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Fill flash on Aria with TLA 20

E

equiphoto

I've been trying to find out more on the above as the Aria manual is les than informative. There's been several references to it here, including in the recent thread started by Susan, but I haven't yet found the whole answer.

One thing is clear, the Aria doesn't work like the 159 and other models referred to. As far as I can work out, the Aria is as follows:

With the flash charged, in all auto modes, the shutter speed gets set to either 1/60 or 1/125, the aperture will either be set automatically based on ambient light levels or should be set manually if in aperture priority mode. The flash output will be quenched when a full exposure has been given by the flash. If the exposure compensation dial is adjusted, this will ONLY effect the flash exposure and not the ambient exposure. So, for fill flash, you can set the exposure compensation dial to -1 or -2 and fire away.

This is fine if the ambient exposure is such that a shutter speed of 1/60 or 1/125 is suitable. If the ambient exposure needs a longer shutter speed, using the above method will give under exposure. But, if you move the On switch to the AE Lock position, the shutter speed will no longer be limited to 1/60 or 1/125 and it will be locked at a speed that suits the ambient exposure. BUT, the exposure compensation dial now appears to effect both the flash and the ambient exposure.

The above is what I've gleaned from the manual and my, so far, limited experience.

Assuming this is all correct, my problem is that I like to use Aperture Priority and, in that mode with the flash fully charged, there is no way to meter the scene to set the correct aperture for the ambient lighting. So I have to remember to switch to P or T mode. That's a pain. Also, there doesn't appear to be any way of knowing if the ambient exposure is going to be correct or not. The manual mentions that a symbol should light if the aperture needs to be opened up which, I think, would solve both these problems but I've never seen it happen. Is this because I'm using the TLA20 I wonder? Though I don't see that the flash has anything to do with measuring the ambient light.

So, I'm wondering if I've misunderstood the manual, whether the TLA20 is not 100% compatible, whether there is a problem with my Aria or is there something Contax isn't telling us.

Any comments, suggestion or additions welcome.

Peter
 

swoolf

Well-Known Member
my problem is that I like to use> Aperture Priority and, in that mode with the flash fully charged,> there is no way to meter the scene to set the correct aperture for the> ambient lighting. So I have to remember to switch to P or T mode.

You can use Manual mode - in fact I dont see any advantage in using AP in these situations , why bother having to override stuff , just use M and you know what you'll get...... Steve
 
L

ltsdnce

Peter,
Don't know if this will help but look at the post "TLA 30 with Aria". David Morrow talks about getting good fill results by using the exp comp dial while in auto mode. He's not using an Aria, but maybe it will work?!?!?
Let me know if you find it works.
Regards,
Susan
 
E

equiphoto

I agree you can switch to manual, but that's missing the point. The Aria has a fill mode in auto, and why waste time in manual mode if the camera will do it for you, but it's not clear from the user's manual exactly what the camera does or how to make best use of the fill mode. I'm trying to find that out.
 

swoolf

Well-Known Member
> I agree you can switch to manual, but that's missing the point. The> Aria has a fill mode in auto, and why waste time in manual mode if the> camera will do it for you, but it's not clear from the user's manual> exactly what the camera does or how to make best use of the fill mode.

Well , I dunno about that - you're still going to have to set the amount of fill etc so I still dont see an advantage to using AP . Anyway , I have an idea the manual was written with the newer 5 pin flash models in mind - its my understanding the TLA360 for instance has ways of controlling fill from the flash rather than the exp.comp. dial - perhaps thats what is confusing you..... Steve
 

marc

Active Member
Peter,
just have a look at two older threads, "Contax flash" and "Question for TLA 200 working with Aria". You might get some more information on your camera's abilities concerning fill flash etc. over there.
FWIW, Marc
 
W

wojo

Peter,
Try a controlled experiment. I'd do it but do not own an Aria or TLA 20 but have a 159mm and TLA 30.

1) Find a dim wall adjust the aperture so the shutter speed is long, 1 second or so. With the flash off lock the exposure with the exposure lock,(1 second still indicated).
2) Power on the flash, keeping the f-stop the same. The shutter speed should stay at 1 second. Dial in minus 2 on the exposure compensation. If your shutter speed stays at 1 second, then you are changing only the flash output. If the shutter speed goes to 1/4 second you have changed the ambient light exposure and the flash exposure.
On the 159mm and TLA combination, the exposure compensation overrides the exposure lock. The shutter speed goes from 1 sec to 1/4 sec even though the exposure lock is on.
The only way to reduce the flash, while keeping the ambient light exposure the same is to go to manual mode and setting your own shutter speed, and then changing the exposure compensation to reduce the flash output. I just verified this with a 159mm TLA 30 combination and an AX TLA 30 combination. Both work the same way.
**The above was done with the TLA 30 set in the TTL mode to take advantage of the cameras regulating the flash output.**
All my lenses are AE, so I can't say what would happen in modes other than AE(aperture priority)and manual.
Please report whatever you find, there seems a lot of conflicting information as to how the various bodies handle fill flash with different flash units.
The reason I specified a one second shutter speed was to eliminate and possibility of confusing the bodies setting a shutter speed of 1/60 or 1/125 when a flash is powered on without exposure lock being applied first. Doing things that way would not include ambient light at all.
JW
 
