Author Topic: flash all mighty  (Read 2090 times)

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Offline alphabug

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flash all mighty
« on: October 25, 2012, 03:02:23 AM »
Hi! I have the F58 flash used on an a77 and I would like to ask how to tame this beast. My question is which control would be followed, the camera's flash level control or the flash's level control? I was so off with my settings when I was on the beach taking sunset pictures with fill flash. When the flash went off it seems like lightning which got the attention of all the beach goers and left my bikini-clad subjects squinting and making sour-faces for the next shot due to the all mighty flash.

Another thing is my flash contact terminal needs constant cleaning (and so does my camera flash contact terminals) otherwise it won't work properly. I am using a small tip cotton buds with alcohol to do this job. Is there any way to keep my terminals in prime condition without having to clean them all the time? I fear that I might rub the surfaces away from repeated cleaning.

Thanks!
a77 & a500, SAL18-250, SAL50/18, SAL18-55, SAL 70-300, HVL-F58AM, HVL-LE1,ECM-ALST1

Offline Clive

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Re: flash all mighty
« Reply #1 on: October 25, 2012, 05:10:47 AM »
alphabug

I do not have this flash--but have an A77. I rarely use a flash so can't help much. 

Gary Friedman says of the HVL-F58AM, "Works great on top of camera." (BTW, if you do not have a copy of his A77 book, it is WELL worth the modest cost. Here.

It should all be simple and work like a charm. According to Gary, when the flash is used on top of the camera it is set to: Flash Control ADI. ADI is only useful when the flash is on top of your camera and pointing forward.

It should all be very automatic. Apparently not.

Was the sun behind your subjects? How far away were your subjects. (I am thinking of burst power here.) How dark was it? If their pupils were WIDE open and they were at some distance in the dark then a full burst might cause some distress.

I doubt of you will wear the contact surfaces with gentle cleaning. I never clean flash contacts..mind you I rarely use a mounted flash.

Hope someone else can help.

Clive

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Offline alphabug

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Re: flash all mighty
« Reply #2 on: October 25, 2012, 05:59:00 AM »
Clive

Thanks. I'll look into the book you have recommended. My subjects were about 4 meters away with the setting sun to their backs. I had some decent shots but a lot came with a strong flash it could cause more tanning effect than the sun. I'll try using contact cleaner for my terminals. I'll post the results when I do.

BTW for those using external flash...the Sony CycleEnergy 2700 mAh rechargable battery works like a charm. Far better than 2500 mAh's.

Alphabug
a77 & a500, SAL18-250, SAL50/18, SAL18-55, SAL 70-300, HVL-F58AM, HVL-LE1,ECM-ALST1

Offline juanissimo

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Re: flash all mighty
« Reply #3 on: October 30, 2012, 07:41:10 PM »
I'm not sure which FEC (cam or flash)to use in your situation.  I personally use the camera's FEC but I'm shooting with an A35 and a Minolta 5600HS so I doubt that's much help.

However, if you're fill flashing, and your subjects are getting squinty on you because they expect a big flash in the face I'd try sticking your flash on a monopod or flash stand off camera and using the built in wireless system; that way your subjects wouldn't be popped right in the face.

I've used flash on a monopod trick a lot and it works pretty well and makes you feel like gandalf walking with his light up staff.

Offline Stef.

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Re: flash all mighty
« Reply #4 on: October 30, 2012, 08:14:03 PM »
There is various ways of controlling the output of the flash:

1. You can set the flash itself to "manual" and then lower the output of the flash to half, quarter....until 1/32th. This does though NOT take into account the available light. I use this though regularly in a studio environment where the flash is either connected with a cable to the camera or triggered wirelessly. Usually I use some kind of diffuser with it.

2. You can influence the output of the flash by pressing the fn button and then lowering the flash output in your menu.

3. The most important influence on the output of the flash though is your ISO setting, aperture, speed and light metering (spot, matrix...). Now this is important: the choice of aperture will influence the amount of flash your subject gets, while the ISO and shutter speed will influence how much ambient light will be taken into account. In a nutshell: the higher the ISO you choose or the slower the shutter speed the more ambient light will be taken into account which is important when you want to use fill flash. One wy that works quite well is to set your camera to auto ISO. You will see that your camera will take the amount f available light into account when you use your flash

4.Re ADI and TTL: ADI can only be used with lenses that are supported. Once used the distance between the subject and your camera will be calculated automatically. IMHO though TTL works very well and I do not see the need to use ADI.

5. There is a HUGE difference between using spot metering/ matrix...some believe that spot metering is the way to go, with taking a reading from your i.e. subject's face. Give it a try and you will see what I mean.

6. Also, but this is probably very obvious: if you bounce the flash from the ceiling the output of the flash will be reduced and you can not use shutter speeds faster the the max sync speed. In other words: hss does not work.

Ultimately, what works pretty well IMHO is to set the camera to TTL, use an aperture between f2.8 and f5.6, set the ISO to auto (!), bounce the flash from a ceiling or use some kind of diffuser and set your wb to flash.

Anyhow, hope this helps. I might have forgotten something or confused ...I am jetlagged, just back from Europe....I am sure somebody else might jump in and give some more hints.
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Offline alphabug

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Re: flash all mighty
« Reply #5 on: November 25, 2012, 08:31:54 AM »
Thanks everyone. I am really trying out all your suggestions. Though with all the notes and reminders, I hope Sony comes out with a "Sony Personal Secretary". For now I'll just keep on clickin.
a77 & a500, SAL18-250, SAL50/18, SAL18-55, SAL 70-300, HVL-F58AM, HVL-LE1,ECM-ALST1

Offline BedotheCreak

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Re: flash all mighty
« Reply #6 on: November 25, 2012, 03:01:44 PM »
Alphabug,

I can't recommend the Gary Friedman book enough!

I purchased his Alpha 100 book recently, and I wish I had bought it years ago! It is excellent, and taught me lots about a camera I have used for a few years.

Recently I purchased a Sony A77 SLT, and before I had unpacked the camera at home, I went online and purchased Gary's A77 book too!

I don't have the HVL58AM Flash, but I have the HVL56AM which uses a similar control system. I will try it out and let you know about my results.

Cheers

Dave
Sony A77 & Sony VG; Sony A100 & Dicain VG; Sony DSC-R1; Sony 16-50 F2.8 SSM; Sony 11-18; Sony 70-300G SSM; Tamron 90 F2.8 Macro; Minolta 100 F2.8 Soft Focus; Minolta 35 F2; Metz 15-MS1 Ring Flash; Sony HVL-56AM Flash; Manfrotto 475 Tripod; Sekonic L-358 Flash Meter

Offline alphamale77

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Re: flash all mighty
« Reply #7 on: December 04, 2012, 03:06:49 PM »
Hi, i have the combo as well, for fill at that distance i think metering mode makes a big difference, other than that is with 58AM we have seen consistently over power output, most people i know leave flash exposure to -1 to mitigate this issue, but this is like one in 12 shots, so you might have spooked everyone by that unlucky incident. I don't think the issue came from contacts, none the less beach = dust and sand, try not to put on/ remove the flash at the beach, but before hand and leave it on.

From what i read it seems to be a firmware issue with the 58am for the overexposure, others can confirm the date of its debute, but its long before a77, and with off brand flash i've read they had the similar issue but fixed after firmware update (on the flash itself). Sony never recognized the issue, so....just leave the flash exposure to -1 and good luck shooting, at least it works for me. =)

actually thinking about it, the 20AM flash or even the on board flash might be sufficient for 4 meters fill flash...