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rangefinders and fill flash
Old 07-15-2018   #1
jgrainger
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rangefinders and fill flash

I've been refreshing my knowledge of outdoors fill flash lately, in anticipation of some informal opportunities to take some posed portraits while out and about. Most articles look to be geared around digital and seem to involve a great deal of chimping with equipment for professional results - obviously film users still have bracketing, and KR still seems to have the most manual film camera relevant website.

Granted an old rangefinder camera probably wouldn't be the first choice in a studio but I primarily shoot available light and an opportunity is coming up where I'll get to explore a place with an ideal photographic model and it would be nice to do some posed portraits with a bit of outdoor fill flash.

I'm way too lazy/ obsessed with not carrying equipment for the sake of it - I kind of want to try an old 85mm Triotar and a new flash, but also feel that great photographs can be made by capturing things which aren't artificial effects or the product of editing (short of exposure and contrast filters).

I was thinking it would be nice to see some pictures of posed portraits taken with a rangefinder, outside a studio/ formal environment using little more than a couple of lenses and basic lens filters, with some fill flash, to see what can be done.

Regards,

Jonathan
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Old 07-15-2018   #2
David Hughes
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Hi,


A "new flash" is a bit vague, so what model is it and so on? Asking as it may have just the perfect settings or it may not. FWIW, I find elderly low powered manual flash the easiest to use here.



Regards, David
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Old 07-15-2018   #3
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At least with most of my rangefinders I find film fill flash quit hard. You have to use low ISO even lower than 100, you have to shot at 100/125 unless you have a leaf shutter RF (which I do but it is never loaded when I want to use fill flash.) So this means full sun you have to shoot at f 16 or f 11 depending on latitude and time of day. Therefore, you need a flash that has a guide number high enough to get to f 8 at say 7 to 10 feet.

I'm like you so I don't like to carry a brunch of stuff with me; a giant flash gun being one. I have used my Rolleiflex with a small flash and use the auto setting. That way I can set the ambient light reading with the aperture on the camera at 1.5 or 2 stops above the auto setting. Then it is focus and shoot.

Good luck, but I always find FP shutters and fill flash a squeeze.

Another way of using flash outdoors is to shoot in open shade, but if you do use flash settings and camera aperture close to the same number.
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Old 07-15-2018   #4
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As related in another post, high speed flash synchronization is possible with an M-7 and the proper Metz flash unit. It is a bit of a hassle, however, as the flash does not work on either tel or auto mode - it's the old guide number system. Other than the fixed lens rangefinders with leaf shutters, it's nearly impossible.
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Old 07-15-2018   #5
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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p1QU...utu.be&t=1m36s
They have them with variable light temperatures. I have one and it is not big, nor heavy.
We used it with our daughter for videography outside, but as you could see on the video it gives just enough light to fill, so regular settings for exposure with RF will apply.
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Old 07-15-2018   #6
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I've used fill flash with both my Nikon S2 and my Leicas (M2, M3 and M6). It's a hassle with a 1/50th-ish shutter speed, but still do-able. And I use ISO 100 film.

I use one of a couple old flashes that I've had for years, which can both be shot in Auto mode. They both can be set AUTO for f2.8 or f5.6. So I meter the subject and if the aperture falls in the f8 - f11 range, I set the flash to f5.6. If I meter the subject and the aperture falls in the f4 - f5.6 range I set the flash to f2.8. This works pretty well.

It's not as good as my modern Nikon and Canon DSLR's with dedicated flash units and flash syncs in the 1/180 - 1/250 range, but it's definitely doable.

Best,
-Tim

PS: I also use a bounce card/disc when shooting in direct sunlight to bounce fill onto a subject's face.
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Old 07-15-2018   #7
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In terms of being a bit more specific about the equipment, I've a couple of hotshoe thyristor flashes by Miranda and Cobra, and a couple of Metz, a 402 - with the new flash being a 45.. both Metz are new to me because I didn't have the charger or battery for the 402 until recently (the original head was free). Practically speaking, the Metz 45 is bigger than I'd like, but there's a certain newness factor which greatly offsets carrying it for the time being - making it ideal

Camera wise, I do have some leaf shuttered cameras but for the sake of being able to use a 85mm lens there's a Canon 7 and Kiev II. The Canon syncs at 1/60 and the Kiev 1/25. These are both pretty slow compared to modern cameras but I got thinking about other people here (with older Leica models, and other FP cameras) who may use flash occasionally.

