beginner questions

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macaroniitfc

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Hi All

Just joined this group as I have decided to devote 2010 to analogue photography. This will involve developing, printing and, of most relevance here, flash.

My style is street photography at night, often using a flash. I will be using three cameras for this project. Leica M7 with 35mm, Bessa 667 and a Hassy 503 with 80mm.

While I am reasonably competent using a flash with my digital camera, this 'competence' is mainly due to the fact that I can see my images afterwards and change ambient and flash when I have under/over exposed. Obviously I cannot do this with the above cameras as they are all analogue.

So...my questions are:

1. Can anyone recommend some decent sites where I can really understand the technical side of ambient/flash so that I can avoid making schoolboy errors?

2. Should I buy a flash/light meter? If so, which one?

3. Any general tips?

4. Which flash units would work well for the Bessa and the Hassy? [I have a 580 and 430 for my canon and a flash unit for my Leica.]

Apologies for these basic questions, but you'd really be helping someone with a big desire to take some good shots in 2010!

Cheers.
 
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Wirelessly posted (BBBold: BlackBerry9000/4.6.0.297 Profile/MIDP-2.0 Configuration/CLDC-1.1 VendorID/102 UP.Link/6.3.0.0.0)

I am going to suggest studying Flash Guide Numbers. This will answer 1 and 3, lessen the needs for 2 and might help you when you get to deciding on four. I wrote an article for CiM. It's on the website, link below.
 

Rick A

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Well put, Chris.

Rick
 

mopar_guy

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I would suggest using a film with a wide exposure latitude. Also, you will want a fairly fast film. Ilford HP5+ or Kodak Tri-X would bee good starting points. For night photography, you will need a fairly powerful flash.
 

Mike Wilde

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Well, it is no little light, but I suggest that old style 'potato masher' style flash be considered.

Since the world you are taking is night, don't worry about automatic sensor capabilites in the flash. With dark pavement, etc. it will almost always be fooled trying to turn black pavement into grey pavement, etc. Amanual unit with full power and half power would in my guess be most useful.

Yes, learn how to guestimate distances, and then interpret guide number into the aperture.

The hassy might be your best friend, for it allows you to synch at almost any shutter speed. Then you can fill flash at dusk, or under street lamp illumination to mix the fill and background ambient light. If you lay on a tripod, then the first exposure for foreground in flash light, and background detials in a longer shutter speed (keep same aperture so DOF is not changed).

In these situations I rely on two meters; the old minolta IIIf for the foreground flash, and another, an old pentax spot meter to read what the exposure under dim ambient lighting will be needed to fill in the shadows.
 

John Koehrer

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Just to confuse the issue a little more, try a Vivitar 283 or 285. They both have a GN of 110 and the 285 has a power control on it although one can be added to the 283.
The 285 also has a zoom head so the angle covered can be changed. By zooming the head out, it effectively increases the range of the flash.
I prefer the 283 because it's slightly less bulky(no zoom head).
They can both be used with Quantum power packs.
 

flatulent1

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The Strobist is the first lighting site that comes to mind, lots of articles and tutorials.
 
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macaroniitfc

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wow - this site is incredible! woke up and have received so many helpful replies. many many thanks all. no more questions for now, although i suspect i will have some on guide numbers...
 

Bruce A Cahn

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Guide numbers are good, meters better. I recommend only one-the Minolta flash meter, which handles all kind of light and combinations of light. They are accurate . Mine has been dependable for almost 10 years so far.
 

Carter john

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I don't remember the photographers name, but he used a Vivitar 2600 or a 2800d for street photography. He just set the flash for a said f stop and the set the camera to the same f stop. He then set shutter speed so he would get some background light, even down to 1/4 of a second. His color transparencies from Cuba were really nice. With the auto setting all he had to do was focus/shoot.
 
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