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03-25-2010, 09:02 PM   #1
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Flash question?

hello i am still pretty new to photography and i wanted to know what flash( and any needed extras) should i invest in purchasing because in my photography class we cant use flash so im getting use to not using it but so many friends want night shots, me to shoot club/ music events , and other types of low light events. i have a k-x , so since i need to buy a flash anyways what should i buy so that i dont have to keep buying flashes and different things later on in my photography life?

03-25-2010, 09:05 PM   #2
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Pentax P-TTL Flash Comparison: The Definitive Guide
03-26-2010, 08:35 AM   #3
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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/wall (to the side or behind you, experimentation is the key!)
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.
03-26-2010, 09:45 AM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by LosHollyBeach Quote
hello i am still pretty new to photography and i wanted to know what flash( and any needed extras) should i invest in purchasing because in my photography class we cant use flash so im getting use to not using it but so many friends want night shots, me to shoot club/ music events , and other types of low light events. i have a k-x , so since i need to buy a flash anyways what should i buy so that i dont have to keep buying flashes and different things later on in my photography life?
This is not an easy question. As egordon99 explains a flash has a limited range, and range is one of the more important parameters here.
Therefore understanding the kind of club events you'd like to shoot is important.
Long range (>10 meter / 30 feet) photography in low light conditions are most of the times best handled with fast lenses and high ISO capable camera's (for instance a 100mm f2.8 + K-x / 3200 ISO).
For the rest, the more power your flash has, the longer the range you'll be able to handle.

In smaller rooms indirect flashes give better results (softer, indriect light on you subject without sharp black shadows), so your flash needs to be a type that is able to tilt and turn.

I'd go for the Pentax AF 540 or the Metz 58 AF-1, they both can do wireless flash as well, see Mattdm's guide. See bayareahdv's link.
Seems that you'd probably end up buying one of the more expensive models...

A nice youtube instruction on club / flash photography is done by Chris: YouTube - K10D: Bar/Nightclub photography tips PART 1

Hope this helps.

- Bert

03-28-2010, 10:51 AM   #5
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thanks everyone ill check the link out
03-28-2010, 11:34 AM   #6
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BTW, depending on what your friends want, don't assume you need to buy a flash. There's one right on your camera of course. Not as felxible of course, ut if it's just for casual snapshots, who cares? And furthermore, one of the great things about a DSLR - and the K-x in particular - is that you don't necessarily *need* flash to take great pictures in low light. I wouldn't be in a hurry to buy a flash until you learn to use what you already have and better understand the limitations you are running into\, if any.
03-28-2010, 11:41 AM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by Marc Sabatella Quote
BTW, depending on what your friends want, don't assume you need to buy a flash. There's one right on your camera of course. Not as felxible of course, ut if it's just for casual snapshots, who cares? And furthermore, one of the great things about a DSLR - and the K-x in particular - is that you don't necessarily *need* flash to take great pictures in low light. I wouldn't be in a hurry to buy a flash until you learn to use what you already have and better understand the limitations you are running into\, if any.
I'm still relatively new to this, but have found this to be true. Look into an older, inexpensive manual prime that shoots wide open instead of the flash, and you can get great low light shots. I got an M 50/1.7 for $40 and haven't had a need for flash since.
03-28-2010, 04:01 PM   #8
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Since I am also somewhat known as someone who rarely uses flash myself, I should point out that I am *not* claiming that just because I don't use flash much, that means no one ever needs a flash unit. They're great tools and some use them a lot to fantastic effect. I'm just suggesting that one first experiment with what one has, learn the limitations of it, and then investigate alternatives. I would (and have, and do) say the same about lenses - and that's said as someone who has quit a few of them.

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