D

dfm

JW - as I provided an earlier response in this thread which you have just contradicted I tried your experiment - you are absolutely right that the indicated shutter speed on the 159 (AE lens, auto mode)does change when you use the exp compensation after engaging the AE lock. The 159 manual on the other hand, says, in the "Aperture-priority Auto Flash Photography" section, that "The AE lock function can be used...the shutter speed will be locked at the selected shutter speed...after setting the AE lock, the flash output can be regulated by using the exposure compensation dial." This refers specifically to locking in the ambient exposure then using the exp comp dial to regulate flash output. I have used my 159 and TLA 20 based on this procedure many times with perfect and predictable results, and I am trying to reconcile that experience with what you are saying and the results of your little experiment. As I have used this procedure, usually with a two-stop reduction via the exp comp dial with velvia and provia as well as tri-x, I am having a hard time beleiving that it does not work the way I originally thought, despite the evidence of the shutter speed change when doing the experiment. If the exp adjustment actually effected a two-stop reduction in the ambient exposure I would expect a much higher contrast result (subject-background) when used in back or side light fill situations - exactly the oposite effect I am looking for and in fact have achieved! I can only conclude that though the shutter speed indication changes in the view finder that in fact the ambient exposure is indeed locked in. I am anything but scientific regarding my photography so if any of this seems illogical please do let me know.

David
 

marc

Active Member
Wojo,
I can confirm the results of your little "experiment". My Aria and my RX with MM lenses behave exactly in the same manner. In all automatic exposure modes, using the exposure compensation dial on the camera affects exposure as a whole.
According to the manuals, the common way to manually correct flash exposure would be using the flashes' exposure correction which is offered by the more expensive Contax flashes, and also with the Metz-module that I own. The only other way seems to be the procedure described by Steve, using the camera's exposure correction dial in manual mode (I never tried this, as I use the flashgun's exposure correction).
David,
if you are right (I won't doubt that!), then there seems to be definitely a difference between the newer and older Contax models in this point, not really explained in the manuals (my copies don't mention the procedure that you described). Maybe this is the reason why this topic has never been discussed to a satisfying end also in "the other list".
Hope that might help to clear things a little up, Marc
 
E

equiphoto

Wojo - Thanks for the suggestion. I have done some experimenting and hopefully I can post the result soon (film in the post).

I did try what you suggested and the shutter speed does change when the exposure compensation is dialed in. However, my (confused) understanding is this only happens if you use the AE Lock. If you have a flash fitted and powered up and DON'T use the AE Lock, then the compensation dial only effects the flash output.

Watch this space.
 
E

equiphoto

Results...

The pictures I took didn't tell me the whole story so I did some further tests by setting up the camera and flash pointing at my flash meter. The following are my observations of what the Aria does in it's various exposure modes with the flash on and charged and with and without the AE Lock.

**Aperture Priority (Av) mode. Without AE Lock:
Aperture remains as set.
Shutter speed is set to either 1/60 or 1/125 depending on which is nearer to the shutter speed required for a correct ambient exposure.
Compensation dial adjusts flash output and ambient exposure (by changing shutter speed) but ambient exposure can only be changed within the shutter speed range allowed (1/60 to 1/125).

Note: If the ambient light is too great for the aperture set (e.g. if the ambient exposure was, say, 1/250 at f/8, then when the camera sets the
shutter to 1/125 over exposure would occur), an 'arrow up' symbol is shown indicating over exposure and a smaller aperture should be selected. But also note that the compensation dial effects this so, if say, -2 stops compensation is selected, the over exposure symbol will light two stops before actual over exposure occurs.

**Shutter Priority (Tv) mode. Without AE Lock:
Aperture remains as set (which doesn't make sense as the aperture selected in Tv mode is always the smallest available).
Shutter remains as set up to 1/125. If a shutter speed above 1/125 is selected, 1/125 is used.
Compensation dial adjusts flash output only.

Note: This mode is effectively the same as Manual mode as both the shutter and aperture remain as set.

**Program (P) mode. Without AE Lock:
Aperture automatically set to f/8 (with ISO 400) or above.
Shutter speed set to either 1/60 or 1/125.
Compensation dial adjusts aperture but flash output remains the same.

**Aperture Priority (Av) mode OR Shutter Priority (Tv) mode. With AE Lock:
Aperture remains as set.
Shutter set to give correct ambient exposure when AE Lock engaged up to max of 1/125. (Up arrow flashes if over exposure will occur).
Compensation dial adjusts both shutter speed and flash output (so ajusts both the ambient and flash exposures).

Note: If the AE Lock is used, the camera behaves exactly the same regardless of which of these modes is selected.

