Should I go TTL or Manual w/Lightmeter?

Started May 7, 2013 | Discussions
andrewsn00
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Should I go TTL or Manual w/Lightmeter?
May 7, 2013

Hey,

I plan on getting a Quantum T5DR setup soon as I like the light output and I'm pondering what wireless triggering to use. I use a D800E.

I currently have a Sekonic light meter w/pocket wizard triggering built in.

I was pondering whether to get two PW Plus III's, and use them to trigger the Quantum, with the light meter to figure out my exposure.

The other option is to go TTL with the Quantum Copilot+wireless trigger.

In the PW version it'll be manual exposure, which I don't know how to do, so it'll be a learning curve but naturally good knowledge for the future. The TTL is obviously more handy but camera specific.

What would y'all suggest?

Nikon D800E
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XavierP56
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Re: Should I go TTL or Manual w/Lightmeter?
In reply to andrewsn00, May 7, 2013

Go Manuel with your flashmeter.

fast, easy and more important very replicable and consistent. And you can prepare your setup without your model being there. Just meter and you are done.

ttl is great outdoor but often some ttl Exposure compensation is needed. You need your model, take a shot, check... less consistent and replicable than manuel.

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John Deerfield
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Re: Should I go TTL or Manual w/Lightmeter?
In reply to andrewsn00, May 7, 2013

Well, it's a very important question for a couple of reasons. First, I think it is a very, very good idea that you learn how manual flash works regardless of how you eventually decide to trigger the lights. This knowledge will come in handy even when using TTL. Just as a camera wants to make a white dress gray, a TTL controlled flash will want to make a white dress gray... for the same reasons. In TTL, you dial up the flash exposure compensation. In manual flash, especially using a light meter, there isn't any doubt to begin with as the meter measures the light falling on the subject, not reflected back at it. So there is no need to "compensate". In any event, the knowledge is useful no matter what.

Another reason is that you can save yourself a boatload of money if you can make do without TTL. There are a LOT of more powerful flashes for far less money than the Quantum flashes... provided you don't need TTL. So it could potentially save you some money. Only you can decide if you need TTL. For me, I use TTL whenever the flash to subject distance varies quickly. TTL will figure this out. For times when flash to subject distance remains more constant, you will get more consistent and predictable results using the flash manually.

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Lawrence Keeney
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Re: Should I go TTL or Manual w/Lightmeter?
In reply to John Deerfield, May 7, 2013

I use a flash meter and shoot manual about 98% of the time. It is much more reliable that TTL, in my opinion.

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UKphotographers
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Re: Should I go TTL or Manual w/Lightmeter?
In reply to andrewsn00, May 7, 2013

This is a Quantum FW7Q:

Quantum FW7Q integrated Radio Receiver with TTL - no batteries required

This neat device plugs into the side of a T5d-R and will receive Manual output adjustments, TTL output adjustments, or just plain radio triggering, it doesn't use batteries and doesn't clatter around your flash like a monkey on a swing.

All Quantums should have one of these as well as the associated radio commanders in order to realise their full potential.

Combined with a CoPilot you can explore Manual output control or TTL.

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andrewsn00
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Re: Should I go TTL or Manual w/Lightmeter?
In reply to Lawrence Keeney, May 7, 2013

Thanks for the replies y'all. Are we talking a strong learning curve here? I've always been a TTL guy in the past, I understand light conceptually, but obviously I need to nail it technically in this case.

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andrewsn00
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Re: Should I go TTL or Manual w/Lightmeter?
In reply to UKphotographers, May 7, 2013

Aye, that's the combo I was looking at for TTL control, and certainly it can do manual too.

The thing is how would it trigger the meter I have? The Sekonic triggers PW's but if it's not triggering the Quantum gear then presumably it's need another one of these in the meter to get that going, which becomes a different set of stuff, hence why I was perceiving this as a TTL device.

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UKphotographers
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Re: Should I go TTL or Manual w/Lightmeter?
In reply to andrewsn00, May 8, 2013

I just want to check how steep might this learning curve be... Did you buy a meter before you bought any lights?

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Lawrence Keeney
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Re: Should I go TTL or Manual w/Lightmeter?
In reply to andrewsn00, May 8, 2013

andrewsn00 wrote:

Thanks for the replies y'all. Are we talking a strong learning curve here? I've always been a TTL guy in the past, I understand light conceptually, but obviously I need to nail it technically in this case.

