Alvin’s Film Follies (Part X – Experiment With a Flash Gone Wrong…)

In the past few weeks, I’ve had an opportunity to try out shooting with slide film – a roll of Fujichrome Velvia 50.  As I mentioned in my previous post, the roll took 2 weeks to process.  While waiting, I started messing about with whatever I had available.

First up, a roll of Fujifilm Superia 200.  Those who follow me know that I prefer 100 speed film.  Considering the price of this film, I won’t complain – much.  The film appears to react much like Kodak Gold 200.

Old Toronto City Hall

Old Toronto City Hall

But, as with most films, if you handle it right, the results are pretty decent.

Toronto City Hall

Toronto City Hall

I actually didn’t expect much from this film, but it did offer some pleasant surprises. The sky in this shot is probably as blue as I will be able to get it.

St. Andrew's Church, Toronto

St. Andrew’s Church, Toronto.

Halfway through the roll, I got a bit bored shooting the same places and wanted to try something different.  After looking around at home, I found my flash – the Pentax AF 540FGZ.  Could I use this flash with Penny? With cheap film loaded I said to myself, “Why not try?”

Challenges?  Penny only has one contact on the hot shoe – that’s what I get when I have an old camera.  What this means is that I can only trigger the flash to fire and that’s it.  The flash won’t know what other settings I’m using, but I’m assuming that using the A mode in the flash to define the aperture and ASA/ISO settings I’m using on my camera might work.

Back to the photos, the first shots didn’t come off right.  One shot of my willing volunteers seen below.

My First Attempt with a Flash

My First Attempt with a Flash

I seriously don’t know what I did wrong.  I know that Penny shoots at 1/60 of a second if you want to sync your flash, but I have no sync cable. I’m assuming that may be one of the issues.

My second attempt with a flash

My second attempt with a flash…FAIL!

On top of that, I don’t know what I did right in this shot below as well.  The vignetting at the edges of the frame in the shot below was horrible.

Not quite right yet...but at least the full frame got lit up this time.

Not quite right yet…but at least the full frame got lit up somewhat…it feels like I’m in a tunnel with a headlamp or flashlight.

I was fortunate that I had given up after 3 shots because I was feeling that something was not quite right with my settings on either the camera or the flash. My instincts proved right.  After sending in the roll and giving the flash and Penny another inspection, I realized I had the flash in Digital Mode (YIKES!)

So, I guess it’s back to the drawing board with the flash.  Things to do:

  1. Grab some of the cheapest rolls of film that can be found around town.
  2. Try again with my flash set to full manual mode.
  3. Instead of using Digital, I’ll use the 35MM Mode!!
  4. I will have to write down the settings of my camera and flash for each shot I take – this way I should know what I can and can’t do with my camera/flash combination.

More to come as soon as I figure out what’s going wrong!

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