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11-19-2010, 12:39 PM   #16
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Well, the Sunpak 544 arrived!
Needed a PC cord, picked one up a long, used at the local camera shop (Koh's) for a buck (I think he ripped himself off...).
The only problem with the 544 is that the flash side connector is very lose, a rubber band solved that.
But fill flash works and with the adjustable power (make sure it is set to manual! Oh, and 'on') works extremely well in all modes.
I think I am in love with the K20D again.
R

11-19-2010, 02:07 PM   #17
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I hope the link below works publicly, it should...
It shows the effect of pop-up flash even in control mode if you're not careful.
Instead of a slightly reflective object you can use a mirror and watch the flash as well.

I used both PTTL wire-less and radio wireless flash to show the difference so you can make decisions about why PTTL wireless may or may not be an option for you.
Remember, the effects of the PTTL wireless control flash is really only a problem if you're up close or dealing with highly reflective surfaces.

"wireless flash test" by amoringello on Jalbum.net
11-19-2010, 04:20 PM   #18
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544 and 611 are great. But among Sunpak hammerheads, I like 555 the most. It uses the same modules as the ones for 4xxD series, and has low trigger voltage.

12-06-2010, 12:45 PM   #19
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Fill flash

Hi all,
Been absent for a while....
Learned much.
Found out that if the K20D thinks there is enough light the built-in flash stops working.
However, the pc connection happily provides closure, so my newly aquired thyristor flashes work. (Vivitar 285HV, Sunpak 544, Sunpak 611 and a Wein for the 611, all for less than $200! and my ancient Vivitar 2800 has again been retired.) Experiments in fill flash has been working well since all 3 flashes provide adjustable output, as long as you use the camera on x-sync and select the appropriate aperture. As I said being an older user this is no big issue at all.
E-bay is wonderful! (Picked up a Luna Pro F for $46 now I am invincible!)
My best purchase - a ringflash: Starblitz 1000 for $30 including shipping, looks brand new in the box complete... works great! (Always wanted a ring flash.)
Thanks again for all the input and suggestions.
Rudi

12-07-2010, 01:13 AM   #20
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QuoteOriginally posted by rouds39 Quote
Gee, I am overwhelmed by all this response....

I have never used trailing curtain at all. I found out (it pays to read the manual BEFORE the job) about HSS to late. Experimenting with the p-TTL mode it sometimes yields good exposures sometime(mostly) lousy. Bounce was almost always way under exposed. So much for TTL.

Rudi
I'm no expert on using flash but i have learned a few things. Last week i used PTTL on my Metz 48 to photograph some kids for their parents in a local theatre event- yeah something over $200 when i bought it 2 years ago.

Reading the K20 manual, it seemed to indicated that to the authors, fill flash = HSS. And HSS is a part of pttl i believe. At least on the Metz flash, you have to cycle through the mode button which first gets one pttl and then pttl - HSS. I always thought you had to use an automated program mode to use PTTL, so I used TAV last Wednesday for the kids photos. It came out great in PTTL.

I didn't use a bounce flash because of the ceiling height and color (black). By the way, on my MEtz flash, it won't give a distance estimate for bounce flash because it can't calculate power needs accurately. So its not fair to blame pttl for underexposing a bounce flash. Increase the flash ev to its max and if that doesn't work, open up the aperture. For high ceilings, you may not be able to do it.

automated programs such as pttl, none of them, will work if you are trying to use them to adjust settings beyond their power level adjustment abilities, either too close or too far away.

