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  1. #11
    gr82bart's Avatar
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    Kent,

    Exactly what kind of flash are you using? Brand, model number? Just curious, so I can ad my two cents worth.

    Art.
    Visit my website at www.ArtLiem.com
    or my online portfolios at APUG and ModelMayhem

  2. #12
    Ed Sukach's Avatar
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    The "doing" of fill-in flash is easier than the explanation. I'll try..

    Separate the subject from the background, and take an exposure meter reading of both. If the background averages out at X exposure, and the subject reads that it needs considerably more than that, the ratio may be too great to obtain a working compromise. Expose for the background, and the subject will be excessively "dark"; expose for the subject, and you will blow out the background (common to backlighting); Set the exposure in the middle of the two, and the subject may be BOTH excessively dark AND the background will be "blown." It may be a good idea to "fill" the subject with light and reduce the difference between the two .. say to make the subject a half stop to a full stop darker than the background. One would meter the background, set the aperture and shutter speed accordingly; and set the flash unit to provide one-half - or so less light than indicated for a full exposure to the subject. That would be known as a "one-half stop fill."

    Now ... every flash unit has a flash duration time. Usually an electronic flash duration is *very* short ... and the shortest times will be encountered at reduced power rather than at full blast. My Dynalites, for example, have a flash duration of 1/450th of a second at full power, deceasing to something like 1/10,000th second at minimum power. If the shutter speed is slower than the flash duration, some light will not get to the film. Not a disaster, but a consideration when determining exposure - that is why "Flash Meters" have a shutter speed setting - they will measure the amount of light received through a give "time window".

    I've read through this five times. Hopefully it will make sense to someone else ..
    Carpe erratum!!

    Ed Sukach, FFP.

  3. #13
    Max Power's Avatar
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    OK! An update,

    David, what you said would happen is what happened! All of the exposures at f8, regardless of shutter speed from 1/30 through to 1/250 are 'just right'. All at f11 are slightly under-exposed and all at f5.8 are slightly over exposed. What I get from this is that it is that when using manual flash, aperture guides the exposure, and that shutter speed (unless it is slower or faster than the flash) plays a lesser role.

    Art, I'm using the Minolta 280PX which I bought as my first flash unit for my X700. I know that it's not the greatest, but it was bought to go with the x700, and works really well with that camera. It only has two settings for the GNs and so in manual, I have to match the camera's aperture to the distance scale.

    FWIW, I am learning a great deal here. As strange as it may sound, using a C220 with a hand-held light meter is really driving home the thought processes necessary to producing a technically decent photograph. I find the whole process of spending a lot of time over one frame very calming and a lot of fun. Compared to 35mm my number of frames is down, but the learning curve is really steep!!!

    Thanks again for your continued input everyone!
    Max Power, he's the man who's name you'd love to touch! But you mustn't touch! His name sounds good in your ear, but when you say it, you mustn't fear! 'Cause his name can be said by anyone!

  4. #14

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    Keep an eye out for an used auto flash. It'll make your life easier. Many aren't very expensive used.

    If you want real cheap then look for the Agfatronic 383cs. It's got auto mode and TTL with Metz modules. I bought one for less then $20 US. 38 metres for the guide number. Built in wide angle reflector. Second smaller flash on the head. Only uses 4 AA batteries. Nobody else seems to want the things.

  5. #15
    Max Power's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nick Zentena
    Keep an eye out for an used auto flash. It'll make your life easier. Many aren't very expensive used.
    Nick,
    What exactly should a good auto flash do? What should I be looking for? What brands represent a good deal?

    Thanks,
    Kent
    Max Power, he's the man who's name you'd love to touch! But you mustn't touch! His name sounds good in your ear, but when you say it, you mustn't fear! 'Cause his name can be said by anyone!

  6. #16

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    Vivitar 283s and 285s are IMHO the gold standard for an inexpensive, rugged auto flash. You should be able to pick up used ones all day, and a new 285 can be had for around $100.00.

