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Forum: Flashes, Lighting, and Studio 1 Day Ago  
Flashpoint R2
Posted By mcgregni
Replies: 3
Views: 205
A lucky fluke then ...?

The flash equipment and camera seem to have created a nice balance between the background brightness and the face. I like the back light highlighting the hair. Let's hope the equipment can do it all again for you next time ....
Forum: Post Your Photos! 3 Days Ago  
People Not many portraits...
Posted By mcgregni
Replies: 6
Views: 268
An interesting study in tones and contrast. Is that a colour pop on her lips !? It's all shadow and depth, that's the emphasis, and her gaze fits the style very well. The eyes are quite dark, again no doubt in the style .... I think myself I would have found the temptation of fill flash too great to resist! (if only for a little sparkle and catchlight) .
Forum: Flashes, Lighting, and Studio 4 Days Ago  
Acon 930 vs Godox Xpro-P
Posted By mcgregni
Replies: 5
Views: 301
The Acon is known to work ok for simple one slave flash working. We have only patchy reports or evidence of reliable and easily manageable multi -slave operations with the Acons. However at this point in time, for your single P-TTL flash off-camera, the Acon is an obvious choice.....

The Cactus V6ii has been demonstrated to work with the Shanny, definitely for HSS (see the threads by the member Kobie).... Someone may have to verify if the Shanny also works with the XTTL firmware for TTL mode working

If so then you could add a Cactus RF60x flash to make a two-flash TTL/HSS setup. The Cactus trigger, like the Godox option, is well suited to complex multi-flash control.

The advantage of keeping the Shanny is that it is a powerful P-TTL model suited to versatile on-camera work (HSS, bounce, flagged etc) ... The less powerful mini type flashes will not be able to perform in such a range of situations.
Forum: Flashes, Lighting, and Studio 6 Days Ago  
Remote 3sec Cactus Bug?
Posted By mcgregni
Replies: 6
Views: 250
If you do ask over at Cactus, you'll need to be very much more exact about what you mean by "remote mode".... I'm not even sure. The timer can be activated with either the shutter button or an IR remote control. To get them to understand what you are doing you will have to be extremely specific in detailing the exact camera "drive mode" and any accessory equipment.
Forum: Flashes, Lighting, and Studio 12-07-2018, 02:00 AM  
Taking pictures in dark, smoky rooms
Posted By mcgregni
Replies: 20
Views: 774
I'm glad you got some useful help here, and I know we will all look forward to seeing the results when you start to use the new flash and shooting techniques!
Forum: Pentax DSLR Discussion 12-04-2018, 02:13 PM  
Pop up Flash
Posted By mcgregni
Replies: 24
Views: 858
Thanks Des, that seems to settle it. I personally prefer, when working with an on-camera flash, to make all flash power /compensation adjustments on the flash controls directly .... This seems to provide a good clear mental distinction between ambient settings (on the camera) and flash exposure control (on the flash).
Forum: Pentax DSLR Discussion 12-04-2018, 11:44 AM  
Pop up Flash
Posted By mcgregni
Replies: 24
Views: 858
Well it's worth a few shots to try it out ..... What I was saying in the Guide was of course that the specific purpose of the flash manual power levels (within the Flash Mode screen) is to set those power levels on the built-in flash. Whether there is any undocumented or unintended passthrough of those settings to a hotshoe accessory flash just needs testing. I would be surprised if there was any correlation between the power numbers on the camera and the actual fractions of total power output from an accessory flash ........
Forum: Flashes, Lighting, and Studio 12-03-2018, 02:03 PM  
AF540FGZ II distance in wireless
Posted By mcgregni
Replies: 10
Views: 399
I quite liked it when he wrote "chimp" .... :)


But as always some really good structured explanations from Steve, thanks.


I get the impression that most people using multiple off camera flashes nowadays, tend to have gained a personal "feeling" for their particular flashes / strobes and use an instinctive approach to initial manual power settings. For example, at home I work in a small space with my Main light (softbox), fill Light (umbrella) and hair light (bare) very close to the subject (eg 1 to 2 meters away for each light). My three flashes are all similar GN, so for F8 at ISO200 I have just leaned from experience to start with my Main light (softbox) at 1/4 ..... the Fill (umbrella, a bit further away) also at 1/4 .... and the hair light, a bit further away again, at 1/16.


