Flash for wildlife - Nikon body.

Dyslexicbloke

TPF Noob!
Joined
Aug 7, 2018
Messages
36
Reaction score
4
Location
Bala, UK
Can others edit my Photos
Photos OK to edit
Hi folks, first post...

I currently have a D90 and have decided to upgrade to a D7200
I know it isn't the best but it is there best I can afford, used, and it's a big improvement on the D90, not that that is bad in the first place.

I know basically nothing about flash photography, over and above the obvious.

I also know that any flash will have a rapidly decreasing efficacy as range increases. so I am not expecting to be able to catch a BIF at 100m, pin sharply and at 100 ISO with my Random 600.

That said I dropped think a flash with a good reach will be useful and I am aware that some units cash be focused or that there is an option to add a lense.
BetterBeam and MagBeam and the like.

So specific questions...
I assume I want the most powerful flash I can reasonably get, but wouldn't know how to read a special to determine that.

Do flash extenders work at well and it so is there a downside.

How far is too far, before the flash isn't helping, extended or otherwise.

And the buggy... What should I look for?
I am assuming it needs to match the body and talk to it, TTL? but if mkI also wonder if adding a third party lense will make that conversation moot, in which case should I simply have a dumb flash and compensate using manual settings?

As I said... Clueless.

I guess my budget, used, would stretch to £100 but that is pushing it... I haven't run the body by her in doors yet... :76:

I will welcome any and all suggestions.
Cheers,
Al
 

baturn

TPF Supporters
Supporting Member
Joined
Oct 2, 2008
Messages
7,218
Reaction score
3,075
Location
Vancouver Island
Can others edit my Photos
Photos OK to edit
Personally, having tried it, I wouldn't bother with flash for wildlife photos. The D7200 with the Tammy should be more than adequate in most light. The less gear you have to carry when out and about the better.
 
OP
Dyslexicbloke

Dyslexicbloke

TPF Noob!
Joined
Aug 7, 2018
Messages
36
Reaction score
4
Location
Bala, UK
Can others edit my Photos
Photos OK to edit
Thanks for the insight... Worth considering, I think sometimes it is easy to get blinkered.

Perhaps I should try the new body first before deciding.

I have to say though, I do like the idea of fill flash... Still... more kit to carry...
Korea thought I think.

Cheers.
 

ac12

Been spending a lot of time on here!
Joined
Dec 5, 2017
Messages
2,440
Reaction score
807
Location
SF Bay Area, California, USA
Can others edit my Photos
Photos NOT OK to edit
A flash magnifier is simply a fresnel lens in front of the flash, at the appropriate distance from the flash for that fresnel lens.
This would normally be used for tele photography.
Warning: This kind of setup can quickly get very clumsy to use in the field.
A shoe flash with that kind of a snout in the front will be very front heavy, and have more surface area to catch the wind.

If you use a flash magnifier, you probably want an iTTL flash, or you will be doing a lot of trial and error shots to determine the proper exposure. Even so, you may have to fall back to full manual and do trial and error exposure.

I have no idea how the zoom setting of the flash head will affect the flash magnifiers.

The practical problem is that you have to align the flash+magnifier and your lens accurately. If they are not aligned, the flash will illuminate one spot and the lens is looking a different spot. And the higher the magnification of the setup, the tighter the resulting flash beam, and the more accurately you need to align the flash setup and lens. This alignment has to be in both H and V axis. When my brother did this, back in the film days, that was the biggest problem . . . how to align a jury rigged setup.

And there is only so much off-balanced weight that the hot shoe can handle, before you break it off.
So, I would do this as separate off camera flash or use a flash bracket, to eliminate the stress on the hot shoe. But then the aiming of the flash becomes much more difficult. So you will be taking a LOT of test shots to align the flash and lens. This means shooting at different places will become very difficult, as you have to first align the flash and lens.

As to how far . . . how high do you want to push your ISO?