**Program (P) mode. With AE Lock:
Aperture automatically set to f/8 (with ISO 400) or above.
Shutter set to give correct ambient exposure when AE Lock engaged.
Compensation dial adjusts aperture but flash output remains the same. If + compensation is applied and aperture reaches maximum, shutter speed will decrease.


**Manual (M) mode. (AE Lock has no effect)
Aperture and shutter remain as set.
Compensation effects ambient and flash exposure.

Conclusions:

*None of the above are ideal for fill-flash.

*When the AE Lock is not used, if the ambient exposure calls for a shutter speed other than 1/60 or 1/125, then the ambient exposure will be changed when the flash is on and fully charged. There is no way, once the flash is on and fully charged, of checking the ambient exposure though there is an indication if over exposure is going to occur.

*With no AE Lock, in Av and Tv modes, the compensation dial ONLY effects the flash output and not the ambient exposure. In P mode, both ambient and flash exposures are effected.

*When the AE Lock is used, both the ambient and flash exposure is changed by the compensation dial in all modes.

*The only auto modes where the ratio of flash to ambient exposures can be altered is Av and Tv when no AE Lock is used.

*Manual mode is the only mode where a controlled fill flash can be achieved while also retaining ambient metering, though you have to remember that the compensation is effecting the ambient meter readings as well.

*And finally, if I want to use fill flash, I should use my EOS 30 instead... :)
 
L

ltsdnce

Peter,
Thanks for your post! If I am reading it correctly it sounds like you could use shutter priority to do fill flash in some situations...i.e. where 1/125 or slower and minimum aperture would give correct expsoure. Is this right? It would be limiting though. I really wanted to buy a TLA20 or 30 due to price and size considerations, but I may think about the TLA 360 instead, just for ease of fill flash.
Thanks again for your research on this.
Susan
 
D

dfm

Dear Peter: while I do not have an Aria I do have a TLA 20 and I am very interested in this thread. Thanks for all of your effort in conducting these tests. Can you clarify the following statements as they appear contradictory:

"With no AE Lock, in Av and Tv modes, the compensation dial ONLY effects the flash output and not the ambient exposure."

*Manual mode is the only mode where a controlled fill flash can be achieved while also retaining ambient metering, though you have to remember that the compensation is effecting the ambient meter readings as well.

Thanks, David
 
E

equiphoto

Susan,

Yes, I think you're right, but, as you say, this would be very limiting. You could open up the aperture but you have no idea of whether the ambient exposure is going to be correct.

I think my results need to be put to practical test as I suspect things may not be as bad as it seems. In David's previous posting he says he is getting good results with his 159 and I suspect, in practice, it may well be the same with the Aria. I intend to do some practical tests as soon as the sun starts shining (which, here in the UK, may be some time off).

I don't know very much about the TLA 360 except it's much more expensive than a TLA 20 or 30. I think it has compensation built in and, if so, this would seem a better way to go. But whether it's worth the extra money...

I would recommend the TLA 20 in every other way. I know it may not seem very powerful but, unless you are using lenses with small maximum apertures and/or only use slow films, it is quite capable of handling most situations. See this picture taken at a night time parade and you'll hopefully see what I mean. The way the flash has illuminated buildings on the far side of the street would suggest a much more powerful flash, but this was the TLA 20.



I also find the TLA 20 isn't too big or heavy. If you still haven't got to see one (from your other thread), here's a picture of one on the top of my 139.



Peter
 
E

equiphoto

David,

I think the contradiction you're referring to is that, maybe, the first
paragraph would suggest that a controlled fill flash could be achieved
in Av and Tv modes while the second says it can only be done in Manual
mode.

I would not be happy using Av or Tv modes as you do not get any
indication of the ambient metering and, once the flash is on and
charged, the shutter speed will get set to 1/60 or 1/125 which may well
cause ambient under exposure, but you would never know unless you have
taken note of the shutter speed prior to the flash being turned on. This
basically means, yes you could use Av or Tv modes as long as you first
meter with the flash off and set a suitable aperture and/or shutter
speed - but this is no better than Manual mode.

In Manual mode you get a meter display so you can constantly monitor the
ambient exposure (subject to remembering the meter reading is effected
by the compensation set) so, when the shutter speed gets set for flash
sync. you can, if necessary change the aperture to ensure a correct
ambient exposure. I think this is the only mode where you can really be
sure of what you are going to get.

Hope that makes sense. Also see my reply to Susan as well though.

Peter
 
D

dfm

Thanks Peter - that is what I meant and your answer is clear! Thanks again for all the time you have invested in figuring this out for the rest of us.

David
 
L

ltsdnce

Thanks, Peter, especially for the pictures! The TLA 20 did a nice job.
Regards,
Susan
 

marc

Active Member
Peter,
thank you for clearing that up! It just turned out as I thought it would.
BTW, I also own a TLA 20 that I use quite often and with very good results. It is quite cheap, not bulky, takes AA rechargable batteries and works absolutely reliable.
Thanks again,
Marc
 
E

equiphoto

Update...

I've done some more experiments on this subject. The results have raised more questions but, if you're interested, the results are on my Web site at
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