I've been taking a few outdoor shutter speed, and indoor fill flash pictures with the Kiev this afternoon, and developing to check it's presently viable (being on my to-service list with a date fast approaching)..

The Contax design is one of my favorites, plus I've a couple of the cheaper post war Zeiss lenses such as a coated Triotar.. the Kiev works alright unserviced. The Canon could be called the better camera, but it isn't as easy to love when only used for a hobby.

Taking a lens shade with a front filter thread I hope to be able to get shallow depth of field with the addition of yellow, polarising, and ND filters - probably using Pan F of FP4.

It seems a little more complex a scenario than usual (with potential filter stacking and probably an external viewfinder), but it should be doable. I really wondered and hoped some others here would say it's alright and show some great pictures for inspiration. I don't intend to use flash where it's not a benefit though.

Regards,

Jonathan
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Old 07-15-2018   #8
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You need a powerful (big) flash overcome those dark sunglasses you are putting on your lens. I found it to be a zero sum (improvement on the problems of FP) game.
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Old 07-15-2018   #9
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Check out what Godox (Flashpoint is rebranded Godox at Adorama and they have pretty good tech support which Godox doesn't) offers. You need to be using a Nikon, Canon, Fuji or Sony camera at this point to get all the benefits. They have all sizes of flash and controller /transmitter devices...all of them are WAY less expensive than "name brand" flash equipment. Fairly easy to use, not real simple to set up but once done, give fantastic results.

You can not only use all the flash off camera but take care of the problem mentioned above by using HSS flash with the right camera/flash combo...
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Old 07-15-2018   #10
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Hi,

Fill in isn't difficult the old way.

In a nutshell you meter the background to get that right and use the aperture indicated with the synch speed of the camera. That may be a problem if it's a 20th but there you are...

Now the bit of maths starts; you have the shutter speed and aperture, so divide the aperture into the guide number and that's the distance the flash needs to be from the subject. Experience suggests you experiment as some under exposure for the flash may improve things.

There's a lot of low powered flash guns about that you can use and find ideal, imo.

Regards, David
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Old 07-15-2018   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SausalitoDog View Post
Check out what Godox (Flashpoint is rebranded Godox at Adorama and they have pretty good tech support which Godox doesn't) offers. You need to be using a Nikon, Canon, Fuji or Sony camera at this point to get all the benefits. They have all sizes of flash and controller /transmitter devices...all of them are WAY less expensive than "name brand" flash equipment. Fairly easy to use, not real simple to set up but once done, give fantastic results.

You can not only use all the flash off camera but take care of the problem mentioned above by using HSS flash with the right camera/flash combo...
Yes, it took me 4 hours to set my friend's up for his Sony FF. It has plenty of power, fairly light, tall very tall. Like anything digital you have to use it all the time to not lose your edge. I'm not sure I'd like it on my Oly 35RC.
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Old 07-18-2018   #12
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I've experimented a bit using leaf shutters, but my flashes are either manual or thyristor. You would be best off with a flash where you can dial down the power by 2-3 stops, then you have more control over the exposure settings available on the camera. Mine are unable to do that. Regarding the slow shutter sync speeds, they're fast enough for hand-held but you will still need to be careful as the light from the flash may freeze the subject, but unlike indoor photography you have a lot of ambient light so you can still get camera shake.
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Old 07-18-2018   #13
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I always wondered: How does Gilden do it? He shoots with an M6, so he's restricted to 1/50s flash sync. Combined with Tri-X, all his shots in daylight should be overexposed even at f/11-16. What does he pull the film to? Must be like ISO50-100. At this point, there is no valid reason to shoot Tri-X.
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Old 07-18-2018   #14
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Johnnyrod: my flashes are manual or thyristor / auto too.. I did briefly consider FP flashbulbs with a shutter button type synchronizer but don't really want the hassle, to use all shutter speeds.

