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Thread: Manual Flash technique

  1. #1

    Default Manual Flash technique

    Hello guys, i am starting this thread to discuss about manual flash technique..

    I have taken photo w manual flash using FM2 in some friend's wedding, exhibitions..

    I am using a cheap Emobilitz 728(?) flash.. any comment on this flash? i wonder is every kind of flash, cheap and expensive, giving same kind of light quality?

    It is always encourage to use less ISO film right? such as ISO 100, so that you can get nearer to object without over-exposed it with flash...

    Aperture, according to the graph on flash unit, it is the nearer u are, the biggest aperture number..and vice versa.. what will happen if i use wrong aperture setting? will i cause over exposure on the object?

    Shutter speed, for FM2, the max sych speed is 1/250 sec, so if i choose something like 1/60, what will happen? act as a fill flash? will the object over exposure?

    Can i just shot let's say 1/60 or 1/125 with f/5.6 for my 50mm lense...i had done some reading on internet, it seems like the shutter speed won't change exposure on the object that flash shinning on it, and only the 'distance' object with photographer?

  2. #2
    Moderator ortega's Avatar
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    Default Re: Manual Flash technique

    using manual flash, what matters is the flash to subject distance
    the nearer the flash to subject distance the brighter the light

    then you will need to balance the exposure to the amount of light.

  3. #3

    Default Re: Manual Flash technique

    Hi Lens,
    with flash photography. the subject is supposingly to be illuminated by the flashlight.
    google for flash photography,
    they'll usually point you to the GN equation. do a quick chart if your camear doesn't have one.
    as well, google for fill-in flash it'll be interesting.

    In manual flash photography with the flash output fixed.
    subject illumination is easily controlled by your aperture.
    shutter speed controls the amount of ambient light you in. (as needed in fill-in)

    your aperture and subject distance are 2 inter-related variable.
    change either one, the other one will have to be balanced accordingly.

    run a roll and experiement with the settings. it's a kick to master manual flash.
    hope this isn't confusing & is helpful.

  4. #4

    Default Re: Manual Flash technique

    well, i do some readings over internet, basically i hope you guys may share your 1st hand tips or experience.. things don't get it on textbook.

    I know GN= distance x aperture, so it is like you decide the distance first then set the aperture..

    but when i was using my 50mm lense on FM2, using ISO100 film, according to the graph on flash, the when f/16 the distance is ..2.5m for example, so if i go nearer so that's mean the object will be over exposured?

    I simply think that the shutter speed will decide how bright the back ground, so if u want the background to be normal, leave 1/60 all the time... do u agree?

    something i can share here is.. i used those cheap price battery in budget shop, and end up the flash recharge real slow like 15sec.. and ISO100 film is hard to find nowadays, ha.

  5. #5

    Default Re: Manual Flash technique

    hi LENS,

    im also learning manual flash. just finished shooting a roll of test shots on my FE with nikon SB 28. if im not wrong, for ambient light to show up well, you have to set the exposure somewhere near the ambient lighting and then compensate on the flash by using less power. best way to do this is take multiple shots of the same subject and then compare.

    For film i suggest telling the shop to scan into digital files and then viewing from your computer, because prints are sometimes adjusted automatically and it'll be hard to tell if you exposed correctly.

    check out the following links:
    http://www.planetneil.com/faq/flash-techniques.html

    http://www.moosepeterson.com/techtips/flash.html

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Manual Flash technique

    Quote Originally Posted by LENS View Post
    well, i do some readings over internet, basically i hope you guys may share your 1st hand tips or experience.. things don't get it on textbook.

    I know GN= distance x aperture, so it is like you decide the distance first then set the aperture..

    but when i was using my 50mm lense on FM2, using ISO100 film, according to the graph on flash, the when f/16 the distance is ..2.5m for example, so if i go nearer so that's mean the object will be over exposured?

