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11-30-2011, 04:00 PM   #1
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K-X: Using the Pop-Up Flash

I almost never use the Pop-Up Flash, except a fill light, but I need to shoot a few pics for a party and my main flash unit is having "issues".

The conditions: inside, at night, unknown lighting, subjects standing from 1.5 - 6 feet away.

The KX manual is unclear about what mode I should be in to get the best results.

Also, do I need to limit the ISO? If so, what is the max. ISO that I should use?

Thanks

11-30-2011, 04:06 PM   #2
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I would use a diffuser. You can do it with a white paper or one of those white plastic dishes.
Nevertheless due to the quality of the pictures at high ISOs with the K-x maybe you don't even need the flash
11-30-2011, 04:12 PM   #3
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Pentax camera's are simply horrible using flash in anything other than manual mode on the camera, they choose to slow a shutter speed and too high of an ISO.

So, put your camera in "M" mode, ISO set at 800 to 1600 (depending on how dark it is), shutter on ~1/80, aperture wide open. I'd also dial the FEC down to -0.3 or -0.7. The camera will then figure out how much flash power to pump out. Chimp a couple of pics then 1) if the ambient is too dark then raise ISO, slow shutter or open aperture 2) if the flash is too hot then dial FEC down a bit.

With the camera in M mode and a flash up you effectively aren't in "true" manual mode as the camera is still adjusting settings (in this case flash power) to achieve correct exposure. So don't be scared of using M mode with flash even if you've never used M mode before for natural light shots, it's easy, almost as easy as Av mode.

Oh yeah, practice this before diving in.

Flash in Av mode is rubbish, trust me on this
11-30-2011, 04:12 PM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by sergysergy Quote
I would use a diffuser. You can do it with a white paper or one of those white plastic dishes.
I have used a white napkin in a pinch with pretty good results.

dmfw - what lens are you going to be using? With a fully automated pentax lens, you won't have to worry about the settings to much. If using a manual lens, then it can get a little tricky...


Edit: As twitch says - I would start at 100ISO though and work up to get the correct brightness, guess it really doesn't matter though working up or down...

11-30-2011, 11:38 PM   #5
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Thanks for the advice.

I will be using the Pentax 18-55 Lens and I will try Manual. My issue, I have no way to test the settings in the live environment before I shoot the pictures. However, I think I have a handle on using the flash so I can produce OK pictures.
12-02-2011, 12:47 AM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by dmfw Quote
I will be using the Pentax 18-55 Lens and I will try Manual. My issue, I have no way to test the settings in the live environment before I shoot the pictures. However, I think I have a handle on using the flash so I can produce OK pictures.
I've started to use the built-in flash on the K-x on a more frequent basis.
I used Canon compacts with flash for music venues for over 12 years - but it recently broke and I am sort of forced to use the K-x with flash under certain circumstances.

Canon G10 -

EXIF re-attached.
(-1 2/3 stop flash comp with Canon's "P" mode - which set ISO233; 1/8sec)

Mostly I much prefer to use the K-x for available light (no flash) - but there are lots of gigs where I have found a necessity. Like you I mainly use flash as a sort of supplemental fill-light - so they are mostly "slow-sync" flash - however on the K-x it is not actually using the slow-sync flash setting - because for me it is still a handheld shot and any shutter speed below about 1/4sec would show unacceptable shake (for me).

So my current settings are:
ISO500; Tv mode - 1/6 sec; flash compensation -1 stop -


Same settings - but much more in line with party shots:


Earlier attempts -

P and AutoISO (which inevitably were on ISO5000)


EXIF attached. ISO400; Tv 1/8sec; -1.3 flash comp - this shot was a bit dark and needed more brightness pp adjustment


this one is also ISO400; TV 1/6sec; -1 stop flash comp -

Since then I decided using ISO500 gives slightly better balance to the ambient light.

This setting is fine for my usage in dark clubs
BUT I understand 1/6sec may be too slow for handheld for a lot of people -
so the setting can be 1/30sec but crank the sensitivity to ~ ISO3200.

Better yet check your ambient light levels and adjust the ISO to get a handhold-able shutter speed - set that with Tv - hopefully the room/ambient lighting is brighter than the clubs I attend so one can still get 1/30sec with something less than ISO3200.
12-05-2011, 04:03 AM   #7
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Film can puffers are good, I made a further mod discussed here. https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/do-yourself/134453-making-flash-puffer-ou...container.html. You can also have fun by using your hand as a snoot to focus light only where you want it, just be aware that there's quite a burst of heat as well as light when the flash goes off.
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