A&P How do I use a flash?

Discussion in 'Lifestyle' started by Mippity, Dec 30, 2003.

  1. Mippity

    Mippity New Member

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    I own a Nikon FM10 and recently bought a flash for it.
    I've put it on the camera and I don't fully understand how to use it.
    I mean I CAN get it to work I just would like to use it correctly and not overexpose pictures.
    Will it read my light meter/aperature and adjust its intensity?
    Do I have to set my ap or shutter speed to match up with the distance?
    I'm confused :(
    I bought a $15 vivitar flash from wal-mart and I would like to make limited use of it
     
  2. Jcolman

    Jcolman OT Supporter

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    A $15 flash is probably a manual unit. There should be a scale on the back of the flash that shows distance in feet and meters, aperature (F/stop) and film speed. All you need to do is determine the film speed, sometimes called the ASA or DIN number, that you've loaded in your camera. Then look at the distance scale, that is, how far you are from your subject, or more precise, how far the flash is from your subject, and from that the scale will tell you what aperature to set your lens to.

    A manual flash gives off a fixed amount of light. The film speed is the measure of the sensetivity of a particular film. The higher the number, the more sensetive the film, therefore the less light it requires to make an exposure. Distance from the subject is critical because light falls off at a logrithmic scale. This means that the closer the flash is to the subject, less light is needed to make a proper exposure. Since your flash cannot regulate the amount of light it puts out, you can only control the exposure by changing the aperature, or f/stop on your lens. Automatic flash units have the ability to control the light output, which means you can set your camera to one f/stop and shoot pictures in a wide range of distances.

    Don't forget to set your shutter speed to whatever speed your camera syncs to flash. Most likely, this will be 1/60 of a second.
     
  3. Mippity

    Mippity New Member

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    Wow, thanks, very informative!
    I guess I should have opted for an automatic flash.Are they expensive?
     
  4. Jcolman

    Jcolman OT Supporter

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    Automatic flash units can be purchased for less than $100. I have an old Vivitar that I bought 20 some years ago that worked great until about a year ago when it finally died.

    The real advantage of an automatic flash is that you set your aperature once and forget it.

    If you buy a new automatic flash, keep the old one. You can buy a "slave unit" for the old flash that will fire the flash when your primary flash fires. You can use the second slave flash as a back light or "kicker" to bring your photos to life.

    Jim
     

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