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looking for beginner built in flash advice

Discussion in 'X100F, X100T, X100S, X100, X70, XF10' started by jli, Mar 13, 2018.

  1. jli

    jli Premium Member

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    I've had the x100F for awhile and while I mostly do landscapes and street, I'm looking in utilizing the leaf shutter and built in flash to improve environmental portraiture. I don't really like the grainy look of people's faces, especially when you bring up thr shadows in PP when a shot is taken against strong backlighting/face is dark. I've heard that flash can remedy that while also 'crushing' the ambient lighting so that the background isn't blown out and is more balanced against the subject.

    I did a quick google search for some pointers and thus far have had limited success. I read to try, in broad daylight, iso 200-400, set the aperture at somewhere in the middle f5.6-8?, and adjust SS manually because that controls how much ambient light is let in? I think the ND filter helps so you can increase your shutter speed 3 stops higher? I've also read TTL mode is more of an auto mode compared to manual so I've been starting with that. And people seem to like -2/3 on TTL. There is no specification about shooting distance and how the focal length of the lens matters when adjusting TTL strength though. I think my problem may be there.

    Any pointers would be helpful. I'm not looking to invest in a speedlight system or anything yet as I want to get a hang of the built in flash more. If you have samples of shots with and without flash, that would be greatly appreciated as well.
     
  2. Ron Stewart

    Ron Stewart Premium Member

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    David Hobby (of strobist fame) has a good video about using the X100S's ND filter, wide apertures, high shutter speeds, and built-in flash to create daylight photos without blown-out backgrounds. See Please login or register to view links and scroll down to the section titled "Sync at Any Speed".

    The strobist site has tons of interesting and useful information about balancing flash and ambient lighting. It focuses on off-camera flash, but you can learn principles there that also apply to your X100F and its integrated flash.

    Ron
     
    Last edited: Mar 13, 2018
  3. JRick

    JRick Premium Member

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    Hi....re: balancing ambient/flash
    - don't know if this will help but i just posted a thread using my X100F and the in camera flash into the sun with the ND filter engaged. If i had used TTL it would have been a pain to monkey around and balance the ambient and subject exposures so i used the in camera flash set on manual to get what i wanted. TTL has advantages but if you are learning i would start with manual flash settings and tweak flash power settings in conjunction with shutter speeds rather than let the flash run on auto-pilot in TTL mode.......ymmv of course :)
     
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  4. FORUM USER

    FORUM USER Premium Member

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    Using TTL on the previous X100 series was never complicated. It's just a matter of switching the flash to on.

    Previous version only have TTL, it's only with the F you have a manual flash component.

    All the work by The Strobist is using TTL as that's all the previous versions have.

    The sort of image you have taken, of the cat, using the ND filter are easily available in TTL just by switching the flash on and taking the shot.
     
  5. JRick

    JRick Premium Member

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    to ForumUser : i think you are mixing my thread with this thread ... mine had the cat shot and my inquiry was whether i'll burn my sensor shooting into the sun with the X100F ND filter :)

    this thread discussed settings he found online as a guideline to learning how to balance flash and ambient light and use TTL. i don't think using TTL is a good way to learn how to balance flash with ambient and that's why i recommended going to manual flash. he is making the mistake MANY people do when they start out : copying "settings" he has googled rather than learning what effect the settings have on the image in front of his camera at the time he's shooting. just because TTL is easy doesn't always mean it's a good learning tool

    actually, if you get lucky and get a good shoot copying someone else's settings, you have learned nothing, and when you try and let the camera make adjustments, all you get is what the "camera" thought was 'correct' .... don't know about yours, but my camera has crappy taste when it comes to portrait shooting :)

    when you adjust one thing at a time you learn what effect it makes and start the learning process. then, as you add more, you learn more

    unfortunately, with a camera, every (image) exposure is a combination of effects; mostly SS, aperture and ISO

    you may already understand that a flash shot is a 'double exposure' of sorts, but just knowing it won't show you how to get it right. if he gets an exposure he likes first, without flash, and then adds small increments of MANUAL flash, he will learn right away how much he needs to balance the image he is looking for. most beginners NEVER do this. they try and do it all in ONE shot with the flash added......then they struggle :)

    - since he is just starting out shooting people, he hasn't had enough experience doing this yet. getting a nice balanced image is not as easy as just getting some "fill" on a face, which usually happens when you use TTL on backlit shots similar to my cat shot i posted.
    - but it all depends on what you want. a blown out background for a portrait head shot may be just the look you want, and look way better than a deeply saturated color background. maybe he's referring to sunset portraits :)

    shoot without the flash to get the ambient look you want and then start adding flash power manually til you love it .... easy peasy :)
     
  6. JRick

    JRick Premium Member

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    re : " There is no specification about shooting distance and how the focal length of the lens matters when adjusting TTL strength though. I think my problem may be there."
    - when you mention shooting distance, etc., i think your problem is more related to not having a firm understanding of the inverse square law.....a MUST LEARN relationship if you will ever shoot well with flash.
    - i could be wrong, but the way i understand TTL flash is that the flash is doing the adjusting (of it's power) based on a pre-flash that it uses to guess the 'correct' exposure when it fires the "real" flash. which is still a camera guestimate. when you go plus/minus on the TTL settings you are only going to know what that effect will be IF you know what the effect would be BEFORE you adjusted it, and i doubt if you are at that point yet in your shooting

    if you shoot the shot without flash first, until you get the background exposure the way you want it to look, and THEN turn the flash on and bring up the power level til both exposures balance the way YOU want, you will be CREATING the shot you want rather than getting lucky with settings. trust me, it's MUCH more rewarding :)
    - furthermore, if you watch studio shoots, you will usually see that the photographer adds ONE light modifier at a time, and builds the final shot....no matter how many are used. it's really the only way to know what is effecting what. with experience shooting the same images, you can start to work faster.
    outside, when you get good with the in-camera flash and can balance ambient well, i predict you will want to add more off camera flash for even nicer effects. or at least add a reflector here or there to control your light even more.......sky's the limit :)
    - if you walk b4 u run you'll be running to the store to buy more stuff to run even faster

    i like that you are starting with the in-camera flash first even tho others might tell you in-camera flashes suck. but once you learn how to control it, i'm also sure you will want to get that flash away from your camera's line of sight :)
     

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