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07-01-2009, 11:50 AM   #1
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K200D: using built-in flash to trigger optical slave?

I've got an old Novatron "fun pack" two-light system that uses a Wein optical slave in the power pack to fire the lights. I assumed that I could throw the K200D in manual, use any shutter speed at (or below) the sync speed and use the built-in flash to pop the Novatron lights. For purposes of experimentation, I tried 1/30th at f/8 for all shots.

Well the built-in flash triggers the Novatron lights (they go off) but it is apparently not syncing properly. The weird thing is I'm getting results all over the board... a few look like I've got no flash at all (severely underexposed), some appear to be taken only with the on camera flash (OK, except my white paper background looks grey), and a couple of times it looks like it synced correctly and I got blown out whites.

I'm a relative newbie with this camera and I looked at the settings, but nothing jumps out at me. Help?

07-01-2009, 01:51 PM   #2
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Taking off the kit lens and putting on one of my manual focus lenses fixed the problem. It behaved "old school", just like I wanted!

For the record, can someone explain why the DA lenses don't work the same way when the camera is on M ???
07-01-2009, 02:12 PM   #3
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I would suggest it is the pre-flash that triggers the strobes instead of the main flash. Lenses without electronics (M and 'K' series) does not use P-TTL, and the onboard flash fires at full power anyways.
07-01-2009, 04:09 PM   #4
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Preflash as in "red eye reduction"? I didn't have that turned on. But I didn't try it either. I tried my normal "Flash On" mode and the "wireless trigger" mode, but didn't try the "red eye reduction" (I sorta hate preflash).

And TTL stuff wouldn't be kicking in when I'm on Manual, would it?

07-01-2009, 05:01 PM   #5
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If the body can control the lens aperture (e.g. PKA lens set at A, or lens without aperture ring), the built-in flash is in P-TTL mode: a pre-flash strobe to determine exposure, and then the actual strobe. The pre-flash strobe is weak, but may be sufficient to trigger optical slaves. Note that this P-TTL pre-flash strobe is NOT related to red-eye reduction.

If the body can't control the lens aperture (e.g. lens with aperture ring but no A setting), the built-in flash will behave like a fully manual flash: one strobe at full power.

Forget the built-in flash, get an external flash to trigger the optical slaves.
07-01-2009, 09:13 PM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by cheekygeek Quote
Preflash as in "red eye reduction"? I didn't have that turned on. But I didn't try it either. I tried my normal "Flash On" mode and the "wireless trigger" mode, but didn't try the "red eye reduction" (I sorta hate preflash).

And TTL stuff wouldn't be kicking in when I'm on Manual, would it?
If you have a DA or FA series, the camera will try to use P-TTL, and the there will be a preflash - nothing to do with red eye reduction - that is a test flash to set the flash exposure.
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