Flash in Manual Mode

Started Dec 15, 2007 | Discussions
MarvC
MarvC Senior Member • Posts: 1,670
Flash in Manual Mode

I do a lot of shooting with the SB 800 and now the D300 combination and have a quick question about shooting flash in the Manual mode.

It is my understanding that the SB 800 in the TTL mode for indoor shooting will monitor the flash output when shooting in the Manual Model.

I shoot at f5.6 - 6.3 with a shutter speed of 1/60 - 1/80 (group shots no sports on this one) using spot and or average mode. Last night I had 10 shots with blown highlights at the same distances (no change in ambient lighting) but the others were exposed properly????
Flash compensation did not change in the above shots.

My question do most shoot flash in Manual Mode on your cams? I do know some shoot in aperture mode doing indoor photography and using TTL on the Sb 800.

Many Thanks,
MarvC

 MarvC's gear list:MarvC's gear list
Nikon D500 Tamron SP 70-300mm F4-5.6 Di VC USD Tamron SP 70-200 F2.8 G2 Tamron 35-150mm F2.8-4
Jhaas Regular Member • Posts: 252
Re: Flash in Manual Mode

MarvC wrote:

I do a lot of shooting with the SB 800 and now the D300 combination
and have a quick question about shooting flash in the Manual mode.
It is my understanding that the SB 800 in the TTL mode for indoor
shooting will monitor the flash output when shooting in the Manual
Model.
I shoot at f5.6 - 6.3 with a shutter speed of 1/60 - 1/80 (group
shots no sports on this one) using spot and or average mode. Last
night I had 10 shots with blown highlights at the same distances (no
change in ambient lighting) but the others were exposed properly????
Flash compensation did not change in the above shots.

My question do most shoot flash in Manual Mode on your cams? I do
know some shoot in aperture mode doing indoor photography and using
TTL on the Sb 800.

Many Thanks,
MarvC

Hi there Marv!

Something seems fishy here, flash compensation should affect in the scenarios you described above.

If you choose aperturemode you will most likely shooting with too slow shutter to keep things in order...
Can you post some examples so we can help you solve this matter?
I think that there is something "wrong" in the way you meter the shots...
Jussi

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It's hard to stay mad when there's so much beauty in the world!

dbvand Senior Member • Posts: 1,915
Re: Flash in Manual Mode

I have seen inconsistencies in the exposures of different shots using flash with my D200 even when nothing changed, including the subject.

If you haven't checked out this site, you really need to.

http://www.strobist.blogspot.com/

They're all about using manual flash and have a huge following of readers and participants.

I'd recommend going through the Lighting 101 and 102 tutorials as well as reading through the archives. There's a wealth of information there.

-- hide signature --

Bryan V.
P.S. I've had amnesia for as long as I can remember.

carauction Veteran Member • Posts: 6,647
Re: Flash in Manual Mode

MarvC wrote:

I do a lot of shooting with the SB 800 and now the D300 combination
and have a quick question about shooting flash in the Manual mode.
It is my understanding that the SB 800 in the TTL mode for indoor
shooting will monitor the flash output when shooting in the Manual
Model.
I shoot at f5.6 - 6.3 with a shutter speed of 1/60 - 1/80 (group
shots no sports on this one) using spot and or average mode. Last
night I had 10 shots with blown highlights at the same distances (no
change in ambient lighting) but the others were exposed properly????
Flash compensation did not change in the above shots.

My question do most shoot flash in Manual Mode on your cams? I do
know some shoot in aperture mode doing indoor photography and using
TTL on the Sb 800.

Couple of questions.

1)Did you check what your ISO was at.(can't tell you how many times I left my ISO too high & shot manual w/my SB800)
2)Was your ambient lighting LIGHT ENOUGH to actually warrant flash.
3)Did you bounce or shoot the flash head direct.