I don't think there is much of a learning curve to using a light meter as long as you understand what the aperture, shutter speed, and ISO are, and how they interact with each other.

If you are a photographer, you should understand this even if you don't use a light meter.

When it comes to mixing ambient light and flash, it is a little more difficult, but someone could easily explain this in a few minutes. There are many good videos on the internet that cover using light meters.

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John Deerfield
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Re: Should I go TTL or Manual w/Lightmeter?
In reply to andrewsn00, May 8, 2013

andrewsn00 wrote:

Aye, that's the combo I was looking at for TTL control, and certainly it can do manual too.

The thing is how would it trigger the meter I have? The Sekonic triggers PW's but if it's not triggering the Quantum gear then presumably it's need another one of these in the meter to get that going, which becomes a different set of stuff, hence why I was perceiving this as a TTL device.

I'm lost. First, a light meter is next to impossible to use with a TTL flash. Not that it can't be done, but it certainly can't be done easily. You have to remember, TTL flash is using the camera metering and pre-flash system to determine what the flash output should be. So you would need to have some method of tripping the camera shutter while standing with the light meter where the subject is to get a light meter reading. From there you could dial in flash exposure compensation and repeat but as we have pointed out earlier in the thread, TTL isn't going to be consistent because there is no way of predicting how the subject will interact with the pre-flash and thus changing the flash exposure. This is why manual flash will be more consistent. With manual flash, you stand where your subject is, you trigger the flash (either with something like the PW built in trigger or using whatever you "trigger" you are using to trigger the flashes and having the light meter in "flash" mode). Now there are various ways to use the light meter insomuch as where to point the dome. Masters of Lighting (such as the late great Dean Collins) will tell you to point the dome towards the light source. Others will tell you to point the dome towards the camera. It's a matter of whatever works for you and knowing why you are doing it one way versus another.

The big question is... what are you shooting? Weddings? Portraits? Products? In any reasonably controlled situation, you don't want TTL... for all the reasons we have pointed out. But if you need it, you need it!

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andrewsn00
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Re: Should I go TTL or Manual w/Lightmeter?
In reply to UKphotographers, May 8, 2013

Yup, I have a Sekonic L-478DR that I got b/c I also shoot video and plumped for the PW bit as I was planning this potential move for a while.

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XavierP56
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Re: Should I go TTL or Manual w/Lightmeter?
In reply to andrewsn00, May 8, 2013

Learning curve : Super easy. Look at sekonic videos on their site.

The flashmeter will detect the flash. Set the ISO on the Flashmeter. Simply trigger your flash and you're done. It will give you the aperture to use. Can't be easier.

Perfect results, always.

Manuel is way to go in controlled environment if flash / subject distance does not change.

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CraigBennett
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Re: Should I go TTL or Manual w/Lightmeter?
In reply to andrewsn00, May 8, 2013

andrewsn00 wrote:

Hey,

I plan on getting a Quantum T5DR setup soon as I like the light output and I'm pondering what wireless triggering to use. I use a D800E.

I currently have a Sekonic light meter w/pocket wizard triggering built in.

I was pondering whether to get two PW Plus III's, and use them to trigger the Quantum, with the light meter to figure out my exposure.

The other option is to go TTL with the Quantum Copilot+wireless trigger.

In the PW version it'll be manual exposure, which I don't know how to do, so it'll be a learning curve but naturally good knowledge for the future. The TTL is obviously more handy but camera specific.

What would y'all suggest?

What are you using it for?  Do you have any Nikon Speedlights now?

I have two Nikon D800e's, one Nikon D90, two SB-910's and one SB-900.  I also have the Sekonic L478DR, PocketWizard FlexTT5, MiniTT1, and AC3 controller.  I use mine for indoor/outdoor photo sessions, weddings and events.

Understand the Sekonic L-478DR will control some strobes perfectly if they support PocketWizard adapters and their ControlTL or as you point out, in simple trigger mode (no control of power) with a compatible receiver or a wired sync cord.  It is a very good lightmeter.

You cannot use your L-478DR to set or measure TTL flash.  It is impossible, so if you want to use your light meter, it needs to be a manual system of some type.

The question with the lightmeter usage boils down to if you want to take advantage of the L-478DR for power control and/or basic trigger.  If  so, than you need to look at a PocketWizard solution with any flash system you settle on.

