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  1. #1
    ted_smith's Avatar
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    Without TTL, how to use a flash to light up an entire room with correct exposure?

    Hi all

    My friend has asked me to take a few large B&W group photos at the Christening of her child this weekend (tomorrow).

    She says she expects about 50 people to be in the shot which is going to be in a very small Church.

    I am going to try and use my Hasselblad 501CM (no TTL metering possible) with 80mm lens (the widest I have) with my Metz 45CL-4 flash. To get the maximum DOF I need to set my lens to the smallest aperature possible but obviously if it's in a Church and the light is low, that is going to give a really slow shutter speed.

    Now, usually, for portraiture, I use my Sekonic Flashmate L-308S light meter to meter the scene, then set the flash to one or two stops below that to provide soft fill in flash. e.g if the meter say f8 1\60th sec I set the flash to f4 or f5.6. But in this scenario I expect I am going to rely on my flash to light up the entire room. But I'm worried that in the Church the light will be low anyway and using a small DOF might result in a metered reading of, for example, 1 second or something and so setting the flash as I usually do won't help the matter because it won't be making the exposure any faster. What I don't know how to do is use my flash to override that reading?

    So my question is - how do I meter the scene to get a good overall light effect but use my flash with more power, given that I don't have TTL metering?
    Ted Smith Photography
    Hasselblad 501CM...my 2nd love.

  2. #2
    AgX
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    No flash will make the exposure shorter if there is continuous light next to the flash and the level of continuous light sufficient enough to expose the film with the chosen aperture/time combination, which of course will be the case with fill-in flash.

  3. #3
    baachitraka's Avatar
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    A flash meter might help. Other then that try shooting with a digital camera to see how it goes and open 2/3rd of a stop in HB.

  4. #4

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    Use the flash on full power, and take meter readings from the middle and ends of the group and average out the reading, and try to bracket, remember that it is the flash that sets the exposure so use the fastest speed possible, it will make no difference to the final exposure,with the flash mentioned, 40cl4 you really should not have any problems, and you could depend on the flash meter built into the flash unit, If you have a wide angle diffuser then fire the flash using that until the flash itself gives you a good exposure reading and use that.
    Richard

  5. #5

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    First thing is to use a 400asa film, this will maximise the amount of light captured from the flash. Is there anyone close to where you live that can lend you a Studio type flash? I have a 300w battery powered you could borrow if you are close to Plymouth.

    You do not need to use your smallest aperture to cover off the depth of field, with an 80mm lens on 6x6cm format from a distance of about 15ft at f8 you should get a depth of field from about 11.5ft to 21.4ft, although ideally you would have a wide angle lens such as a 50mm where at 12 ft at f5.6 you would have a depth of field covering from 8.5ft to 21ft which should easily cover your group.

    You then need to bounce the flash into an umbrella or large white or silver board to provide more average lighting across the group (you could get someone to hold this above the flash at a 45 degree angle) and to cover the AOV of your lens. If you do have a 50mm lens (or wide angle), you should easily be able to cover the distance with your 45CL-4 on manual and bounced into a large reflector of some sort, with the 80mm you may need to do a couple of tests prior to the event.

    During my time as a Professional Photographer I used to capture many large groups on my Hasselblad with a 50mm lens including groups well in excess of 200 and I rarely needed to use greater than f8 to cover the group with more than acceptable sharpness.

    Good luck.

  6. #6
    markbarendt's Avatar
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    Not familiar with the Metz but many flash guns have an "auto" mode.

    If your Metz is capable of this it will have a built in sensor that controls the light based on what bounces back off the subject.

    In the auto mode the flash and the camera don't talk to each other, so you need to manually match the settings on camera and flash for ISO and aperture.

    For bounce flash this works nicely and is very reliable.
    Mark Barendt, Ignacio, CO

    "We do not see things the way they are. We see things the way we are." Anaïs Nin

  7. #7
    ted_smith's Avatar
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    Hi guys.

    I have been asked rather "last minute" and I only have ISO100 film in stock, so I can't get faster film now unfortunately.

    And I only have the 80mm and the 150mm and that's that at the moment.

    What I'm more unsure about is how to use the flash under these kind of conditions, which I've not done before.

    For example, with the Metz 45 CL-4, how do you set it to "full power"? It has a series of auto modes for f2.8 - f16, a TTL mode (that I use with my Nikon F5) and a series of manual settings - M, M1\2 and M1\4.

    I understand that if I set the dial to f8 on the flash that should emit enough power to light up from 7 to 15feet or thereabouts, but if my handheld Sekonic light meter reports the natural light scene to be, say, 1 second at f8 at ISO100, I don't understand how I manage\adjust the flash to make it f8 at 1\125 sec, which will ensure better sharpness?
    Ted Smith Photography
    Hasselblad 501CM...my 2nd love.

  8. #8

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    Ted,
    M will set to full power, m1/2 and m1/4 is half and quarter power, forget about the naturel light, the flash used as main light source will negate that, if you use full power the use the sekonic as flash meter, or use the auto mode, and get the group as tight as possible, check the distance and set the flash for the distance and use as if it was the only light source, you should be ok with that
    Richard

  9. #9
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    With the flashgun in auto mode the time is not relevant on camera for the flash as long as it is in the sync-able range.

    Time only effects how much ambient light gets to the film.
    Mark Barendt, Ignacio, CO

    "We do not see things the way they are. We see things the way we are." Anaïs Nin

  10. #10
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    Lot to consider.
    - If bounce in auto mode, flash may fire at full power.
    - If so the recycle time may be slow.
    - If a group of 50 people sitting in rows, one flash may not be adequate.

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