SB 800 Wireless Starters How To

Started Jul 30, 2004 | Discussions thread
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SB 800 Wireless Starters How To
Jul 30, 2004

This post attempts to demystify the horrible SB 800/D70 manual reading experience when trying to use your new SB 800 in a wireless fashion. I am no expert but am reporting my findings to help other out.

There are basically two modes. Remote and SU-4 in SB 800 terminology that you need to know. What’s the difference? In the latter, the onboard flash contributes to the exposure and in the former it does not. I am not going to recite the push buttons here to get your SB 800 in those modes. You can find those in the manual for the SB800. You will need to go into Remote settings on the Custom settings of the SB 800 and choose Channel 3A before you use SU-4 mode if you try that before Remote mode.

What is confusing from the manuals is what settings do you need on the D70 to make these work? CSM 19 has three choices: TTL, Manual and Commander. Commander has three more sub settings: TTL, Auto Aperature, and Manual.

If you want to use SU-4 to have both flashes contribute, CSM 19 needs to be on TTL at the CSM 19 menu and NOT on the Commander setting. When setting the SB800 to SU4 it gives you a choice that further confused me. The choice is either A or M. I assumed that meant Aperature or Manual, but it means something different. “A” triggers the flash for the same time (start and finish) as the on board flash. “M” allows you to adjust the SB 800 power, only starting the flash at the same time as the on board flash starts.

So how do you set your D70 Exposure Mode. If you use AUTO, CSM 19 goes to TTL automatically and you can use SU-4. If you use, A or M you need to make sure CSM 19 is set to TTL. I have found that in A or M you still need to move your F stop to something that works best. I think you can do that on the SB800 or the D70. That makes sense. In A mode your shutter speed seems limited to 1/60 or whatever you have set in CSM 21. I guess in M you can move the SS up to 1/500. This may even work in S mode but I did not test that.

To use Commander mode, where ONLY the SB 800 contributes to the exposure set the SB 800 to remote and the TTL, AA and M is merely telling the SB 800 how to flash using the camera settings. I guess I am actually getting i-TTL with this, but not sure if there is a balanced fill flash iTTL here. TTL, AA and M in commander mode are the same as if the SB 800 were on the hotshoe, but it is not, it’s wireless.

Hope this helps other jumpstart what I found hard to understand. Please correct me experts if I have misstated something.

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