I used to own a studio with a lot of light gear, which I sold when I relocated and started over recently.  So I took a fresh look at everything on the market before making my equipment choices.

1) I use mine L-478DR to set manual flash power levels with my Nikon Speedlights fitted with PocketWizard FlexTT5's.

2) I  use the D800e with the PocketWizards and the AC3 controller in full TTL mode using Nikon's CLS system and Speedlights, without the L-478DR.

3) I use a couple of low cost 600WS monolights, triggered with the FlexTT5's in simple radio trigger mode.  I trigger these lights with my L-478DR and with my D800e.  (No TTL, full manual)

For higher output than the Speedlights can achieve and have portability with full manual control and power tracking settable via camera using the PocketWizard FlexTT5 (or MiniTT1) with AC3 controller or the Sekonic L-478DR light meter.

I'm getting ready to order the following this week:

$499.95 E640,  $239.95 VM120,  $99.95 MC2-US,  $19.95 8.5HOR,  $14.95 7AB/R, $12.95 PCBBAG,  $14.95 VMBAG

Grand Total  $902.65

With the E640 and the MC2 you have full power control with power tracking that supports the PocketWizard's ContolTL protocol.  So you can set these with your L-478DR and trigger with a simple PocketWizard or use the more capable MiniTT1/FlexTT5/AC3 at the camera.

I fully agree with the other comments on using a flash meter to set your light(s).  It is fast, easy and repeatable.  TTL is alright, but I prefer to maintain full control of my lighting and camera settings.

The two main arguments I have against the Quantum's are:

1) Cost versus power

2) Maintenance cost for repairs over their life.

The flash speed and color WB of the Einstein flash is extremely good.  I have not seen better, even on units costing a whole lot more. (Now the Nikon Speedlights are a different story, the SB-910's are all over the place with regards to color temp.)

I like to buy American made products when available, so both Quantum and Paul C. Buff are there on that one.  And they both have been in business about the same amount of time (Quantum 1978, Buff 1980)

Quantum builds a solid product and they are flexible.  So are Nikon Speedlights, PocketWizards, and Paul C. Buff.

It goes back to what you currently own, what you want to do with it, and how much you want to spend to get there.

Regards,

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mbloof
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Does Nikon iTTL let you wirelessly control flash power levels?
In reply to andrewsn00, May 9, 2013

I don't know if the Nikon system can do this, but one of the bonuses of the Canon eTTL2 system is that I can control remote flash mode and the power of the flashes remotely from a in camera menu- pretty cool I don't have to be drop-raising light stands+modifiers.

eTTL + ratios + FEC or switch them to manual and set each group individually - all via the camera menu. The less expensive flashes without wireless TTL control can't do this - raise-lower light stands to get to the settings.

My 3 Canon EX speedlights allow me to use two bodies with flashes installed and have one spare in the bag.

I'd check if the iTTL system can do this sort of thing, for you it may be worth the extra cost if it can.

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UKphotographers
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Re: Should I go TTL or Manual w/Lightmeter?
In reply to CraigBennett, May 9, 2013

CraigBennett wrote:

I'm getting ready to order the following this week: ..........

<snip>

The two main arguments I have against the Quantum's are:

1) Cost versus power

2) Maintenance cost for repairs over their life.

When you eventually get a lighting system cobbled together by taking aspects from numerous different company's and you DO get a chance to experience the use of that and the "Maintenance cost for repairs over their life" - assuming you DO buy some lighting AND you do incur some cost over their lifetime... let us know what you find out after you have ACTUALLY used that system.

As an owner of about ten Quantum heads and having used them numerous times on numerous occasions in numerous locations, been soaked by rain and dunked in cement cyclones and them being battered around in cases over numerous miles travelling and erected and packed away again, again, again.. I will point out two things:

1) The TTL facility you seem fond to own by way of your 900 and 910 speedlight ownership continues with the Quantum system all the way up to 400Ws which you will lose with any other system forcing you into lighting decisions limited by your equipment (in)capabilities - and not by your choice. The Quantum's cost more - but for that you do ACTUALLY get more.

2) I've had one breakage over around six years with the Quantum's, the maintenance cost was $0 as I was supplied a spare part FOC. Had I in fact experienced some breakages in this time, then I would have felt them well deserved considering the use they get.

