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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2014
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    1

    Shutter problem A65

    I have had my A65 for around 18mths and am very happy with it. However I have noticed that it appears to be developing a shutter problem.
    I am trying to so some studio shooting i can fire the camera several times - the flash inn each instance fires, the images come our dark for the first few then suddenly it all works properly and the shutter is in sync with the flash.
    I have tried changing the battery, changing the lens, altering the flaw settings using a remote trigger, not using a remote trigger.
    I am using Manual settings ISO100, 1/125, white balance set for flash, and a variety of f stops. I have also tried adjusting flash exposure compensation.
    But the key thing is in a run of shots without changing any settings the first 3 or so are dark or under-exposed and then the fourth will be OK.
    Any help please - is this me or is there a genuine issue with the camera?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Location
    Des Plaines, IL
    Posts
    9,554

    Ideas on flash

    Welcome to DCRP "fruitbat14"

    Quote Originally Posted by fruitbat14 View Post
    I have had my A65 for around 18mths and am very happy with it. However I have noticed that it appears to be developing a shutter problem.
    I am trying to so some studio shooting i can fire the camera several times - the flash inn each instance fires, the images come our dark for the first few then suddenly it all works properly and the shutter is in sync with the flash.
    I have tried changing the battery, changing the lens, altering the flaw settings using a remote trigger, not using a remote trigger.

    I am using Manual settings ISO100, 1/125, white balance set for flash, and a variety of f stops. I have also tried adjusting flash exposure compensation.
    Standard manual flash settings are (usually):

    Aperture: f/4
    SS: 1/60, 1/125 or 1/250
    ISO: 400


    At ISO 100, you're only allowing a 1/4 of the flash power to affect the sensor... hence, the substantial darkening. At an aperture of f/5.6... another cut by half of the light. At aperture f/8... it's a quarter of the flash.

    Adding ISO 100 and an aperture of only f/8... you only have 1/16 of the light of a normal flash shot.

    As you might know, there is no change in exposure in a "flash shot" when you use 1/60 or 1/125 or 1/250. The flash has already come and gone, in that amount of time. Normally, Manual Mode or not, the camera will not allow for shooting a built-in flash shot any faster than 1/250th, due to flash synch-restrictions.

    TO PROVE THIS:

    1. Close your built-in flash.
    2. Put camera in Manual Mode.
    3. Turn camera on.
    4. Set the shutter speed setting to 1/500 or faster.
    5. Lift the built-in flash back up.
    6. Check Shutter Speed, now. It should read 1/250.
    7. Close the built-in flash back down and the shutter speed should return to whatever you had it set to.


    How automatic is that?

    Quote Originally Posted by fruitbat14 View Post
    But the key thing is in a run of shots without changing any settings the first 3 or so are dark or under-exposed and then the fourth will be OK.
    Any help please - is this me or is there a genuine issue with the camera?
    Now, once in a while, you say you are getting a brighter blast from the flash. That could be an Automatic Distance Information decision (ADI provides distance information to the camera for the calculation of TTL-based flash intensity), made by the illumination calculation logic of the camera. Usually, ADI is determined in Auto Mode, but not having an a65, myself, I cannot say. I can only go with the standard way it was used in an earlier SONY model with built-in flash (a700).

    I wrote about ADI in an earlier posting, that was connected to a different idea, but it had a graphic in it that may be of some help in understanding this feature.

    Have you tried this with an external flash, such as a SONY HVL-F36AM; 42A; 43A; 56A; or 58A to see if you can repeat the problem?

    The idea of having to ship your camera off for repair kind of stinks, unless you have a back-up camera. It could be gone for six weeks! If you can find someone who has an external flash unit (HVL-F36AM; 42A; 43A; 56A; 58A), you can narrow the flash issue pretty quick, plus eliminate having to retire your camera for repair for a while.

    Personally, I think use of the built-in flash in Manual Mode is a real crap shoot. It was specifically designed to work in AUTO... or as a flash-trigger or "FILL FLASH", when shooting into a brighter back-lit scene, where the subject becomes "silhouetted."

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    Experience has shown me that using a good hot light(s) is the easiest and most reliable way to source light in a studio setting. That kind of light is a known quantity and you can use the camera's manual ISO and aperture settings to manage it, as you are trying to do, with the electronic flash. The problem is... the built-in flash is not designed to work that way (manually). It is automatically trying desperately to "compensate" for your decided upon setting adjustments. So, what you have is this overly-smart flash fighting you in YOUR estimation of what the proper exposure should be. Believe me, it knows better! Or, it "thinks" it does and there is no talking it out of it.

    But, by using a "set amount of light," separated from the camera... that the camera CANNOT try to "control," you can get your properly evaluated exposure by adjusting the settings. You need to close that built-in flash head and try a regular light bulb with a reflector on it... and just see what happens. You can fashion an ad hoc reflector out of aluminum foil.

