Contax TLA 360 Flash to Contax N1 or Contax N1D

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Guest

For the last month, when I turn on my camera, with the TLA 360 flash on, or vice versa, turn on my 360 flash with my camera on, I get a very loud clicking. Like the unit is syncing up with the lens size. After about 8 clicks, everthing works great. Very annoying. Any ideas? Is it just my TLA 360 fritzing out, or has anybody else experienced this problem.

Thanks,

michael.
 
G

Guest

Michael,
I just bought a TLA 360 Flash for my two Contax G2 cameras and will tell you if I have any problems. I will follow any comments that you get on this.
Harbert
 
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Guest

Michael,
I bought on eBay for $325. Previously got prices at Adorama $465-439, B&H $465-399, Sunset $380, TriState $380 and Delta Int. $376. Highest prices are new USA and lower I think are new grey market.
Harbert
 
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Guest

dear michael:

as (bad) luck will have it, i too faced the same problem with the tla 360. mine started clicking even when the flash was not attached to my n1 or nx. it seemed to do this when it was set at, say 85mm or so. i turned it in to the shop, which forwarded to contax (in japan) for repair. it will take 5 weeks to get it back in hong kong. c'est la vie (with contax's negligible customer service).

jhs
 
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Guest

I have found that Contax in the UK offer pretty good service and help.

John=20
 
G

Guest

Thanks for your comment. My last round of flash shots also had some exposure problems on both my ND and N1. Perhaps it is related?

>
 
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Guest

I have been trying to figure out how to use bounce flash (TLA 360) with N1 indoors effectively photographing in close range (6-12 feet). My usual practice is to dial it to aperture priority, set it to the desired f-stop with automatic 1/60 sec shutter speed. This seems to make more sense to me as this would help me capture more ambient light as opposed to the X mode where 1/250 sec will be set automatically. Since I would like to bounce the flash off the ceiling, I would also add 1/3 stop of exposure compensation.

My problem stems from the spot light which produces a yellowish effect on all my pictures. On the other hand if I use direct flash with TTL the yellowish effect disappears. This puzzles me as I don't know whether I need to increase the magnitude of flash output in order to get rid of the yellow tone in my indoor pictures.

Thanks in advance for everybody's expert opinoin.

Ken
 
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Guest

Ken, this is a common problem of "mixed lighting" whereby the colour temperature of the spot light (3200K tungsten I presume) is different to the colour temperature of the flash (5500K daylight).

You could put a blue gel over the spot light to try and make it's colour temperature become similar to the flash, or you could put a yellow/orange gel over the flash and use tungsten balanced film. Either way, the phenomenon you observe is normal, and can only be solved by creating a uniform colour temperature for all the light sources in the image. Another method is to simply turn the spot light off, and use the flash as the main light source.
 
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Guest

Thanks Craig, but what I don't quite understand is the fact that direct flash would totally eliminate the yellow tone. But of course the harsh direct lighting is undesirable.

Perhaps I didn't explain well enough. The "spot light" I described were merely ambient lights present in the room, not something artifically installed to create any special effect. In other words, there are more than one spot light and it would then become difficult and pointless to put a blue gel over them.

Your other suggested option is also difficult for me because I tend to shoot under different color temperatures using the same film, and tungsten balanced film would not give me the flexibility going outdoors.

I wonder if inserting a filter on top of the lens would actually help balance the color temperatures. And if so, which one should I get? But again, given the tremendous sizes of the N lenses and the different varieties, filters would cost a fortune and that's why I would be interested in a less expensive solution.
 
G

Guest

Ken, the direct flash will eliminate the yellow light because it is so much brighter than the yellow spot light. The "balance" of the flash and the ambient light is something you have to experiment with until you find a happy compromise. If the flash is bright enough, it will overwhelm the ambient light. When you bounce the flash, you lose at least one stop of light, depending on the surface used for the bounce. The colour of the bouncing surface is also important. I have measured up to two stops loss when bouncing flash off a white surface. Therefore, when bouncing the flash, the ratio of flash to ambient is reduced, and the ambient becomes a bigger part of the lighting, and therefore more visible in the final photograph.

Putting a filter on the lens doesn't solve the problem because the phenomenon is caused by the different colour temperature of the light sources. A blue 80A colour correction filter on the lens will make the spot light become more like a normal "daylight" but the flash will then look far too blue. If you put a yellow/orange gel over the flash such that the flash light becomes a similar "tungsten" colour temperature to the ambient spot lights, then a blue 80A filter on the lens will correct the overall tungsten coloured light for a daylight colour balance.