Mike

valeriecook Contributing Member • Posts: 942
Re: Flash in Manual Mode

Hi - I use manual + TTL (Sam Stern's settings) with good repeatable results. The only tweak I really make is to open up my aperture to 2.8 (will close it down if I am concerned about dof being too much - but 2.8 really saves my batteries) and I also use a Lightsphere. I shot about 130 flash shots at my son's school dance last night with my D300, 17-55 2.8 and SB-800 and there was really only 1 that was over exposed and it was b/c I was too close to the subjects. I had fun shooting the kids and lots of them will be in the yearbook. Gym lighting is somewhat similar to reception style lighting (dark!) - so it was good practice.
I love the big screen and the wonderful much easier zoom function on the D300!
Here are a couple of examples - they have been cropped and downsized.

By the way the boy in the black shirt and tan pants is my son - isn't he handsome!!! (-:

Focal Length 20 mm
Exposure Time 1/125 sec
Aperture f/3.5
ISO Equivalent 400

Focal Length 44 mm
Exposure Time 1/125 sec
Aperture f/2.8
ISO Equivalent 400

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Val
http://www.pbase.com/valphotostudent

'Life is a lemon and I want my money back'

MarvC
OP MarvC Senior Member • Posts: 1,670
Re: Flash in Manual Mode

I also use Sams suggestions and have never really had an experience on the D200 such as this.

I was at ISO 400 which should allow the camera to lower the flash output to accommodate distance from the subject without completely blowing the highlights.

This was my first serious outing with the camera and using the 70-200 f2.8 VR under flash conditions for the first time I am hoping mosl like user error on my part.

 MarvC's gear list:MarvC's gear list
Nikon D500 Tamron SP 70-300mm F4-5.6 Di VC USD Tamron SP 70-200 F2.8 G2 Tamron 35-150mm F2.8-4
MarvC
OP MarvC Senior Member • Posts: 1,670
Re: Flash in Manual Mode

Ran out of editing time on the post.

The family is rather sensitive about sharing shots on the forum I included a few off topic shots which show normal exposure.
I took a total of 85 photos of which 10 were overexposed.

I included an example out of the camera shot at ISO 200 , F4 and 1/80 second spot metered off the face.
This just has me bewildered??

Normal exposed shots just a little tweaking is needed. 70-200 mm VR

Then switched to the 18-70mm Nikon many good shots then this on ten of the photos?

Mnay thanks for your thoughts and please if you see anything please post.

 MarvC's gear list:MarvC's gear list
Nikon D500 Tamron SP 70-300mm F4-5.6 Di VC USD Tamron SP 70-200 F2.8 G2 Tamron 35-150mm F2.8-4
Jhaas Regular Member • Posts: 252
Re: Flash in Manual Mode

MarvC wrote:

Ran out of editing time on the post.

The family is rather sensitive about sharing shots on the forum I
included a few off topic shots which show normal exposure.
I took a total of 85 photos of which 10 were overexposed.
I included an example out of the camera shot at ISO 200 , F4 and 1/80
second spot metered off the face.
This just has me bewildered??

Normal exposed shots just a little tweaking is needed. 70-200 mm VR

Then switched to the 18-70mm Nikon many good shots then this on ten
of the photos?

Mnay thanks for your thoughts and please if you see anything please
post.

Ok Marv!!

Ill try, did you use a/e lock when you metered as you mentioned from subjects faces??

Only the last pic is nowhere near what it should be,it seems rather odd result from spot metering from faces...
Few more questions to come?
Could you share the methods you used metering these pics?
Was it just spot metering from faces/lock value/ frame again and shoot?
Or something totally different?

Jussi

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It's hard to stay mad when there's so much beauty in the world!

larsbc Forum Pro • Posts: 15,654
Re: Flash in Manual Mode

MarvC wrote:

Ran out of editing time on the post.

The family is rather sensitive about sharing shots on the forum I
included a few off topic shots which show normal exposure.
I took a total of 85 photos of which 10 were overexposed.
I included an example out of the camera shot at ISO 200 , F4 and 1/80
second spot metered off the face.
This just has me bewildered??

Normal exposed shots just a little tweaking is needed. 70-200 mm VR

[snip]

Then switched to the 18-70mm Nikon many good shots then this on ten
of the photos?

