Speedlight settings, help D: much thanks

Discussion in 'Photography Beginners' Forum' started by PatrickCheung, Dec 7, 2009.

  1. PatrickCheung

    PatrickCheung TPF Noob!

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    i've had my Sb-600 for the past two weeks... i'm loving it, but i dont exactly know how to use it... i kind of just guess. most of the time i use it on manual. i just have a few questions... i use this on a d60 btw.

    1. i always find myself wasting time taking test shots and readjusting my speedlight settings before finding the right ones... and i see people that attach their light, push a few buttons, shoot, and get good results on the first try... is it just a matter of practice, or is there some kind of rule/formula to know what values to set your flash power and flash compensation to?

    2. whenever i want both a properly exposed background and foreground, i just set it to TTL BL mode, i don't really know how to do this with manual mode... D: i guess my question is... how do i expose both background and foreground properly with manual mode?

    to all who took their time to read and answer this, thanks a LOT.
     
  2. IgsEMT

    IgsEMT No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    There are rules/formulas called guide number and if you can master it, it'll definitely be very useful. However, first things first and that is know your equipment. My starting point in a new environment is this (for either Nikon or Canon) iso 400, 1/125sec, f/8, 1/4power flash straight fwd with stofen. So based on what I'm getting & how far I'm from subject, etc, I'll start readjusting. When time is of the issue, same camera settings with flash in ttl+1 center meter. Again, see what I'm getting and readjust if needs be or bounce the flash - w/e it is, thats my so call starting point.


    bounce the flash and use a bounce card - either by one that looks nice and pretty or make one your self :). Also when bouncing I use stofen diffuser with the bounce card but again compensate flash output for optimal exposure.

    good luck
     
  3. iflynething

    iflynething TPF Noob!

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    I shoot manual on a SB-800 and have found that for most instances, ISO 200, f/5.6 and 1/4-1/8 power are usually pretty normal for inside photgraphy if you're bouncing.

    I'm usually pretty good at getting is close and tweak if necessary in post.

    I usually don't use iTTL anymore because my flash doesn't know how high i'm bouncing off it what what direction it's going, nor does it know what look I"m trying to get in a photo

    ~Michael~
     
  4. DScience

    DScience No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    I like experimentation. For me, I don't try and find an all-in-all formula, as I take it as as a case-by-case situation. What I mean is, it really depends. I feel as though you have to decide what you are going for. I mean this because there are light master out their (Dustin Diaz) who do all sorts of styles with light. But they don't have a 'fomulat' that they automatically use EVERY time the exact same way. Thus if you want a certain feel to a picture based on one idea, it might require different lighting settings for another picture with a different meaning.
     
  5. Derrel

    Derrel Mr. Rain Cloud

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    Patrick,
    TTL-BL works best in dim lighting scenarios. In brighter light situations, a manual approach might be easier; for example, to balance flash illumination indoors with bright sunlight coming in from windows--try something like shutter speed of 1/200 second and a small aperture, like f/9.5, f/11, or even f/13--at ISO 200, with the bounce flash at full power. If the outdoor light is not quite so bright, perhaps a slower shutter speed, like 1/90 might be used.

    Indoors, with dim lighting, you need to pick up "ambient", so "dragging the shutter"--AKA, slowing the shutter speeds down to speeds like 1/25 second to as slow as 1/8 second, will allow you to use full to half-power bounced flash to illuminate the foreground, while the slow speed picks up light that is coming in through a large-ish aperture, like f/4 to f/5.6 or so, approximately, at ISO settings of 400 to as high as ISO 800.

    There are TWO exposures being made:the first exposure is the background, which is lighted by either the sun, or by artificial lighting on-site. The background exposure needs to be "pegged" by using the right ISO, the right lens f/stop, and the right shutter speed. Outdoors, the fastest most cameras will shoot is 1/200 second, so that means a small aperture (f/9.5 to f/13) at a lower ISO is needed in bright sun.

    The second exposure is made by the flash; achieving a balance between flash and the ambient light exposure is a balancing act. One of the ODDEST, most anomolous things is that at 1/200 second and at 1/60 second, some Nikon cameras will show MORE flash exposure in automated modes than you might expect, so actual testing is helpful. Because there are multiple factors A) ISO setting B) lens f/stop C) shutter speed and D) flash output and E) flash-to-subject distance, there are,at least FIVE variables to control and account for. So, don't be too hard on yourself if you've not mastered this somewhat complicated aspect of d-slr photography.

    Last thought: FULL automation can work wonderfully,at times, and at other times, it is actually quicker,easier, and better to take command of everything and shoot entirely on manual. There is also semi-automated shooting. Sooooo......try and get a grip on it and try and understand how the factors all work together. Manual control is actually easier than it might seem. SOme of the older flash modes, like "A" flash mode with MANUAL control over shutter speed, ISO, and lens f/stop actually are what I mean by semi-automated modes; in A mode flash, the flash outputs a fairly steady A-mount of flash designed for a particular A-perture; you can use that semi-automated repeatability to shoot many indoor events pretty well. Of course, you've read the entire flash manual, right?
     
  6. PatrickCheung

    PatrickCheung TPF Noob!

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    thanks a LOT guys, i have a lot more experimenting to do.

    derrel: yeah, i've read about the light at 1/200 and 1/60 of a second to be more than you'd expect... i've also witnessed it when i shot outside, at f10, 1/200 and lowest power... but still got a blown out image hahaha. yeah i've read the nikon manual, but the terms used in the manual are a bit confusing.

    DScience: Dustin Diaz is SO helpful when it comes to lighting... i always look at his strobist info and set ups whenever he provides them. but yeah, i kind of figured there's no set formula, next to guide numbers.

    that brings me to my final question... what exactly IS a guide number and how is it useful? D:
     

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