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05-26-2009, 09:57 AM   #1
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Flash Help

Can someone point me to a less-expensive flash for my K100D?

I want it to be fully automatic. I am a novice that just wants to take pictures of the kids at baseball games, concerts etc.

I really have no idea what TTL-P or TTL is. I think it has to do with the camera communication with the flash. You knowledge is weak in this area.

I saw this on eBay:

Vivitar DF400MZ P-TTL flash for Pentax K20D K200D K10D - eBay (item 350204586342 end time May-27-09 23:56:33 PDT)



Help?

05-26-2009, 10:01 AM   #2
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basically pttl means it will work in auto mode on your k100d and ttl or neither means it will not be fully automatic.

i know sigma makes flashes for pentax, metz also. the sigma flashes appear to be decent, i havent heard anything about this vivitar one so i cant help you out there
05-26-2009, 11:29 AM   #3
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Like the previous post says, P-TTL is what you want for fully automatic operation. Just about everything is covered here in detail to learn a lot more.

Pentax P-TTL Flash Comparison: The Definitive Guide

The Vivitar you linked to is one of the cheaper P-TTL options and should be able to accomplish your basic tasks.
05-27-2009, 05:17 AM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by Just1MoreDave Quote
The Vivitar you linked to is one of the cheaper P-TTL options and should be able to accomplish your basic tasks.
Although for that kind of money (the ebay listing says $140) you might as well get the Promaster 7200EDF ($140) or spend a bit more and get the Sigma EF530 ST ($170) and have a real company behind the product.

Vivitar went out of business a while ago, and the brand name was purchased by Sakar, which is a big importer of cheap Chinese OEM electronics. I know some people are happy with this flash in its various incarnations, but quality control is hit-or-miss, and customer service will definitely be "miss" if something goes wrong. If you can get it for well under $100, it may be a worthwhile to take a chance.

05-28-2009, 08:51 AM   #5
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Basically, with flash, the FLASH exposure is solely determined by flash power (actually duration, how long the bulb is actually firing for), aperture and ISO. Ambient exposure is determined by ISO, shutter speed, and aperture (just like without any flash), so the trick is balancing the two. If I'm indoors in a smallish room (such as in someone's house), I usually just forget about ambient since the flash is powerful enough to light up the entire room (hence the 1/180s below, if the flash didn't fire, I'd have a more or less black picture) Now although you're shooting MANUAL Mode, that's only for the ambient exposure (the exposure needle in the viewfinder will blink warning you about underexposure, but ignore that). The camera's P-TTL metering will determine the needed flash output for a proper exposure.

Here's something I wrote on another forum -
"Easy" recipe for great P-TTL flash shots -
1)Point flash at ceiling
2)Put camera in MANUAL mode on the mode dial
3)Set FEC to +1 on the flash head

4)Shoot RAW (this allows you to recover some highlights that might get blown as a result of #3 above)

5)Set ISO to 200 (to start)
6)Set shutter speed to 1/180s
7)Set f-stop to whatever DOF you want


Now if the flash runs out of "power" because of high ceilings, you can raise the ISO or open up the f-stop to compensate. Or you can slow down the shutter to bring more ambient light into the exposure (in addition to adjusting ISO/f-stop) If the ceiling is REALLY high (like in a church), you may need a reflector to throw some of the light forward (I use the Joe Demb Flip-it).

Quick and dirty outdoor fill flash tutorial -
Basically, if your subject is in shade and the background is bright (ie under a tree) or majorly backlit, fill flash is your friend. Think of those times when you got a properly exposed background, but the subject was almost pitch black.

Put camera into Av mode, metering will set the shutter speed to expose the overall shot (which in the situations that call for fill-flash will generally be the background) based on your selected aperture/ISO.
Make sure flash is set to HSS (in case your shutter speed go faster than 1/180s) and P-TTL. Fire away! The shutter speed/f-stop/ISO will expose the background, and the flash should output enough power to light up the foreground.

Now to control the background exposure, you use exposure compensation on the camera body (which would adjust the shutter speed), to adjust how much fill for the flash exposure, you use Flash exposure compensation. The trick is balancing the two (as it is with indoor work), and that comes with experience/experimentation.
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