P7100 - Flash settings and colors
There was an open day at the kids school yesterday where parents and relatives were invited to join the kids in their classroom for arts, crafts, games etc. A great opportunity to take the P7100 along together with the SB-400 flash...
I am very happy with using on-board or external flash with the P7100 after doing extensive and laborious tests. I ended up using U1 for indoors flash photography with the following settings: RAW, S mode (with ss=80), Centre weighted metering, Fill flash mode, Auto WB and Auto ISO. The above are for fairly well lit rooms which is the majority of cases when taking shots of people and kids in the house.
The reason I use Fill Flash mode (instead of Auto Flash) is to force the flash to fire and balance exposure on the subject with the ambient light that exists in the room. The first option in 'My Menu' is that of Flash compensation so I can easily go -1/3 or -2/3 if too close to the subject (<3m), or +1/3 or +2/3 if too far from the main subject (>5m). If Auto Flash is used, the camera may choose not to fire it and use higher iso which I don't want. Manual Flash is too harsh and cumbersome to control.
The changes I can make on the fly are the shutter speed (increase it if kids are moving around fast) and also the EC if the window light causes any blown highlights in the interior of the room. I do not care if the outside scene is blown out because if I meter on it then the interior will have the 'all flash' look.
With these settings I normally get great looking images at a cam-chosen 100-200 iso.
Below are 2 examples of the shots in a fairly well lit classroom but with a mixture of fluorescent and spot lights and also bright sunlight coming through the windows and red curtains. The WB was spot on in almost all shots and the colors were very pleasing and close to actuals. Particularly so the skin tones of both kids and adults. Sharpness and detail was also good. A generally fine performance by the P7100 + SB-400.
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