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03-01-2007, 03:23 AM   #1
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Pentax K10D and Onboard Flash

Hi all you Pentax experts.. need some help with a problem.

Since I have had my K10D, my first digital SLR, I have been noticing a weirdness that really bugs me.

In the past I have used fill flash for bright backlit portraits or general shots a lot, with excellent results, all my Sony higher end cameras (707, 717 828, R1) worked perfectly using this technique, but the Pentax K10D seems to have a problem with it.

I have tried various programs, P, Green (A) mode etc, and various flash programs, and metering settings but there is no consistency, sometimes it works sometimes not.

It seems that if there is ANY bright background, or any reflective item on the subject, the flash figures it is not needed and shuts down to a very dim output, not at all what I expected.

I have been using this technique for years, since I got my first digital with controllable flash, just turn the flash on and the backlit subject was accurately illuminated within the limits of the flash, and the background was properly or closely exposed too.

What surprised me here is that the camera seemes to set the background exposure to overexposed to compensate for the backlit foreground, but then the flash lost the plot.

50% of all my flash shots are unusable.. and as I take mostly candid shots, this is a problem. Yes, running version 1.1 Firmware.

Any ideas people?

03-01-2007, 04:37 AM   #2
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I don't often take this sort of shot, so I can't claim to have tried, but it is a useful thing to be able to do, so...

Have you tried "Compensating flash output" (manual page 172).

I didn't have a great example to use it on, but my mock-up seemed to work quite well at +1.0. I used "P" mode, because I was being lazy. Note that you can't use the compensation in "Green" mode.

For anyone without the K10D manual to hand, you go into the "fn" menu, select flash mode and use the e-dial to select in the range -2.0 to +1.0 for flash compensation.

Most point and shoot cameras, and I believe most previous Pentax DSLRs, have a "fill-in flash" mode, which probably does something similar to this, while the K10D leaves you in control. The camera will by default work out the flash power for the whole scene, which in general is bright enough not to require flash, so you need to dial in a bit of extra umph!

I am sure others will let me know if I've got it all wrong.

Simon
03-01-2007, 08:55 AM   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by matix Quote
Hi all you Pentax experts.. need some help with a problem.

Since I have had my K10D, my first digital SLR, I have been noticing a weirdness that really bugs me.

In the past I have used fill flash for bright backlit portraits or general shots a lot, with excellent results, all my Sony higher end cameras (707, 717 828, R1) worked perfectly using this technique, but the Pentax K10D seems to have a problem with it.

I have tried various programs, P, Green (A) mode etc, and various flash programs, and metering settings but there is no consistency, sometimes it works sometimes not.

It seems that if there is ANY bright background, or any reflective item on the subject, the flash figures it is not needed and shuts down to a very dim output, not at all what I expected.

I have been using this technique for years, since I got my first digital with controllable flash, just turn the flash on and the backlit subject was accurately illuminated within the limits of the flash, and the background was properly or closely exposed too.

What surprised me here is that the camera seemes to set the background exposure to overexposed to compensate for the backlit foreground, but then the flash lost the plot.

50% of all my flash shots are unusable.. and as I take mostly candid shots, this is a problem. Yes, running version 1.1 Firmware.

Any ideas people?

Hi

I don't use the pop up much, but for an idea try using center weighted or spot metering and then leave the flash the same way you were.
I too have found the flash a bit inconsistant as well.

hope this helps

randy
03-01-2007, 03:03 PM   #4
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i think the k10 is a bit buggy with how its uses its onboard flash..

the k100 seems to do it better.. spot metering on the subect would make it worse i would think.. meter on the background then reframe on the subject might help..

trog

03-03-2007, 02:22 PM   #5
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I also had a day when this was happening to me.... I turned the camera off and back on, was fine from then on! Still, it was a tad disconcerting... At PMA I'm going to try to pick Pentax's brain on that one.
03-03-2007, 06:13 PM   #6
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Examples of Flash Variations Pop Up vs AF360FGZ

QuoteOriginally posted by gorfmai Quote
I also had a day when this was happening to me.... I turned the camera off and back on, was fine from then on! Still, it was a tad disconcerting... At PMA I'm going to try to pick Pentax's brain on that one.
Great stuff, look forward to hearing about it. I am getting much better results with the AF360FGZ flash, strange...

Like these shots just now from 2.5m, first with the on board and second with the AF360FGZ. Should not be that different. Both were shot with Spot Metering and Focus on Centre dot.

Note that these are not portraits, but this is the problem. There is both brighter ambient light to the left of the brick and lettering, and a white reflective wall to the right.

First shot, with the on board pop up flash. Ignored the ambient light on the left, but perfectly exposed the wall to the right, and underxposed the subject??

Second, simply put on the AF360FGZ flash and took the shot again, the subject is now properly exposed.

