January 13, 2009 ·

Michael Reichmann


Pentax 645N / Pentax 67
Daylight Balanced Fill-Flash

Keeping Secrets

It never ceases to amaze me when companies sell professional-oriented products and then fail to provide their customers with the basic information needed for them to be utilized properly. An example of this is when trying to do daylight balanced fill-flash with either aPentax 67IIorPentax 645NIIcamera. 

I use Pentax’s top-of-the-line flash unit, theAF500FTZ. (The information below may apply not only to this unit but to a great many other Pentax and other brand flash units, such asMetz, that work with the camera’s TTL metering capability). 

This flash is capable of performing daylight fill-flash. But, unlike units fromCanonandNikon, for example, this flash does not have any means on the flash head to set a fill ratio.

As anyone doing fill-flash knows, it’s important to set the flash to about -1.5 stops as compared to the ambient light level. Otherwise the flash effect is too strong and the subject looses modeling.

Not including the ability to dobalancedfill-flash in their top-of-the-line flash is a serious oversight on Pentax’s part. Particularly so since I’ll bet dollars to doughnuts that the flash unit itself is actually made by either Canon or one of its OEMs. 

Making It Work

Now, with that off my chest, here’s how to dobalanceddaylight fill-flash with this and similar units.

Set the camera toManualmode and set the shutter speed and aperture by either using the built-in meter or a separate hand-held. Make sure that the shutter speed is a 1/60th sec or slower on the 645 camera or 1/30sec or slower on the 67 camera.

Turn on the flash unit and now set theExposure Compensation dialon the camera  to -1.5, or whatever compensation you prefer. That’s all there is to it. The flash unit will read this compensation and will cut back on the flash. The camera is in manual mode and therefore isn’t effected by the compensation setting.

OK Pentax. How about putting this in your instruction manuals?

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Michael Reichmann is the founder of the Luminous Landscape. Michael passed away in May 2016. Since its inception in 1999 LuLa has become the world's largest site devoted to the art, craft, and technology of photography. Each month more than one million people from every country on the globe visit LuLa.

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January 13, 2009 ·

Michael Reichmann

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