amateur question: 800 speed & flash

Discussion in '35mm Cameras' started by bonnie, Apr 5, 2006.

  1. bonnie

    bonnie Guest


    I bought a Canon SureShot 150, which I know wasn't so wise, but I can't
    deal with SLRs or any other cameras requiring a learning curve :^) I'm
    strictly a "tourist" photographer and needed a long lens for a trip to
    Russia, including those long Volga shots. I bought Fuji Press 800
    because it seemed to be the best all-around film for the speed. In
    addition to landscape shots, I'll be shooting in a lot of dark places:
    monasteries, churches, museums, etc. The Canon specs say that the max
    telephoto flash range on ISO100 is 8ft and wide is 11ft.

    But, despite searching these photo groups, I can't find out how I
    should determine when to use a flash with this speed/camera. One poster
    laughed at the idea of someone using a flash indoors at 10 ft on 800,
    but that's all I could find on the subject.

    Does anybody have some kind of guiding rule I could use?

    Many thanks,
    bonnie, Apr 5, 2006
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  2. bonnie

    Peter Guest

    Every time you double the film speed the flash range goes up by 1.4x

    That means your flash range is 22 feet at the telephoto setting
    and 30 feet at the wide setting. At those distances your camera
    will use the full flash power and the maximum aperture of the lens.
    At closer distances the camera will either stop down the lens or
    decrease flash power. Modern point and shoot cameras tend
    to have pretty good automation on the flash and I would be inclined
    to let the camera do its own thing.

    Using fast film may mean that you will also be able to use some
    of the natural light. This is generally a good thing. There is
    not likely to be enough light indoors to take pictures with your
    camera without flash unless you can put your camera on
    a tripod and use a setting which allows the camera to take
    long exposures, but the extra film sensitivity can still
    help because at least some of the light will be coming from
    sources other than the flash.

    Peter, Apr 5, 2006
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  3. bonnie

    Jim Guest

    Sorry to say. All cameras have a learning curve.
    Jim, Apr 5, 2006
  4. The lecture, short form: There is _always_ a learning curve. To
    that end:

    o Never, never, ever go on a trip with a new camera and new film
    without taking several test rolls of similar subjects before

    o If you can't do it before you leave, when others are sleeping
    off their jet lag, go out and experiment. Get the pics done at a 1
    hour lab so you can see what you are doing both wrong and right.

    Nothing wrong with it.
    Hmmmm, sorta like a Yugo is the best all-around car for the money.

    I suggest sticking with 100 speed film -- but -- buy a roll of each,
    shoot largely identical rolls and compare the results. Only you
    can be the judge.
    Monestaries, churches and museums as a rule do not permit
    flash photography. And so flash range is a sort of mute issue.
    Indoor shots are invariably done with wide-angle lenses. I will wager
    you will find your's doesn't go quite wide enough. Go into a
    local church and take a telephoto pictures with flash of the sort
    you are planning to make and see if the results are what you would want.
    In general, you can not take picture indoors hand-held because
    the required shutter speed is so slow hand jitter will blur the
    picture. And in a cathedral your flash will be about as effective
    as an Instamatic with a flash cube at a Beatles concert in Shea Stadium.

    Damned if you do, damned if you don't: you are going to
    need a table-top tripod. Small folding 'table top' tripods are
    $10-20 or so. A table-top is sort of inconvenient, but
    then: Monestaries, churches and museums as a rule do not permit
    large tripods. There are a few 'toy' tripods
    that fold up to table top size and expand to about 4 feet - they
    are pretty weak but are good enough for a point and shoot - but
    they get nowhere as near invisible as the real table-top ones.

    You may need to be invisible because many monestaries, churches
    and museums as a rule do not permit _any_ photography
    (getting familiar?). You may have to sneak shots when the
    guards aren't looking: Flash isn't good for this sort
    of thing and the guards are expecting you to use flash:
    "No, of course not, Comrade. I was just playing with my
    camera, to see how much film I had left -- the flash didn't
    go off -- I couldn't be taking pictures if the flash didn't
    go off.".

    With that in mind: take trial shots with a tripod indoors
    with/without/fill-in flash. Also hand-held, to see if the
    difference is significant to you.

    You won't often find a table in the right place but you can
    hold the tripod against a wall, door jamb, railing...
    the tripod does make it easier to aim the camera.

    Without a tripod you can put the camera on something and trigger
    the shot with the self timer. You can also press the camera hard
    against a wall, door jamb, railing, tree when you take the shot. You don't
    have to look through the finder: compose with the finder; push the
    camera against the wall pointing in the same direction and shoot.

    Set the self timer, put the camera on a table, walk away hunting
    for Kleenex, who's taking pictures?

    If you are seriously into this, put black tape over the flash
    just in case you forget to turn it off.
    In my P&S experience, you will need a tripod for telephoto shots
    of any quality: The cameras are just too light to be held steady
    enough for telephoto shots.

    Normally, the camera will make that decision for you. It will pick
    the safe, but usually wrong, decision. Outdoors use flash all the
    time when shooting at less than 20ft to fill in shadows and give
    eyes sparkle. Indoors, unless you are taking pics of the folks around
    the table and that sort of thing, don't use flash.
    Well, now you found two.
    Get thee to a good bookstore and buy one of those "Kodak Guide to
    Better Pictures" sort of books. The Lord of the Flash helps those
    who help themselves.
    Not sure you will still mean that: good advice is seldom pleasant.
    And you still don't have an answer to your question. So buy a
    few rolls of film and find the answer -- everybody's answer will be
    different and you need _your_ answer.
    Nicholas O. Lindan, Apr 6, 2006
  5. bonnie

    Patrick L Guest

    Shoot with Superia 1600 and no flash.


    Patrick L, Apr 6, 2006
  6. bonnie

    bonnie Guest

    Many thanks.
    bonnie, Apr 7, 2006
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