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Thread: problem regarding soft flash

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    problem regarding soft flash

    hi, i'm having a strange problem with flash....
    first keep in mind im a beginner so this might be a stupid question.
    when i use my 430exII on any setting (i tried all from ettl to full to 1/32 power) and i even have it on -1 compensation, i get harsh light...
    But when i use the small flash that came with the camera and on -1 i get a more softer light....like i don't blow out the feathers (i'm photographing birds) and the eyes are not red/blue...
    But this Small flash is only useful for close things because it wont go far..
    i'd really like to be using the 430exII but how do i get it to do just a soft flash and not so harsh?
    thanks from casey.

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    Hi, It would be great if you could post some examples. Its not a stupid question, flash takes a bit of mastering IMO. (I'm no where near it!)
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    What settings are you using on your camera? Remember if Auto, your camera is still going to try and get what it thinks is a 'correct' exposure, by metering the scene and using settings it thinks it needs to. Post some photos with the exif intact and we can advise further.
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    hi, im really busy saving my stuff from my computer...its faulty and has to go back tomorrow so i'll find and post some within tomorrow or the next day...ok?

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    Quote Originally Posted by ricktas View Post
    What settings are you using on your camera? Remember if Auto, your camera is still going to try and get what it thinks is a 'correct' exposure, by metering the scene and using settings it thinks it needs to. Post some photos with the exif intact and we can advise further.
    i'm using manual.

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    I would like to know the answer too.
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    Sorry if this is a dumb question, but does bouncing the flash help? (while you're getting the settings sorted).

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    Soft light isnt the amount of power coming out of the flash, its the size of the flash compared to the subject. So if you use a softbox and put it as close to the subject as possible its very large and you get soft light. The same flash on the other side of the room would be a very small light source compared to the subject and give a hard harsh light. (pretend you are the subject, if flash is close it looks large, if it on other side of room it looks small).

    So if you are using an on camera flash the light coming out of the flash comes from a light source which is 5cm x 2cm or so if you shooting it straight at a subject. Using the same flash and shooting it into the roof or wall will make the light hitting the wall and bouncing back really large, hence you will get soft light, unless the subject is far away from the burst of light hitting the wall.

    Hope that jumble makes sense!
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    Quote Originally Posted by RememberThis View Post
    Soft light isnt the amount of power coming out of the flash, its the size of the flash compared to the subject. So if you use a softbox and put it as close to the subject as possible its very large and you get soft light. The same flash on the other side of the room would be a very small light source compared to the subject and give a hard harsh light. (pretend you are the subject, if flash is close it looks large, if it on other side of room it looks small).

    So if you are using an on camera flash the light coming out of the flash comes from a light source which is 5cm x 2cm or so if you shooting it straight at a subject. Using the same flash and shooting it into the roof or wall will make the light hitting the wall and bouncing back really large, hence you will get soft light, unless the subject is far away from the burst of light hitting the wall.

    Hope that jumble makes sense!
    hi, thanks yes that makes sense

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    This is also the case on sunny days. When you have full sun you have a tiny circle of light in the sky beaming alot of harsh light throwing shadows everywhere. But the sun behind a full overcast sky, you get soft light because the clouds act as a softbox and all of a sudden you have the worlds largest lightsource in the sky. And soft light. No harsh shadows.
    Hope this sheds some light on the subject. bad joke huh

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    Are trying to photograph high contrast birds, magpies, butcher birds etc ??

    What part of the bird are you metering on in the first place, if you meter for the darker feathers the camera is going to tell the flash to bang out a big thump, thus blowing out the white feathers ??

    If you are using manual are you calculating the correct aperture for the distance and power setting of the flash
    aperture = guide number divided by distance - then adjusted if need be to suit your subject, white birds may need to drop the aperture or power a little, dark birds may need a bit more aperture or power.

    The difference with the on board flash may simply be that it is not powerful enough to provide the same amount of light to the scene that your 430 is and that is why you don't seem to blow the feathers out

    You don't say what camera you are using ? I will use a 40D as an example
    The on board flash has a guide number of 13 - 13 Meters at ISO 100
    The 430EXII has a guide number of 43 - 43 Meters at ISO 100 at 105mm zoom
    That is a big difference
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