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12-14-2009, 11:48 AM   #1
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Flash

I just recieved my K-x, and I'm lovin it. I'm still learning how to shoot indoor, and I wanted to get your opinions on flash. I've read that the pop up flash is really harsh for indoors, and I've noticed the photos look a little washed. Turning the flash off the pics look better but harder to keep out the blur.

Should I get bounce flash or a lightscope to use with my pop up flash?

12-14-2009, 11:57 AM   #2
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Hi there.
Pop-up flash diffusers are available but they significantly decrease the flash's range and I don't believe the results from that setup will be anywhere near as impressive as that from an off-camera or bounced flash.

If you're keen on indoor shooting and want to get good results, I'd suggest a flash with bounce and swivel capabilities. If funds don't permit for a P-TTL flash (see this guide: Pentax P-TTL Flash Comparison: The Definitive Guide) then consider a non-dedicated manual flash that you'll have to learn how to set up to get the results you want.
12-14-2009, 12:36 PM   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by Twix Quote
Turning the flash off the pics look better but harder to keep out the blur.
That's all about shutter speed - blurry pictures means too slow a shutter speed To get a faster shutter speed, you need a larger aperture (smaller f-number) and/or high ISO. Your camera lets you turn up ISO pretty high and still not have too much noise, so you might be OK just doing that. But in order to get a larger aperture, you'll probably need a different lens - one that lets you increase the aperture to f/2.8 or more. That' why you see so many people talking about "fast" lenses.
12-14-2009, 06:02 PM   #4
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Flash

I just received my K-x last week. I also purchased a Metz 48 AF external flash. So far, it's working well on p-ttl mode, with the shutter set to 1/180. I also built a diffuser per this site: DIY Gary Fong Lightsphere
and take a look at Gary Fong Homepage on how to use the diffuser. The diffuser really makes a difference. It removes the harsh shadows from direct or bounce flash. It's also much better than the Stofen diffusers I see alot of people using.

12-14-2009, 09:07 PM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by ScottRay Quote
I just received my K-x last week. I also purchased a Metz 48 AF external flash. So far, it's working well on p-ttl mode, with the shutter set to 1/180. I also built a diffuser per this site: DIY Gary Fong Lightsphere
and take a look at Gary Fong Homepage on how to use the diffuser. The diffuser really makes a difference. It removes the harsh shadows from direct or bounce flash. It's also much better than the Stofen diffusers I see alot of people using.
If you don't mind me asking, how did you arrive to that particular flash vs OEM pentax offerings? I need to look at flash next.

As for built in flash use, I rely on SR. I pop up the flash hold a 4x4 white card board (from a box I cut off) lay on top of the lens about 45 deg up to start. I bump up flash comp and adjust angle to get the results I want (histogram reading).

I only have a standard 8ft ceiling house so it helps.
12-14-2009, 09:37 PM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by Twix Quote
I just recieved my K-x, and I'm lovin it. I'm still learning how to shoot indoor, and I wanted to get your opinions on flash. I've read that the pop up flash is really harsh for indoors, and I've noticed the photos look a little washed. Turning the flash off the pics look better but harder to keep out the blur.
If you like the natural lighting look, your K-X is more than capable of doing so without blur and flash. Put the camera on 'Av' mode and set the aperture to as low of a number as possible (f/3.5 with the kit lens). Then crank the ISO up to 3200. Make sure the shake reduction is on and you should be good to go, without flash.

Second, buy a 50mm f/1.4 prime lens. This will let nearly 6x the light into the camera, allowing you to shoot at lower ISO's and faster shutter speeds.
12-15-2009, 09:10 AM   #7
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Note, though, that you can only get f/3.5 at the very widest end - right at 18mm. It goes down from there. But you can get f/4 as long as you keep the focal length in the bottom half of the range. Just be aware of what aperture you are actually at, and whether you can improve that by zooming a little wider.
12-15-2009, 10:26 AM   #8
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Yeah, get a 50mm. This is from a F50 1.7

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12-15-2009, 12:15 PM   #9
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Thanks for the info. What are some brands of lenses that work well with the K-x that won't break the bank.