    I simply think that the shutter speed will decide how bright the back ground, so if u want the background to be normal, leave 1/60 all the time... do u agree?

    something i can share here is.. i used those cheap price battery in budget shop, and end up the flash recharge real slow like 15sec.. and ISO100 film is hard to find nowadays, ha.
    Yeah, you got the basics correct. Normally, after setting the film speed, the GN on the flash will indicate the correct aperture to use basing on the distance. If u go nearer to the subject or the subject change distance, u will have to change the aperture otherwise the picture will be over or underexposed. U need alot of practices till u are good enough to tell what aperture to use, basing on the distance of subject, without having to everytime refer to the GN at the back of the flash for reference.

  7. #7

    Default Re: Manual Flash technique


    excellent links. thx for sharing.
    you can buy better gear but you can't buy a better eye

  8. #8

    Default Re: Manual Flash technique

    after reading the link, i learn that shutter speed won't have any effect on exposure, because the flash is simply too fast..

    one thing i wonder, how models feel about the flash..if i go too near, will their eyes feel uneasy? it is something i worry that have annoyed those models...especially those in motor show which u don't pay them..

  9. #9

    Default Re: Manual Flash technique

    can i say that if i use 1/60 or 1/30 that could have more ghostly shadow, but the sbject is still in sharp by the flash? it could be an effect to play with ah?

  10. #10
    Moderator ortega's Avatar
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    Default Re: Manual Flash technique

    Quote Originally Posted by LENS View Post
    after reading the link, i learn that shutter speed won't have any effect on exposure, because the flash is simply too fast..
    yes - if in a studio where the bg is also lighted by the flash

    the use of different shutter speed with outdoor flash photography
    can give you different results

  11. #11

    Default Re: Manual Flash technique

    3 things to worry about:

    (1) Distance and aperture. You need to match the f stop to distance by the chart by about half stop, otherwise you'll get over exposure or underexposure. Say GN = 22 (m) and distance = 3m, then f stop =22/3 = 7.3, set half way between 5.6 and 8. Print film's latitude will take care of the difference.
    (2) Sync speed is the max you can use for flash photography. Faster than sync speed, the shutter does not have a completely opened moment, you'll have a dark band (say 1/500), to a small slit of lit photo (say 1/4000). Slower's ok.
    (3) Ambient lighting. If shooting outdoor, you want to use fill flash, then you need to set the speed to 1/250 and below, determine the aperture, and then understand your flash power. Completely manual flash without provision to change power output is not useful for this purpose. Generally if you want to have natural fill flash you want to expose correctly with ambient (i.e. match your + o - on the FM2), but underexpose slightly on the flash (so the example above, set aperture to between 8 and 11, and get the correct shutter speed base on the + o -). If shooting wedding banquet, ambient light level is low and so the dominant light will be the flash. Set shutter speed to 1/250 and you'll get ugly dark background, as there would be little to no illumination. You should, if this is an important occasion, take test shots starting from 1/30 to 1/125 before the event. At below 1/30 camera shake will be dominant. At 1/30 subject movement will also give some blur. Safe bet is 1/60, and if a middle aperture like f5.6 is chosen, likely you will get some ambient lighting instead of ugly black background.

    At the end of the day, shooting manual flash with no control over power is really challenging, and honestly I haven't seen anyone doing that (on land - my other passion is underwater for which I am doing that very manual flash right now) for nearly 30 years. I had one of those match-the-aperture-with-distance flash in 1978.

    HAVING SAID ALL THESE, IF THIS IS A ONCE IN A LIFE TIME OCCASION, LIKE A WEDDING, YOU NEED TO CAUTION YOUR FRIEND. Perhaps it is a good idea to hire a pro to shoot to make sure the photos turn out. From what I have read in your question, I believe you are taking on too much if you are the only photographer. That's a long way around to say that I believe base on my reading of your questions you are not ready for wedding photography. No offence meant, but it would be real hard to explain to your friend all the technical difficulties if things don't work out. If it works out, take credit for what you have done, and thank the bros and sis who had taken time to reply to your question.

    Enjoy but shed the risk and responsibility.
    Last edited by diediealsomustdive; 23rd November 2006 at 01:41 PM.

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