As for reading a flash spec.
Yes, there are MANY places where the manufacturers will try to fool you.
  • Flash power is typically stated in GN at 10 feet at ISO 100. There is a metric method also.
  • Here are some GN issues
    • GN does not always represent reality.
    • GN is based on a standard shooting setup. If your setup is different, which it likely is, your GN will be different.
    • GN from the manufacturer may not/likely does not match any of your shooting situations.
    • GN indoors with a reflective ceiling, walls and floor is higher than when outdoors where there is NOTHING to reflect the light back to the subject. The difference is at least a full stop.
  • Here are some tricks that manufacturers use to distort the GN:
  • Some companies will use ISO 200 or higher, to get a higher GN than at the standard ISO 100.
  • There is no standard for what flash head zoom setting to use, so some/many use the tele position, to concentrate the light and give a higher GN than when set to wide or normal lens. A flash with a non-zoom head will have a wide or normal lens flash angle.
  • The GN is not always directly comparable from one flash to another, and it comes back to HOW the manufacturer determined the GN. Even though there supposedly is somewhat of a standard, there still seems to be variations.
  • Other issues
  • Flash head zoom settings are given for 35mm film/Full Frame sensor lens focal lengths. If you have anything else, you have to recompute for your film/sensor.
 

Derrel

Mr. Rain Cloud
Joined
Jul 23, 2009
Messages
48,227
Reaction score
18,923
Location
USA
Website
www.pbase.com
Can others edit my Photos
Photos OK to edit
The Better Beamer was one of the old standards. $35 or so last time I looked at them, but that's been a few years. Gives an eye catchlight on birds and other wildlife. Flash would I think be considered sometimes needed, and at other times not needed.
 
OP
Dyslexicbloke

Dyslexicbloke

TPF Noob!
Joined
Aug 7, 2018
Messages
36
Reaction score
4
Location
Bala, UK
Can others edit my Photos
Photos OK to edit
Thanks folks...
I had considered weight and balance... and concluded that some sort of mount would be needed to take the load off the shoe... I hadn't really thought about alignment but it is a very good point, as is windage...

All sounding a little fiddly right now...

To be honest I wasn't even considering anything other than a fully Nikon compatible TTL with the camera managing it dynamically, and even then I was expecting a significant learning curve.

I think, based on comments this far, I should be looking for the most powerful flash I can afford, with an inherent zoom capability as long as possible, and seeing how effective, or not, that is without any modifier.

From there I will probably try to make a lense modifier for it... Just to play with.

SO...
I am looking for a big guide number, while remembering to compare apples with apples.
he I want something with a physical zoom capability as long/deep as I cash find.

Any specific suggestions?
Anything I should avoid?
Is all TTL the same with respect to functionality? (Assuming it is started as Nikon compatible)
Is Speed Light a brand, a specific functionality of just a term for something on a shoe that is TTL compatible?

Given that budget is a big consideration is 'older used' likely to out perform new, or has technology moved on so much that new and relatively cheap will be as good as older kit that was originally more expensive.?

Any thoughts on this...
Used Metz 52 AF-1 Flashgun, Nikon Dedicated
 

BrentC

TPF Supporters
Supporting Member
Joined
Jan 8, 2017
Messages
3,571
Reaction score
2,333
Location
Brampton, Ontario
Can others edit my Photos
Photos OK to edit
Unless you are shooting birds in a forest or jungle area or at night I wouldn't bother with flash.

Having said that:

For a flash I would get one that works with TTL on your camera. Take a look at Godox, Metz and possibly Newer for cheap alternatives.
GN52 minimum

For flash extender, and you will need one, flash not enough, there are a couple. Be VERY careful though. Those flash extenders will melt your flash and camera if you don't be careful and point it into the sun. You can easily start fires as well.

Better Beamer is easier to carry around since it folds away. But harder to adjust and to keep it adjusted

MagBeam doesn't fold away so takes up more room. Easily adjusted and once adjusted stays that way.
 

ac12

Been spending a lot of time on here!
Joined
Dec 5, 2017
Messages
2,440
Reaction score
807
Location
SF Bay Area, California, USA
Can others edit my Photos
Photos NOT OK to edit
You need to read specs very carefully, and if not indicated research the flash.
There is the older TTL flash as used on film cameras, then iTTL for digital dSLRs.
The older TTL flash can work on a dSLR but will not provide TTL funtion on a dSLR, you need the newer iTTL flash.
 

astroNikon

'ya all Bananas I tell 'ya
Supporting Member
Joined
Aug 15, 2013
Messages
13,669
Reaction score
3,344
Location
SE Michigan
Can others edit my Photos
Photos OK to edit
FYI, you are probably shooting roving animals.

