Archived posting to the Leica Users Group, 2000/04/30

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Subject: Re: [Leica] Fill flash help
From: John Coan <>
Date: Sun, 30 Apr 2000 18:18:33 -0400

I'm not an expert on this but you should be able to use your flash meter in
incident mode.  Get your wife to hold the meter in front of her face.
Adjust your manual flash output to indicate a reading of F 2.0 for -1 stop
fill, or F 1.4 for -2 stops fill.  (Assuming you still will be using 1/60 at
F 2.8 on the camera).

Kip Babington wrote:

> Can someone either give me some help, or point me to a quick & dirty
> exposition on line, on how to add just a bit of fill flash to a Leica M
> (on topic) portrait setup I have to do this week?  I've never had to do
> this before, and am having a brain spasm trying to think through what to
> set where on camera and flash.
> The physical setup is a group shot of four vocalists (including my wife
> - this has to work) after a performance in a church hall.  I did a roll
> there last week with just available light, but while there's enough
> light to get a picture (on HP5 @ 800) the light is all from directly
> overhead and the eye sockets and foreheads have unflattering shadows.
> The situation permits a tripod (which I had to use last week too -
> exposures were about 1/60 @ 2.8) but won't allow me to set up my
> umbrella stands to get a lot of light with balance.  (I don't want to
> take just a straight flash shot.)   So I'm thinking I can just lighten
> up the facial shadows with a bit of fill from a shoe mount flash held
> about arm's length  away from the camera (I can dial the flash output
> down to 1/16, and add a wide angle diffuser to further reduce power, if
> need be.)
> I started to plan on using my N**** with whiz-bang TTL everything
> dedicated flash, but after reading the flash instruction book I can't
> figure out how to adjust the ratio of available light to flash (it seems
> to be a "use these settings and we'll do fill flash for 'ya" sort of
> deal) and since I'm not sure what I'll get automatically I'm thinking
> I'll just do it myself with a real camera (real photographers don't use
> auto . . .).
> Anyway, I have ambient and flash meters, both incident and spot (but no
> instruction books, which might answer this question) to help me get a
> basic exposure - I used 'em last week, along with the M6 meter, and got
> decent "average" negatives.  But like I say, I need to add a bit to the
> faces and for the life of me I can't figure out how to use the meters to
> tell me what to set on the camera and flash. I'll bracket a couple of
> stops (with the flash power control, I expect) either side of my
> starting point, but can someone give me a clue how to find the starting
> point?  Off list is probably better if there's any back and forth
> necessary, but if it's just a two or three step process there may be
> others on the list who could use the info too.
> Thanks in advance.
> Cheers,
> Kip