Forgot Password
Pentax Camera Forums Home
 

Reply
Show Printable Version Search this Thread
11-21-2014, 02:07 PM   #1
New Member




Join Date: Nov 2014
Posts: 17
Flash pictures terrible

Is there a way to make an indoor flash picture, look better? I'm using my Pentax *ist Ds, with its 18-55 (I think?) kit lens, and I love the camera, but whenever I take a picture with the flash of people, it looks terrible. So, needless to say, I don't do it any more. Which is unfortunate.

The problem seems to be my subjects are way overexposed and washed out looking. I understand about flash ranges and all on a manual flash, but this is using the built in pop-up flash on the Ds. I've heard of filtering, or putting panty hose or a piece of paper to diffuse the flash...but honestly, haven't tried that because I get frustrated and don't even try to shoot indoor at family gatherings.

And I get fussed at because I am "supposed to be the family photographer"....a title I didn't ask for, btw.

Any suggestions or quick, easy fixes? Any reference or website or something that could help me take better flash photography?

Or...could there be an adjustment on my Ds that I need to make? It almost seems to me, that the flash is too strong, so to speak?

Scott

11-21-2014, 02:12 PM   #2
Pentaxian




Join Date: Jul 2014
Posts: 714
are you shooting in manual mode? if so drop your ISO

but honestly, buy an external flash if you shoot indoors a lot
11-21-2014, 02:23 PM   #3
Site Supporter
cali92rs's Avatar

Join Date: May 2011
Location: Long Beach, CA
Posts: 3,201
Bounce flash...bounce flash...bounce flash


It's the easiest way to soften the light and make your pictures look natural (as well as allow you to shoot at a much lower ISO).
But as venom mentioned above, that requires you to buy an external flash.
11-21-2014, 02:33 PM   #4
Pentaxian
VisualDarkness's Avatar

Join Date: Nov 2011
Location: Uppsala, Sweden
Photos: Gallery
Posts: 4,439
QuoteOriginally posted by Venom3300 Quote
are you shooting in manual mode? if so drop your ISO

but honestly, buy an external flash if you shoot indoors a lot
If using the built in flash head on I would do the opposite, use higher ISO and longer shutter speed to make the flash blend in more with natural light. It will still be awful to use on board flash head on in darkness though.

11-21-2014, 02:50 PM   #5
New Member




Join Date: Nov 2012
Posts: 4
I don't have my old isd any more, but on my k 5 & k 3 when I occasionally use the built in flash, I arrow down to set flash and use my rear wheel to change it the -0.3. Don't know if that is what should be done but it seems to work fine. Hope this helps.
11-21-2014, 03:28 PM - 1 Like   #6
Tas
Site Supporter




Join Date: Aug 2013
Location: Brisbane, QLD
Photos: Gallery | Albums
Posts: 1,001
Not a flash expert but I agree with reduinc the out put

QuoteOriginally posted by jwjohnson9 Quote
I don't have my old isd any more, but on my k 5 & k 3 when I occasionally use the built in flash, I arrow down to set flash and use my rear wheel to change it the -0.3. Don't know if that is what should be done but it seems to work fine. Hope this helps.
I avoid using the inbuilt flash, but if it is all that is avaliable, I too reduce the flash output on my K5 to only that needed. There are some difuser options for inbuilt flash that you could consider, or you could make your own and achieve similar results.
11-21-2014, 04:02 PM   #7
Veteran Member
JimC1101's Avatar

Join Date: Aug 2010
Location: Fremont, Ca
Photos: Albums
Posts: 392
I hate taking pics with flash, that look like flash, where the faces and shadows get blown out so here is what I always do. I don't own the *ist but when I do use flash, I turn down the Flash compensation level to a -7. This will give much better results by reducing the overexposed face areas. It will show a slightly underexposed pic but you can bump it up in PP based on your preference. I have always done it this way and have always been very happy this way.
11-21-2014, 04:04 PM   #8
Pentaxian




Join Date: Jul 2014
Posts: 714
QuoteOriginally posted by VisualDarkness Quote
If using the built in flash head on I would do the opposite, use higher ISO and longer shutter speed to make the flash blend in more with natural light. It will still be awful to use on board flash head on in darkness though.
shutter speed with on board flash maxes out at 1/180th of a second. In my experience that results in a blown out picture at high ISO.

11-21-2014, 04:39 PM   #9
Veteran Member




Join Date: Mar 2012
Location: Perrineville, NJ
Posts: 1,364
He meant a slower shutter speed, like 1/60.

I tend to agree, if you can take shots indoors with no flash at all, then adding a little bit just for fill is one good trick.
11-21-2014, 04:46 PM   #10
Site Supporter
stevebrot's Avatar

Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: Vancouver (USA)
Photos: Gallery | Albums
Posts: 26,216
I don't have a *st DS, but your camera should have P-TTL flash in P, Av, and Tv modes. Make sure the flash is set to auto mode using the 4-way controller and remember to remove the hood from your kit lens. P-TTL will also work in Auto Pict mode, but only when you allow the flash to popup automatically. If you push the flash up button in Auto Pict mode it will be full manual*.


Steve

* At least that is what I think the manual says. With any luck, maybe one of this site's *ist DS users will happen by.

