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10-12-2009, 06:40 AM   #1
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k200d built in flash

Hi,

I was wondering if there is a way to use the built-in for fill flash? I always get this nasty silhouette.

Thanks

10-12-2009, 08:27 AM   #2
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Silhouette? That shouldn't be possible. That term means the background is brighter than your subject, and flash is incapable of doing that, since the amount of light it shines on a subject is proportional to how far away it is. Silhuoetting is something that happens whe you do't use flash at all and your subject is lit from behind and you are exposing for the background rather than the subject. The usual result form using built in flash in fully automatic mode is the *opposite* of a silhouette - the subject very bright, the background very dark. The term "fill flash" would refer to a technique where you don't use as much flash but instead rely on the ambient light to provide msot of the illumination, with the flash just helping out with the subject. This helps solve both problems - it eliminates the silhouettng that happens if you *don't* use flash on a backlit subject, and it softens the "bright face against black background" look you get from using flash in fully auto mode.

Anyhow, sure, the built in flash can be used this way. All you do is set the exposure (I'd use M mode, although there are problem other ways) to get the overall exposure you want but just a little darker, then pop up the flash and shoot. The camera will automatically figure out how much flash is needed to bring the exposure where it should be, but it won't be much if you've already set the exposure to be close without flash.
10-12-2009, 09:45 AM   #3
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I think Pentax calls it Slow Sync Flash pg. 131 in the k200D manual.
10-13-2009, 10:35 AM   #4
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Thanks a lot guys, that was really helpful. I should have phrased myself better. I meant a situation with a back lit subject. I tried to use the pop-up flash, the result was an overexposed subject and an ugly shadow on the back lit wall. Next time i'll try your proposal.

BTW, do you have any tips or thumb rules for setting the exposure manually? I usually rely on the camera`s auto exposure. Maybe I i'll try to use spot metering, frame the back light in the center, and use the green button, then recompose and pop the flash. would that work?

Marc, im not sure i understood your last sentence, does it mean the shutter speed would be the same, as if there was no flash involved?

10-13-2009, 10:40 AM   #5
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When in manual mode, you can select the green button to give you suggested settings and go from there - get some books on exposure to learn about the role aperture, shutter speed, and iso play with light and flash.

You get the ugly shadow on the back because the flash is too strong and direct. You can try toning the flash power down or using something like a mirror or tin foil (been meaning to try this out, but I got a sweet cheap AF280T on ebay) to bounce the flash to the ceiling or walls.
10-13-2009, 04:54 PM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by dimid Quote
Thanks a lot guys, that was really helpful. I should have phrased myself better. I meant a situation with a back lit subject. I tried to use the pop-up flash, the result was an overexposed subject and an ugly shadow on the back lit wall. Next time i'll try your proposal.
I think you're still misunderstanding the terms used here. If the subject is standing in front of a wall, he isn't backlit. Backlit means the light is coming from behind the subject even before you take the picture. That would only be the case here if the wall itself were giving off light.

Anyhow, what you're describing is the comon problem with on-camera flash - it is harsh, usually too bright, and casts annoying shadows. You can get the camera to use less flash by dialing in flash compensation - you'll find that under the Fn menu. Hit the down arrow to go the flash sectionl then spin the dial to set -0.5 or -1.0 or whatever to tone down the amunt of the flash the camera uses. That in itself will help right there. But the camera will most likely still be choosing an aperture and shutter speed in which the flash provides all the light - where the ambient light in the scene can't help soften things. That's why I suggested the method of using M mode and setting an exposure just a little bit darker than what you want. Take a test shot without flash to verify you're getting what you want. Then take a shot with flash on, and you should find the camera will automatically use just enough flash to make up the difference.

QuoteQuote:
BTW, do you have any tips or thumb rules for setting the exposure manually?
Select aperture and hit the green button - that makes the camera set a shutter speed to give a correct exposure. Then speed up the shutter a notch or two to get the slightly darker exposure you'll need to get the flash to make up the difference. If the resulting shutter speed is too slow to get a sharp picture, then raise ISO and/or open up the aperture. No particular need to change from whatever your usual meter method is (eg, mutli-segment, center-weighted, or spot), unless perhaps your subject really is backlit (ie, standing near a window with light flooding in, standing in front the sun, etc). Basically, whatever metering method you are accustomed to using in order to get a good exposure without flash, that should work here too.

BTW, you might need to visit the custom menu to get the green button to behave as I just described - I think the default behavior in M mode is for the camera to select both an aperture and shutter speed. You definitely want control over aperture, so you can set it as wide open as necessary. Also, you can't have auto ISO on, or the camera will just adjust ISO when you speed up the shutter rather than actually give you a darker picture (I assume; I never use auto ISO).

QuoteQuote:
Marc, im not sure i understood your last sentence, does it mean the shutter speed would be the same, as if there was no flash involved?
That's the whole idea of M mode. Once you set an ISO, aperture and shutter speed, the camera doesn't change any of them. So if it detects that the combunation you chose would result in underexposure, and you have the flash up, then it will use the flash to make up the difference.
10-13-2009, 07:47 PM   #7
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Just to add a couple things:

When using a flash, the burst of light is sooo fast, that your shutter speed has no effect on it. 1/500 or 3 seconds -- the flash is faster than both. The only way to control the amount of light from the flash is ISO and aperture.

In manual mode, set your camera for 1-1.5 stops under exposed for the ambient using the light meter and start with the largest (smallest number) aperture you can. Now try taking a shot with the flash. Change the camera settings by stopping down the aperture 1 stop and leaving the shutter open one stop longer. Take another shot. Repeat as necessary.

You should notice that the background doesn't change, but the subject with the flash does. This is often called chimping the flash, since you are working by trial and error like a chimp might.

You will know that you have your settings right when your subject being flashed is well balanced with the background. Its all about trial and error to find the right settings but using the above method, you should find it quickly. After practicing this for a while, you will be able to start at a closer setting and only have to change it once or twice to get it right.
10-13-2009, 09:04 PM   #8
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Also,

as per someone's suggestion here, i cut a small 2X2 inches white piece of cloth from an unwanted shirt, and use a rubber band to diffuse the built in flash. For me, it is almost the equivalent of stopping down 2 or 3 times!

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