Lowering the power of the flash manually is possible to some degree with the Metz, but the auto levels kind of do the same thing within different ranges.

v0sh, it's possible Gilden's using ND filters, to use the flash with a favorite film, keeping acceptable limited available light capability.. or at least, that's my plan.


So far, the present plan is to set the flash ASA level one stop faster (200 with FP4) - thinking this will be the same as setting it to the film speed but closing the lens a stop, done to enable me to set them to the same F-stop on the lens and auto aperture, for ease with daylight fill flash.

I'm hoping doing it this way will also mean the lens and auto aperture setting will stay the same for the purpose of using ND filters - if they're able to be set the same it should be one less confusing thing. I'll probably be using a few stops ND to use a sharp aperture if it's sunny at 1/25th sync speed anyway.

Regards,

Jonathan
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Old 07-18-2018   #15
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Gilden, shoots so close to his subjects it changes everything. One, he doesn't need a powerful flash (so maybe ND filter), two, he probably isn't too concerned about ambient light exposure.
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Old 07-18-2018   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by charjohncarter View Post
Gilden, shoots so close to his subjects it changes everything. One, he doesn't need a powerful flash (so maybe ND filter), two, he probably isn't too concerned about ambient light exposure.

No, it doesn't, proximity doesn't change exposure. He shoots between f/11 and f/16, uses a Vivitar Auto Thyristor flash and carries a lightmeter. Never seen him using an ND filter.

So, how does he not overexpose at 1/50 even at f/16 in daylight with a 400 film, if he doesn't pull it at least 2 stops?
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Old 07-18-2018   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by v0sh View Post
No, it doesn't, proximity doesn't change exposure. He shoots between f/11 and f/16, uses a Vivitar Auto Thyristor flash and carries a lightmeter. Never seen him using an ND filter.

So, how does he not overexpose at 1/50 even at f/16 in daylight with a 400 film, if he doesn't pull it at least 2 stops?
Proximity doesn't change exposure? We are talking about flash in this thread. The light from your flash falls off as described by the inverse square law.

Positioning the flash close to the subject allows it to overcome the ambient light more easily. Now 1/50s on ISO 400 even at f/16 is over exposed, so the only option is to pull, use ND filters, or put the subject in open shade.
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Old 07-18-2018   #18
David Hughes
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Not sure what Vivitar flash is being mentioned but don't they (or some of them) have a reduced power setting or two?


Regards, David
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Old 07-18-2018   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by v0sh View Post
No, it doesn't, proximity doesn't change exposure. He shoots between f/11 and f/16, uses a Vivitar Auto Thyristor flash and carries a lightmeter. Never seen him using an ND filter.

So, how does he not overexpose at 1/50 even at f/16 in daylight with a 400 film, if he doesn't pull it at least 2 stops?
But it lets you shoot your flash at f16 (or higher as close a Gilden gets) in sunlight. This is how you calculate aperture if you know the flash guide number and the distance. I doubt he would use an ND filter too, not much to gain there with flash. And my closest Auto flash mode is 3 feet so he probably isn't using auto.

http://dpanswers.com/content/genrc_flash_calc.php

In his case aperture for the flash is with a 400 film and flash of 50 GN; you get a aperture of 50. Probably turning down the power on his flash too.
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Old 07-18-2018   #20
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I would experiment with a digital camera until you get the look you’re after. Then, use the film camera.

Suggest you use google and type in, “photography fill flash.”

Another method is to google, “photography fill light using a reflector.”

There are also videos on you tube that could help you.

Using light patterns and shadows is very important with photography. It’s trying to get the illusion of three dimensions while using only two.

Here is one place I found to help you get started:

https://digital-photography-school.c...r-should-know/

Maybe this is nothing new for you?
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Old 07-19-2018   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mich rassena View Post
Proximity doesn't change exposure? We are talking about flash in this thread. The light from your flash falls off as described by the inverse square law.
I'm sorry, I guess I wasn't clear enough here. I know how to use and set a flash, that's not the point. I was talking about balancing ambient light with the flash and for ambient light, exposure doesn't change due to proximity. The problem here is, that for ambient light (outside, normal day, not overcast) it's hard/impossible to get to flash sync without either overexposing, or pulling a ISO400 film.