And good luck too.. my SB900 overheated BEFORE I even managed to use it on a shoot (in association with PW ControlTL). I've had, used and discarded both those in the past.

I might add that your approach is typical of lots of people going the... Speedlight.. another Speedlight.. another Speedlight.. TTL triggers.. more Speedlights.. add a studio flash.. route. Your limiting factor initially is your Speedlights' inadequate output - which you bought TTL triggers for.. then, based on your underpowered speedlights and your desire to compensate their inadequacies by increasing their output - you are now deciding your next purchase based on the radio solution to your original problem, your (inadequate) speedlights. I don't think thats a basis for any impartial look at any lighting requirements, its just a consequential result.

Cost?? Those PW's are expensive. It's a pity that none of them include a focus assist for that extra cost. It's a good job the D800e has a focus assit light on the body otherwise you'll forever need to use your SB9xx's on top of your transmitter to be able to focus on many occasions.

EDIT:

... "Colour white balance 'all over the place' with my SB910" - but I don't suppose you'll be proposing to use your E640 on your hotshoe when you get it, or relegating the 910's to the 'never use them bag' will you?

The SB910 equivalent in Quantum speak is the Trio. 80Ws, 150Ws, 200Ws, 400Ws Quantum versions are all the same colour balance.

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CraigBennett
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Re: Should I go TTL or Manual w/Lightmeter?
In reply to UKphotographers, May 9, 2013

UKphotographers wrote:

CraigBennett wrote:

I'm getting ready to order the following this week: ..........

<snip>

The two main arguments I have against the Quantum's are:

1) Cost versus power

2) Maintenance cost for repairs over their life.

When you eventually get a lighting system cobbled together by taking aspects from numerous different company's and you DO get a chance to experience the use of that and the "Maintenance cost for repairs over their life" - assuming you DO buy some lighting AND you do incur some cost over their lifetime... let us know what you find out after you have ACTUALLY used that system.

Most any photographer in business for a few years have a hobbled together collection of equipment.  I've been professional photographer since 1997, shooting since 1972...I have gear from 1936.  So what's your point?  I do not consider a select collection of equipment that works well together...hobbled together. (I owned a studio for 12 years, had a lot of light equipment...this is not new to me.)

I have seen no real negative reviews on Paul C Buff.  I am an electrical engineer as well (retired).  He brought low-cost, well build lighting equipment to the market place.  You and others sound like that is a sin.   The reviews I've seen on PCB's service department is outstanding, yet here and other boards, I see complaints on Quantum's service repair pricing and upfront costs.

As an owner of about ten Quantum heads and having used them numerous times on numerous occasions in numerous locations, been soaked by rain and dunked in cement cyclones and them being battered around in cases over numerous miles travelling and erected and packed away again, again, again.. I will point out two things:

Good.  I too used Speedlights for years with several different models working flawlessly with my Nikon cameras.  Never had one break or damaged along the way.  BTW, how did your camera fair in that environment?

1) The TTL facility you seem fond to own by way of your 900 and 910 speedlight ownership continues with the Quantum system all the way up to 400Ws which you will lose with any other system forcing you into lighting decisions limited by your equipment (in)capabilities - and not by your choice. The Quantum's cost more - but for that you do ACTUALLY get more.

Not that fond of TTL, but it has it's uses though.  Glad the Quantums carry that on.  When I need more than 400WS, I don't use TTL.  That was the question that the OP was asking.  There are many times I've used my 1200WS monolights with my trusty lightmeters.  To me, 400WS is limited as well, might as well use 4 or 5 speedlights.

I do not advocate that Speedlights are the only solution.  I think they fill a good niche and provide a good service for what they are designed to do.

2) I've had one breakage over around six years with the Quantum's, the maintenance cost was $0 as I was supplied a spare part FOC. Had I in fact experienced some breakages in this time, then I would have felt them well deserved considering the use they get.

That is good to know.

And good luck too.. my SB900 overheated BEFORE I even managed to use it on a shoot (in association with PW ControlTL). I've had, used and discarded both those in the past.

Yep, the SB-900 design is weak.  An external powerpack will stop that overheating though.  I much preferred the SB-800.   Same GN, if not a little more powerful.  My SB-910's are okay, alway use an external pack with them.

