SB-N5 Flash How do you use direct flash in a darkened room?

Started Feb 15, 2012 | Discussions
1V1ForMe
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SB-N5 Flash How do you use direct flash in a darkened room?
Feb 15, 2012

There doesn't seem to be much programming going on in this unit. When you set A S or P, it determines an ISO that rarely if ever changes. Not powerful enough for ISO 100 in a dimly lit room. I have been setting to P and ISO 400, but not sure if that is th best option?

Beezodog
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Re: SB-N5 Flash How do you use direct flash in a darkened room?
In reply to 1V1ForMe, Feb 15, 2012

http://www.beezodogsplace.com/2012/02/14/best-flash-settings-for-nikon-1-v1/

I have found fairly consistent success with S - Shutter Priority @ 1/60 sec when the sensitivity is set at ISO 800. ISO 800 works better for me than either ISO 400 or ISO 1600. And I am talking about the single ISO setting not A800 (i.e. ISO 100 to ISO 800).

1V1ForMe wrote:

There doesn't seem to be much programming going on in this unit. When you set A S or P, it determines an ISO that rarely if ever changes. Not powerful enough for ISO 100 in a dimly lit room. I have been setting to P and ISO 400, but not sure if that is th best option?

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astwood1285
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S mode 1/60th and ISO 200 or 400
In reply to 1V1ForMe, Feb 15, 2012

Shutter priority at 1/60th and either fixed ISO 200 or 400 depending upon the size of the room , ambient lighting, etc.
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1V1ForMe
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Re: S mode 1/60th and ISO 200 or 400
In reply to astwood1285, Feb 15, 2012

Several times the P mode has dropped to 1/2 second shutter speeds. Giving me a much over exposed shot. So I too use shutter priority at 1/60th. This also allows you to easily kick it up to 1/250th for close up shots.

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Brad Morris
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using i-TTL flash
In reply to 1V1ForMe, Feb 15, 2012

The SB-5N operates is i-TTL compatible. That means it should operate in 2 different modes.

1. i-TTL BL mode that should be used for fill flash
2. i-TTL mode that is used when the flash is the main source of light.

On the Nikon SLR Cameras, If you set the camera to A, S or P mode with Matrix or centre weighted metering, the flash will operate in iTTL BL mode to give you balanced fill flash. You should use this mode when it is light and you could otherwise get a proper hand held exposure without flash. The flash will operate to simple fill in the shadows if you have back lighting or to stop "raccoon eyes" caused by shadows.

If you use M mode or set the camera to use the spot meter, the flash will operate in base i-TTL mode. The camera will meter the scene assuming that the flash is teh main source of light in the scene.

When you make a flash photograph, you are actually making 2 exposures at once. 1 is the flash exposure and the other is the ambient exposure. The flash with complete its entire cycle in less time than the shutter is open (between 1/1000 - 1/10000 sec depending on the output level setting of the flash) so the only controls you have to determine/adjust the power requirement of the flash is your aperture control and ISO setting (higher ISO will give your flash more reach). Adjusting the shutter speed is the control over the ambient light part of your exposure

I would suggest, If you are indoors in a dark room, that you try the camera in M mode, turn Auto ISO off, set Camera to ISO200 or 400 in a larger room to maximize image quality. Set the shutter say 1/60 and open the lens up wide and see how you go. The camera should automatically adjust the flash output to match the required exposure as set by the aperture/iso setting.

I understand that maximum shutter sync speed with flash is 1/60 with the electronic shutter but 1/250 sec with the mechanical shutter. Use the mechanical shutter if you are using i-TTL BL mode in daylight so you have more exposure leeway with the ambient light

Auto ISO can help if your aim is to use balanced fill flash in a lower light environment but becomes problematic if you are using the flash in a really dark room and that is your only source of light. The camera sets the Auto ISO level as though you are making an exposure without the flash.

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Beezodog
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Re: using i-TTL flash
In reply to Brad Morris, Feb 16, 2012

http://www.beezodogsplace.com/2012/02/15/some-observations-on-i-ttl/

My experience with the Manual Mode was mixed. Auto ISO was what seemed to my eye to give the most pleasing images. There is a gallery of images in the posting that are what I am using to validate my response.

Brad Morris wrote:

I would suggest, If you are indoors in a dark room, that you try the camera in M mode, turn Auto ISO off, set Camera to ISO200 or 400 in a larger room to maximize image quality. Set the shutter say 1/60 and open the lens up wide and see how you go. The camera should automatically adjust the flash output to match the required exposure as set by the aperture/iso setting.

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Brad Morris
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Re: using i-TTL flash
In reply to Beezodog, Feb 21, 2012

problem with auto ISO on the newer cameras (D300 and later) is that it assumes balanced fill flash usage all the time, meaning that you can potentially have a flash shot going off at ISO3200. Yes it will capture more of teh ambient light and great if that is what you really want but a problem if you are after a clean noise free image.