[snip]

Mnay thanks for your thoughts and please if you see anything please
post.

Quite likely it is due to you use spot metering mode and not having the spot on a middle grey subject. In that last photo, where was the active spot when you took the photo? The large areas of darkness (graduation robes and dark background) make it a likely bet that the spot was not on either of the subjects' faces.

Remember, if you af lock and then recompose, it may lock your ambient exposure reading but it won't lock your flash exposure reading. The flash exposure is calculated only when you press the shutter button causing the monitor pre-flash to fire. So if you want to use spot metering and have the ability to lock and recompose, you should be using fv-lock.

larsbc

lopoz Regular Member • Posts: 355
Re: Flash in Manual Mode

To me it seems like you spotmetered the faces and then recomposed, making the metering point (from which the flash will then meter using the monitoring pre-flash) rest on a dark area and thus flash with too much power.

Use FV Lock to pre-flash on the face and then recompose.

[edit]
@larsbc: you beat me to it
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capturing emotions on-stage

samjstern
samjstern Veteran Member • Posts: 7,009
MarvC,...

try three things for me.

1. Change to matrix metering on the camera.
2. Make sure the flash is in TTL mode not TTL BL

3. Put on the plastic diffuser that came with the SB-800 and tilt up the flash head 1 click

On the last picture you were up really close. The SB-800 tends to overexpose when up close., PLUS the girls were wearing black. That is a red flag for overexposure.

Learn to adjust your shots by using the flash comp on the back of the flash.
--
Sam
http://www.samjsternphotography.com

 samjstern's gear list:samjstern's gear list
Nikon D70s Nikon D750 Nikon AF-S Nikkor 70-200mm f/2.8G ED VR Nikon AF-S Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8G ED Nikon AF-S Nikkor 50mm f/1.4G +15 more
Jhaas Regular Member • Posts: 252
Re: Flash in Manual Mode

took the words out of my mouth!
I think that is what heppened too...
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It's hard to stay mad when there's so much beauty in the world!

MarvC
OP MarvC Senior Member • Posts: 1,670
Re: MarvC,...

I backtracked last night and I do believe that is wht happened of the few blown photos.

The ones that were overexposed were hurried. It was raining and everyone was seeking some form of shelter it was so crowded in the area we were where these shots were taken it was timing to snap a photo in between someone walking in front of the camera.

I might have moved when doing the spot metering and metered off the darker robe or totally recomposed the shot without locking the exposure this is the only thing I can come up.

I have plenty of shots from inside which will serve the purpose of the graduation it is just my hit ratio out of doors was very good until these popped their head up.
I am reading all the responses and considering everything.

Many Thanks,
MarvC

 MarvC's gear list:MarvC's gear list
Nikon D500 Tamron SP 70-300mm F4-5.6 Di VC USD Tamron SP 70-200 F2.8 G2 Tamron 35-150mm F2.8-4
lopoz Regular Member • Posts: 355
Re: MarvC,...

Flash exposure and ambient exposure are two different things..

Even if you use AE-Lock, your flash will still determine it's own exposure. It'll do so by using the pre-flash, metering the subject that is under the currently selected focus point (in spot metering, that is).

You must use FV-Lock if you recompose after focussing to get correct flash exposure.

[edit]

After reading your post I wasn't sure if you were distinguishing AE lock and FV lock, I apologize if you already understood that..
--
http://www.stageshots.nl
capturing emotions on-stage

lmpmd Veteran Member • Posts: 3,080
Re: MarvC,...

Sam, correct me if I'm wrong, but with the flash in TTl and the camera on spot metering, I believe the camera measures the scene and not the spot. I will post a reference on this.

http://forums.dpreview.com/forums/read.asp?forum=1030&message=19700420

http://forums.dpreview.com/forums/read.asp?forum=1034&message=17036393

http://forums.dpreview.com/forums/read.asp?forum=1034&message=17265008

So in spot metering, with flash, it's really not critical if the spot is aimed as someones black tie or 3 inches away at his white shirt. Which is good, cause this would cause a disaster.

