12:57 PM   #5
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Dodged a bullet. It was 50/50 as to whether I would be proven an idiot and it turns out that it's the camera that's an idiot and I'm just uneducated.

I wish one could just put the camera in Av mode and set the aperture to match the lens selected aperture, then press the Green Button and the camera would figure the rest out. A GREEN button which reads your camera set Aperture priority setting you've set when in Av mode. If that's even doable.

Anyhow -- Looks like a TTL basic flash is in my future for those rare instances. For now I guess I should keep an A lenses or DA in the bag for when those situations arise.

Oh. And it looks like I have some reading to do ...

Thanks all!!
08-30-2014, 01:03 PM   #6
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Keep your eye out for a Vivitar 285. It's an old flash that uses thyristor technology--the flash fires and then quenches the burst when its sensor tells it proper exposure has been achieved. Very easy to use; set the flash for f4, set the camera for f4, perfect exposure (for average subjects) every time. Back in the day it was a wedding photog's best friend. And very cheap--you should be able to find one for $50 or less.

Last edited by johnyates; 08-30-2014 at 01:08 PM.
08-30-2014, 01:08 PM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by johnyates Quote
Keep your eye out for a Vivitar 285. It's an old flash that uses thyristor technology--the flash fires and quenches the burst when its sensor tells it proper exposure has been achieved. Very easy to use; set the flash for f4, set the camera for f4, perfect exposure (for average subjects) every time. Back in the day it was a wedding photog's best friend. And very cheap--you should be able to find one for $50 or less.
Thanks!! I have an old Sunpak from my ME Super days, but is way too high a voltage and could damage my camera. Is the Vivtar 285 a safe voltage for my digital camera?
08-30-2014, 01:14 PM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by ripper2860 Quote
Is the Vivtar 285 a safe voltage for my digital camera?
I own two that are perfectly safe. But it could be that some are not, so it's always wise to check. The 285 HV has a good safety reputation. I also have a Sunpak 433D (which uses the same technology) that is safe. And, it swivels as well as tilts, which may make it a better choice.

I think the thyristor flashes are better in many ways than P-TTL as they don't require a pre-flash which can result in losing a shot.

08-30-2014, 01:25 PM   #9
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My Sunpak is a Thyristor Auto 322 w/ Tilt and Swivel. Served me well on my ME Super and worked nicely on my K500 with the one shot I took before finding it was too high a voltage. I immediately banished it to an old bits and parts drawer. I will certainly keep an eye out for the Vivitar and do some research.

Thanks!!

Last edited by ripper2860; 08-30-2014 at 01:51 PM.
08-30-2014, 05:20 PM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by johnyates Quote
I own two that are perfectly safe. But it could be that some are not, so it's always wise to check. The 285 HV has a good safety reputation. I also have a Sunpak 433D (which uses the same technology) that is safe. And, it swivels as well as tilts, which may make it a better choice.
I think the thyristor flashes are better in many ways than P-TTL as they don't require a pre-flash which can result in losing a shot.
Found what looks to be a good condition Vivitar 285HV for $30.00 and pulled the trigger. Should be here Friday and I'll take it for a test drive. Thanks!!
08-30-2014, 06:39 PM   #11
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Hope it works out well for you. Be sure to test the trigger voltage just in case.
08-30-2014, 09:02 PM   #12
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For $49.95 you could have an inexpensive dedicated flash geared for your Pentax 500 that would work with your camera on or wireless. Opteka EF-790 DG Super TTL Flash for Pentax Digital SLR Cameras

Last edited by Oldbayrunner; 08-31-2014 at 05:36 AM.
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