Quote:
Originally Posted by charjohncarter View Post
But it lets you shoot your flash at f16 (or higher as close a Gilden gets) in sunlight. This is how you calculate aperture if you know the flash guide number and the distance. I doubt he would use an ND filter too, not much to gain there with flash. And my closest Auto flash mode is 3 feet so he probably isn't using auto.

http://dpanswers.com/content/genrc_flash_calc.php

In his case aperture for the flash is with a 400 film and flash of 50 GN; you get a aperture of 50. Probably turning down the power on his flash too.
As far as I get it, his flash somewhat controls output via sensor (thyristor). Anyway, that's not what makes me wonder.. flash is easy calculation, set aperture and shoot. As mentioned above, I'm wondering on how to achieve flash sync with a 400 film in certain situations. I guess he pulls at least 1-2 stops, but at 2 stops, I see no reason to shoot a 400 film in the first place. Furthermore, exposure for ambient light would be all over the place, so the film would have to be developed with some sort of compensating for this (e.g. Rodinal semi/stand).
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Old 07-19-2018   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jgrainger View Post
Johnnyrod: my flashes are manual or thyristor / auto too.. I did briefly consider FP flashbulbs with a shutter button type synchronizer but don't really want the hassle, to use all shutter speeds.

Lowering the power of the flash manually is possible to some degree with the Metz, but the auto levels kind of do the same thing within different ranges.

v0sh, it's possible Gilden's using ND filters, to use the flash with a favorite film, keeping acceptable limited available light capability.. or at least, that's my plan.


So far, the present plan is to set the flash ASA level one stop faster (200 with FP4) - thinking this will be the same as setting it to the film speed but closing the lens a stop, done to enable me to set them to the same F-stop on the lens and auto aperture, for ease with daylight fill flash.

I'm hoping doing it this way will also mean the lens and auto aperture setting will stay the same for the purpose of using ND filters - if they're able to be set the same it should be one less confusing thing. I'll probably be using a few stops ND to use a sharp aperture if it's sunny at 1/25th sync speed anyway.

Regards,

Jonathan
Hi Jonathan,

it certainly is a lot of fun shooting with old rangefinders in lots of situations, but for using fill-in flash there are indeed much better options.
As prices for film cameras are still so cheap, it is easy to get outstanding equipment for even the most challenging situations at ridiculous low prices.

Modern film cameras and modern flashes are offering perfect results using flash and especially fill-in flash:
Cameras like the Minolta Dynax 7 and 9, the Canon EOS 30 V / 33V, EOS 3 and EOS 1V.
And with Nikon the F100, F5 and especially the F6 with most modern i-TTL and CLS systems.
Using these cameras with flash is just a joy, and with fill-in flash with their dedicated flashes (including the Metz units with SCA adapters) you get perfect results. So perfect that mostly it looks like only natural light was used.
A very big advantage with modern flash technology is the option to use high-speed sync: perfect for all fill-in flash situations! You can just use the aperture and shutter speed you want for asthetic reasons. Without any technical limitations!

Cameras like a Nikon F100 or EOS 3 can be bought for less than 200 bucks in very good condition. The dedicated flashes for less than 60 bucks.
So it is possible to get the best flash technology almost for free.
As a regular flash user I can highly recommend going this perfect route.
Life can be so easy with the right equipment as a film shooter .

Cheers, Jan
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Old 07-19-2018   #23
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Quote:
Quote:
'm sorry, I guess I wasn't clear enough here. I know how to use and set a flash, that's not the point. I was talking about balancing ambient light with the flash and for ambient light, exposure doesn't change due to proximity. The problem here is, that for ambient light (outside, normal day, not overcast) it's hard/impossible to get to flash sync without either overexposing, or pulling a ISO400 film.
When I had my business, digital was and is the only way to go to balance ambient light with flash. Before digital it was Polaroid!

I ran my cameras and flashes in manual mode only. Canon full frame cameras and Quantum flashes operated with Pocket Wizards. The highest power I set the flashes at was one half.

Once I got the flash working where I wanted it to be, controlled with f stop, I adjusted the shutter speed to then get the ambient in proper exposure. I had to pay attention to sync speed.

