Outdoors with some "Radio P-TTL"


McGregNi

Link Posted 06/06/2018 - 21:14
The days when Pentax could be criticised for lacking Radio TTL flash options seem to be well past us now ....

But now that there are a small number of quality flash trigger systems offering TTL to meet the demand, it begs the question of what exactly are they suited for and why would we want to pay extra for the automated flash exposure control, when so many "strobists" so vocally advocate full Manual power control as soon as we take a flash off the camera ?

Here's a few that show how I've been using "Radio P-TTL" recently ......
























Here's a crop of the 2nd one .... hey, who says you can't crop much with only 14.5mp ?!?





The shots were lit with 2 Cactus RF60/x flashes on a a multi adaptor firing into a white reflective umbrella ....




The backlight is kindly provided for free by the sun, and the ambient exposure was dialed down a couple of stops to reduce clutter behind and keep the rim light under control .....

The trigger is the Cactus V6II, set to TTL mode. Both flashes work on the same group and fire together. The light ouput automatically divides evenly between the two..... having two creates a wider spread of light and also allows faster recycling due to halving the power used by each flash to achieve the exposure.

Pentax K7 ; D FA28-105 ; ISO100 ; 1/180th ; F5.6 - F8.0

Why TTL for this, not manual? Of course, you could still be a Real Man Strobist and use Manual, but here's a good use case for automated flash exposures ..... because with these kind of subjects, and with such an informal relaxed situation then I was frequently moving the umbrella around to follow the kids and get the angles right. With distance changes and the mix of ambient light with flash changing also, I benefitted greatly from the instant automated adjustments made by the TTL system to hold the exposures on the faces consistently ...... generally I was using around +0.5 to -0.5 flash compensation settings, fairly normal for portrait work like this.

Thanks for taking a look and I hope you might be encouraged to look at some Radio P-TTL for your outdoor portraits!

Nigel
My Guides to the Pentax Digital Camera Flash Lighting System : Download here from the PentaxForums Homepage Article .... link
Pentax K7 with BG-4 Grip / Samyang 14mm f2.8 ED AS IF UMC / DA18-55mm f3.5-5.6 AL WR / SMC A28mm f2.8 / D FA 28-105mm / SMC F35-70 f3.5-4.5 / SMC A50mm f1.7 / Tamron AF70-300mm f4-5.6 Di LD macro / SMC M75-150mm f4.0 / Tamron Adaptall (CT-135) 135mm f2.8 / Asahi Takumar-A 2X tele-converter / Pentax AF-540FGZ (I & II) Flashes / Cactus RF60/X Flashes & V6/V6II Transceiver

petrochemist

Link Posted 06/06/2018 - 21:41
Results look great.
I'd like to have radio TTL flash, but I find the cactus transceivers are too expensive for the amount I'd expect to use it. I guess I'll have to stick to my TTL cables.

Perhaps if I start using my newly acquired larger brollies I might find the limited range of the cables excessively restrictive. Glad to hear there's now a great system if I do feel the need!
Mike
.
Pentax:K7, K100D, DA18-55, DA10-17, DA55-300, DA50-200, F100-300, F50, DA35 AL, 4* M50, 2* M135, Helicoid extension, Tak 300 f4 (& 6 film bodies)
3rd Party: Bigmos (Sigma 150-500mm OS HSM),2* 28mm, 100mm macro, 28-200 zoom, 35-80 zoom, 80-200 zoom, 80-210 zoom, 300mm M42, 600 mirror, 1000-4000 scope, 50mm M42, enlarger lenses, micro 4/3 cameras with various PK mounts, Zenit E...
Far to many tele-converters, adapters, project parts & extension tubes etc.

.[size=11:].Flickr WPF Panoramio

stub

Link Posted 06/06/2018 - 22:53
Well done Nigel great results.. Great to see someone still producing images with the K7. Love mine to death. And your right if your shooting moving subjects you need to use a TTL system. But that's the only reason..

I'm going to admit to being one of those diehard manual strobists...lol (Been called much worse in my time...lol ) But I've not completely turned my head away from Flash guns. But other than the expensive Cactus V6 II system I'm not seeing a lot of others actually on sale.. The Photix Odin is going to be more expensive still at something like 139. For the trigger alone.