If you want to get some detail in the background when it is dim lighting, you would better off in i-TTL and not iTTL BL mode with a low ISO and dragging the shutter (having a long shutter speed). The flash will freeze the subject and the long shutter bring up the ambient exposure in the background.

Beezodog wrote:
http://www.beezodogsplace.com/2012/02/15/some-observations-on-i-ttl/

My experience with the Manual Mode was mixed. Auto ISO was what seemed to my eye to give the most pleasing images. There is a gallery of images in the posting that are what I am using to validate my response.

Brad Morris wrote:

I would suggest, If you are indoors in a dark room, that you try the camera in M mode, turn Auto ISO off, set Camera to ISO200 or 400 in a larger room to maximize image quality. Set the shutter say 1/60 and open the lens up wide and see how you go. The camera should automatically adjust the flash output to match the required exposure as set by the aperture/iso setting.

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Beezodog
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Re: using i-TTL flash
In reply to Beezodog, Feb 23, 2012

http://www.beezodogsplace.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/02/Nikon1-Flash-Settings.pdf

I spent some additional time tonight trying to determine why my use of M- Manual Exposure mode was not as satisfying as it might have been. I discovered that in my ignorance of the meaning of some of the indicators shown on the rear display I had overlooked the Exposure Indicator.

Part of the problem is depending on the ISO Sensitivity you choose none of the controls on the rear of the camera actually change the indicator. The reason for this is simply that the current ISO is woefully either too low or too high for the rear paddle button (upper right corner) to correct the exposure.

For instance in my kitchen a setting of ISO 200 or even ISO 400 is too low for evening photograph (9PM or later in February). The thing to do is adjust the Exposure Sensitivity upward to nearly ISO 1600. But you can tell which particular fixed setting is best by looking at the indicator.

After a few exposures it seems that the safest way to address this is to simply choose ISO A3200 and then set a sufficiently high shutter speed to stop action. This is when the preference used by the FIRMWARE engineers for the lowest possible ISO settings becomes understandable.

What they no doubt envision is that you will allow the camera to automatically detect the lowest useable ISO at time of exposure that is consistent with the threshold shutter speed you have chosen. In this context it all makes sense.

If you however insist on using a fixed sensitivity then you will need to consult the exposure indicator to ensure that you have reached a threshold ISO wherein your SB-N5 Speedlight can support an optimal exposure.

Beezodog wrote:
http://www.beezodogsplace.com/2012/02/15/some-observations-on-i-ttl/

My experience with the Manual Mode was mixed. Auto ISO was what seemed to my eye to give the most pleasing images. There is a gallery of images in the posting that are what I am using to validate my response.

Brad Morris wrote:

I would suggest, If you are indoors in a dark room, that you try the camera in M mode, turn Auto ISO off, set Camera to ISO200 or 400 in a larger room to maximize image quality. Set the shutter say 1/60 and open the lens up wide and see how you go. The camera should automatically adjust the flash output to match the required exposure as set by the aperture/iso setting.

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DonHD
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Re: using i-TTL flash
In reply to Brad Morris, Feb 23, 2012

All he said about TTL-BL vs just TTL is true for DX/FX cameras with the big flashes that have controls to select between the modes. The SB-5N has effectively no controls other than on/off. When you do turn it on, IT sets a shutterspeed floor of 1/60th. At that point Program, Shutter and Aperture all are the same, wide open at no longer than 1/60. It is still best to set your own ISO for flash and especially bounce flash. I agree manual ISO800 seems best.
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Seedeich
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Re: using i-TTL flash
In reply to DonHD, Feb 23, 2012

Actually you have a lot of control about the way the flash acts.
Usually I use it in S mode, auto ISO, fill flash, bounced or direct.

In this mode the aperture is wide open and I choose a suitable shutter-speed and let the camera choose ISO to expose for the ambient light. I also choose exposure comp to my liking.

I choose with the flash comp how much light the flash adds to the scene, either direct or bounced.

If I shoot jumping children etc in low light and choose a relatively long shutter-speed, I set the flash to rear sync to get the motion blur behind the motion.

Not sure how the flash acts in A and P mode, but you’re not stuck to 1/60. You can shoot in slow sync rear shutter.

If you understand how to mix ambient and flash light, you’re actually in full control of what the flash does and have lots of possible ways to work with it.

I’ve never before used a flash as much as with the V1. It’s so easy to put on the camera and since I usually shoot S, auto ISO, I usually only have to dial in a flash comp if necessary.
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Brad Morris
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Re: using i-TTL flash
In reply to DonHD, Feb 24, 2012

What I said is also true for the pop up flash in the DSLRs

DonHD wrote:

All he said about TTL-BL vs just TTL is true for DX/FX cameras with the big flashes that have controls to select between the modes. The SB-5N has effectively no controls other than on/off. When you do turn it on, IT sets a shutterspeed floor of 1/60th. At that point Program, Shutter and Aperture all are the same, wide open at no longer than 1/60. It is still best to set your own ISO for flash and especially bounce flash. I agree manual ISO800 seems best.
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