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03-11-2010, 06:03 PM   #1
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K-x and outdoor flash fill............Not working consistantly.

So I'm new to the DSLR realm. I have used a Nikon 6006 and Canon a630 for pics. Both of these did a decent job of flash fill on faces in sunlight.

Now, I get my cool new K-x and thinking the flash fill would be a no brainer since it's more advance than my other two.

To my surprise, I get very inconsistent results. Most of the time, it looks like I don't have the flash on. I can see, and my subject have confirmed the flash went off.

I have the flash up and set to manual using the green auto pic mode. The subject are about 8-15 ft. I'm using the kit lens 18-55 mm

Here are the things I have tried.
  • Bumping up the flash power manually to +1. No difference
  • I switch to shutter priority and set it to 1/180 and 1/60. No difference.
  • Shot a few pics in Live View. No Difference
Am I missing something totally obvious here?


Last edited by ziscwg; 03-11-2010 at 11:47 PM.
03-11-2010, 06:32 PM   #2
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QuoteOriginally posted by ziscwg Quote
I have the flash up and set to manual using the green auto pic mode. The subject are about 8-15 ft. I'm using the
[/LIST]Am I missing something totally obvious here?
In Green Mode the camera makes all the decisions. It decided you didn't need flash. Try Av mode and set your flash to -1 Ev.
03-11-2010, 08:06 PM   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by audiobomber Quote
In Green Mode the camera makes all the decisions. It decided you didn't need flash. Try Av mode and set your flash to -1 Ev.
Thanks for your help

The flash did go off in "green mode."

The same lack of fill happened in Tv mode at 1/60 and 1/180.

Does setting the flash to -1 increase its light output to fill better?
03-11-2010, 11:43 PM   #4
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Most likely you're exceeding the flash range.

Posting an example image with exif included would help.

In bright daylight the camera is forced to use a small aperture, eg F13, 1/180s, iso200.

You can calculate the flash range by dividing the guidenumber by the f-stop. I do not know the exact gn, but it will be somewhere around 50 (feet) or 16 (meter). You can look it up in the manual.

So the range would be 50 / 13 = 4 feet for F13.

If you exceed the range, you can only solve it by using a separate big flash or by moving your subject in the shadows.

Edit: you can also force f5.6 in manual or Av, that gives a range near 10 feet, but you'll get an over exposed background in bright daylight.


Last edited by tomtor; 03-12-2010 at 12:06 AM.
03-12-2010, 10:46 AM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by tomtor Quote
Most likely you're exceeding the flash range.

Posting an example image with exif included would help.

In bright daylight the camera is forced to use a small aperture, eg F13, 1/180s, iso200.

You can calculate the flash range by dividing the guidenumber by the f-stop. I do not know the exact gn, but it will be somewhere around 50 (feet) or 16 (meter). You can look it up in the manual.

So the range would be 50 / 13 = 4 feet for F13.

If you exceed the range, you can only solve it by using a separate big flash or by moving your subject in the shadows.

Edit: you can also force f5.6 in manual or Av, that gives a range near 10 feet, but you'll get an over exposed background in bright daylight.
Thanks, your explanation does help. I will have to mess with the Av mode or see if I can tweak one of the "scene" modes to work for me.

What is the max shutter speed for flash sync? 1/180?
03-12-2010, 10:59 AM   #6
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There is no easy solution for this situation without HSS which the built-in flash does not support. The other alternative is to get an NDx filter which might help to tone down the overall contrast of the scene. That is why the choice of scene and composition is so important for good photography.
03-12-2010, 11:12 AM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by ziscwg Quote
Thanks, your explanation does help. I will have to mess with the Av mode or see if I can tweak one of the "scene" modes to work for me.

What is the max shutter speed for flash sync? 1/180?
Yes, the sync speed is 1/180s.

Note that using Av mode does not have any drawbacks IMO. You'll still get auto ISO and the 1/6000 shutter speed means that normally you will not have trouble with over exposed images and the Kx will change the selected aperture when you exceed the shutter range (you can turn this option off when you don't like it). Forcing 5.6 (the limit of the 18-55 kit at 55mm) will also result in nicer portraits with a bit blurred background.

In the end tweaking scene modes is not the way forward if you know which effect you want to achieve.

I use P if I'm lazy or in a hurry, Av if I want to control DOF or Manual combined with the green button in difficult lightning situations or when I want a series with constant exposure. Note that in all these modes the flash is still fully automatic.

Enjoy your camera and experiment with it!
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