I see so many photos made today that obviously the maker had the camera determine proper exposure, probably using TTL or ETTL for the flash that is on camera. The result is OK foreground, usually people with a likeness to deer in headlights look and with a blown out background. That set up and the end result was a definite no-no for me.

My recommendation, first start out using digital. Let that be your Polaroid to determine when your set up is what you have in mind. Then use your film camera with the same settings as your digital to make your exposure using film.
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Old 07-19-2018   #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by v0sh View Post
I'm sorry, I guess I wasn't clear enough here. I know how to use and set a flash, that's not the point. I was talking about balancing ambient light with the flash and for ambient light, exposure doesn't change due to proximity. The problem here is, that for ambient light (outside, normal day, not overcast) it's hard/impossible to get to flash sync without either overexposing, or pulling a ISO400 film.

As far as I get it, his flash somewhat controls output via sensor (thyristor). Anyway, that's not what makes me wonder.. flash is easy calculation, set aperture and shoot. As mentioned above, I'm wondering on how to achieve flash sync with a 400 film in certain situations. I guess he pulls at least 1-2 stops, but at 2 stops, I see no reason to shoot a 400 film in the first place. Furthermore, exposure for ambient light would be all over the place, so the film would have to be developed with some sort of compensating for this (e.g. Rodinal semi/stand).

I agree, it always amazes me that people using flash for street photography don't use a leaf shutter camera. Their lives would be so much easier.

I have a Topcon Unirex (SLR) that has a leaf shutter (synch 1/500), this camera does focus down to 18 inches. But he also has to somehow get a Leica lens to focus that close whether flash or not.
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Old 07-19-2018   #25
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I agree, it always amazes me that people using flash for street photography don't use a leaf shutter camera. Their lives would be so much easier.
Leaf shutters are very good for that purpose indeed.
But cameras and flashes with modern high speed sync capabilities are even better in such cases as with them you
- have even more freedom as you can use shutter speeds up to 1/8000s (1/12000s with Dynax 9)
- using wide open aperture for perfect bokeh and background separation, fast shutter speeds and perfect shadow detail with fill-in flash are possible
- these cameras offer an excellent TTL metering for perfect exposure with flash; only very few leaf shutter cameras are offering that, too (eg. the Rolleiflex 6008 series).

Cheers, Jan
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Old 07-19-2018   #26
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David:
Some of the Vivitars do have different manual power settings, the 285 is a good example - with different colour circular lines on the calculator wheel, I seem to recall they can be used for auto and manual powers.

I know what some people mean by making life easier.. reminds me of flash with the Nikon F4 I used to have.. easy flash, but although an impressive bit of kit, it was sold because I don't care for all that. I could just use my digital with relative ease too - but for the same reason.. I'm even kind of irritated by anyone complaining about "limited" 1/2ooth sync speed on their new DSLR, and then some

I'm all about the experience of using a traditional camera and it's not like I make a living from it. This upcoming day is also all about dancing 1st, sight seeing/photography 2nd.

I've a particular fondness for the prewar Contax (which ergonomically works well with a hammerhead flash), to have any flash synchronization I'll take a Kiev 2. My backup will probably be a Canon 7 or a Certo six (the Certo has a leaf shutter but it's poor for mounting a flash to).

Bill:
The idea of practicing settings with a digital is a good one (also for testing colour gels to match flash colour with the light), it really hadn't crossed my mind due to having a moderate modern/ hi-tech dislike... I've had a quick go just now, and will just get some more practice before the day.. should be pretty straight forward once getting into the mindset about the way the flash will fall on the subject, thank you

Regards,
Jonathan
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Old 07-20-2018   #27
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Hi,


The odd thing is that when we are talking about using (say) a Leica II full time it's acceptable but the only other fully acceptable camera is an over complicated and over specified digital. Daft I call it...


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Old 07-20-2018   #28
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David:
I agree, and it doesn't help anyone arguing against this view, that there's a portraits by M camera thread which features some flash photography.. with one person claiming to use an M3 with a studio flash setup.. at least it's some inspiration

When people suggest a fancy kit for making good pictures using a flash, I'm aware that there's a lot of equipment designed and manufactured specifically to make it easy to get great results in a controlled or premeditated setup.. along with a whole host of webpages explaining how to get the best out of modern equipment, which clearly is effective in the hands of good photographers..
But I believe it's possible to get by, perhaps at some disadvantage, with traditional equipment when used correctly, and unfortunately it seems more web pages are focused on teaching people how to get great results with a modern and comprehensive setup.

