One TTL PIKA200 Pocket Flash on Location at Rathfinny Wine

I am truly surprised by how effective a single 200w/s portable battery flash can be! Last year I was introduced to the PIKA200 pocket flash (aka GodoxAD200) by Pixapro and my first impressions were very favourable, to the extent I used it blind without testing at a training day for Panasonic camera sales people.

During the past months I've refined my EDC kit, in other words my Every Day Carry one light kit so it all fits in one medium shoulder bag or back pack along with my camera gear, with the PIKA200 replacing the hot shoe flash I normally carry.

The image above is from a recent shoot for my personal project Heart of UK Wine blog were I photograph & interview the people growing the grapes and making English still & sparkling wines.

It's lit with a single PIKA200 with the foldable 48cm beauty dish/soft box in beauty dish mode - when working outside I sometimes work in TTL mode on the flash and camera, adjusting the exposure compensation to get the "correct" exposure.

Depending on the situation I start by shooting a frame with no exposure compensation, or in this case -2 stops - ISO 100, 1/500th sec, ƒ/6.3, WB 5200K as I had an idea how the light would look.

The flash was triggered with the ST-III C trigger which allows TTL metering, but no exposure measurement. Consequently I had to shoot a few frames to gain accurate exposure as most flash meters don't meter high speed sync flash. This is effectively a 2 point light set-up as the ever so slightly diffused sun is the hair/accent light.

Shooting TTL flash isn't difficult providing you remember that your camera is taking a reflected light reading from the subject and will try to make it a mid-grey - this is fine with scenes where there are no extremes of tonality, but in this frame there's a black jacket & pale skin.

My camera was set to Matrix metering and as a consequence the large area of black influenced the flash test frame giving a couple of stops over exposure as the camera wanted to make the black mid-grey.

TTL flash roughly 2 stops over exposed
JPEG straight out of camera

To compensate for this I dialled in -2 stops on the ST-III wireless flash trigger giving me a more accurate exposure as confirmed by the histogram. To learn more about how DSLR & mirrorless camera measure and interpret exposure I have a eBook available as a download from Amazon - a bargain at just £1.99 for the Kindle edition.

The final exposure for this image was ISO 100, ƒ/6.3, 1/200th sec - so with the camera set to Av mode aperture priority TTL (Through The Lens) metering, the flash was set to -2 stops exposure compensation and the camera to -1.33 stops exposure compensation. Files recorded as RAW to give me the most latitude with post-processing.

The Pixapro ST-IV wireless flash trigger which allows TTL flash exposure measurement
& conversion to manual flash setting with the press of the TCM button

With the new ST-IV wireless flash trigger I could have used the flash in manual mode by converting the TTL settings to manual settings by means of the TCM button. This would give me constant flash output, but could result in varying exposures with the changing local lighting - clouds passing on front of the sun.

BTS frame - the light stand needed to be weighted down as the wind was gusting to about 30 knots though the valley! The CamKart was being used as a little extra height as I'd left my short step ladder at the studio.

I'm pleased to say that Pixapro now sell a kit very similar to my EDC kit. All you need to do is add a flash trigger. I strongly recommend the ST-IV as it's much easier to use and has the advantage of measuring the flash TTL exposure & converting to Manual settings with the TCM button.

There are a couple of items shown here which are not included with the kit supplied as they're personal to me, including The SPIG, something I designed which have exceeded expectations with many uses - order your SPIG here join the exclusive club of SPIG users!

That's it for now and don't forget if you really enjoy lighting to visit and join The LIGHT Side - a place to learn, be mentored, nurtured and learn about light, lighting and photography, whatever your level or experience.

My thanks to Yang Wu, Ling Tan & team at Pixapro for providing such great service. If you're in the UK do support them as they do offer a 2 year warranty on their products and it really does save a pile of hassle by not dealing with a overseas supplier of potentially unknown provenance who may not be there when you need them . . .

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