The drawback with TTL flash is that, you never actually ever know the power output of the flash. But at least it puts you in the ballpark. and then you work out your fine override adjustments manually.. So in effect you still have a manual system just a little quicker from A to B. But way way more expensive.

Im not going to judge the Cactus system as I've never used it. But from what I see you can get acceptable results.. Though it gets a bit more awkward using TTL and more expensive when you add a fill light and Kicker light.


At present Godox rule the world of portable flash lighting and at present still choose to ignore Pentax Im afraid.....
K-1Gripped K-1 ungripped K-5ii K7 Various lenses

Stuart..

pschlute

Link Posted 06/06/2018 - 23:57
Nice demonstration and nice pictures Nigel.

I guess "out in the wild" with your kids, manual flash power, and taking a light reading with a flash meter is not going to work. So wireless P-TLL gives you your starting exposure and you compensate by chimping the histogram/review.
Peter



My Flickr page

davidwozhere

Link Posted 07/06/2018 - 01:16
These are lovely portraits. (I simply cannot penetrate the black art of flash)
Both the *istDS and the K5 are incurably addicted to old glass

My page on Photocrowd - link

McGregNi

Link Posted 07/06/2018 - 10:49
Thanks all .....Mike, extension cords would probably turn into my worst trip hazard nightmare when out in the garden with the little ones, so Wireless Rules OK!

The Cactus system looks expensive if you're buying multiple triggers to use as receivers on other flashes, but if looking for new flashes also then the V6II plus their own RF60x flashes (built in receivers) makes a very attractive proposition for P-TTL, HSS plus 2nd Curtain and AF assist also.

Stuart, the TTL is surprisingly accurate, in fact independent control of two flashes is extremely fine and precise, just like working in manual but in "stops" (which I prefer mentally). And even with subjects that are still when there is repositioning of gear going on also then the speed of TTL helps.

Thanks also Peter and David, I'm pleased you saw the photos.
My Guides to the Pentax Digital Camera Flash Lighting System : Download here from the PentaxForums Homepage Article .... link
Pentax K7 with BG-4 Grip / Samyang 14mm f2.8 ED AS IF UMC / DA18-55mm f3.5-5.6 AL WR / SMC A28mm f2.8 / D FA 28-105mm / SMC F35-70 f3.5-4.5 / SMC A50mm f1.7 / Tamron AF70-300mm f4-5.6 Di LD macro / SMC M75-150mm f4.0 / Tamron Adaptall (CT-135) 135mm f2.8 / Asahi Takumar-A 2X tele-converter / Pentax AF-540FGZ (I & II) Flashes / Cactus RF60/X Flashes & V6/V6II Transceiver

Gajan

Link Posted 07/06/2018 - 13:01
Lovely set of images Nigel! And thank you for sharing the set up behind them.
Best Regards,

Gajan

Flickr : link

Pentax K-1, Pentax HD D-FA 28-105mm F3.5-5.6 ED DC WR, Pentax FA 77mm 1.8 Limited, Pentax-D FA 100mm f/2.8 Macro WR
Pentax K-5, Pentax 18-135 mm f/3.5-5.6 ED AL IF DC WR, Pentax DA 55-300mm F4-5.8 ED WR
Pentax K100D Super, SMC Pentax 3.6-:5.4 18-55mm AL

Dorset_Mike

Link Posted 07/06/2018 - 17:00
I swing between admiring the clarity of your explanations and total confusion when I think about it again! Having only ever used manual flash settings doesn't help, of course. The quality of your results, however, demonstrates that you understand and can get the best out of your kit, expensive or otherwise. I particularly like No3 (and the cropped version).
Regards,
Mike

Every day's a holiday!

McGregNi

Link Posted 07/06/2018 - 19:05
Yes Mike, well P-TTL is supposed to be the easier and less labour intensive option.... But it's not as simple as that and unfortunately the whole field of Radio TTL is complicated with confusions around compatible equipment and what flashes will do what exactly.

The all-Cactus setup I now use is probably the neatest all-inclusive solution available to us with the widest range of features and choices for flash photography off camera.

