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12-18-2014, 08:15 PM   #1
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Variable flash power?

Up to now I have only used the built-in flash of my K50 but have kept it as a last resort kind of thing due to the deer-in-headlight look I always get.

I'm not sure of this because I don't understand how flash works but my guess is that the flash is always at full power. It's always the same.

Do I have to do anything to get it to use less power depending on the situation? I usually shoot in Tav mode.

Reason I'm interested is because I have a Metz 50 AF-1 on its way and I want to learn flash since up to now I have kind of ignored it etc.

12-18-2014, 08:28 PM   #2
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if you press the left arrow on the 4-way controller when the flash is up,
the flash menu will be displayed on the LCD.
You can then scroll the power level down.

However, the real secret of good flash is to get it of the camera.
that's a whole minefield of it's own though.

Good luck with it.
12-18-2014, 08:37 PM   #3
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Not really. The flash varies with the on-camera flash, too. The problem with on-camera flash is two-fold. The size of the light source - tiny - and the location of the light source - right above the lens. Using a hotshoe flash will help some with those. The flash head is larger and the flash unit puts the light a little higher above the lens. You can help it a lot by adding some sort of diffuser to enlarge the light source even more. Sto-Fen diffuser domes are common and there are other brands. The other thing you can do is rotate the flash head up to bounce off the ceiling or sideways to bounce off a wall. Both will serve to enlarge the light source even more. The larger the source, the softer the light. That is one reason so many serious photographers shoot their flash through a softbox or umbrella - to enlarge and soften the light. I carry a mini-softbox in my camera bag that mounts on the flash head for times I can't do anything else. It makes a huge difference.
12-18-2014, 09:59 PM   #4
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Adjust your Flash Exposure Compensation by minus one to two stops and see what you think. You'll be able to get some catch lights in your subject's eyes and reduce the contrast differences on their face.

Ultimately, you need a hotshoe flash.

12-18-2014, 10:09 PM   #5
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You can get diffusers for the pop up flash too, and they help a bit.
12-19-2014, 12:08 AM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by Merts Quote
You can get diffusers for the pop up flash too, and they help a bit.
Yeah, I recently got a Fong Puffer for whenever I'm caught out-and-about without an external flash. It does help make the built-in more acceptable, and is robust.

Just don't lose its little mounting adapter that goes into the hotshoe.
12-19-2014, 12:32 AM   #7
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Also, I believe that if you're using old lenses the flash will always fire on full power without you being to change it. (unless I'm doing something severly wrong)

I havent got a flash (yet) and have bounced the flash successfully with a sheet of paper. Surely isn't the best solution and you don't want to be doing that all the time, but it kinda works better than nothing...
12-19-2014, 02:27 AM   #8
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I made a diffuser "tent" which I cut out of a frosted plastic report cover several years ago for times when I had to use the on-camera pop-up flash. It sat on the camera like an A-frame. The front bottom edge fit into the space in front of the pop-up, into which the flash normally retracts and the back part fit into the tiny space at the top of the eye cup. It wasn't very stable but did the job of increasing the apparent flash size to around 2" x 2-1/2" and diffusing the light rather nicely. I kept and carried that thing around even after I bought a Fong Puffer, just in case. I have also used a white handkerchief. Anything to soften that nasty, harsh pop-up light.

12-19-2014, 02:37 AM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by Topsy Quote
Also, I believe that if you're using old lenses the flash will always fire on full power without you being to change it. (unless I'm doing something severly wrong)
You know, you can vary the flash's power in manual mode on the K-S1/K3, but not on the K-50.
12-19-2014, 08:27 AM   #10
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Thanks for the help.

When I said I think the flash is always firing at full power it was because every time I use the flash its always the same hideous look. When my new flash (Metz 50 AF-1) arrives will I be able to adjust its power output even though my K50 has no such settings?
12-19-2014, 11:04 AM   #11
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A hot shoe flash will transform the way you take photos. Someone here told me to look into a better flash years ago when i was looking for faster lenses for indoors. I bought two manual yn560's and learned how to use them off camera. Way cheaper than a 50 F1.2
12-19-2014, 12:31 PM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by Moropo Quote
Thanks for the help.

When I said I think the flash is always firing at full power it was because every time I use the flash its always the same hideous look. When my new flash (Metz 50 AF-1) arrives will I be able to adjust its power output even though my K50 has no such settings?
The K-50 has Flash Exposure Compensation, page 70 of the manual or Skunktail's post. That will affect an external P-TTL flash power too. I think what Clackers was saying is that with a M42, M or K lens, the Flash Exposure Compensation doesn't work. I don't have a K-50 so I can't tell.
12-19-2014, 02:02 PM - 1 Like   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by Topsy Quote
Also, I believe that if you're using old lenses the flash will always fire on full power without you being to change it. (unless I'm doing something severly wrong)
This is only true for lenses without the "A" contacts (no A position on aperture ring). P-TTL is available for lenses having the "A" contacts. While the body is able to control the flash using P-TTL for all "A" contact lenses, the ability for it to do so over a wide range of ISO, distance, and aperture settings depends on whether the whether the data pin is present (all AF lenses) as well as the data protocol generation employed. The rule of thumb to use with Pentax-A (non-AF, A-contact) lenses is to avoid wide apertures, high ISO, and close distance. With AF lenses consistent exposure should be easier to attain.


Steve
12-21-2014, 08:58 PM   #14
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My Metz 50 AF-1 arrived and indeed, even without bouncing the pictures look a *lot* more natural!

I tried bouncing off the ceiling but the shots came out under-exposed. Makes sense since I'm requiring light to travel approximately twice as long. In this case I just need to adjust +EV?
12-22-2014, 12:36 AM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by Moropo Quote
In this case I just need to adjust +EV?
Yep. Otherwise, you're going to have to cut the distance somehow.
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