Shot 1 is too dark, shot 2 is fine...maybe I can live with this if I choose to never use the pop up flash, but that is not the issue.. who wants to do candid quick shots with a full size flash on all the time.

This problem happens 50-76% of the time I use the pop up flash.

Comments?
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Last edited by matix; 03-03-2007 at 08:55 PM.
03-03-2007, 08:27 PM   #7
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if it under exposes consistently u could try simply boosting the flash power in the menue..

when i use my sigma 50mm macro with the k100s onboard flash i have to turn my flash power down in the menue.. a consistant error is an easy fix.. an inconsistant one isnt thow..

trog
03-03-2007, 08:49 PM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by trog100 Quote
if it under exposes consistently u could try simply boosting the flash power in the menue..

when i use my sigma 50mm macro with the k100s onboard flash i have to turn my flash power down in the menue.. a consistant error is an easy fix.. an inconsistant one isnt thow..

trog
Yes, not consistent is the problem, sometimes they come out good, if there is NO reflective or bright aspects to the frame. Try to take a shot of a car, bike or any reflection like jewelery, and the shot will invariably be dark.... 'oh wait, hold that smile, have to crank up my flash, or take off that brooch... '

Sigh

03-03-2007, 09:20 PM   #9
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Hmm... didn't you start a lengthy thread in dpreview a while ago?

Fill Flash Anomoly Question for K10D [Page 1]: Pentax SLR Talk Forum: Digital Photography Review

There were some good suggestions there.
03-04-2007, 03:37 AM   #10
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Onboard K10D Flash needs work I guess.

QuoteOriginally posted by nosnoop Quote
Hmm... didn't you start a lengthy thread in dpreview a while ago?

Fill Flash Anomoly Question for K10D [Page 1]: Pentax SLR Talk Forum: Digital Photography Review

There were some good suggestions there.
Yes sure did.. unfortunately the problem seems to be inconsistent, and as such the suggestions were also. As there seems to be similar answers from this forum, and most agree that the experience the same or similar anomolies, the problem is not easily resolved. Up to Pentax to work some more firmware magic I think. Once again, thanks to all who responded and suggested work arounds, I will try them all short term.

Phil
03-05-2007, 06:34 PM   #11
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Problem is SOLVED - Yay Pentax!!!

QuoteOriginally posted by matix Quote
Hi all you Pentax experts.. need some help with a problem.

Since I have had my K10D, my first digital SLR, I have been noticing a weirdness that really bugs me.

In the past I have used fill flash for bright backlit portraits or general shots a lot, with excellent results, all my Sony higher end cameras (707, 717 828, R1) worked perfectly using this technique, but the Pentax K10D seems to have a problem with it.

I have tried various programs, P, Green (A) mode etc, and various flash programs, and metering settings but there is no consistency, sometimes it works sometimes not.

It seems that if there is ANY bright background, or any reflective item on the subject, the flash figures it is not needed and shuts down to a very dim output, not at all what I expected.

I have been using this technique for years, since I got my first digital with controllable flash, just turn the flash on and the backlit subject was accurately illuminated within the limits of the flash, and the background was properly or closely exposed too.

What surprised me here is that the camera seemes to set the background exposure to overexposed to compensate for the backlit foreground, but then the flash lost the plot.

50% of all my flash shots are unusable.. and as I take mostly candid shots, this is a problem. Yes, running version 1.1 Firmware.

Any ideas people?
I FIXED THE PROBLEM....

Menu -> Custom Settings -> Link AF Point and AE

Set to #2 ON

Exposure value for multi segment meter set relative to AF pos(ition)

Shots are now properly exposed with the on board flash, even when the backround all around the subject are brighter, or reflective. I always use the SELect for Focus Point in P mode, and now have control over what gets the illumination.

The first pic, of an electric kettle shows what my complaint was, it is reflective so any bright point or portion of the framed shot, randomly it seemed gauged the exposure.

The second pic is after changing the setting above. Testing of human subjects with sun behind, or in front of a window in daylight now expose correctly.

The Focus Spot in both shots was on the centre of the kettle body.
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03-05-2007, 07:42 PM   #12
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Just remember with the AE linked to focus point, if the focus point happens to be white or bright, the pic will be underexposed again - unlike your kettle center which is dark.

Larry
03-05-2007, 07:53 PM   #13
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Pop Up Flash saga

QuoteOriginally posted by mutley Quote
Just remember with the AE linked to focus point, if the focus point happens to be white or bright, the pic will be underexposed again - unlike your kettle center which is dark.

Larry
Thanks Larry.. will watch for that. I shot maybe 50 test images, all manner of shots that had driven me bonkers for the past 3 months.. they all came out perfect.

Still, live, people, wall hangings that I showed earlier, outdoor.. even my motor bike which I had not been able to get a night shot or non outdoor shot of. All perfect.. IMHO

I can see that there may be some problems with certain shots, but then I can adjust for 5% or so, not the way it was for 95%.
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