    Let us know what happens.
    Last edited by DonSchap; 04-26-2014 at 01:39 AM.
    Don Schap - BFA, Digital Photography
    A Photographer Is Forever
    Look, I did not create the optical laws of the Universe ... I simply learned to deal with them.
    Remember: It is usually the GLASS, not the camera (except for moving to Full Frame), that gives you the most improvement in your photography.

    flickr & Sdi

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    God's Country - Australia
    Posts
    10,421
    Quote Originally Posted by fruitbat14 View Post
    I have had my A65 for around 18mths and am very happy with it. However I have noticed that it appears to be developing a shutter problem.
    I am trying to so some studio shooting i can fire the camera several times - the flash inn each instance fires, the images come our dark for the first few then suddenly it all works properly and the shutter is in sync with the flash.
    I have tried changing the battery, changing the lens, altering the flaw settings using a remote trigger, not using a remote trigger.
    I am using Manual settings ISO100, 1/125, white balance set for flash, and a variety of f stops. I have also tried adjusting flash exposure compensation.
    But the key thing is in a run of shots without changing any settings the first 3 or so are dark or under-exposed and then the fourth will be OK.
    Any help please - is this me or is there a genuine issue with the camera?
    sounds to me like the flash recharge rate. Depending on the ambient light your flash may be trying to fire at full power and your not giving it enough time to charge. Wait a few seconds before you take your first shot and see if that works.
    D800e l V3 l AW1 l 16-35 l 35 l 50 l 85 l 105 l EM1 l 7.5 l 12-40 l 14 l 17 l 25 l 45 l 60 l 75
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  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Location
    Des Plaines, IL
    Posts
    9,554

    Shutter creep

    Quote Originally Posted by Rooz View Post
    sounds to me like the flash recharge rate. Depending on the ambient light your flash may be trying to fire at full power and your not giving it enough time to charge. Wait a few seconds before you take your first shot and see if that works.
    Rooz, I did try to "overshoot" the flash-charge on the a700... and it will not release the shutter until the built-in flash is fully-charged, no matter how many times you press the shutter release. I do not believe the a65 will allow it to happen, either.


    Another issue that can show up when you shoot with an external electronic slave flash is "shutter creep."

    This problem can be demonstrated by the simple exercise of using a synchronized flash and the higher shutter speeds. You can see the shutter being captured, as the speed increases.

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    At 1/1600 you would not even note that you took a shot, other than having EXIF data on it.

    Using flash is so much fun. You will not see this kind of thing when you use "hot lights." Only with synchronized flash strobes. Hot lights (or incandescent bulbs) also "blink" at a frequency of 60 cycles per second (in the USA). A cycle is a transition from 60 volts positive to 60 volts negative. It passes through 0 volts 120 times a second, so you can occasionally catch all the lamps in a dimmer or extinguished point in this operating AC cycle. Since a single cycle of 60Hz has a wavelength of 1600 miles, all your lights (hot lights and other lamps in the location) will be out at the exact same instant. It's just the way it works. Best place to see this happen is "under the lights" at a football game and your camera is set to 1/200 sec or faster, for the action. You will see that your exposures will be all over the place, with identical settings.

    Even worse is shooting under LED flood lights. Those kind of lights are actually out for half of the duty-cycle, as a single LED can only conduct one way during the power cycle transition.
    Last edited by DonSchap; 04-26-2014 at 02:57 AM.
    Don Schap - BFA, Digital Photography
    A Photographer Is Forever
    Look, I did not create the optical laws of the Universe ... I simply learned to deal with them.
    Remember: It is usually the GLASS, not the camera (except for moving to Full Frame), that gives you the most improvement in your photography.

    flickr & Sdi

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    God's Country - Australia
    Posts
    10,421
    sounds right. its not a shutter problem though from what the OP is describing. its a flash issue somehow or some form or user error.
    D800e l V3 l AW1 l 16-35 l 35 l 50 l 85 l 105 l EM1 l 7.5 l 12-40 l 14 l 17 l 25 l 45 l 60 l 75
    flickr

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Location
    Des Plaines, IL
    Posts
    9,554

    TTL Pre-flash versus Manual Flash

    I have had this kind of issue with SONY, but it involved pre-flash concerns, using multiple types of flash sources. Normally, if you go to the "Flash Control" MENU, in the camera, you will see three selections to choose from:

    • ADI Flash
    • Pre-Flash TTL
    • Manual Flash



    "ADI Flash" - requires the use of an ADI capable lens (8-contacts - most of the newer SONY or SONY-compatible lenses). Flash intensity is derived from the distance data stream coming back from the autofucus/focus determination through the camera's logic. The amount of flash is then calculated through algorithms, determining flash intensity based on all the other inputs from the various sources (see the earlier chart). With such a wide array of inputs, you can see how dynamically these various inputs can affect the resultant capture.

    "Pre-flash TTL" - allows the camera to make typical adjustments to the built-in flash; hot-shoe mounted or to a SONY-wireless flash. The SONY pre-flash transmits all this information to the external SONY flash unit, based on the algorithms used to set flash intensity. It is a flash signal that trips milliseconds before the full TTL flash burst goes off. (REMEMBER: The Pre-flash can trigger non-SONY flashes prematurely in the shot, so that these non-SONY flash sources do not time correctly with this setting and are set off before the camera shutter even opens.)

    "Manual Flash" - you have manual control of the flash intensity... at the flash itself. The camera is reduced to just sending only a common trigger/sync pulse to set off the flash. There are no TTL adjustments or pre-flash to the flash unit. (Use this selection as your starting point, for troubleshooting.)

    A clear understanding of these timing choices should be foremost in a studio setting, as this can cause some serious confusion and frustration, if not understood properly. Extensive experimentation is a great idea before committing to a electronic flash lighting solution.
    Last edited by DonSchap; 04-27-2014 at 03:26 PM.
    Don Schap - BFA, Digital Photography
    A Photographer Is Forever
    Look, I did not create the optical laws of the Universe ... I simply learned to deal with them.
    Remember: It is usually the GLASS, not the camera (except for moving to Full Frame), that gives you the most improvement in your photography.

    flickr & Sdi

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