Thanks also Gajan, much appreciated!
My Guides to the Pentax Digital Camera Flash Lighting System : Download here from the PentaxForums Homepage Article .... link
Pentax K7 with BG-4 Grip / Samyang 14mm f2.8 ED AS IF UMC / DA18-55mm f3.5-5.6 AL WR / SMC A28mm f2.8 / D FA 28-105mm / SMC F35-70 f3.5-4.5 / SMC A50mm f1.7 / Tamron AF70-300mm f4-5.6 Di LD macro / SMC M75-150mm f4.0 / Tamron Adaptall (CT-135) 135mm f2.8 / Asahi Takumar-A 2X tele-converter / Pentax AF-540FGZ (I & II) Flashes / Cactus RF60/X Flashes & V6/V6II Transceiver
Last Edited by McGregNi on 07/06/2018 - 19:06

davidstorm

Link Posted 07/06/2018 - 19:42
You are a real expert with flash Nigel, these look very natural and unforced, well done indeed.

Regards
David
My Website http://imagesbydavidstorm.foliopic.com

Flickr

Some cameras, some lenses, some bits 'n' bobs

K10D

Link Posted 07/06/2018 - 21:04
Excellent mastery of flash. Very well done.

Best regards
cameradextrous _ Motorcycles etc. link

pschlute

Link Posted 07/06/2018 - 21:13
For those who have only ever used a flash when wanting to photograph something in darkness, I will let you into a secret. It is not that difficult to learn.

I started to use flash creatively about 18 months ago despite being a photographer for 40 years. You need to consider exposure in a different way (ambient vs flash), and then there is the confusion of how to use 2 or more flash units together. luckily there is plenty of online resources to take you from the most basic studio or outside setup to something much more complicated.

But the first port of call has to be Nigel's excellent flash guides. Written from a Pentax perspective, it will teach you all you need to know about the actual functioning of flashguns and cameras together. I think more so than any other field of photography, you need to grasp the mechanics before you can get creative.

Give it a go, it will open up a new exciting world to you.
Peter



My Flickr page

1stEverPentax

Link Posted 08/06/2018 - 00:04
Lovely portraits Nigel, very impressive.

Re. the bribe with Cornettos...did this happen at the beginning or after you'd finished?

Regards as ever

Karlo

McGregNi

Link Posted 08/06/2018 - 09:26
Yes KarIo, I will state right here and now that success with TTL flash outdoors may very well be dependant on the ready supply of ice creams in your freezer at the time!

Peter, you make some strong points, and indeed, outdoors it is all about taking firm control over the highlights in the background (in my cases here that gives me a free rim light from the sun) ,....the histogram and Manual camera mode are the tools for this.

Because I cut out the sky with the framing I was able to stay within at the max sync speed (1/180th) , and this has flash power benefits. If I included the sky on such a bright day then I would have had to go into HSS territory to control the sky exposure. The Cactus system makes this seamless however, with automatic switching into and out of HS Sync as you move the shutter speed around.

Thanks also David and Gary for your kind comments and feedback
My Guides to the Pentax Digital Camera Flash Lighting System : Download here from the PentaxForums Homepage Article .... link
Pentax K7 with BG-4 Grip / Samyang 14mm f2.8 ED AS IF UMC / DA18-55mm f3.5-5.6 AL WR / SMC A28mm f2.8 / D FA 28-105mm / SMC F35-70 f3.5-4.5 / SMC A50mm f1.7 / Tamron AF70-300mm f4-5.6 Di LD macro / SMC M75-150mm f4.0 / Tamron Adaptall (CT-135) 135mm f2.8 / Asahi Takumar-A 2X tele-converter / Pentax AF-540FGZ (I & II) Flashes / Cactus RF60/X Flashes & V6/V6II Transceiver

sebas77

Link Posted 12/06/2018 - 08:19
Since when I use the xttl firmware I don't have any issue anymore with the cactus. It's super intuitive to use in a studio as well. I always use it in ttl even if the camera is in M. I recently bought a RF 60 for 60 pound, people are having a hard time to get rid of them on the second hand market so they go for cheap. The exposure is much more precise than the metz 58 af 2 working with the cactus.
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