How much light does CNTL flash "spill" into scene?

Started Jan 10, 2013 | Discussions thread
William Porter
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Re: How much light does CNTL flash "spill" into scene?
In reply to Glenn, Jan 10, 2013

In your tests it looks like the remote is pointing at the camera. I pointed mine downwards because I wanted to be able to see that it went off, but I didn't want its light coming directly back at the camera and possibly screwing something up. I don't know much about the technical aspects of how the wireless system works, but I know that it can be a problem to shoot into mirrors, etc. (one of the reasons Minolta came up with ADI, I believe).

I had HSS on in the control flash (F43) when I did those earlier tests. Just in case this makes a difference, I turned it off and took a couple more shots. It's a little later in the gloomy day here and a little darker in the house, but the results are basically the same. Here's the baseline, at ISO 1600 because at ISO 800 I couldn't see anything.

A99, no flash, manual mode (ISO 1600, 1/80th sec, f/2.8)

Note that in this case I'm using the F58 as control and F43 as remote. In my earlier tests I used the F43 as control and F58 as remote.

Here's the shot with flash on (but HSS off), ISO dropped to 800, and with the flash bounced up and slightly back.

A99, with F58AM as control triggering F43. You can just barely see the F43's burst on top shelf in hallway, because in-camera FEC is set to negative 3. NOTE how much brighter are the dish shelf on the left and the counter on the right, even though this shot was taken at ISO 800 and the preceding (baseline, flash off) shot was taken at ISO 1600. The difference is accounted for by the "spillage" from the control unit.

That's darker than the corresponding shot in my earlier tests. I assume the difference is that it's gotten darker here in Dallas in the intervening hour or two (it's now 5:30pm, in mid-January).

Here's the final shot, same settings as above but with the control flash pointed straight forward.

Where'd all that light come from? From the control flash. Same camera settings as previous picture — except that in this case, the control flash is pointing straight forward.

And that's all she wrote.

I see this as a bad news, good news situation. The bad news is, the Sony wireless flash system stinks. Well, that's how it seems to me right now. Between this and the A99 flash-lag issue, well, this is just about unusable. The good news is... Okay, there's no good news, but there is some news that makes the bad news less bad, and that is, I think that these problems can be avoided simply by spending even more money on radio triggers.

Will

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