These are repeatable and memorable for each time I use a similar setup, and inevitably lead to only minimal, maybe a half stop, adjustments.


So when I move to a bigger space or outdoors, I still use these remembered starting settings, but mentally adjust for any extra distance (I suppose subconsciously using the formulas and patterns that Steve detailed above). But ultimately we have the huge benefit of the histogram to assess test shots, and I do this with each light individually, and adjust to place each light exactly on the histogram where I want it ..... eg main light about 75%, fill about 30%, hair about 60%.
Forum: Flashes, Lighting, and Studio 12-03-2018, 09:08 AM  
AF540FGZ II distance in wireless
Posted By mcgregni
Replies: 10
Views: 399
You would probably enjoy using the older 'Mk1' model of the AF-540FGZ ..... its 'A' mode uses an on-flash sensor to quench the output, plus you input the ISO and apertures directly onto the flash. This allows it to display the "range" available even when off-camera (because it doesn't need any camera to flash communication to measure the correct output). But its not a fixed distance, as you get with Manual mode, its a range like for P-TTL, which shows you the nearest and furthest distance that it will be able to provide good illumination.


Now, maths is not my forte ...(I'm lucky I only really got going with flash in the digital era!) .... but I'm sure some more mathematically able members will give you some formulas to quickly work out your power levels in Manual mode (come on people!), lets help him out here.


One thing you can do is to set up your flash on the camera in manual mode, and then dial in on the camera a typical aperture and ISO you often use, then set the power level to 1/1 and read off the distance indicated ..... then go through all the power steps and make up a table or chart listing all the power steps with the distance readout written alongside. You could make up a few different charts for each typical set of aperture and ISO combinations (eg F2.8 / ISO100), F5.6 / ISO200, F4 / ISO 800 etc) .... all the ones you are likely to use when shooting off camera flash.


Then when setting up the flash as a slave you simply check your charts and read off the power level required for the distance that your flash is placed from the subject. Bear in mind these distance indications relate only to bare flash ... if using modifiers like softboxes or umbrellas then you have to factor in additional power, eg 1 or 1.5 extra stops of power depending on your diffuser.
Forum: Pentax DSLR Discussion 12-03-2018, 08:43 AM  
Deciding to buy a Pentax K1
Posted By mcgregni
Replies: 14
Views: 896
Thanks, and it was just to demonstrate some of the versatility and possibilities within the Pentax "eco-system". Of course, if I had more funds to spare then I'd be getting a D FA100mm macro, plus a D FA70-200 zoom ..... but that old Tamron 135mm f2.8 was picked up for 49 plus the set of Jessops tubes for 10, and for the money its a great value way to good quality images. The fact that I can control it all, including ambient metering and operate a Radio manual controlled flash system, all from my Pentax DSLR with ease, is a great testament to the value the system offers.
Forum: Pentax DSLR Discussion 12-03-2018, 07:10 AM  
Pop up Flash
Posted By mcgregni
Replies: 24
Views: 858
It's worth adding here that the Godox TT350P (an attractive and versatile option for sure) uses a 2.4Ghz radio control system for it's "wireless" operations .... It's not a Pentax system type "optical P-TTL" flash. Des has already specified this, but I wonder if references to "master/controller" features could lead to confusion...? This is why it is not compatible with Pentax dedicated system flashes (the traditional kind), but rather is compatible with other Godox units sharing the same Godox radio system.

This radio control technology is of course generally an advantage, removing the optical "line of sight" limitations ....however we're going to have to advertise the distinction I referred to above loudly, if we are not to have disappointed people reporting that the little Godox model is not working to control their AF-360FGZ's, or Metz 44AF-1 etc .......

I'd be tempted with the Godox TT350P along with a more powerful model off-camera, as I do like to work with an on-camera flash for fill (it is convenient for dynamic situations), combined with an off camera main light, and a compact design is better for this type of use.
Forum: Flashes, Lighting, and Studio 12-02-2018, 02:55 AM  
AF540FGZ II distance in wireless
Posted By mcgregni
Replies: 10
Views: 399
Hi, the Range and distance indications are only displayed during on-camera operation (P-TTL, or M modes) .... This is because the calculation needs the aperture and ISO information sent from the camera, and this is only transmitted through the hotshoe.