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Larry

samjstern
samjstern Veteran Member • Posts: 7,009
Larry, that is why

I tell people to use manual mode on the camera with matrix metering.
--
Sam
http://www.samjsternphotography.com

 samjstern's gear list:samjstern's gear list
Nikon D70s Nikon D750 Nikon AF-S Nikkor 70-200mm f/2.8G ED VR Nikon AF-S Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8G ED Nikon AF-S Nikkor 50mm f/1.4G +15 more
larsbc Forum Pro • Posts: 15,654
Re: MarvC,...

lmpmd wrote:

Sam, correct me if I'm wrong, but with the flash in TTl and the
camera on spot metering, I believe the camera measures the scene and
not the spot. I will post a reference on this.

http://forums.dpreview.com/forums/read.asp?forum=1030&message=19700420

http://forums.dpreview.com/forums/read.asp?forum=1034&message=17036393

http://forums.dpreview.com/forums/read.asp?forum=1034&message=17265008

So in spot metering, with flash, it's really not critical if the spot
is aimed as someones black tie or 3 inches away at his white shirt.
Which is good, cause this would cause a disaster.

You're right. I forgot about that. I also forgot about some tests I did a while back where switching btwn spot and matrix with flash metering didn't yield significantly different exposures. However, I DID notice a difference btwn matrix vs spot flash metering if I was using a non-D lens. BTW, my tests were conducted with a dark center subject against a light coloured background and with spot metering on, it definitely behaved as though it were heavily biasing the exposure based on the center spot. But again, this was only noticeable with my non-D lens.

So, to the OP, what lens were you using? The EXIF says 31 or 32mm so I presume it's a zoom and is probably a D type.

larsbc

lopoz Regular Member • Posts: 355
Re: MarvC,...

lmpmd wrote:
snip

So in spot metering, with flash, it's really not critical if the spot
is aimed as someones black tie or 3 inches away at his white shirt.
Which is good, cause this would cause a disaster.

snip

You really think so? If the flash would use spot metering, you could expose correctly by using the pre-flash on someones face and not worry about black/light clothing when recomposing. Now you have to take into account someones clothing when exposing for flash (which means you'd have to change your FV on the flash)
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capturing emotions on-stage

MarvC
OP MarvC Senior Member • Posts: 1,670
Re: MarvC,...

Thia lens was the 18-70mm D Nikor old reliable. The thing about matrix vs spot metering and the metering area raises a few questions.

The background as well as capes were very dark but I metered off the face for the shots.

I have not had results such as this in the past with the D200. The camera in manual mode should meter and the flash output should be adjusted accordingly.
The indoor shots were using the 70-200mm VR lens.

This just threw me the histograms was major to the left possibly for the dark underexposed background??

 MarvC's gear list:MarvC's gear list
Nikon D500 Tamron SP 70-300mm F4-5.6 Di VC USD Tamron SP 70-200 F2.8 G2 Tamron 35-150mm F2.8-4
lopoz Regular Member • Posts: 355
Re: MarvC,...

I just did a quick test:

Scene: Black 70-200 pouch with a white sheet of paper next to it.
( I'm using a D80 and a SB-600, Flash Exposure Value set to 0)

Composition in viewfinder is half of the black pouch, half on the sheet of paper.

Camera in Matrix Metering:

Switched focus point to sheet of paper and preflashed. Put focus point back to center and took the shot.

Switched focus to black pouch and pre-flashed. Focus point back to center and shot.

The picture metered off the white piece of paper was darker than the picture metered off the black pouch, even though the scene was exactly the same both times (keep in mind I didn't change composition, just shifted the focus point around, so to the matrix metering the scene was the same). This would mean that either: the flash is putting more emphasis on the spot under the focus point (in matrix metering) OR the flash metering is done with spot metering.

Camera in Spot Metering:
Same routine, same outcome as camera in Matrix Metering.

The flash exposure is calculated in the same way in both Matrix Metering and Spot Metering, that much is sure (to me).
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http://www.stageshots.nl
capturing emotions on-stage

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