I also have some Takumar manual lenses.
12-15-2009, 05:16 PM   #10
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Flash

QuoteOriginally posted by slow2focus Quote
If you don't mind me asking, how did you arrive to that particular flash vs OEM pentax offerings? I need to look at flash next.
The Pentax AF360 doesn't swivel, so I couldn't use the diffuser as I wanted. The Pentax AF540 was just too darn expensive. Thus, the Metz 48AF had the right features, compatible with the K-x in p-ttl mode, good quality and right price.
12-15-2009, 06:49 PM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by ScottRay Quote
the Metz 48AF had the right features, compatible with the K-x in p-ttl mode, good quality and right price.
The Metz 48 AF-1 does not have auto (its own light sensor) mode.

If the lens attached to the camera does not have A contacts (or if the camera body does not support TTL/p-TTL), you'll need to use the flash in manual mode. It's not the end of the world, but is not convenient.
12-15-2009, 07:09 PM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by Twix Quote
I just received my K-x, and I'm lovin it. I'm still learning how to shoot indoor, and I wanted to get your opinions on flash. I've read that the pop up flash is really harsh for indoors, and I've noticed the photos look a little washed. Turning the flash off the pics look better but harder to keep out the blur.

Should I get bounce flash or a lightscope to use with my pop up flash?
The Pentax 540 flash may be expensive but there is another reason why you might find it worth it. Many Pentax DSLR's have a built in system for wireless flash use. I have mine set to wireless when I put it in "User" mode. I don't know if the K-x has this feature or not. If it does, read on. Anything I hear or read about flash photography recommends getting the flash off the camera. Now the Pentax 360 will also handle wireless but there is a catch. You need to use the pop up flash to communicate with the flash (not add to the exposure). With the 540 you can twist the body to face the camera to allow for better communication between the two. This allows you more flexibility as to where the put the flash. With the 360 you have to be more careful to have the flash sitting in a position where it can read the signals from the camera. It sounds like a small thing but I use this feature all the time. It is actually more convenient than not using it because I don't even have to mount the flash if I don't want to. Just turn it on, twist to face the camera and perhaps bounce if appropriate, hold it in the left hand and with the DSLR in the right hand, shoot! I like it when technology is easy.
12-15-2009, 07:32 PM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by SOldBear Quote
The Metz 48 AF-1 does not have auto (its own light sensor) mode.

If the lens attached to the camera does not have A contacts (or if the camera body does not support TTL/p-TTL), you'll need to use the flash in manual mode. It's not the end of the world, but is not convenient.
Thanks! That helps! So, the next logical question is... what is the cheapest flash that will work with M or super tak lens on a k-x that does not require manual mode?

@ScottRay: Thanks for the feedback.

Thanks
12-15-2009, 08:04 PM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by slow2focus Quote
So, the next logical question is... what is the cheapest flash that will work with M or super tak lens on a k-x that does not require manual mode?
Do you need p-TTL?
Do you need wireless flash?
Do you need high-speed flash?

If not, a flash with variable manual output and auto mode (flash having its own light sensor) will meet most, if not all of your needs. Later when you get flash(es) with more feature, the existing flash can be still be used.

I'd rather buy a flash with auto and no p-TTL than a flash with p-TTL and no auto. My backup camera is a Ricoh GX200 or a Canon G5; I need a flash that can work with them and my K10D.

See this thread for one of my recommendations.
12-16-2009, 09:21 PM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by Twix Quote
Thanks for the info. What are some brands of lenses that work well with the K-x that won't break the bank.
doesn't really make sense to ask about brands. All brands that make lenses for Pentax make expensive ones as well as cheap ones (well, a few only make expensive ones). So it's more about the specific lenses - you just need to figure out what kind of lens you are looking for. Assuming you're asking in reference to your original question about low light indoor picture, probably you'd want something in the 21-43 range, meaning that covers any part of that focal length could possibly be worth considering if it has a larger maximum aperture than the kit lens. the cheap ones are mostly old/used manual focus primes - 24mm, 28mm, 35mm, 40mm, and 50mm primes are all available for $200 or less, with 28mm and 50mm available for well under $100. Use you kit lens to decide what focal lengths interest you most.
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