A great example of this is the way ND filters tend to have a colour cast, I can find loads of pages in which people review them on DSLRs but comparitively very few in relation to film cameras. It's important in the case of ND filters because I don't know precisely how much different films are sensitive to IR compared to a digital sensor. As IR is still a factor with ND filters and the way they may block the ordinary colour spectrum but not IR, it's all questions and it feels like I've just got to use some rolls of film to be the first person to test within my circle - a little like people have forgotten old technique and considerations.

For ND filters I have answered that question by reviewing test shots on film, but it still feels an isolated place compared to the ongoing knowledge sharing and active discussion on 21st century equipment and photography.

Jonathan
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Old 07-30-2018   #29
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A quick followup,

I took the Kiev with a couple of lenses and a Metz 45 cl-4. Taking part at a dance thing in Newcastle which could potentially be filmed, the main priority was dancing. Rushing I forgot to get some film out of the fridge but was able to buy some near to my destination.

Ironically I didn't finish up using the flash due to the available shade, but the combination of a ND4 filter (with ND8 in reserve) and pulling colour film brought the exposures close enough to the range of the flash sync speed - it wouldn't have taken much to use it.

I'm hardly a master photographer but some reasonable keepers came out of it, I'll probably post a couple after unveiling them to my dance partner.

I'll take the flash to some other opportunities in future.

Jonathan
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Old 07-30-2018   #30
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Good luck, you should run the GN numbers of your flash; and it had better be powerful. It will work in shade, but you better test in sun.
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Old 07-30-2018   #31
giganova
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Meter the background for 1/60 sec, e.g., f/8. Then turn the flash's thyristor settings to f/8 auto exposure, but set your aperture at f/11. That underexposes both the background and the flash-illuminated foreground by 1/2 stop, and the sum of ambient light + flash will be perfectly exposed.
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Old 07-30-2018   #32
CameraQuest
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Originally Posted by jgrainger View Post
I've been refreshing my knowledge of outdoors fill flash lately, in anticipation of some informal opportunities to take some posed portraits while out and about. Most articles look to be geared around digital and seem to involve a great deal of chimping with equipment for professional results - obviously film users still have bracketing, and KR still seems to have the most manual film camera relevant website.

Granted an old rangefinder camera probably wouldn't be the first choice in a studio but I primarily shoot available light and an opportunity is coming up where I'll get to explore a place with an ideal photographic model and it would be nice to do some posed portraits with a bit of outdoor fill flash.

I'm way too lazy/ obsessed with not carrying equipment for the sake of it - I kind of want to try an old 85mm Triotar and a new flash, but also feel that great photographs can be made by capturing things which aren't artificial effects or the product of editing (short of exposure and contrast filters).

I was thinking it would be nice to see some pictures of posed portraits taken with a rangefinder, outside a studio/ formal environment using little more than a couple of lenses and basic lens filters, with some fill flash, to see what can be done.

Regards,

Jonathan
If you have a rangefinder with TTL flash, go for it.

If not, I would not aggravate myself.

Instead enjoy shooting natural light.

Stephen
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Old 07-30-2018   #33
splitimageview
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Konica Auto S3 makes this pretty easy
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Old 08-06-2018   #34
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Thank you Giganova


Lol Stephen, it's a while since I last had TTL.. Available light is nice, but so are extra options.


Splitview, the Konica is nice but I'm happy to use my less well suited cameras for the amount of flash I use.
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You guys are making it harder than it needs to be
Old 08-06-2018   #35
Robert Lai
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You guys are making it harder than it needs to be

I have a Kiev 2a with the flash synch, as well as several Leicas.
You need to use the guide number system.

I usually use slow film, such as Rollei 25. Pan F at ISO 50 will do in a pinch. ISO 100 film, if you like "high speed" film.