Also the indications do not work when the flash head is in a bounce configuration.

You can do the maths yourself, or refer to the histogram for exposure adjustments as needed. Really distance should be more about the quality of light , not the intensity.....power should be adjusted to get the desired flash exposure once your distance is established. The indications are useful as a guide should you be at the limits of possible distances, allowing adjustments in advance to correct
Forum: Pentax DSLR Discussion 12-01-2018, 01:33 AM  
Deciding to buy a Pentax K1
Posted By mcgregni
Replies: 14
Views: 896
Welcome to the forum, and to the Pentax eco-system. You've done the research and have got some strong plus points for the K1. I don't think there will be any argument over those, so long as you see the full frame format as right for you. There's a whole world of great lenses out there for you to discover, and we are lucky that mostly our individual budgets and financial limitations can be catered to.

Most of us here place a strong value on the ergonomic and usability strengths of the top line Pentax DSLRs, such as direct physical controls and customisation options ..... The K1 is the latest and greatest example of these inherent strengths.

Just to add one personal example of how the "eco system" works for me and my individual budget (ie nearly zero now!) ..... I get my macro type shots by combining a 1970s manual aperture 135mm lens with fully manual extension tubes, using stop down metering, plus a modern radio remote controlled flash system .... And it all works seamlessly with my Pentax DSLR (including shake reduction if needed) ...…

Here's an example taken with exactly that combination of old and new equipment …. and this is with the 9 year old K7 aps-c camera! (so you should be fine with a K1 :lol:






Here's the camera, flash trigger, tubes and lens altogether.... Pentax truly does bring amazing versatility to us for creative photography on a budget!


Forum: Flashes, Lighting, and Studio 11-28-2018, 02:07 PM  
Suggestions for a cheap flashgun for K30
Posted By mcgregni
Replies: 11
Views: 399
It's a modern flash, so TTL means P-TTL when it's a Pentax dedicated model.

These days, unless the discussion is specifically about film era equipment, then people commonly use "TTL", particularly when the flash unit is interchangeable between a range of camera brand variants. The manufacturers do this also.

So for example I would call a Pentax AF-540FGZ and a Metz 52AF1 "P-TTL flashes", and refer to them being "in P-TTL mode" ..... But a Cactus RF60x, I would not call it a "P-TTL" flash, and I would refer to it being in "TTL" mode (even though it actually is P-TTL).
Forum: Flashes, Lighting, and Studio 11-27-2018, 12:11 PM  
HSS with non A Setting K Mount Lenses (ie capped at 1/200)
Posted By mcgregni
Replies: 21
Views: 636
I keep things simpler now, and have switched all flashes and camera defaults to 1/2 stop steps. I just don't find the extra clicks and finer tuning worth it, especially since most images will have levels type adjustments as routine .... Let's face it, even half stop variations to key, fill and hair light intensities fall within standard RAW converter default opening adjustments.
Forum: Post Your Photos! 11-27-2018, 07:29 AM  
Landscape High village in the Himalayas
Posted By mcgregni
Replies: 13
Views: 321
Exactly! And it's a great demonstration of the reason that so many K3ii and K1 users keep saying how much they miss the pop-up flash, so handy and easy for places like mountains!

An inspirational image, dramatic and beautiful at the same time.
Forum: Pentax DSLR Discussion 11-23-2018, 07:50 AM  
Would you upgrade from the K20d to the K5?
Posted By mcgregni
Replies: 43
Views: 1,260
Yes, you certainly could do nice senior portraits even with an AA filter! Sometimes I'm amazed I can get sharp eyes even when so severely hampered by my K7 with all that terrible smudging and blurriness going on!

I think originally there was a significant price premium for the "s" models .... On the 2nd hand market now that has probably diminished, so I would go for the nicest example you can find, of either model option. If you can afford it, get a battery grip as well, really good for portrait oriented shooting
Forum: Pentax DSLR Discussion 11-23-2018, 07:25 AM  
Would you upgrade from the K20d to the K5?
Posted By mcgregni
Replies: 43
Views: 1,260
Real improvement in what..? Both the ii and iis used the same AF system, and the same P-TTL Protocol.

