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05-07-2014, 08:38 AM   #1
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ME Super & Flash Photography

I own an ME Super and I have never tried to take pics with a flash. This Saturday I will be at a kids' party and I 'd like to take some pics but I will most likely need flash (I ve been there before, I am most certain that I will need flash).
It will take place indoors and I will be in relatively small rooms. So, I was thinking to use my Metz 58 AF. I have triggers and it fires off camera when I tried it with the ME at its sync speed, which is 125.
Now, my question is .... how would I know that the pics are exposed correctly ?
I will not have a digital camera with me for test shots, so it will be quite difficult for me !

How was that done back in the days ????!!!!

Any help would be very appreciated !!!



05-07-2014, 09:20 AM   #2
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I'm not familiar with your flash, but back in the day we used what were called "auto" flashes. They had a sensor on the front panel which read the light reflected from the subject and quenched the flash when enough had been received for a proper exposure. The sensor typically had a 3 or more position selector, Manual, and 1, two or more positions for the aperture to be set on the camera. The back panel allowed one to set the ASA or ISO of the film and then told you which aperture to set on the lens for the given sensor selector setting. The larger the aperture the greater range offered by the flash. Much easier to use than to describe.

Generally these flashes worked pretty well. Some units would tilt and swivel the flash head while the sensor remained aimed at the target. This greatly reduced the working distance, but could give better modelling of the subject.

The "ultimate" auto flash was the TTL, or "through the lens" system. Used by the Pentax LX and some later "fancy" Pentax cameras, and IIRC the first Pentax DSLR, a sensor inside the camera measured the light falling on the film/sensor as the exposure occurred. I found that it worked wonderfully well on my LX.

Since your ME lacks the internal sensor you'll need a plain vanilla "auto" flash. It'd be a good idea, since the ME has an electronically timed shutter, to check Photo Strobe Trigger Voltages to be sure you won't fry the shutter. I suspect any Pentax flash is safe to use.

As far as knowing whether your shots are properly exposed...experience and faith! If you can shoot a roll before the event and check the results you should be okay.

Good luck, and enjoy!
05-07-2014, 09:28 AM   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by MacGreg Quote
How was that done back in the days ????!!!!
QuoteOriginally posted by grhazelton Quote
I'm not familiar with your flash, but back in the day we used what were called "auto" flashes. They had a sensor on the front panel which read the light reflected from the subject and quenched the flash when enough had been received for a proper exposure.
As a matter of fact the most basic usage of flask which I remember from my times of film photographjy was to know your flash and to be able quickly evalualte the distance to your subject and then apply the seettings to the camera specifically to the film used at the moment. It took some practice , and being quickly able to calculate ISO/ fstops and shutter speeds was helpful - I myself remember doing this way 2 or 3 weddings back in 90's with my ZENIT and simple flash that had no sensors and only tilt head so I ws able to use a bounced light - ah and of course you would need to compensate for that in your head as well ( basically again calculating the distance and taking how the surfaces were reflective into account ).

Doable but quirky and I wouldn't want to go through this again. Nowadays probably the easiest way is ti use a separate flash meter - external wireless triggers are also usable .

>>-manntax-->
05-07-2014, 09:37 AM   #4
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Light meter!

05-07-2014, 09:47 AM   #5
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That's the flash I have and I have used it with my digital bodies. Metz 58 AF-1 Review

I don't have a light meter and I certainly don't have the experience to set my flash as manntax described !!

My flash can be used in manual mode too. Would that help ? If I set the exposure on my camera at, let's say, f5.6 and 125 speed and put the same settings in my flash, wouldn't that do the job ?
05-07-2014, 12:00 PM - 1 Like   #6
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You are looking at manual mode for both flash and camera. The variables are aperture, film speed, guide number, and distance to subject. Flash units used to have a slide-rule device on the back to calculate the appropriate aperture for a given distance and film speed. Now days, your best bet might be to find a phone app that does the calculation or simply use:

f-number = GN/distance

The guide number is generally defined for ISO 100 and may be derived from either meters or feet. Distance units depend on how the guide number was determined. Sort of circular, eh? Your flash manual should help.

Back-in-the-day, your camera would likely have been mated to an auto-thyristor flash unit with an on-board photocell. The flash duration was managed in real time based on the reading from the photocell. The system works quite well, but generally limits the user to one or two aperture choices. Unfortunately, few modern flash feature the on-board sensor.


Steve
05-07-2014, 01:02 PM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by manntax Quote
As a matter of fact the most basic usage of flask which I remember from my times of film photographjy was to know your flash and to be able quickly evalualte the distance to your subject and then apply the seettings to the camera specifically to the film used at the moment. It took some practice , and being quickly able to calculate ISO/ fstops and shutter speeds was helpful - I myself remember doing this way 2 or 3 weddings back in 90's with my ZENIT and simple flash that had no sensors and only tilt head so I ws able to use a bounced light - ah and of course you would need to compensate for that in your head as well ( basically again calculating the distance and taking how the surfaces were reflective into account ).

Doable but quirky and I wouldn't want to go through this again. Nowadays probably the easiest way is ti use a separate flash meter - external wireless triggers are also usable .