I might add that your approach is typical of lots of people going the... Speedlight.. another Speedlight.. another Speedlight.. TTL triggers.. more Speedlights.. add a studio flash.. route. Your limiting factor initially is your Speedlights' inadequate output - which you bought TTL triggers for.. then, based on your underpowered speedlights and your desire to compensate their inadequacies by increasing their output - you are now deciding your next purchase based on the radio solution to your original problem, your (inadequate) speedlights. I don't think thats a basis for any impartial look at any lighting requirements, its just a consequential result.

There is nothing wrong with Speedlights.  100k's have been sold and used everyday.  Far more than anything Quantum has sold.  Some of you sound like it is a sin to use one of these.  There is a point you must say no more to Speedlights though, and that point for me is 3.  When I need more power, I use my monolights.  Now, I will add an Einstein to my equipment list for 600WS of camera adjusted lighting.  It's portable, excellent color stability, darn fast switching, low cost....so what's wrong with this?

Some folks just need to have one system....and that seems to be you.  Nothing wrong with that, but you pay the price for that and you are locked into that one company's future.  I have three manufacture's light systems.....all work fine with each other.

Cost?? Those PW's are expensive. It's a pity that none of them include a focus assist for that extra cost. It's a good job the D800e has a focus assit light on the body otherwise you'll forever need to use your SB9xx's on top of your transmitter to be able to focus on many occasions.

Yep, they are costly, no argument there, so is Quantum.  That is not correct on focus assist,  I don't use focus assist,  I shoot with my Nikon in AF-C mode and Focus Assist is disabled in that mode.  I don't have a problem with the D800e focusing in almost complete darkness, but if I do, have a little LED light I always carry with me.

I would prefer to use only the SB-910 on my camera with no supplement lighting.  With high ISO, low noise camera's this is now possible.  This is the mode I am now working in.  So this is a mute argument.

EDIT:

... "Colour white balance 'all over the place' with my SB910" - but I don't suppose you'll be proposing to use your E640 on your hotshoe when you get it, or relegating the 910's to the 'never use them bag' will you?

A lot of it is the venue's I'm shooting, the wall paint used and my experimenting with high ISO with the Flashbender.  This week I plan to run a couple of tests to see if my SB-910's are really all over the place.  I suspect that the last venue I shot in and the fact that I choose not to light up the reception like daylight is the reason I had this issue.  It was easy enough to correct in post though.

The SB910 equivalent in Quantum speak is the Trio. 80Ws, 150Ws, 200Ws, 400Ws Quantum versions are all the same colour balance.

What's the spec's on their color balance?

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CraigBennett
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Re: Does Nikon iTTL let you wirelessly control flash power levels?
In reply to mbloof, May 9, 2013

mbloof wrote:

I don't know if the Nikon system can do this, but one of the bonuses of the Canon eTTL2 system is that I can control remote flash mode and the power of the flashes remotely from a in camera menu- pretty cool I don't have to be drop-raising light stands+modifiers.

eTTL + ratios + FEC or switch them to manual and set each group individually - all via the camera menu. The less expensive flashes without wireless TTL control can't do this - raise-lower light stands to get to the settings.

My 3 Canon EX speedlights allow me to use two bodies with flashes installed and have one spare in the bag.

I'd check if the iTTL system can do this sort of thing, for you it may be worth the extra cost if it can.

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Yes, very similar....Nikon's CLS flash system.  No radios needed (works the same with a radio) This is my point as well.  But the die hard's refuse to acknowledge this.

I can set my remote flashes using the CLS in TTL, A, Manual, or off.  Does not get any simpler than that.  And with the low noise, high ISO provided in our newer camera's, 2 external Speedlights setup in most all receptions are sufficient.  Even on-camera hotshoe flash seems to do a good job now.

Regards,

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mbloof
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Re: Does Nikon iTTL let you wirelessly control flash power levels?
In reply to CraigBennett, May 9, 2013

CraigBennett wrote:

Yes, very similar....Nikon's CLS flash system.  No radios needed (works the same with a radio) This is my point as well.  But the die hard's refuse to acknowledge this.

I can set my remote flashes using the CLS in TTL, A, Manual, or off.  Does not get any simpler than that.  And with the low noise, high ISO provided in our newer camera's, 2 external Speedlights setup in most all receptions are sufficient.  Even on-camera hotshoe flash seems to do a good job now.

Regards,

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I've only attended 2 weddings where the shooter had to resort to bringing up the rooms ambient with bounced monolight(s). Surely its style and venue dependent. The only other field use I've witnessed was in staged/formal settings.