As I wrote in my previous post, to gain "real" (ie real-world practical) sharpness benefits from the iis version depends on the processing treatment post capture. All versions of the 5 series have the same sensor.
Forum: Pentax DSLR Discussion 11-23-2018, 05:55 AM  
Would you upgrade from the K20d to the K5?
Posted By mcgregni
Replies: 43
Views: 1,260
I believe the most tangible difference between the K5 and "ii / iis" versions was the autofocus improvement, in particular low-light focussing. There were also reports of poor P-TTL flash performance from K5 users, and I believe this concern went away with the "ii" versions.

Whether you gain any practical sharpness advantage from the lack of AA filter depends on your processing workflow, or lack of processing workflow. Some people will be able to produce better looking images from a K5 than other people from a K5ii / iis .... It depends on you.

I think you will get the most upgrade bang per buck by jumping from the K20 to a K5ii/iis.
Forum: Flashes, Lighting, and Studio 11-22-2018, 11:47 AM  
Taking pictures in dark, smoky rooms
Posted By mcgregni
Replies: 20
Views: 774
The caution I feel needs to be voiced is about the means to control flash and ambient exposure balancing .... With an auto-thyrister flash it is not possible to take control of the flash output independently of the ambient brightness. This is sort of the core of the problem that the OP will have to solve in order to get the nice looking creative, but technically well balanced images he wants
Forum: Flashes, Lighting, and Studio 11-22-2018, 03:33 AM  
Lighting Control for Flowers
Posted By mcgregni
Replies: 52
Views: 1,719
It's a practical shape, true, plus the flat wide edge and the "lip" protects the white diffuse material as well as padding down grass or twigs and leaves. I just prop the flash onto my backpack on the ground to stabilize it and get the angle right.

Bear in mind that smaller boxes will need more extreme angling to direct the light....my one tends to fill a wide area, so less precision is needed, plus its guaranteed soft light.
Forum: Flashes, Lighting, and Studio 11-22-2018, 02:59 AM  
Taking pictures in dark, smoky rooms
Posted By mcgregni
Replies: 20
Views: 774
You've found some premium cashews up there then Clackers! Lucky, it seems we need to improve on the quality of advice given here, apparently .....

I agree entirely about the aperture ..... Both focus and DOF are compromised in these environments by wide open primes. Really, the true "light gathering" potential comes from the camera itself .... With the KPs ISO performance you have a real advantage WITH flash! Shooting at 1600 or above will give you ambient light recording plus add to the flash effective Guide Number, meaning that bounce and flags become possible without too much power sapping .... And yes, you may not need the most powerful flash as a result.
Forum: Flashes, Lighting, and Studio 11-21-2018, 01:42 PM  
Lighting Control for Flowers
Posted By mcgregni
Replies: 52
Views: 1,719
Interesting examples of a good techniques there Des, thanks. Yes, it's still direct front on flash, but the spread is gentler and softer. Often it's about getting the best you can with what's practical and to hand.
Forum: Flashes, Lighting, and Studio 11-21-2018, 01:36 PM  
Taking pictures in dark, smoky rooms
Posted By mcgregni
Replies: 20
Views: 774
A Vivitar 283 ?? ...... I'd be very interested to know how you would plan on controlling the flash exposure, whilst controlling your ambient exposure simultaneously, in the sort of shooting environments you are telling us about.
Forum: Flashes, Lighting, and Studio 11-21-2018, 10:21 AM  
Taking pictures in dark, smoky rooms
Posted By mcgregni
Replies: 20
Views: 774
A modern P-TTL model makes sense for this type of use case, and considering your DSLR.

This all depends on whether you are interested in taking control over the light distribution (ie having light on your subjects), the exposure balancing (background vs foreground), colour balance control (ie having good looking skin tones) and managing excessive contrast within the images .....

If you are interested in all of this, then on camera bounced automatic flash is the way forward. High ISOs do nothing to deal with any of the matters I listed.

Personally I would try and use the smoke to advantage and use it for atmosphere. It just needs to not have direct harsh bright flash blasting at the smoke ....nice directional bounced flash that lights the people through the smoke will surely look much better.
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