>>-manntax-->
Been there and done that! And with flash bulbs, to boot. When the "auto" electronic flashes came out I happily put away those old BC bulb flash units and never looked back!
05-07-2014, 01:08 PM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by grhazelton Quote
When the "auto" electronic flashes came out I happily put away those old BC bulb flash units and never looked back!
me neither ^^


Last edited by manntax; 05-08-2014 at 12:43 AM. Reason: sp
05-07-2014, 04:55 PM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by MacGreg Quote
That's the flash I have and I have used it with my digital bodies. Metz 58 AF-1 Review

I don't have a light meter and I certainly don't have the experience to set my flash as manntax described !!

My flash can be used in manual mode too. Would that help ? If I set the exposure on my camera at, let's say, f5.6 and 125 speed and put the same settings in my flash, wouldn't that do the job ?
It might be easier to pickup an old Pentax non ttl flash from eBay/local camera store, which will work better on your ME Super. These will have an ISO/ASA setting and you can use them in auto mode. They should be able to get a good one easily under $50.00.

Flashes (Genuine Pentax - Legacy) - Pentax Camera Accessory Review Database



Phil
05-08-2014, 12:41 AM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by gofour3 Quote
It might be easier to pickup an old Pentax non ttl flash from eBay/local camera store, which will work better on your ME Super.
I agree. I've still got a Cobra flash gun that gives me a choice between f5.6 and f8, and measures the light reflected back off the subject. It worked really well on my K1000. I bought it as a teenager in an antiques shop (of all places - it seemed quite high tech at the time) for £8.

I must put some batteries in it and see if it still works properly on film.

For serious flash use I like the light meter approach a lot. I've got a Sekonic L-308S on order that looks perfect, so long as you can take time out for a meter reading. Perhaps less useful at a children's party...
05-08-2014, 01:35 AM   #11
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My dad may have a couple of old flashes somewhere, I'll see if I can find them and hope they work with the ME. Getting one from ebay is out of the question, the party is in two days !!

The method that stevebrot describes is understandable, although a bit restricting as far as aperture goes.

I guess, using my flash with triggers will be impossible, since I have no way to meter the light !!! I never liked my flash on the camera .....
05-09-2014, 09:30 AM   #12
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Auto Thyristor flashes take the guesswork out of using a manual camera. I have and recommend the Pentax 280T. Basically, you choose your setting at the back of the flash between a "red" and a "green" mode (basically a higher and a lower setting), and it then tells you what the lens aperture should be (and you select your shutter speed based on how much of the non-flash area you want to show up in the picture - I'll typically use 1/60 in a larger place and 1/100 or 1/125 in a smaller room). The flash will calculate how much light it needs based on the distance between your center subject and the camera. It works surprisingly well, even on my digital camera - it exposes right up to the top of the hystogram without blowing highlights at all. In other words, the flash exposes much better than my K20D

Get the 280T or a similar pentax Auto Thyristor flash if you have time... you won't regret it - especially since they sell for about 30 dollars! I love that old technology based on high precision engineering, I recently got another Auto Thyristor (a Sunpak) with my P30T but haven't put it through its paces yet.
05-09-2014, 09:44 AM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by ChristianRock Quote
Auto Thyristor flashes take the guesswork out of using a manual camera. I have and recommend the Pentax 280T
I took a quick look on eBay, and there one was. Pristine condition, with the box and manual. My old Cobra flash looks very similar, but just does tilt, not swivel. £20 + postage. It was "buy it now", so I did.

Cheers for the tip.
05-09-2014, 09:48 AM   #14
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The 280T even has a "macro" tilt where it tilts down a little I usually use reverse rings so it's not all that useful, but when I use a regular lens with a macro lens on top of it, it's quite useful.
Best value in Pentax-land, I think. Hopefully I'm not driving the prices up too much by saying this
05-09-2014, 11:20 AM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by ChristianRock Quote
Get the 280T or a similar pentax Auto Thyristor flash if you have time... you won't regret it
QuoteOriginally posted by gma Quote
I took a quick look on eBay, and there one was. Pristine condition, with the box and manual. My old Cobra flash looks very similar, but just does tilt, not swivel. £20 + postage. It was "buy it now", so I did.
Be prepared for a little bonus if you use the 280T with a Pentax dSLR. Although it does not support P-TTL, it does provide several dedicated functions in either of the non-TTL auto modes when paired with a recent Pentax body:
  • P: Usable
    • Sets shutter to 1/60s, though you can adjust any speed up to 1/180s
    • Sets aperture to the value appropriate for the camera ISO. You can override.
    • Green button returns base state
  • Sv: This is quite possibly the most intriguing mode
    • Shutter speed is set at 1/60s
    • Sets aperture appropriate for camera ISO
    • Green button does nothing
  • Tv: Probably the most useful mode
    • Sets shutter at 1/180s, though you can adjust to speeds below that
    • Sets aperture appropriate for camera ISO, no override
    • Green button does nothing
  • Av: Not very useful IMHO
    • Sets shutter at 1/60s, fixed
    • Does nothing with aperture
    • Green button does nothing
  • M: Usable
    • Shutter same as P mode
    • Aperture same as Av mode except as noted below
    • Green button resets shutter to base and aperture to value appropriate for ISO
  • X: Essentially the same as M mode except that the shutter speed stays at 1/180s
Cool, eh? It is nice of Pentax to support the legacy analog control protocols on the modern cameras. Of course, the big treat comes if you ever buy a camera that supports exposure-time TTL metering, such as the Super Program or LX

BTW...the "flash ready" and "flash exposure correct" viewfinder display features also work.


Steve

Last edited by stevebrot; 09-25-2014 at 09:10 AM.
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