The Art of the Manual Flash

Started Jun 9, 2013 | Discussions thread
Zeee Forum Pro • Posts: 16,592
Re: All/Pure Manual Flash is workable for an event

UKphotographers wrote:

NYCphotoman wrote:

You stated that manual flash is totally unworkable for an event which is absolutely not correct. I know a lot of event photographers around here who use manual flash all the time. The funny thing is usually the older photographers in their 60s cruise around on full manual while the younger more energetic guys go with TTL/Auto modes. What did they do in weddings during the 60s, 70s, 80s and 90s without the benefit of ETTL-II? Think about it.

They all shot negative and printed it to suit.

Also, they didn't have the problem of mixing images shot with zoom lenses adjusting flashes and changing GN's. Their flash had only a fixed angle of coverage and fixed GN. Usually the lens was a fixed focal length as well - determining a fixed distance from subject - resulting in the same exposure each time, and indoors they also used Auto.

Auto is highly effective. It isn't as easily fooled by subject brightness like TTL is by black tux's or white/light dresses falling in the wrong place in the frame. Today, Auto can be helped by setting a sensor limit so that you don't overexpose your subjects if your flash decides you are wanting to light the whole room rather than just your subjects. Set it to 12 feet at an event and most situations are covered.

Yep. In TTL evaluative mode (flash menu, not camera metering) the metering zones compare ambient to the pre flash, isolates the closets object which is typically the subject and determines the correct output based reflected light from the subject. Thus the overexposing of the tux or underexposing of the white dress.

If you use Average (again flash menus) the system meters the entire scene. So if a white dress is in the frame there will more than likely some darker areas around it. Some people say it is more accurate indoors but not very good for outdoors or very big very venues like a convention centre.

The last is stop metering which is accomplished via Flash Exposure Lock. I did not like it because people thought the first flash was the actual picture.

I had a Metz 58 AF2 flash and Auto was insanely accurate. Only problem was being a high ISO shooter I would get the overexposure warning at 3200 or even 1600 depending on the aperture. I discovered that unlike ETTL in Auto the flash fires at full power and when the flash determines the exposure is it shuts the tubes off. It has to take into account those tubes have to drain as well. If it figures they will not have enough time to shut off and drain without overexposing you get the warning. In ETTL the pre flash pre determines flash power.

I had Canon 580's, Metz, Yongnuo and PCB triggers. I sold it all, purchased 3 x 600 RT and an ST-E3-RT and have not looked back. I have yet to test the Auto on a 600. So much easier working with one system now.

Why not multi-TTL? Subject TTL and background TTL work fine together, you can even set a ratio or mix a manual background with a TTL subject. Having background lit by one lighting setup and subject by another means that your subject lighting isn't trying to light the background at the same time resulting in blown subjects.

Most crappy event images are the result of flat lighting. Off camera flash helps, with on camera fill and a shutter speed to allow some background interest or even as already suggested add some light there yourself.

You can use Manual OK, but it would be as problematic as TTL or Auto could be.

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Theres only one sun. Why do I need more than one light to get a natural result?

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