While the DPR mantras of 'expose to the right' and 'manual' is the only acceptable camera/flash modes most of my shooting is candid which generally gives me <15sec to setup and fire off a shot leaving no time to play with power levels and other settings.

If the subject(s) don't notice me setting up the shot they surely notice once my flash(es) go off leaving me ~0-1 chance of getting another one off before the 'Kodak moment' expires or the subject gets bored.

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UKphotographers
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Re: Should I go TTL or Manual w/Lightmeter?
In reply to CraigBennett, May 9, 2013

CraigBennett wrote:

Most any photographer in business for a few years have a hobbled together collection of equipment.  I've been professional photographer since 1997, shooting since 1972...I have gear from 1936.  So what's your point?  I do not consider a select collection of equipment that works well together...hobbled together. (I owned a studio for 12 years, had a lot of light equipment...this is not new to me.)

You don't have it yet, you're not using it yet and so you're judging purely on hearsay and expectations. Its often a good idea to actually use stuff before recommending or condemning it.

I have seen no real negative reviews on Paul C Buff.  I am an electrical engineer as well (retired).  He brought low-cost, well build lighting equipment to the market place.  You and others sound like that is a sin.   The reviews I've seen on PCB's service department is outstanding, yet here and other boards, I see complaints on Quantum's service repair pricing and upfront costs.

And where would I have said anything like that? My point has been that you are assembling a system consisting of - different flash manufacturers and different radio manufacturers. You even go on to state that the lighting you 'don't have yet' will have better colour balance than what you already have. Point being? That what you don't have yet will be better than what you do have.. and..?

My point is - if you were to really think about it - you'd buy a lighting system which catered for all your needs with matching colour balance and all the modes you require so that you didn't need to compromise.

As an owner of about ten Quantum heads and having used them numerous times on numerous occasions in numerous locations, been soaked by rain and dunked in cement cyclones and them being battered around in cases over numerous miles travelling and erected and packed away again, again, again.. I will point out two things:

Good.  I too used Speedlights for years with several different models working flawlessly with my Nikon cameras.  Never had one break or damaged along the way.  BTW, how did your camera fair in that environment?

My cameras fair extremely well. My SB800's have too, but I dont complain about their colour balance, only their limited output.

1) The TTL facility you seem fond to own by way of your 900 and 910 speedlight ownership continues with the Quantum system all the way up to 400Ws which you will lose with any other system forcing you into lighting decisions limited by your equipment (in)capabilities - and not by your choice. The Quantum's cost more - but for that you do ACTUALLY get more.

Not that fond of TTL, but it has it's uses though.  Glad the Quantums carry that on.  When I need more than 400WS, I don't use TTL.  That was the question that the OP was asking.  There are many times I've used my 1200WS monolights with my trusty lightmeters.  To me, 400WS is limited as well, might as well use 4 or 5 speedlights.

I do not advocate that Speedlights are the only solution.  I think they fill a good niche and provide a good service for what they are designed to do.

The OP was asking about metering a 150Ws unit - a T5d-R. If you were to need more than 400Ws in TTL - you'd be pretty hard pressed to find such a thing as none exists. As to 4-5 speedlights together for TTL - your objection to Quantum equipment was expense, I thought your primary concern was keeping stuff cheap? 4-5 speedlights plus ancillaries to make them work don't fall into that category.

Yep, the SB-900 design is weak.  An external powerpack will stop that overheating though.  I much preferred the SB-800.   Same GN, if not a little more powerful.  My SB-910's are okay, alway use an external pack with them.

Trios never overheat.

"Same GN, if not a little more powerful" - You'll really have to explain that one.

I might add that your approach is typical of lots of people going the... Speedlight.. another Speedlight.. another Speedlight.. TTL triggers.. more Speedlights.. add a studio flash.. route. Your limiting factor initially is your Speedlights' inadequate output - which you bought TTL triggers for.. then, based on your underpowered speedlights and your desire to compensate their inadequacies by increasing their output - you are now deciding your next purchase based on the radio solution to your original problem, your (inadequate) speedlights. I don't think thats a basis for any impartial look at any lighting requirements, its just a consequential result.

