Using a Nikon D40 with external flash. Shutter speed issues
Do you have this problem with the D40's pop up flash?
Nikon DSLRs commonly have a "flash shutter speed" which is used as a minimum shutter speed in A and P modes when flash use is detected. Default value is 1/60 sec and your shutter should normally not have gone slower than this. (up level models allow overriding the default, D40 apparently not)
I suggest you try both the yn 560 and the pop up on the same low light scene in A mode (auto ISO off) and compare results. The pop up shot should result in 1/60 sec shutter speed. Compare this to the yn 560 shot shutter speed. They should be the same.
I bought a new flash last week and started using it with my Nikon D40 yesterday. The flash is the yongnuo yn-560 ii.
I had a tough time to photoshoot. I was indoors and shooting on A mode.
Many times the shutter was slow (adapting to the lack of light) and it seemed to me it was assuming I was using no flash. The flash was lighting properly and perfectly synced, but the shutter was still slow so most of my pics were blur because of the motion.
Is there any way I have to set up my D40 so it knows there is a flash and shoots fast? I am trying to avoid using the S mode.
What John has described is the correct operation for the D40 with a default value of 1/60 sec in A mode. Are you sure the yn-560 is compatible with the D40 ? or perhaps 1/60 sec is not fast enough and you are getting motion blur. You don't say what focal length lens you are using but at 1/60 sec I would not use a lens longer than 50mm. If your lens focal length is longer you will need to use S or M and select a faster shutter speed.
As a check I used my D40 set to A with an SB-600 flash, in a low light situation and the camera selected 1/60th sec. The result was the images taken with both the SB-600 and pop up flash were the same (of course if the subject was at a distance exceeding the power of the pop up then the result would have been different).
If you need to have a faster shutter speed, I would use M, set the shutter speed and aperture you what you want and let the flash adjust it's power to give the correct exposure.
Advice is what we ask for when we already know the answer, but wish we didn't - Erica Jong:
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