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 Post subject: speedlight help
PostPosted: Thu Mar 24, 2011 2:38 pm 
so i've recently bought a nion sb-600 speedlight to go with my D90, 18-105 and 50mm 1.8... it came as a recommendation from some other more advanced photographers... so i bought one for a great deal lightly used on ebay.

Anyways, I'm looking for some tips... I've played with it a lot on the hotshoe, bouncing it off the ceilings and walls indoors, and setting my cameras white balance to the "flash" setting.. which seems to give me a pretty natural white balance effect... and i'm pretty happy with what i can do indoors with it even in near total darkness...

but i've got a few questions. When i shoot with it on the hotshoe, it's on the "auto" mode, and sometimes the results aren't exactly what i would like... sometimes the flash seems a bit overpowering for the shot... so how do i back it off on the power? I'm sure there is an easy solution to this, i'm just not sure how to do it yet (there seems to be a large learning curve with speedlight flashes)....

Next question is when i shoot with it off camera, using the d90's built in flash as a commander unit... i've seen a lot of good photos taken this way, but i've yet to achieve one myself so far... it seems as if the flash isn't really firing quick enough? The shutter closes, the picture is taken, but the subject is only really half lit by the speedlight.... and the result is disappointing to say the least... how do i get the flash to fire earlier? It must only be off by fractions of a second, right? Or am i missing something altogether here?

Final question is combining lighting... what's the best way to go about setting the white balance if there's multiple types of lighting on the subject? For instance i've attempted some aquarium photography with flash, and it combines ambient room light, aquarium florescent lighting, and the lighting of the speedlight as well... this gives me fits as far as exposure and white balance goes... any tips?

 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Mar 24, 2011 3:05 pm 
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Joined: Sun Apr 18, 2010 12:33 pm
Posts: 443
Location: St. John's, NL, Canada
I've got a D200 with the SB-600... I should be able to help.

In your 3rd paragraph you said "It's on the "auto" mode" - are you referring to your camera or flash? If your referring to your flash, then the "auto" mode is called TTL. The 600 also has a TTL-BL mode as well. Think of it as TTL is getting your foreground properly exposed, where as TTL-BL tries to get your foreground and background properly exposed - but TTL-BL does have the tenancy to overexpose your foreground - which sounds like what your having trouble with.

Now, as far as backing off the flash power - that's done using flash exposure compensation. The flash exposure compensation biases your flashes "auto" mode to over or under flash slightly. have a look on your manual on page 91. You can change the exposure by pressing the flash button located to the left of your pop up flash and rotating the front finger dial to either increase or decrease it.

Ok, now for your command flash question. I feel like your missing something altogether. when you use wireless flash, depending on the location of your flash, your subject might only be half lift - especially if the flash is 90 deg to your camera. Shutter speed is irrelevant of your flash. The fastest flash sync speed on the D90 is 1/320 sec. That's the fastest shutter speed you can use while flashing for reasons that can be explained, but I'll leave it out - unless you ask of course. So, within that 1/320 second exposure the flash fires - I don't know how fast it fires off hand, but suffice to say it's really fast. The shutter opens, the flash fires, and the shutter closes with plenty of time to spare. Could you post some examples of what you don't like about them - I'd love to help you out further with this further.

The flashes (pop up and the 600) are balanced for midday sunlight. Anything other than this you then get into camera flash gel's. To do this properly, you need to know the color of each light and then set them all the same - or different depending on what you wanna do with the light. I typically set my white balance on auto and then adjust in post-processing after. I'm not well-versed in this area. Sorry.

Anyway, hope this helps!

 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Mar 24, 2011 7:06 pm 

Joined: Fri Sep 05, 2008 4:42 pm
Posts: 1388
Location: The Netherlands
I am curious what shutter speed you have set your D90 to when taking off camera pictures. As noted above me by Trevor, 1/320 is the maximum speed before you outrun the flash with the shutter.

- Wout -
Lowepro Nova 200 AW filled with Nikon D90 + MB-D80
18-70 DX, 70-300 VR, 35 1.8 DX, SB-700

 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Mar 24, 2011 10:32 pm 
I'll post some example photo's later tonight...

as far as the "auto mode" i was referring to the flash, the term TTL had briefly escaped me, so i thought "auto" would get my point across ;) ...

Makes sense on the flash compensation... dont know why i didn't think of that.

In the off camera photo's i don't recall exact shutter speeds i was using, but i highly doubt i was at anything higher (or even really close to) 1/320... i think the highest i went was around 1/200, with the majority of the photos actually being more like 1/30, which is what my camera is set to when i'm using on camera flash (unless of course i alter it in manual or shutter priority mode)...

 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Apr 29, 2011 8:41 am 
About the multiple lighting sources, why don't you use the PRE white balance? You can configure it in the menu at white balance. It will ask you to take a picture in the light you want to shoot of a blank white piece of paper and then it will automaticaly create a costom white balance setting for that kind of light.

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