There is nothing wrong with Speedlights.  100k's have been sold and used everyday.  Far more than anything Quantum has sold.  Some of you sound like it is a sin to use one of these.  There is a point you must say no more to Speedlights though, and that point for me is 3.  When I need more power, I use my monolights.  Now, I will add an Einstein to my equipment list for 600WS of camera adjusted lighting.  It's portable, excellent color stability, darn fast switching, low cost....so what's wrong with this?

Some folks just need to have one system....and that seems to be you.  Nothing wrong with that, but you pay the price for that and you are locked into that one company's future.  I have three manufacture's light systems.....all work fine with each other.

Nothing wrong with Speedlights apart from - basically underpowered - overheating - colour balance (your gripe) - expense to run a decent output with multiple units.. and the time, effort and expense it takes to set this up.

Speedlights are not a sin, they have their uses but there are far better lighting solutions available which don't leave you wanting after you've just bought the Speedlight.

Did I say I only had one system? I don't think I did. I use Quantum's on location for their output, portability and versatility. In the studio I use something completely different.

Your objections to Quantum were expense and reliability - So far, I'm seeing no evidence of this anywhere.

Cost?? Those PW's are expensive. It's a pity that none of them include a focus assist for that extra cost. It's a good job the D800e has a focus assit light on the body otherwise you'll forever need to use your SB9xx's on top of your transmitter to be able to focus on many occasions.

Yep, they are costly, no argument there, so is Quantum.  That is not correct on focus assist,  I don't use focus assist,  I shoot with my Nikon in AF-C mode and Focus Assist is disabled in that mode.  I don't have a problem with the D800e focusing in almost complete darkness, but if I do, have a little LED light I always carry with me.

I would prefer to use only the SB-910 on my camera with no supplement lighting.  With high ISO, low noise camera's this is now possible.  This is the mode I am now working in.  So this is a mute argument.

Yes, its useful to be able to change the 'mode' you work in. I chose to use Quantum's because I could chose the 'mode' I wanted to work in throughout a greater range of output and in whatever situation occurred. It seems that people like to quote their like of versatility when it suits them, yet ignore it when they don't have it.

That little LED light sounds cute, you should have words with PW to build one into their transmitters, you wouldn't need to carry one then. That'd be a really good and sensible idea.

SB910 in a hotshoe using an external battery - where does your radio go to trigger your new to arrive E640? Will you be needing to swap these out continually - or have you not thought about this yet?

EDIT:

... "Colour white balance 'all over the place' with my SB910" - but I don't suppose you'll be proposing to use your E640 on your hotshoe when you get it, or relegating the 910's to the 'never use them bag' will you?

A lot of it is the venue's I'm shooting, the wall paint used and my experimenting with high ISO with the Flashbender.  This week I plan to run a couple of tests to see if my SB-910's are really all over the place.  I suspect that the last venue I shot in and the fact that I choose not to light up the reception like daylight is the reason I had this issue.  It was easy enough to correct in post though.

The SB910 equivalent in Quantum speak is the Trio. 80Ws, 150Ws, 200Ws, 400Ws Quantum versions are all the same colour balance.

What's the spec's on their color balance?

The colour balance throughout the Quantum range is all the same.

After your statement about the colour balance of your SB910's being all over the place I'd have thought that you would have plotted their difference with a colour flash meter to calculate their variance. With what you're doing, I can see obviously this isn't the case and is purely user error on your part.

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Ian.
http://www.commercialphotographer.co.uk
Theres only one sun. Why do I need more than one light to get a natural result?

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You learn little about exposure with TTL
In reply to andrewsn00, May 11, 2013

TTL certainly has its place. But, get a perfect exposure and you'll have no insight into why it's perfect. You become a mere button pusher, adding and subtracting compensation until the histogram looks acceptable. That's no way to learn lighting and exposure.

For my portraiture, still life, macro, and product photography, it's all manual all the time. The light meter tells me what I need to know and I can choose the most appropriate lighting scenario and exposure. I can meter lights individually to set ratios and as a whole to establish overall exposure.

I've seen photographers who live by TTL also die by it. When TTL isn't working for some reason, they are completely lost, with no clue what to do. Shame on them for not learning manual lighting, metering, and exposure.

If TTL works for you, by all means go with it. I sometimes use TTL when I'm shooting with an on-camera flash (typically bouncing it off a nearby wall). But, to me, the only way to take total control of the situation and of all the lighting challenges and nuances, is with manual metering. YMMV. Good luck.

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