Understanding flash options

Discussion in 'Exposure Discussion' started by BetterSense, Feb 12, 2009.

  1. BetterSense

    BetterSense Member

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    I mostly shoot 35mm, with older cameras. I have a Pentax ME, ME Super, Program Plus, and a Nikon F8001 w/SB-28

    I hate my results shooting with flash. The photos look ugly and washed out. Using non-TTL auto mode with my Pentaxen and TTL auto with my Nikon, my exposures are fine, I just don't like the look. Plus, my only flash is big and heavy. So I never use flash, because I hate it. But after reading some stuff on kenrockwell.com about bounce flash, I realized what I had been missing. It's not that flash is bad, I just don't use it well.

    Now I realize that bouncing flash can be very useful. However, do you have to have TTL flash capabilities in order to do bouncing? I know my Nikon has TTL flash capabilities, but it's my least-used camera. I don't think my Pentax cameras can do TTL, and if they did, it would probably have to be with a Pentax flash. Would a better manual Pentax like the LX work with TTL flash?

    The other issue is the size and weight. My SB-28, I'm pretty sure, weighs more than my ME super with lens, and it's horribly top heavy. I would like a very small flash, no matter how slow or weak, but now I realize that bouncing is good. So basically I'm jealous of the Nikon SB400 flash as presented in this kenrockwell article
    http://www.kenrockwell.com/nikon/sb400.htm
    What I want is a very small, bounceable flash like this that works with my cameras. But since the SB400 doesn't even work with my Nikon, I'm not sure if it's even possible. Even assuming I could find a small bounceable flash, I don't think I could use it effectively with my Pentaces because they don't do TTL mode.
     
  2. Nick Zentena

    Nick Zentena Member

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    Bounce is a lot older then TTL. You need to factor in the added distance to the bouncer and back to the subject.

    One other problem is the location of the flash. Getting a flash that mounts on the side of the camera will help. Or you can go even further and figure a way to mount your flash on a stand.

    For multi camera setups I like the various Metz type flashes. You use the same flash and just change the controlling module. The Metz 45 are a lot cheaper used these days.
     
  3. nemo999

    nemo999 Member

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    You don't NEED TTL flash exposure to do bounce., but it helps. A computer flash (with AUTO mode) where the sensor stays pointed at the subject while the flash tube swivels will be fine too.

    As regards features, wanting a flash that is a) small and light and B) good for bounce is contradictory. A flash which is good for bounce needs to be powerful, because the flash has to travel to the bounce surface, be partly absorbed and then travel back to the subject.

    If yiou have an SB-28, why not stick with it but get a flash bracket which will take the flash at least 9 or 12 inches away from the lens position, and also a mini softlight attachment for the flash. You will also need a special Nikon extension cord to keep TTL operation or else a generic cord to use the SB-28 in simple auto mode (not TTL) with your Pentax. This solution is relatively cheap and will get rid of most if not all of the harshness of an on-camera non-diffused flash.
     
  4. Chan Tran

    Chan Tran Member

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    You can use the SB-28 in non TTL automatic mode with other cameras. You don't have to use the full manual mode. Unlike the SB-600 the SB-28 does have its own sensor so it can work in auto mode without TTL.
    The manual of the SB-28 shows you how on page 42 and 43.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 12, 2009
  5. OP
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    BetterSense

    BetterSense Member

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    I know, I use it on Auto on my Pentaxes. I just didn't know if bounce flash was possible without TTL mode. I guess I could try it but didn't want to waste film.
     
  6. Chan Tran

    Chan Tran Member

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    Auto mode works for bounce flash too.
     
  7. Instead of dividing the distance from the flash to the subject into the Guide Number, divide (the distance from the flash to the wall plus the distance from the wall to the subject) into the Guide Number.

    f number = Guide Number/(the distance from the flash to the wall plus the distance from the wall to the subject)
    Or consider putting a piece of cloth as a diffuser over the flash to soften the light.

    Steve