Choose your lens focal length based on your proposed subject, and likely subject to camera distance. For example, a standing portrait with the entire body, 50mm lens and a distance of 10 feet.
I have the Metz 45CL-4 also. You have a plethora of choices, as you have many variable power levels with that flash. I'm actually more old fashioned, and I use flash bulbs. I pick the flash bulb based on the ambient daylight exposure, and the proposed distance from flash to subject. You want the flash to subject distance to be such that the flash is a bit weaker than the sunlight - e.g. the flash will give an exposure that is 1 stop less than sunlight. Actually, this happens naturally as the guide numbers are usually obtained from indoor testing, when you have reflective walls around you. In the outdoors, there are no reflective walls, and thus your flash output is naturally less than per the guide number calculation.

Now all you have to do is set shutter speed, aperture, and focus distance per your guide number calculation. With the camera all set, walk up to your subject. When the rangefinder indicates that the subject is in focus, you are at the correct distance for your flash. It is very fast to do this in practice. You can fire off pictures in rapid succession with this method.

Bonus: the guide number system is not fooled by excessive background brightness (e.g. backlighting), or darkness, as a TTL system would be.
This system works even with cameras without flash synch. For example the Kodak Target Brownie 620 - set to bulb, use open flash, close shutter.

The M7 is the only film Leica with high speed synch capability with the Metz 54 MZ 3 / 4i, and 45CL-4i digital + SCA 3502 adapter. That is essentially a manual flash mode, so you are still using the guide number system with the M7.

Finally, the Kiev cameras leave the flash contacts closed once you have fired the shutter. Wind on immediately, or the flash will keep firing erratically. Also, you have a risk of burning your hand if you are changing flash bulbs. Winding causes the flash contacts to open the circuit again.
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Old 08-08-2018   #36
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Hello Robert,
I have used the guide number system a few years ago for night time indoors flash. It is very reliable and if sticking to one ideal portrait distance, requires no further fiddling. Despite that I'd partly forgotten and partly dismissed it in favor of auto settings (to use multiple apertures prior to getting the Metz). It's a good method to recommend.


The bit about the closed contact on the Kiev, it was a little amusing the first time when checking that the flash sync worked - having multiple flashes with an old auto thyristor flash, surprisingly the Metz doesn't seem to have the same trouble on this kiev body.
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Old 08-09-2018   #37
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Originally Posted by HHPhoto View Post
Leaf shutters are very good for that purpose indeed.
But cameras and flashes with modern high speed sync capabilities are even better in such cases as with them you
- have even more freedom as you can use shutter speeds up to 1/8000s (1/12000s with Dynax 9)
- using wide open aperture for perfect bokeh and background separation, fast shutter speeds and perfect shadow detail with fill-in flash are possible
- these cameras offer an excellent TTL metering for perfect exposure with flash; only very few leaf shutter cameras are offering that, too (eg. the Rolleiflex 6008 series).

Cheers, Jan
There is no free lunch. High speed sync compromises power, so it'snot very useful in bright conditions when a good deal of power is required for adequate fill.
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Old 08-09-2018   #38
HHPhoto
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Originally Posted by RObert Budding View Post
There is no free lunch. High speed sync compromises power, so it'snot very useful in bright conditions when a good deal of power is required for adequate fill.
Robert, as someone who is using fill-in flash and high-speed sync. in bright sunlight for many years I have to disagree.
Because in bright conditions you only need the additional light to get a bit more light in the shadows.
The flash light is not used / needed to lit the whole scene!
And to get the details in the shadows and reduce the overall contrast the power of modern flashes in combination with high-speed sync. is excellent!

For example the fill-in power of my Nikon SB-800 in combination with my F6 (or my digital Nikons) and high-speed sync. is so good, that I've often used it for distances up to 20 (!!) meters.
In bright sunlight even shadows in 20 meter distance can be improved and get more detail with SB-800 fill-in flash and high-speed sync.

Therefore I repeat my recommendation: As nice as a rangefinder is, but for fill-in flash just use a modern film SLR like F100, F5, F6 or Canon EOS 1V, EOS 3 etc. the dedicated modern flash and be happy.
It is such a joy to use! Excellent results are very easy.
Horses for courses. The rangefinder is the wrong horse for the fill-in flash course....

Cheers, Jan
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