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03-09-2010, 09:43 PM   #1
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I can't get the in built flash to play nice

Not sure if Iíve misunderstood, but try as I might I canít get the built in flash to play nice with the ambient light. I tried for an hour last night trying to get the in built flash to tone down itís output but completely failed, seems as though no matter what settings I dialed in it just gave me that big old burst of flash and the harsh shadows associated with it. I took pictures in a room well lit by artificial light.

Hereís what I tried unsuccessfully
1) Switched to manual mode, set ISO of 800, set aperture & shutter such that the indicator was showing slight under exposure (tried from 1.5 stop to 0.3 stops), pop flash, fire. Result, seemingly full power flash and harsh shadow.

2) Switched to manual mode, set ISO of 800, set aperture & shutter such that the indicator was showing slight over exposure (0.3 stops), pop flash, fire. Result, still seemingly full power flash and harsh shadow. I would have though pttl would have stopped the flash firing at all?

3) Switch to Av mode, change iso to 800, set flash to ďslow sync flashĒ as per recommendation in manual. Dial down Flash compensation by the max of 2 stops, yet still the flash seemed to fire at full power and give harsh shadows.

So no matter which method I used, I canít seem to get the in built flash to moderate itís output.

What am I doing wrong? Is the inbuilt flash on the K-x either an on or off proposition?

03-09-2010, 10:29 PM   #2
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P mode, ISO 400, +1 Flash Exposure Comp, -2 EV, Slow with trailing curtain sync. Shoot RAW to adjust WB later. Avoid reflective backgrounds.
03-09-2010, 11:13 PM   #3
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Let me guess...you were using your Takumar?
03-09-2010, 11:22 PM   #4
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As far as Av mode goes, if the camera wants more exposure, it'll max out the flash regardless of what you set in the flash compensation. For example, if the camera wants +3 EV and you have the flash set to -1 EV, then the net total will still be +2 EV, which is still the flash's maximum output.

You were on the right track with Manual mode, but I'm pretty sure you'll get harsh shadows no matter what you do. If you want to subdue the shadows, make yourself a flash diffuser. I've used my wife's cross-stitch cloth to do this, essentially a 4" x 2" strip that I place in front of the flash with an elastic so it makes a U-shape with the rounded part pointing forward.

03-09-2010, 11:45 PM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by Mike Cash Quote
Let me guess...you were using your Takumar?
I was using a DA 55-300
03-09-2010, 11:48 PM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by GoremanX Quote
As far as Av mode goes, if the camera wants more exposure, it'll max out the flash regardless of what you set in the flash compensation. For example, if the camera wants +3 EV and you have the flash set to -1 EV, then the net total will still be +2 EV, which is still the flash's maximum output.

You were on the right track with Manual mode, but I'm pretty sure you'll get harsh shadows no matter what you do. If you want to subdue the shadows, make yourself a flash diffuser. I've used my wife's cross-stitch cloth to do this, essentially a 4" x 2" strip that I place in front of the flash with an elastic so it makes a U-shape with the rounded part pointing forward.
OK thanks, maybe the difference is too subtle to notice and I'll have to diffuse.

Do you know though why the flash would fire in M mode even when the exposure reading was +0.3? I thought p-ttl would stop that happening.
03-09-2010, 11:53 PM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by twitch Quote
OK, maybe the difference is too subtle to notice and I'll have to diffuse. Do you know though why the flash would fire in M mode even when the exposure reading was +0.3? I thought p-ttl would stop that happening.
I'm not too knowledgeable when it comes to the K-x, my K-7 will fire the flash if it's up, regardless of whether it needs it or not. But it won't raise the flash automatically like your K-x will (I have a manual flash release, not an electronic one). I tried to read the Flash section of the K-x manual, but it all seems too "user-friendly" to me, too automatic, not enough manual control.
03-10-2010, 01:21 AM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by GoremanX Quote
I'm not too knowledgeable when it comes to the K-x, my K-7 will fire the flash if it's up, regardless of whether it needs it or not. But it won't raise the flash automatically like your K-x will (I have a manual flash release, not an electronic one). I tried to read the Flash section of the K-x manual, but it all seems too "user-friendly" to me, too automatic, not enough manual control.
Not enough manual control? My K-x never fires it's flash automatically, unless I want it to.

In capture mode:
4-way controller > Flash symbol > Manual Flash Discharge > OK

Done.

03-10-2010, 01:25 AM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by rawr Quote
Not enough manual control? My K-x never fires it's flash automatically, unless I want it to.

In capture mode:
4-way controller > Flash symbol > Manual Flash Discharge > OK

Done.
ah hah! I was looking for something like that in the manual, but since I don't have that camera, I didn't look very hard
03-10-2010, 02:57 AM   #10
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Hi twitch,

A diffuser will help with the harsh shadows. If you don't have anything else, draping a Kleenex over the flash works.

If you're trying to balance the ambient light with the flash, then the easiest way for me is to meter the background in Manual Mode with the green button (AEL) and the flash down, making sure that the shutter speed is 1/180 or slower. Make sure that your camera is set to "Lock AE to AF point" in the Custom Menu. Pop up the flash, focus the subject and take the shot. The shutter speed/aperture will give you a correctly exposed background, and P-TTL will meter the flash for the subject (since P-TTL will set the exposure for the subject since this is what you focused on).

You can make the background brighter or dimmer by altering your shutter speed or aperture, and you can alter the exposure for your subject by using Flash Compensation. If your subject is framed off center, you must select the correct AF point and keep it on the subject. This is the important thing -- with AE locked, the focus point has to be on the subject when the shot is taken since P-TTL meters off the preflash just before the exposure flash. Focus and recompose won't work for this if the AF point used is moved off the subject.

Scott
03-10-2010, 06:52 AM   #11
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if the room as "well lit by artificial light" -and- you're using a flash to add even more light, why do you need ISO 800? Is the high iso to add some electronic noise to the photo?

Last edited by justDIY; 03-10-2010 at 06:54 AM. Reason: typo!
03-10-2010, 09:29 AM   #12
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Use slow speed sync

Set your camera to slow speed sync in the flash menu. That should do the trick for you.
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