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General photography questions and answers: Discuss Fill-in flash...Hi, hi. I took a couple of photos over the weekend that in hindsight could have done with a bit ...
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Old 01-08-2005, 12:12   #1 (permalink)
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Question Fill-in flash

Hi, hi.

I took a couple of photos over the weekend that in hindsight could have done with a bit of fill-in flash (things against the sky etc). The problem I have is that I've noticed that the flash can get a bit carried away and look, well I don't know how to describe it other than 'flashed out' (too light and washy).

So, can I turn down the flash strength and if so how do I do it?
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Old 01-08-2005, 12:37   #2 (permalink)
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Yes you can.
Go to menu and scroll across to the menu that lists flash exposure compensation. (haven't got the camera with me right now to verify exact names etc.)
You can adjust the flash up or down by 2 stops.

Another option is to move further away from the subject and zoom in a little, or better still, get an external flash that allows you to angle the head and bounce it off the ceiling or wall.
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Old 01-08-2005, 13:07   #3 (permalink)
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So is that 2 stops down from what it thinks it should be or 2 stops down from 'standard flash strength'? What I mean from that is does it it do adjustment of the flash based on ambient light levels or what?

PS. My dad offered me his old external flash on Saturday but Ooooh no, couldn't have that old crappy flash on my nice new shiney camera could I!!! D'oh!
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Old 01-08-2005, 13:11   #4 (permalink)
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is it an external flash (model) or the built in job?
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Old 01-08-2005, 13:27   #5 (permalink)
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The built in jobbie is the one I want to control better.
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Old 01-08-2005, 13:46   #6 (permalink)
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Sammy be very careful connecting an external flash to your camera as it may be incompatible and could damage the camera. Without getting to in depth, the camera has sensitive electronics that communicate between the flash gun and the camera, it uses trigger voltages and if those are incorrect it will cause very expensive damage to your camera that will not be covered by the guarantee.

With regards to the on board flash, manually reducing of it's output by upto two stops is from the level that the camera believes is correct for that particular shot. The camera reads the light, then sets the exposure and flash power accordingly but then your adjustment will reduce the flash output by your inputted amount.

Hope that helps.
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Old 01-08-2005, 14:09   #7 (permalink)
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:icon_eek: No, that doesn't help!!!! My Dad still made me use the stinking flash!!! Couldn't you just have kept quiet about that?!?!?!?!



Now, I should have a button on the camera to lock the flash level shouldn't I? So I could point it at the bright object, flash lock it, and then take the photo?

Obviously I may want to adjust the flash level still more as you have suggested.
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Old 01-08-2005, 14:34   #8 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SammyC
:icon_eek: No, that doesn't help!!!! My Dad still made me use the stinking flash!!! Couldn't you just have kept quiet about that?!?!?!?!

Opps If its still working now you'll be ok though

Quote:
Originally Posted by SammyC
Now, I should have a button on the camera to lock the flash level shouldn't I? So I could point it at the bright object, flash lock it, and then take the photo?

Obviously I may want to adjust the flash level still more as you have suggested.
If you have not altered any of the custom settings (very unlikely) then by pressing the shutter button half way down it will take the meter reading and as long as you keep it depressed, retain the levels. The problem is that you may have to use manual focus depending on the subject as the auto focus will also lock when you half press the shutter.

It is easier to use the flash exposure compensation and not worry about guessing the levels by pointing the camera at a bright source and then recomposing on a completely different area just for flash issues.
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Old 01-08-2005, 18:05   #9 (permalink)
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To write a flash tutorial is a pretty major undertaking, there's a lot of ground to cover to do the job properly.

Using the built in flash is probably the simplest way to do it. I find the built in flash on the 20D quite useful. Just bear in mind it's a very small unit and it's effective range is limited to 20-25 feet or so. (without checking the manual) I find that within that range it's pretty good, either as the main source or as a fill flash. The good news is this little flash is about as automated with your camera as you can get and makes fill flash pretty easy.

If it's fill flash you're wanting then at this stage, I'd suggest you put the camera on aperture priority. Remember with fill fllash you're metering for the ambient light first - you want the fill flash to balance with the natural light and be just strong enough to highlight the shadows and generally brighten the shot a little. So..manually pop up the flash unit, and meter on your subject. This is important ...you've decided to pop up the flash manually and the camera 'knows' that and WILL use it. If the ambient light is strong enough, the camera simply 'thinks' "Aha.. he wants fill flash". When you take the shot you should get the fill flash shot you want. I find it's usually pretty good. If however it's a little dark or a little too light (washed out) then you can think about exposure compensation from there - more or less as required.
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Old 01-08-2005, 18:20   #10 (permalink)
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Were you using the correct metering mode when you took your shot?

Spot meter (Center-weighted average in the case of the 350D) off your subject before you release the shutter, the camera should calculate how much flash to fire and give an accurate result using its very good E-TTL 2 flash metering system.

E-TTL 2 utilizes additional 'distance information' provided to the camera by the lens (although not all lenses support this function).
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