SB 600/800 troubleshooting

Discussion in 'Beyond the Basics' started by chromeaddict, Jun 25, 2009.

  1. chromeaddict

    chromeaddict TPF Noob!

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    I am relatively new to flash photography. Im currently using a Nikon D80 with a SB800 on the camera and a SB600 as a slave and shooting action sports. The subject is usually very close and Im shooting with a wide lens. My problem is that both these flashes seem to work only half the time. The SB600 hardly fires half the time. Ive tried different modes, iTTL, manual etc and had little luck getting any consistency. Sometimes on the first shot the SB600 will flash and then beep 3 times (over exposure?) and then not fire again. Im not over exposing but maybe the camera thinks I am? Even today the 800 directly on the camera would only fire about half the time. The batteries are fresh. I usually am shooting in Aperature mode.

    I have alot to learn about flash photography and I understand your guys arent here to give complete lessons but if anyone has a link to a video that can help explain the basics of this setup Id be grateful.

    If not than I have some Nikon gear for sale but it may be slightly damaged from hucking it out the window.....
     
  2. chromeaddict

    chromeaddict TPF Noob!

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    Actually I just thought to look on YouTube for some tutorials so Ill do some research there. In the meantime if anyone has any advice Im all ears.

    Thanks
     
  3. Garbz

    Garbz No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Wait what is the issue here. A wireless slave not firing? Or the Master flash not firing. In either case if the master is low on batteries or is not fully ready then it will not trigger the slave, instead just fire itself.

    Additionally when the slave beeps three times it has underexposed from what the camera wanted, i.e. fired at full power. This can be fixed by opening the aperture, raising the ISO, or moving the flash closer to the subject, in any case if you are using good batteries I think there's a 4-5 second recharge cycle from full power on a SB-600. If you're using standard Alkalines or NiCads then the recycle time will be larger.

    If the master is firing and all were ready but the slave doesn't trigger, it means the light sensor on the slave didn't see the flash. Indoors in a light coloured room it is possible to trigger slaves around corners, or even if they are behind the camera, but outdoors you need line of sight, and the sensor needs to be pointed in the direction of the master.

    Now the Master not firing is a worry. Does it not fire at all? Does it fire but you see no exposure? Dodgy contacts are nothing new and are very easy to deal with. Get a pencil and scribble on all the contacts on the hotshoe, as well as the inside edge of the metal bracket of the hotshoe which holds the flash (this is an electrical connection too). Do the same scribbling on the flash contacts (look for that hidden connection in the side of the hotshoe). The graphite in the pencil is conductive and makes a great contact surface.
     
  4. chromeaddict

    chromeaddict TPF Noob!

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    Both flashes are firing inconsistently. I set up the D80 as a commander today and am having better results with it firing off the SB600 slave.

    Im thinking my trouble with the SB800 is user error as I just dont know enough about the settings etc. Im not sure if it isnt firing because the camera is reading too much light and so it tells the flash not to trigger? Shooting mostly daylight/daytime but want light from directions other than the sun. Either way im going to try to clean those contacts as you described and also swap the batteries again.

    Can anyone tell me exactly how good or bad the line of sight is when the 800 is triggering the 600? Can I be outdoors 20 feet away and have both sensors facing eachother and be alright? They dont seem to work great I may be looking at a radio transmitter kit.

    Thanks
     
  5. KmH

    KmH Helping photographers learn to fish Supporting Member

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    You'll have trouble in sunlight. It's an infrared system and there's a lot of other brighter infrared around in the day time so your commander signals can easily be masked.

    Word up, dude. User error, all of it. Sorry.

    Remakably, reading the users manual for your gear addresses all the problems you've described.

    Maybe you should leave the gear alone and huck yourself out the window.

    Just sayin'.............
     
  6. JerryPH

    JerryPH No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    I've done more than 30 feet outside in the day, but I had the SB-800 on camera and triggering 2 SB-600s without issues.

    Let me offer you some good reading:

    Nikon CLS Practical Guide: 1. Nikon Flash - Two Separate Metering Systems

    There are 15 blog entries. Get a nice cup of coffee, tea or Red bull... pull up a chair and go for it.

    Over and above the info in this link above... nothing but practice will help you out more.
     
  7. chromeaddict

    chromeaddict TPF Noob!

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    Much obliged Jerry.
     
  8. RONDAL

    RONDAL TPF Noob!

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    something also to consider if you are doing full power shots, is the cycle time of the flash. if you are tryign to shoot again right away depending on the batteries you are using it could take up to 15 seconds for a full recycle of the flash so that it can fire again.

    thanks for that link jerry
     
  9. Garbz

    Garbz No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    The flash will always fire. Even when there's enough light the camera triggers the flash in fill flash mode. This control is what separates the DSLRs from the point and shoots. When the flash is on it fires, when it's off it doesn't.

    At night time I can trigger one SB-800 from the other from a good 20m away. During the daytime this is reduced but definitely not into an unusable state. Much like an infrared remote there's a lot clever signal processing that goes into separating a flash from the sun, or even an overhead fluro which gives off heaps of IR light.



    Man you're in a mood today. I hope you're not Japanese, they are cracking down on their mass internet organised suicides :p
     
  10. JerryPH

    JerryPH No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Pleasure guys.

    RONDAL, I have never seen a SB-800 take 15 seconds to recycle even after a full power flash? Even after well over 200 full power flashes on 2650mah rechargeable Energizers, it drops to maybe 5 seconds. Maybe you had a set of really drained batteries just ready to die? :)
     
  11. chromeaddict

    chromeaddict TPF Noob!

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    Ive been using my 600 on the camera in place of the 800 and it seems to be working great. Wondering if the 800 I bought (used) has an issue. Will have to figure that out.

    That online article is great. Lots of information but taking it at my own speed and learning alot. Thanks again for posting it.
     
  12. kundalini

    kundalini Been spending a lot of time on here!

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