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Pentax LX - Message Board/Guestbook

Industry wide indications and ceasing film body development by Pentax altogether in early 2003 more than suggest the manual focus Pentax LX will not be having an upgrade (except, perhaps for very rare Limited Edition Models hand assembled by special commission by the new HoyaPentax Corporation). In 2008 Pentax became a division of Hoya Corporation, which had together with Pentax released jointly developed professional grade optics (since 2005); Pentax has shifted its attention to development of auto focus Digital SLRs having build qualities constructed for the long run--now with weather seals--like the LX. You may use this site for common support and sharing of mutual users knowledge or experiences among yourselves. You may also use this message board as a guestbook for the advanced users Pentax SLR cameras from the LX forward, including many such auto focus film cameras, and Pentax digital SLR cameras. We keep the site going too for the WORD SEARCH FEATURE found here as to its magnificent K mount system user archives: as have been shared here for many years. Have an inquiry related to Pentax gear? First try KEYING IN YOUR KEY WORD(S) for a preexisting archived response on your subject of inquiry from this LX site. If your inquiry or sharing is from advanced users K10D, K20D, or K200D SLR needs, proceed on to t NEW PENTAX ADVANCED USERS K10D, K20D SLR site.

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1. From : Anton (handmaid@fsmail.net)
Url : http://
Date : 06:31 AM Tuesday 30 December, 2003

Thanks Folks: Had no joy as yet with a Polaroid back. I think Jay's comments about going manual may be the way forward and the suggestion regarding using a 'dummy' is good, it will save money and embarrassment. I do wonder whether I can control ratios with TTL by moving some units further away from the subject??? But this is something I need to try with my experiments and TTL is inherently unpredictable I guess. I have invested in two Pentax AF400T guns with TR Power Packs (running 6 Ni-MHi batteries each) and two AF280T guns with Hot-Shoe grips and the distributor and cables. You understand that I am reluctant to ditch this lot as it's portable and took some time to gather... so experiment I shall. AB


2. From : Jay Hart (ibcom@onebox.com)
Url : http://
Date : 05:08 AM Tuesday 30 December, 2003

So, what you were asking also presents the core issue of portrait lighting: predictablity of lighting ratios, all three lights one to another: fill or side, back, and main. I have not put three battery powered flashes on slave sync ON AUTOMATIC TTL exposure prior; it just would not work out to be predictable. The whole idea of three dimensional lighting, as determined by the traditional portrait triad lighting "lighting ring" around the subject, is for the photographer to control the ratios of output from the three sources relative to their functions in the set-up. Back light in particular, whether presented as a "funneled light" to halo a subject's hair, or whatever, as usually used is set to be the least powerful in output, then the side or fill greater, then the main greatest. This not only controls their outputs according to a determined ratio between them, but, also, according to the portrait affect desired. Ratioed lighting though is the core principle for establishing contrast and the three dimensional effect.

So, how to achieve such with an LX? Certainly not with TTL on all or even one main unit(s). Going for the TTL function as primary, one would not be able to determine ratios of relative unit outputs at all--including the main.

A solution you may consider is going to non-ttl, with similar distances each flash unit to subject, in the traditional lighting ring set up, then use the varied auto f-stop selections available to determine a ratio between the lights--according to function. So, say the main is aimed and set for f 11, hopefully on manual non-auto output, the side fill to f 8 or 5.6 and the back to f 4 or 2.8 (probably on auto, but better on controlable manual for predictablity, so as to not be affected by the main as to giving their own predictable outputs). This would establish a controlable ratio, unit to unit according to set-up function, with the LX, of course, set for the main light's manual (in some instances auto but not ttl) f-stop. Test shots with a dummy subject would be best prior to using a real subject. Get the system right.

As for the use of LCD flashlights for the modeling lights, of course, it is an additional running around on-off sequential step. You can see why people generally use ratio/output controlable lighting with mains or on light head power packs. The modeling light is usually controlable from the point of the camera's placement in most instances, and "auto flash sensors" do not apply. Slave sync does apply, and the predetermination of each light's output, by ratio one to another.

You are, in a sense, trying to reinvent the portrait ring lighting wheel by trying to achieve this TTL without establishing a controlable ratio between each light unit's output. I can use TTl, even with supplemental slaves, if I do the math to ensure that the slaves output will be less--by ratio--than the main light (with it set on TTL). And if I ensure that the sensor involved is not affected by the other lights' output. SO TTL then is problematic from the start. This is occasionally doable by looking at the ISO, light to subject distance, using the manual on flash distance scales for output predictablity, and transfering this information to auto f-stop selections for the non-main lights (to a point. I.E., the point of non-interference of these units output as regulated on "auto" by any sensor so affected by any other light). The problem will persist that the TTL unit will include in its findings the light from the other units, as will or can the other units on auto. So, TTL is not a wise choice for portrait ring type lighting. Try predictable "auto", as set by f-stop, and/or best yet going to manual flash output, while control the output of each unit with other modifiers (if there is no dialable output on manual on these units, then you will have to use scrims, diffusers, ND filters, etc. in front of the lights).