Last edited by stevebrot; 11-21-2014 at 05:10 PM.
11-21-2014, 04:53 PM   #11
Pentaxian




Join Date: Jul 2014
Posts: 714
QuoteOriginally posted by Tanzer Quote
He meant a slower shutter speed, like 1/60.
high ISO + flash + longer shutter speed= even more blown out.... what am i missing here?
11-21-2014, 05:04 PM   #12
Pentaxian
LensBeginner's Avatar

Join Date: Sep 2014
Photos: Albums
Posts: 2,490
The typical pop-up flash look is in fact terrible.
It mainly consists of
1. unnaturally hyper-corrected WB (flash light is daylight balanced)
2. strong shadows
3. directly frontal light (hence shadows are also "wrong")
4. drop in the occasional red eye, due to flash being on axis with the lens

Remedies
1. choose a warmer WB or correct in post or use a CTO gel (strenght will depend on flash intensity)
2. diffuse with something, even an empty yogurt plastic container
3. bounce, even if it's with a piece of metal, a mirror or a piece of cardboard with some tinfoil glued on it. On the ceiling is good, esp. if it's white and not too high
4. tough one. buy a proper flash and use off camera with a trigger or correct with PS. Avoid red-eye pre-flashes, as they'll just make the subjects squint.
11-21-2014, 05:04 PM   #13
Pentaxian
Just1MoreDave's Avatar

Join Date: Feb 2007
Location: Aurora, CO
Photos: Gallery | Albums
Posts: 4,815
Flash photography creates two exposures at the same time. One is the flash, the other is ambient. Different settings emphasize one exposure over the other. The "overexposed and washed out looking" look is probably the flash overpowering the rest of the shot. Your goal is to balance each exposure so they work together.

The on-camera flash only has one direct adjustment, flash exposure compensation explained in post #5. It is indirectly affected by what mode you're in. Most of the time, the camera tries to make the flash work hard, which looks bad. The limited power causes a superbright white foreground and a dark or black background.

I like to use settings that maximize the ambient light first, then allow the flash to add just a little more to that. I use M mode, 1/30 shutter speed, ISO 800 to 1600 and the lens wide open or just barely stopped down. That lets in all the ambient light you can get away with. The flash uses the fancy P-TTL electronics to add whatever to this. You can control that somewhat with flash exposure compensation. Fast-moving kids may require 1/60. These settings make the photos look just like I want, or get me close enough to adjust to a better look. If I have a little more ambient light than usual, I'll go to ISO 400 or 800. Then I might stop down, like one stop from wide open. Unsteady hands or lots of action may mean faster shutter speeds too.

Most people complain about Auto ISO combined with flash, so maybe avoid that. I don't know how the DS implements that. I found that Av mode was the worst starting point for the flash to work well.

Look into getting a used Pentax AF500FTZ flash. They are usually cheap now because cameras after the DS won't work with them, but the DS is compatible. It's a top of the line flash: tilt, swivel, zoom head, lots of power. Look to pay $60-75.
11-21-2014, 05:11 PM   #14
Pentaxian
Just1MoreDave's Avatar

Join Date: Feb 2007
Location: Aurora, CO
Photos: Gallery | Albums
Posts: 4,815
QuoteOriginally posted by Venom3300 Quote
high ISO + flash + longer shutter speed= even more blown out.... what am i missing here?
Flash electronics. The popup flash is P-TTL and will reduce its power if it's not needed. (Unless you use an M, K or M42 lens.) You risk noise from high ISOs and motion blur from really slow shutter speeds. If you're still getting overexposure, you didn't need flash to start with.
11-21-2014, 05:17 PM   #15
Site Supporter
stevebrot's Avatar

Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: Vancouver (USA)
Photos: Gallery | Albums
Posts: 26,216
QuoteOriginally posted by Just1MoreDave Quote
The on-camera flash only has one direct adjustment,
The onboard flash supports P-TTL. As such, using it for snapshots should be exceedingly easy. From what I can tell, the OP is using the flash in full-power manual mode. This can happen if it was set wrong using the four-way controller or if the flash is manually raised in "Auto Pict" or any of the other scene modes.

Steve

Last edited by stevebrot; 11-21-2014 at 05:27 PM.
Reply

Bookmarks
  • Submit Thread to Facebook Facebook
  • Submit Thread to Twitter Twitter
  • Submit Thread to Digg Digg
Tags - Make this thread easier to find by adding keywords to it!
ambient, auto, bit, bracket, camera, ceiling, ds, exposures, flash, flash pictures, iso, light, pentax help, people, photo, photography, picture, scott, subjects, suggestions, terrible, thanks, time, troubleshooting, try
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Abstract IR - Terrible gradient blending in the sky willskywalker93 Photo Critique 17 10-10-2014 09:39 AM
Pentax marketing is terrible. Mr_Canuck Photographic Industry and Professionals 10 06-10-2013 06:44 PM
Terrible noise! pugsypoogirl Pentax K-5 31 02-20-2013 04:06 PM
Nature Even in terrible light... gjtoth Photo Critique 6 02-17-2013 10:27 PM
How do I fix these terrible pictures? robdrobd Troubleshooting and Beginner Help 28 01-07-2011 03:21 PM



All times are GMT -7. The time now is 12:06 AM. | See also: NikonForums.com, part of our network of photo forums!
  • Red (Default)
  • Green
  • Gray
  • Dark
  • Dark Yellow
  • Dark Blue
  • Old Red
  • Old Green
  • Old Gray
  • Dial-Up Style
Hello! It's great to see you back on the forum! Have you considered joining the community?
register
Creating a FREE ACCOUNT takes under a minute, removes ads, and lets you post! [Dismiss]
Top