    An auto flash will give you typically 3 or 4 settings, varying based on depth of field, and will tell you what f-stop to use for a certain setting. The 285 also gives you full, 1/2, 1/4, and 1/16 power settings.

    Let's say that your auto flash indicates an f-stop of f8. Now let's say that you meter for ambient light and get a reading of f8 @ 1/125. Set your shutter speed to 1/125. Set your aperture to f11 instead of f8. That's a 1-stop underexposure for flash and a 1-stop underexposure for ambient. This is, in my experience, a good place to start. If, for example, you change your shutter speed to 1/250, you're still underexposing the flash by 1 stop, but now underexposing ambient by 2 stops.

    This is the beauty of leaf shutters: your fill flash possibilities are so much greater. I was shooting this weekend with my Canon AE-1 and wanted to use fill flash on a shot. However, with 400 speed film, and limited to 1/60 shutter speed, I couldn't make it work. With a leaf shutter camera, it would have been a breeze.
    "If You Push Something Hard Enough, It Will fall over" - Fudd's First Law of Opposition

  7. #17

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    Good Morning, Max,

    Ditto what Doug says about the Vivitars. I have four 285's which have always been tough, reliable, and accurate in their auto settings.

    Konical

  8. #18

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    Quote Originally Posted by Max Power
    Nick,
    What exactly should a good auto flash do? What should I be looking for? What brands represent a good deal?

    Thanks,
    Kent
    Some of it depends on how you'll be using it. If you intend to use it with other cameras.

    1) A wide range of F/stops. You can fool a little with the film speed to get around this but it'll slow you down. Easier to set F/11 when you want F/11 then to change the film speed and tell the flash you're using F/8.

    2) moveable head.

    3) Fast enough recycle time for your needs. This will depend on what you're doing. A wedding guy is going to need a lot of flashes fairly quickly. Other less. If you need a lot of flashes then it might help if you got a flash with easy quick battery changes.


    4) A good autosensor.

    It's nice if it's still reasonably supported but if it's cheap enough like my Agfas then it doesn't really matter.

    In todays market I've bought a pair of Metz 45 for very little. The CL-3 was about $50US. I think I paid $80 Canadian for the CT-3. They have brackets. I think you're using a TLR so the bracket might be a plus for you. They take Metz 300 and 3000 modules so you can even use them with modern cameras by just adding the right cable and module. Or you can use just the basic sync cable with your TLR. I'd avoid the CT-5 because it needs a no longer available module. I'd also avoid the CT/CL -1. These don't provide TTL etc but they don't cost much less on the used market.

  9. #19

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    Okay...now I'm confused. :o) I'm just *now* setting up studio lighs, and planning on using my trusty ol' Nikon F2. In the dark ages, when I first bought my camera, I would hook up a strobe unit, and set my camera at the red mark just between 1/60th of a second and 1/125, and set my aperature at whatever it was that was marked on my strobe for distance.

    Of course *now* I'm setting up studio strobes (White Lightning strobes--I don't recall the output as of this moment--they're at the studio space I've rented), and was planning on using the same speed (I'm guessing that would be 1/100), and using a flash meter to tell me what aperature I should use. Am I wrong? Should I be going for a faster or slower speed? I'd appreciate any help before I load up a bunch of film and start making a bunch of mistakes. I don't worry too much about using up a lot of film and chemistry while learning, but I just hate the thought of using up the time of my subjects while I grope my way through these first steps learning to use my studio lights....

    Mike in Alaska
    [FONT=Comic Sans MS]When in trouble or in doubt, run in circles, scream and shout![/FONT]

  10. #20
    David A. Goldfarb's Avatar
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    Mike, you've got the right idea. If you're shooting an SLR with a focal plane shutter and any strobes--on camera or studio strobes--just set it at X-sync and control exposure by adjusting flash power, distance between flash and subject, and aperture.

    Once you've gotten yourself oriented, you can think about using slow sync indoors (or high speed sync outdoors, but not with an F2!) to mix ambient and strobes, but for now, it's probably best to ignore the ambient and concentrate on the light you can control most directly.
    flickr--http://www.flickr.com/photos/davidagoldfarb/
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