I think with multiple flashes, manual is the way to go and sounds like you just discovered that. i use pttl for quick one flash jobs.
12-07-2010, 09:07 AM   #21
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Fill

Phil,
Most of the problems are now resolved.
My very biggest issues were that my Pentax 360 flash at times wouldn't flash at all (black frames!!!)! At shutter speeds less than 180th, P mode, Green mode mnual mode, kicking, cursing, fresh batteries all didn't help. This was both outside where I would have liked some fill flash to cut the shadows and inside. Equally suddenly it would work again.
PTTL is not very accurate, maybe with Sigma or Metz it's better. I went the thyristor route and found it simply works better but requires a bit more thinking on my part. Some practice on my part also helped.
However, my faith in my Pentax flash is shaken.
Rudi
12-07-2010, 09:46 AM   #22
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QuoteOriginally posted by rouds39 Quote
PTTL is not very accurate, maybe with Sigma or Metz it's better.
I believe the inaccuracy problem with p-TTL is in the camera, not the flash. So Sigma or Metz won't help.

In the new batch of DSLRs (from the K7 on), p-TTL is more consistent, still not perfect though.
12-07-2010, 01:57 PM   #23
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QuoteOriginally posted by rouds39 Quote
Phil,
Most of the problems are now resolved.
My very biggest issues were that my Pentax 360 flash at times wouldn't flash at all (black frames!!!)! At shutter speeds less than 180th, P mode, Green mode mnual mode, kicking, cursing, fresh batteries all didn't help. This was both outside where I would have liked some fill flash to cut the shadows and inside. Equally suddenly it would work again.
PTTL is not very accurate, maybe with Sigma or Metz it's better. I went the thyristor route and found it simply works better but requires a bit more thinking on my part. Some practice on my part also helped.
However, my faith in my Pentax flash is shaken.
Rudi
Rudi,
I don't have either of the digital Pentax flashes, just 3 of the older film era ones and the Metz 48. I would have been happy to try the thyristor route, but the Metz48 doesn't allow that feature, while the Metz 58 does. But the Metz 48 in pttl is apparently more reliable than the Pentax flash you are talking about because i just haven't had the dark frames problem you mentioned. Perhaps you just have a single bad pentax 360 flash, i don't know.

But i do want to get better at flashes because occasionally i need them.

best wishes,

12-08-2010, 09:48 AM   #24
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With various flashes including af360fgz, tried every way and could not get pleasing indoor fill flash.
The flash dominates.
So I modified an old af16 as shown. Drilled a hole through the center of the knob and pushed in a screwdriver lens from eyeglass repair kit. Stick black tape and aluminum foil underneath. Now I can rotate the lens to finely adjust the flash. The flash chops early by the light coming through the lens and bouncing off the foil partially covering the sensor, emits only a fraction of the light. Or rotate to cover the sensor with black tape for more flash duration. Now I can set shutter in range 60 to 180 and open up the lens to use mostly available light and fine tune the fill flash. The flash is so brief that red eye is not apparent usually.
12-08-2010, 02:16 PM   #25
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QuoteOriginally posted by wombat2go Quote
With various flashes including af360fgz, tried every way and could not get pleasing indoor fill flash.
The flash dominates.
So I modified an old af16 as shown....
Have you tried using the af360fgz, and varying the ISO and/or the aperture settings on the flash to vary the amount of light output?

For example, if you match the aperture setting on the flash and on the camera, using an ISO setting on the flash (e.g. 400) twice the ISO setting on the camera (e.g. 200) will tell the flash to cut the light output in half. You can also vary the aperture setting, or both aperture and ISO settings.

This applies to all flash units that have auto mode.
12-09-2010, 08:30 AM   #26
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Thanks SOldBear, That is a useful adjustment which I was not aware of, Furthermore your comments led me to discover the fully Manual mode on the af360 which allows the rotating button to click the flash output between 1/1 and 1/32 which is more easy for me.

my photo is with a M28/2.8 at 5.6 and 60th in AWB , using my modified af16 flash to only slightly fill while retaining the shadows and lamp color.
I repeated this with the af360 at 1/32 , and it is also good , but the front of the mantel piece is starting to be over exposed. I will add the diffuser and retry.
I conclude that the modified af16 can turn down a few stops lower than the af360 on 1/32.

Thanks again for your tip and I will be using the af360fgz more often now.
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