The basic problem is that the tungsten spot lights give out very little blue light. Our eyes don't notice it, but daylight film records it as it is, as a very orange/brown/yellow light. You can see an ex&le of that light in my photo titled "barbecue restaurant" in this forum's Photo Gallery. Whenever you take photos in that kind of light, flash will not look good, unless the flash is so bright as to sw& the ambient light. But then you would lose the "atmosphere" created by the ambient light. Personally, I try not to use any flash in those tunsgten lit places, and prefer to tweak the colour balance in Photoshop to achieve the most pleasing result.

Digital cameras have a big advantage in these situations. A good digital camera can be set for tungsten colour balance, and used without flash at ISO 800 equivalent sensitivity, and give a "daylight" appearance to the final image. See my image "Japanese Flamenco" in this forum's Photo Gallery as an ex&le.
 
G

Guest

Thank you very much, Craig. Your advice is greatly appreciated. I will definitely take a look at your gallery. Meanwhile, I guess what I will try first is to experiment with different magnitudes of exposure compensation and observe the ambient/flash mixed results.

You mentioned up to 2 stops are lost with bounce flash, do you then suggest that I should add at least 1 stop or even more to compensate for the bouncing effect. Another question which I have is what effects does the flash's zoom function make when bouncing off the ceiling. What I mean is that with TTL the flash would automatically adjust from 24-85mm to correspond to the desired focal length,and with bouncing flash would it be more effective if the focal length is permanently set to 24mm in order to produce the most concentrated light source?
 
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Guest

You're welcome, Ken. Experimenting is certainly the best way to learn about these things.

If you are using TTL automatic flash metering, then the camera will automatically control the flash output, meaning, you shouldn't need to adjust the compensation. But what I suspect is that the TLA-360 is not powerful enough to give a "full" main light after bouncing. It is probably already working at maximum output, because of the losses after the bounce. Factors such as ceiling height, ceiling colour and reflectivity, and the size of the area to be illuminated, as well as the tone of the subject being metered, will all affect the result. Personally, I always use a hand-held flash meter and manual mode for the camera and flash. I get more reliable results this way.

As for the zoom setting, you have to set the zoom length such that the area being photographed will be covered appropriately by the bounced light. If a 24mm setting is correct for direct flash, then a 35 or 50 mm setting may be more appropriate when you bounce the flash, because the effective distance travelled by the flash is greater when bouncing. It depends on the height of the ceiling. The ceiling will diffuse the flash light, thus helping it to cover a larger area.
 
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Guest

I have been contemplating using a hand-held flash meter for awhile, but have had no experience with it in the past. A lot of times I feel a bit insecure trusting the built-in meter with tricky situations, with or without the use of flash. Perhaps getting one of those gadgets would help. Craig, do you have any suggestions to which current models are the best? Please note that I am no professional and wouldn't need something bulky and full of features far beyond my need.

Ken
 
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Guest

The small and low cost Sekonic L-308B is ideal for your requirements. I have been using one for a couple of years and find it to be very reliable. You can pick them up in Hong Kong for HK$800 second hand, or HK$1,300 new.
 
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Guest

Thanks again, Craig. The Sekonic is also the model I have been considering and comparing to its Minolta counterpart.

With your recommendation, I will probably get one in the next couple of days. I see that you also live in HK, what a coincidence!

Ken
 
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Guest

Okay Ken. Good luck. Feel free to email me directly to let me know how it goes.

Regards,

Craig
 
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Guest

Ken, getting a light meter is definitely a good step toward series photography.

The Sekonic 308 is a multi-mode meter which it can measure flash and ambient light. But it lacks a spot meter which I found it very useful. The 508 and 608 offers this feature. They cost much more but this is something you may put it into future consideration.

As much as I like Sekonic meters and they are very popular, I prefer the Gossen Starlite. It is also a multi functions meter which measure flash, ambient (both reflective and incident), have a 1 and 5 degree spot meter mode, and it also takes zones system readings. It is cheaper that the Sekonic 608 and more accurate. I donft want to start a brand war and argument here. Please check the ratings and review in photographyreview.com for both brands.

One thing I want to point out that having a handheld meter does not guarantee anything. You need to know how meter works (say they measure 18% gray), how to take the readings in various situation, what mode to use, understand ratio, where to place the shadow and hi-light (zones) etc. As you progress and learn alone the way, everything will eventually come together.
 
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Guest

I would recommend you get a proper flash meter - it makes life so much easier . Assuming you will also not want to spend too much on one either , I would recommend the Polaris which I have . Its widely available , much cheaper than most , reliable , and has all the facilities you will likely need........ Steve
 
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Guest

One thing I want to point out that having a handheld meter does notguaran= tee anything. You need to know how meter works (say they measure18% gray), ho= w to take the readings in various situation, what mode to use, understand ratio, where to place the shadow and hi-light (zones)etc.= As you progress and learn alone the way, everything willeventually come together.

Very true , and to this end I can recommend Bob Shell's excellent book on handheld exposure meters..... Steve
 
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