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11-25-2013, 03:59 PM   #1
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Kalki's Avatar

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Flash Photography Tips

I have been getting into and learning film photography for just over a year now. I feel like I have just about grasped the basics, such as metering and exposure and film selection, and had a lot of fun and some good results in the process. One thing I am yet to look into in much detail and can't really find that much in the way of tutorials online is film flash photography, One of my friends asked me if i would consider shooting one of his club nights as he is after an authentic film feel. I told him i really didn't know that much about the flash photography side of things but might have a practice and get back to him.

Can anyone give me any guidance or point me in the right direction, in terms of film selection etc. Was thinking about maybe giving it a go in black and white, should i be thinking about using any filters etc?

Thanks, James

11-25-2013, 04:28 PM   #2
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The pertinent considerations are:
  • Flash features supported by your camera
  • Camera features supported by your flash
  • Flash features in general (guide number, zoom, bounce, etc.)
Hmmmm...looks familiar! Film photography with flash is essentially the same as digital photography with flash.

That being said, most film cameras have fairly primitive flash support by today's standards and current high-end flash units may not mesh well with older cameras. Probably the most glaring mismatch is that most film cameras do not support a TTL metering or if they do, are incompatible with current flashes. A good example is my Pentax Super Program. It supports TTL flash, but cannot control my Sigma EF-610 DG Super. Similarly, that same flash is limited to fully manual mode (calculate aperture for f/stop) with all of my film cameras since it lacks an on-board sensor.

The most common scenario is that you are shooting with a camera having a hot shoe with few or any dedicated features supported by your flash. The flash will generally support a hot shoe and have an on-board sensor with one or more power levels. To use:
  • Set the flash to an appropriate "auto" distance range (power setting)
  • Set the lens aperture to the setting indicated by the scale on the back of the flash for the "auto" setting being used and the ASA/ISO speed of the film you are using
  • Set the camera shutter speed to "X"
The flash will moderate its output based on the response from its onboard sensor and allow for the appropriate exposure of your subject. It is really pretty easy.


Steve

Last edited by stevebrot; 11-25-2013 at 06:49 PM.
11-25-2013, 05:10 PM   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by Kalki Quote
Can anyone give me any guidance or point me in the right direction, in terms of film selection etc. Was thinking about maybe giving it a go in black and white, should i be thinking about using any filters etc?
Any b&w film in the 100 – 400 ISO range is fine for indoor flash. The faster the film the more DOF you will get. You do not need any filters for indoor flash.

The best flash depends on the film camera you are using, one of the older Pentax Autorobo units works great on any K or M series body. The Pentax AF400T is perfect for the LX.

Phil.
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