a580 to a99 - Crazy to upgrade? or go with an a77?

Started Mar 31, 2013 | Discussions thread
Jeadm
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Re: a580 to a99 - Crazy to upgrade? or go with an a77?
In reply to MikeNannie, Apr 1, 2013

MikeNannie wrote:

Thanks for the feedback.

I agree that I certainly could study up more. I've tried off camera flash / bounces, and other diffusers over the years, and a Stroboframe as well. Results are just so inconsistent. I've used about every camera setting as well and it just seems to me that you should be able to setup the camera to get a reasonably good result consistently using a flash and TTL.

I usually dial in about -.7 flash compensation too in order to prevent getting a blown out foreground. But then sometimes you get an image that's just too dark, and then the next one is fine - just extremely frustrating inconsistent results - across all my recent cameras.  It's almost like the TTL system isn't working correctly with the 5600 HS flash - it's just that inconsistent. I've sometimes wondered if there isn't a problem with my 5600 HS, even though I bought it new and it's never been abused.

Maybe I expect too much from flash photography in environments that required you to move about and have moving subjects - like family gatherings.

Often the camera meters exposure fine without any intervention on your part, but just like the autofocus it doesn't pick the right thing 100% of the time.  When it does that, you need to help it.

Try this experiment to see if it improves on your camera's metering to help nail down proper flash exposure (assuming TTL).  First, test shoot something that's heavily backlit, do it as you normally would do.  Exposure will probably be problematic or it may be OK, that just depends on the camera gods' mood at that moment.  Note how the exposure looks on the main (backlit) subject as well as the backlit area. This will be your basis for comparison on what comes next.

Next, switch to "Spot" metering from whatever it is now (multi segment or center weighted).  AEL spot meter the center point of your viewfinder on the brightly lit area away from your subject (if you've configured AEL button to "Hold" you need to hold the AEL button during this entire process; if AEL configured to "Toggle" simply press once to toggle it locked in place, then again to unlock-I personally prefer this method, just don't forget to unlock when you're all done LOL).  Once your exposure is locked (denoted by an * on the display) you'll notice that no matter where you point your camera the exposure readings on the display do not change.  Recompose your camera to frame and focus as necessary with these locked settings, then shoot again.  You should get a better balanced shot with your subject illuminated by the flash, and the backlit area should be well exposed without being blown out.

Try this first and see the results before frustrating yourself with flash exposure compensation; doing that you can increase/decrease subject illumination and still have the background blown out.  There's a place for flash compensation to be sure but that's mostly for fine tuning (you can also bump your ISO up if your main subject still isn't collecting enough light).  From this you can fine tune the flash compensation to where you want it, but you might not even need to.  Good luck.

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