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Thread: TTL vs Manual flash

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    TTL vs Manual flash

    I'm a beginner with a Canon t4i and am looking to purchase an inexpensive on camera flash. I've narrowed it down to these two YN-560EX(manual) and the YN-565EX(TTL). Based on my skill level what would be my best choice.



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    YongNuo YN-560 III ? Review ? Changing the Game | FLASH HAVOC

    But don't buy them all before I can buy a couple for me.
    Agnostic Demigod.

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    Depends what you shoot. For studio portraits, for instance, TTL is totally useless and will only hinder you, by making exposure inconsistent. If lighting is controlled, you should generally expose once and then not touch it, to get consistent and reliable results.

    If you plan to use flash a lot in on-the-fly variable lit (e.g. urban) areas, at night with greatly varying available light, etc., then TTL is most helpful.

    TTL is for things like wandering around a wide area wherelighting may change dramatically every couple of shots. Manual is for situations where you are in one place for many shots, and want best control of lighting.



    Manual is certainly harder to do, but if you're in a situation where you should be using it (any sort of consistent lighting or where you need precise flash exposure), you really do need to be doing manual, and TTL is just not a good option, which will screw you up and is a bad habit to fall into in those situations. So learn manual anyway, even if it takes time and is difficult, for consistently lit situations like studios or shoots in a fairly fixed location. And if you plan to shoot mostly in such situations, you might as well save money and get the non-TTL flash.





    Also keep in mind that most cheap remote triggers don't support TTL, even if the flash does. If you want to shoot flash off-camera, which you should almost always be doing, you will need to spend even more money on something like a TTL-supporting pocketwizard, or suffer the inconvenience of a PC cord. A significant advantage of learning and using manual is the ability to use $25 radio triggers and such to trigger off-camera.

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    At your skill level, for an on-camera flash, keep your life simple and get the TTL version. There is still a bit of learning involved to get the very best results consistently, but it'll get you in the right ballpark 99% of the time.

    That said, start playing with / using it in manual when you can to learn how to best control your lighting without TTL. Even after you learn how to rock it in manual, there will be times when TTL is more appropriate for the situation, so it'll be good to have it when you need it.

    And, THAT said, start thinking about taking the next step by getting it OFF the camera and firing it remotely with radio triggers. Then you can move on to light modifiers like umbrellas, soft-boxes, umbrella-boxes, reflectors, multiple lights, and more. THAT is where you'll see HUGE improvements to the kinds of photos you can make.

    Get lots of info towards those later steps here: Strobist and click on "Lighting 101".

    Edited to add: The myth that you need to spend big bucks on expensive Pocket Wizards to get TTL radio triggers is just that: A myth. You can find 3rd party TTL triggers much cheaper that work just fine, if you decide you want to go that route.

    Also worth noting, when your flash is off camera, that usually means it's on a stand or a clamp pointed at a subject, and neither are going anywhere for that particular set of photos, and THAT means that you don't need TTL, because when you're setting it up on the stand and positioning your subject (a person OR thing), you can set the flash power appropriately then, especially after you've had a little practice with how much power to push given distances.

    Of course, if you and your subject are moving around a lot and you've got an assistant(s) willing to hold and aim your light(s) for you, then maybe TTL would work better for you. Or maybe you could just tell the assistant, "turn it down 1 stop" (for instance) since they'll be standing there holding it anyway.
    Last edited by Buckster; 07-24-2013 at 03:43 PM.
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    Your honest C&C is always welcome and appreciated. For those with such interests: My Gear
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    Quote Originally Posted by Buckster View Post
    At your skill level, for an on-camera flash, keep your life simple and get the TTL version. There is still a bit of learning involved to get the very best results consistently, but it'll get you in the right ballpark 99% of the time.

    That said, start playing with / using it in manual when you can to learn how to best control your lighting without TTL. Even after you learn how to rock it in manual, there will be times when TTL is more appropriate for the situation, so it'll be good to have it when you need it.

    And, THAT said, start thinking about taking the next step by getting it OFF the camera and firing it remotely with radio triggers. Then you can move on to light modifiers like umbrellas, soft-boxes, umbrella-boxes, reflectors, multiple lights, and more. THAT is where you'll see HUGE improvements to the kinds of photos you can make.

    Get lots of info towards those later steps here: Strobist and click on "Lighting 101".

    Edited to add: The myth that you need to spend big bucks on expensive Pocket Wizards to get TTL radio triggers is just that: A myth. You can find 3rd party TTL triggers much cheaper that work just fine, if you decide you want to go that route.

    Also worth noting, when your flash is off camera, that usually means it's on a stand or a clamp pointed at a subject, and neither are going anywhere for that particular set of photos, and THAT means that you don't need TTL, because when you're setting it up on the stand and positioning your subject (a person OR thing), you can set the flash power appropriately then, especially after you've had a little practice with how much power to push given distances.

    Of course, if you and your subject are moving around a lot and you've got an assistant(s) willing to hold and aim your light(s) for you, then maybe TTL would work better for you. Or maybe you could just tell the assistant, "turn it down 1 stop" (for instance) since they'll be standing there holding it anyway.
    Thanks Buckster. I do eventually plan on getting off the camera, once I build my confidence with the flash I will learn to use it in manual mode.

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    Dao
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    Just keep in mind that most of the TTL flash can be set as manual as well. If you feel that the cost different between the TTL flash and manual flash is not that big, get the TTL flash and also has manual settings.
    jowensphoto likes this.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Buckster View Post
    ...Edited to add: The myth that you need to spend big bucks on expensive Pocket Wizards to get TTL radio triggers is just that: A myth. You can find 3rd party TTL triggers much cheaper that work just fine, if you decide you want to go that route...
    What's a good 3rd party brand of triggers ?
    gripped black boxes, things with glass and a telescope.

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    Quote Originally Posted by astroNikon View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Buckster View Post
    ...Edited to add: The myth that you need to spend big bucks on expensive Pocket Wizards to get TTL radio triggers is just that: A myth. You can find 3rd party TTL triggers much cheaper that work just fine, if you decide you want to go that route...
    What's a good 3rd party brand of triggers ?
    I've been working with Yongnuo YN-603 series triggers for about two years now and, from my POV, they're awesome. They're not TTL though, as I rarely use that, and never find a need to use it with radio triggers. When I use TTL, it's because I'm in a dynamic situation like a party and I'm moving around and the subjects are moving around and I don't have time to position flashes on stands pointed at my subject and so forth, so I'm using flash on a bracket on the camera in that case, and I just connect with a TTL cord.

    That said, I haven't personally tested TTL capable radio triggers, simply because I don't use them.

    Nonetheless, if you're looking for radio triggers that do TTL, there are third party triggers that are getting good reviews: Amazon.com: TTL radio trigger

    If I were in the market for TTL radio triggers, I'd try out the Yongnuos, simply because I've had really great experiences over the past two years with their triggers and flashes, and have thus developed a great deal of trust and respect for the brand. Just the other day, I decided to test the Yongnuos I have for distance. I set up their YN-603 triggers on 2 YN-565EX TTL flashes that I've been using for a couple years now, plus 4 new YN-560 III flashes with built in triggers that I just got a couple days ago, and got 120 yards, the length of a football field including the end zones, before I ran out of room to keep going, and they fired flawlessly the whole time. According to the manufacturer's specs, they'll fire out to 300 meters. I plan to test that and report back to the forum with the results of a real-world test of them soon.

    The point is that, despite all the hype and fanboy fanaticism over them, Pocket Wizards aren't the only game in town.
    JacaRanda likes this.
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