D5100..How to get decent flash photos??

Started 7 months ago | Questions
Kurt Kivig
Regular MemberPosts: 147
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D5100..How to get decent flash photos??
7 months ago

Hi all..

I have a D5100 and I have problems getting acceptable flash photos..

I use the inbuilt flash, and I have a sb400 as well.

When I take pictures with auto iso on, the camera chooses to use iso 6400 which makes the pictures way too grainy..

If I change the iso to 100 or 400, the pictures turn out to be way too dark

What can I do to get some decent pictures out of it??

Any help will be appreciated, thank you..

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Nikon D5100
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David Lal
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Re: D5100..How to get decent flash photos??
In reply to Kurt Kivig, 7 months ago

Kurt Kivig wrote:

I have a D5100 and I have problems getting acceptable flash photos..

I use the inbuilt flash, and I have a sb400 as well.

When I take pictures with auto iso on, the camera chooses to use iso 6400 which makes the pictures way too grainy..

If I change the iso to 100 or 400, the pictures turn out to be way too dark

What can I do to get some decent pictures out of it??

Any help will be appreciated, thank you..

Kurt, this is a much discussed issue. The first thing is to turn auto-ISO off for flash (and in fact, unless I have a very special reason I always leave it off but other people like it). This is because the Nikon algorithm with flash is peculiar in newer models.

Next, what sort of mode are you shooting in and over what distance? I think the guide number for the inbuilt flash is about 15m and for the SB400 21m. So, for common family type photos in an averaged sized room in a house, I'd be setting ISO=200 on the camera, aperture priority. I'd be setting about F=6.3, flash mode TTL for a subject at circa 2m distance for the inbuilt flash.

Try that and experiment from there. For nice flash images you need to be bouncing the flash off ceiling or walls - not easy with the popup and not that easy with the SB400 as it will only tilt but not swivel.

Search the forum - lots of info here.

David

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Kurt Kivig
Regular MemberPosts: 147
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Re: D5100..How to get decent flash photos??
In reply to David Lal, 7 months ago

Thanks David...I'll try your suggestions...

I usually use the P-mode..but I'll try the A mode...ty...

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s3nsit
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Re: D5100..How to get decent flash photos??
In reply to Kurt Kivig, 7 months ago

try experiment with iso 200 or 400 for a specific aperture in aperture priority mode. If photo appears blown up try 200 iso. To brighten the photo or a subject thats not near the camera try iso 400.

Keep in mind on your experiments that shutter time has no effect on your picture when flash is used as a primary light source. Aperture, iso and flash exposure only affect the picture. (Except if flash is used as fill in)

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blue_cheese
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Re: D5100..How to get decent flash photos??
In reply to Kurt Kivig, 7 months ago

Kurt Kivig wrote:

Thanks David...I'll try your suggestions...

I usually use the P-mode..but I'll try the A mode...ty...

Most of my flash photos are shot in M mode, you manually set shutter, aperture, and ISO for ambient light and motion/blur effect you desire then use the flash in TTL mode to expose the subject properly. The more variables the camera has to work with, the less likely it will guess correctly the result you desire.

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David Lal
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In reply to blue_cheese, 7 months ago

blue_cheese wrote:

Most of my flash photos are shot in M mode, you manually set shutter, aperture, and ISO for ambient light and motion/blur effect you desire then use the flash in TTL mode to expose the subject properly. The more variables the camera has to work with, the less likely it will guess correctly the result you desire.

Yes, I also am a fan of manual mode for flash: both in regards the camera and the flashgun (which rather raises question marks in respect of expensive SBX000 series guns?). That's a big jump for Kurt though who says he's been using P-mode.

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blue_cheese
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Re: D5100..How to get decent flash photos??
In reply to s3nsit, 7 months ago

s3nsit wrote:

Keep in mind on your experiments that shutter time has no effect on your picture when flash is used as a primary light source.

That is absolutely incorrect, shutter affects the overall picture just the way it would if there were no flash. The flash is just massive blast of light added in, controlling that light (how much of it, where it comes from, where it goes, when it goes is what is at play here)

Shutter controls the amount of ambient light that gets in and you can use it to completely eliminate background or show it in really dark situations, furthermore slow shutter and sufficient ambient light will create light trails or motion trails on your subject in cases where flash is not set to rear curtain the trail will leave the subject and move forward with motion.

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daviddavis71
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Re: D5100..How to get decent flash photos??
In reply to Kurt Kivig, 7 months ago

Kurt

I am relatively new to the dSLR.  I have the D5200.  At first, I set the camera to auto and used the built in flash and got some great snap shots of my dog inside my house.  When I purchased an external flash YN5** flash, I had a hard time with it at first.  My suggestions:

Experiment.  That is great thing about digital, there is no incremental cost to play around and try different settings

For ease of learning - There is a max shutter speed when using a flash.  It is either 1/200 or 1/250, I cant recall on the D5100.  So set the camera to manual, set the shutter speed to 1/200 and play with ISO and aperture.  Remember there are also power settings on the flash that can be adjusted.

Make sure the camera is shooting raw and auto white balance (you can make many more corrections in post)

I mess around with my dog and objects around the house just to see how it will all turn out.  Then if I need to shoot for real, I take a couple of test shots and make appropriate corrections.

David

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EmgDC
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Re: D5100..How to get decent flash photos??
In reply to daviddavis71, 7 months ago

if ISO 6400 is too grainy set the max auto ISP value to 1600 or 3200 in the shooting menu

You might also experiment with the slow or rear flash settings so that the background is not underexposed

also try setting the flash compensation to -1.3 or -1.7 so that the foreground is not overexposed relative to the background

lastly try bouncing (aim the sb400 flash toward the ceiling)

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