Leica R8 Flash Photography

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Subject: Leica R8 Flash Photography

R8 Flash Procedures? Please guide me to use the easiest settings for using the Metz 54MZ-3 Flash w/ the R8. Do I leave it in P mode or F mode ? Do I use the x setting on the dial or do I use the 30-p setting? One more question, if the ok light lights up red after exposure does this mean exposure is not right ? Any advise on this matter is greatly appreciated. Thank You all very much.

-- Alex Tamborrino (tambo6@aol.com), December 30, 2001


Alex- the F mode is for for metering flash exposure to determine correct flash settings (instead of using a separate flash meter) I find I rarely use it. When the camera and flash are both switched on you can use A or P setting without regard to the shutter speed dial as the camera will set 1/250 automatically. For the most comprehensive automation of the flash, you will probably find P works best. In T mode, if you select a shutter speed longer than 1/250 this is the speed the camera will use. If a speed above 1/250 is set, the camera will default to 1/250. It will not let you set a shorter speed than 1/250.

The whole business of flash with the R* is a little confusing at first, but works extremely well. If you do not have the R8 manual, where the flash functions are explained, you will find them covered well in Jonathan Eastland's book on the R8. I hope this is helpful. Good Luck.

-- Ivor Quaggin (iquaggin@rogers.com), December 31, 2001.


Would strongly recommend buying the Leica R8 book by Jonathan Eastland, ISBN 1-897802-09-9. This book has a full chapter, nearly 20 pages, on the use of flash. It is the owners manual that should come with the R8 camera. I use the Metz 45CL-4 handle mount flash with my R8 but will try to suggest simple connections for your combo.

You should be able to mount the 3502 adaptor on the bottom of your 54MZ-3 flash and attach directly to the R8. Turn on flash and camera. Set camera mode to A. Set shutter speed to X (camera will do it internally but the dial will not indicate that). Set flash for TTL use. Wait till green light glows to indicate flash is ready. Focus and shoot. On my Metz flash, the red OK light glows after exposure when the exposure IS correct. You have a great setup. Good shooting! LB

-- Luther Berry (lberrytx@aol.com), January 01, 2002.

With respect to Luther, you only need to set your shutter speed dial to X when using non SCA flashes, which the Metz 45CL is. If you have an SCA flash with appropriate module (3501 for earlier series or 3502 for current series flashes) you do not need to set the dial to X. The camera will do it for you as explained in my earlier answer. I use a Metz 40MZ2 with 3501 on my R8 and have never used the X setting.

-- Ivor Quaggin (iquaggin@rogers.com), January 01, 2002.

Ivor was and still is correct. I did not intend to imply otherwise. My statement was perhaps misleading. I meant to say that attaching the Metz flash with the 3502 adaptor would automatically change the speed to 1/250 sec internally as it does with my 45CL and 3502 adaptor. Setting the change manually is not necessary but just confirms visually what has happened inside the camera. Good shooting. LB

-- Luther Berry (lberrytx@aol.com), January 01, 2002.

'P' is undoubtedly the easiest mode to use for flash. It makes no difference what shutter speed you set in 'P' mode becaused teh camera will default to 1/250 unless the ambient light is to bright for this speed even at smallest aperture. However, 'P' has some disadvantages, including:

1. Switching automatically from fill-in flash to full flash at f/5.6, if the ambient light is insufficient for 1/250 sec at full aperture. This means you will get direct flash unless you notice what's happening and change to bounce flash.

2. Presetting the fill-flash intensity to -1.6 EV and overriding any settings on the SCA adapter. Sometimes this may be what you want but at other times it will not.

Personally, I always preferred to select the camera mode to give me more control according to the ambient light, which mostly meant 'A' mode for full flash and 'T' mode for fill-in flash using the flexibility of the SCA adapter. I didn't use 'm' mode much for flash.

-- Ray Moth (ray_moth@yahoo.com), January 01, 2002.

Ivor and Luther have provided all necessary guidance. Extending ray's recomendations, I would add that for any fine mixing of available light and flash, you should avoid "P" and "A" modes, as 1/250sec will obliterate ambient light (except outdoors in full daylight of course).

The M mode is perfect in low light (indoors, dusk, etc): you control aperture according to your composition preferences (and subject distance), and shutter speed according to available light (and intensity of subject movement), then just add the little flash needed on top, to end up with a very natural looking mix of light (usually tungstene or town lights in background and more neutral glow on subject). That little scale in M mode is a blessing.

Handheld, I usually slightly underexpose ambient by tweaking shutter speed (helps minimise ghosting) and mix in flash with a minus 1/2 to 1 stop correction keyed in the SCA adaptor. if wide open ambient reads at less than around 1/4sec, flash becomes very dominant of course (unless you really like induced ghosting).

-- Jacques (jacques.balthazar@hotmail.com), January 14, 2002.

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