I always use my Minolta flash/ambient light meter IV f to determine that what I am getting on the subject will be the same as what is dialed on the units, regardless of unit type (plug into the power mains, or battery powered type). There is no substitute in terms of predictablity for the meter pointing to the lighting sources themselves. I use three Vivitar 283s and have three other units which will do LX TTL when and where used for this. I usually use mains powered power packed lighting heads on stands for portraiture for many reasons. The biggest reason is control of predictable outcome. I have not had to use polaroid backs or film for many years--even prior to digital backs on the medium format showing instant results. This is because of familiarity with what the lighting equipment will do and how it is achieved. I can remember twenty to twenty five years ago running tests to understand what would happen on film, and tweaking the results accordingly. --Jay
Good fishing. --Jay


3. From : GLOBETROTTER (globetrotterworld@hotmail.com)
Url : http://
Date : 03:30 AM Tuesday 30 December, 2003

Anton - There was a Polaroid Back made for the LX, because I saw it advertised a few years back in an American magazine. Sorry, but I can't remember the company name now, but they also made backs for the Canon and Nikon Pro cameras, so you may find it on a yahoo search.


4. From : Anton (handmaid@fsmail.net)
Url : http://
Date : 03:04 AM Tuesday 30 December, 2003

Thanks for the suggestions, Jay. The trouble with Polaroid is that I will lose the TTL Flash function of the LX - unless there is a Polaroid back for the LX? I shall do some research. The idea with torches is good but I'm not sure it will be practicable. Switching them on and off, will they have enough power for the effect to be visible over ambient light, adding to the set-up time as I work solo etc. I might give it a go as it doesn't cost much to try. I suppose the other option is to hire a studio and a model and hope to learn to position and judge everything by eye/experience. Happy New Year to All AB


5. From : Jay Hart (ibcom@onebox.com)
Url : http://
Date : 01:42 AM Sunday 28 December, 2003

Heads up, The estimate below is for three such stands set-up as described. --Jay


6. From : Jay Hart (ibcom@onebox.com)
Url : http://
Date : 02:28 PM Friday 26 December, 2003

On lighting without modeling lights. The old way was to buy a polaroid camera with a PC connector, and pretest the shot with it or a film back for medium format for such. There is probably a used polaroid in some shop just right (make sure film is available). Also, to add modeling/aiming lights via velcro strap on attachment. Some 4 LCD 3AA battery flashlights bought on ebay for $5.00, and shipped from Hong Kong for $8.00 each would work well for this. Since going to power packs with modeling lights some years back, I only occasionally use four or five battery units in certain situations without power and easy generator access. What has helped the most is bounced or through diffuser shooting in these cases: usually using stands and lighting umbrellas, on hand, coincidentally because of the power pack system owned. Since the China connection has virtually duplicated Manfrotto's mainline stands for cheap investments, and the umbrellas are also cheap, just find the right flex connector for umbrella, flash unit, slave cells, and the stand, and you are in business. Perhaps $220 could make all this a reality (excepting the polaroid). Once you do tests to see how your set-up would work, it becomes second nature to aim the umbrellas as you wish them to illuminate. --Jay


7. From : Ian (ian@ity.co.uk)
Url : http://
Date : 10:24 AM Thursday 25 December, 2003

Merry Christmas everyone!!! I should of picked up a roll of C-41, thanks for the reminder Anton. SHOOT! Hope you have a lovely day chaps.


8. From : Anton (handmaid@fsmail.net)
Url : http://
Date : 06:01 PM Wednesday 24 December, 2003

Merry Christmas to all (get those LX's out and take some good old fashioned SNAPS).

I'm staying with film for the moment. However... on my shoot recently, I experimented with using the AF280T flash as a hair light. I used two AF400Ts bounced into UmbrellaBoxes for the front. The LX controlled the flash. When I got the 72 exposures (printed to 9X6 with extra sets, so NOT CHEAP) I realised the hair light had spilled onto the faces and ruined the shots. It's difficult working with flash in this way as you can't see the result - no modelling lights and the LX quenches all flashes at the same time so if it 'sees' enough light from the hair light it will quench the main lights as well, you can only acheive a ratio by moving flashes further away and all this has to be done 'blind' in that without modelling lights you can't see the result of any positioning (or the effect of reflectors for that matter. Digital would have allowed me to check and alter the position of the 280. I guess with experience I'll get to know where to position the guns but... any suggestions/advice on using multi-flash for portraiture with no modelling lights (or am I asking too much of such a system?) And a Happy New Year AB


9. From : Mico (micolx@netscape.net)
Url : http://
Date : 11:59 AM Wednesday 24 December, 2003

I think I will stay put as well. Too expensive and too many flaws, not only Pentax, although a few more than others. Just as curiosity, I spoke with a sale person in the one of the big photo stores in Montreal and was told that they sell about 30 Canon 10D, 10 Nikon D100, and 2-3 Fuji S2 cameras a month. That is weird, in particular Nikon-Fuji relation (same mount), given the Fuji`s superior image quality. I do not think that price is a big factor here. He did not want to tell me the number of IST D cameras sold by now, I think he was trying to keep my good mood at the moment.
M.


10. From : Ian (ian@ity.co.uk)
Url : http://
Date : 11:21 AM Wednesday 24 December, 2003

"What will you guys do???", Well, I'll be staying put. I'm having too much fun with film (courtesey of my Minolta scanner). Digital can wait, it's not matured yet, and I can't afford to play. Trust me when I say that we'll look back at D100's, 10D's and such, and say, "Jesus! we thought that was good!?" and "How much did I pay for that!?". Within two to five years, we'll get what we're really looking for. Until then. Film. Enjoy! - Ian.


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Maintainers for Pentax LX Series SLR Camera Models Message Board:
Tony Davies-Patrick (Globetrotter) (globetrotterworld@hotmail.com); Mico Smiljanic (micolx@netscape.net);
Jay Hart (ibcom@onebox.com); Philip Ashman (genesisphil@hotmail.com)

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