But if you ever want to shoot birds at a bird feeder than you can use wireless flash by the bird feeder while you are still plenty far away.
 

dennybeall

No longer a newbie, moving up!
Joined
May 13, 2014
Messages
2,308
Reaction score
440
Location
OTOW - Ocala, Florida
Website
www.citrusphotorestore.com
Can others edit my Photos
Photos OK to edit
My opinion is that you won't need the flash to get the picture of the bird. You can capture the shot using the controls on the camera and the added weight and bother of a flash, big enough to really reach out, would be a real pain in the butt.
As Derrel said, a flash to put some pop in the birds eye can be useful though. And that flash doesn't have to fully illuminate the subject.
 

RowdyRay

Been spending a lot of time on here!
Joined
Aug 19, 2016
Messages
1,275
Reaction score
832
Location
Mn
Can others edit my Photos
Photos OK to edit
Very helpful information. What about the Rogue Safari flash booster? Anyone try it? Would it help?
 

BrentC

TPF Supporters
Supporting Member
Joined
Jan 8, 2017
Messages
3,571
Reaction score
2,333
Location
Brampton, Ontario
Can others edit my Photos
Photos OK to edit

RowdyRay

Been spending a lot of time on here!
Joined
Aug 19, 2016
Messages
1,275
Reaction score
832
Location
Mn
Can others edit my Photos
Photos OK to edit
Very helpful information. What about the Rogue Safari flash booster? Anyone try it? Would it help?

Never seen it before. Looks interesting. Small and decent range. Reviews are good. For the price I would have picked one up just to try it but I don't have a built-in flash. Your camera does, so I would say go for it. It's worth giving it a shot for $20.

ExpoImaging Rogue Safari DSLR Pop-Up Flash Booster ROGUESAFARI

Believe it or not, I found one at a thrift store for 5.00. Haven't tried it yet, but should. Been having trouble with the undersides of birds in flight with a bright sky behind it. Even after bumping up the EV as another member suggested. Frustrating. Especially when you track the bird properly, nail focus and the underside is still dark. Maybe I'm doing something else wrong.
 
OP
Dyslexicbloke

Dyslexicbloke

TPF Noob!
Joined
Aug 7, 2018
Messages
36
Reaction score
4
Location
Bala, UK
Can others edit my Photos
Photos OK to edit
Interesting... both the comments arguing against and for...
Looking at the Safari review, and assuming it can't make light so would be less effective than a speedlight with a comparable lense, I have to say I think that there are situations where I would get good use from a flash.
Obviously BIF and anything long is out of the equation but small birds, and the like, at moderate distances where a long lens is in use to fill the frame as opposed to getting ready, seems like a reasonable fit, especially as stuff is often in undergrowth or below gedges,

I am not convinced that simply magnifying true pop-up is going to cut it but I am tempted by some of the cheaper i-TTl stuff. Thanks for the heads up RE old TTL.. I didn't know that, I thought i-TTL was a Nikon thing. In fact I planned to research what functionality TTL would give me on a Nikon body... Which would have been pointless.

Any thoughts RE Neewer 750II. The Nikon variant is i-TTL, aparantly
It looks capable to me... but what do I know.
 

BrentC

TPF Supporters
Supporting Member
Joined
Jan 8, 2017
Messages
3,571
Reaction score
2,333
Location
Brampton, Ontario
Can others edit my Photos
Photos OK to edit
Very helpful information. What about the Rogue Safari flash booster? Anyone try it? Would it help?

Never seen it before. Looks interesting. Small and decent range. Reviews are good. For the price I would have picked one up just to try it but I don't have a built-in flash. Your camera does, so I would say go for it. It's worth giving it a shot for $20.

ExpoImaging Rogue Safari DSLR Pop-Up Flash Booster ROGUESAFARI

Believe it or not, I found one at a thrift store for 5.00. Haven't tried it yet, but should. Been having trouble with the undersides of birds in flight with a bright sky behind it. Even after bumping up the EV as another member suggested. Frustrating. Especially when you track the bird properly, nail focus and the underside is still dark. Maybe I'm doing something else wrong.


Knowing why you want to use it I can say you don't need one and I am not even sure that using one is going to help. Never heard of anyone using one for bifs. Are the birds within 30' feet of you? If not definitely not going to be of use. I would say this is more for stills up to the 30' range for small birds.

Your issue sounds more like a exposure issue. Are you using spot metering? How much of an EV adjustment have you tried? Do you have a photo showing your issue that you can post?
 

Most reactions

Top