A flash decision - do I need TTL?

Started Jan 13, 2013 | Discussions
Tckay Contributing Member • Posts: 569
A flash decision - do I need TTL?
1

Hi,

Im just beginning to use flash. I have an A57 and currently use the onboard flash with a self made bounce card. I would like an external flash and can't decide between the Yongnuo 560ii or the Metz 50 Af-1, the difference between them is that the Yongnuo is half the price (£55 vs £129) but does not have TTL capability.

As a beginner i'm interested to know how necessary others find this function. I genreally photograph my chiidren/pets, indoors with large aperture.

Thanks for any advice.

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Ray Maines
Ray Maines Veteran Member • Posts: 3,954
do I need TTL? -- YES!!
3

Tckay wrote:

I would like an external flash and can't decide between ... the difference between them is that the Yongnuo is half the price ... but does not have TTL capability.

As a beginner i'm interested to know how necessary others find this function.

You totally need TTL. Don't even think about buying the cheaper flash. You can thank me later.

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Buy books, not gear.
Tacoma, Washington, USA

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OP Tckay Contributing Member • Posts: 569
Re: do I need TTL? -- YES!!

Ray Maines wrote:

Tckay wrote:

I would like an external flash and can't decide between ... the difference between them is that the Yongnuo is half the price ... but does not have TTL capability.

As a beginner i'm interested to know how necessary others find this function.

You totally need TTL. Don't even think about buying the cheaper flash.

-- hide signature --

Buy books, not gear.
Tacoma, Washington, USA

Ha, ha. Thank you! Ive been reading Bryan Peterson's Understanding flash - he espouses the use of manual flash over TTL.

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puttin
puttin Veteran Member • Posts: 7,245
Re: do I need TTL? -- YES!!

If you mainly want to save money and use a manual flash the Vivitar HV 285 is a good choice. The Nissin Di622 is a nice TTL flash for around $230

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Kzoozoomer Senior Member • Posts: 1,493
Re: do I need TTL? -- YES!!

Manual flash is great if you are shooting portraits, still lifes or other scenes where the subject distance and ambient lighting remains constant and you have plenty of time to set your camera, but if you are shooting, for example, kids running around or groups at a party where you are moving around a lot, you definitely want TTL.  Or if you intend to use the A57s Auto or P modes, you want TTL.

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sybersitizen Veteran Member • Posts: 8,386
Re: A flash decision - do I need TTL?
4

Tckay wrote:

Thanks for any advice.

I see the choice as two different pathways serving two different goals.

By using a fully automatic flash you can immediately get usable results without really knowing what is going on 'behind the scenes'. And autoflash is almost indispensable for fast-changing stuff like shooting kids running around the house.

By using a manual flash you will have difficulty 'getting it right' in many situations, but you will be forced to learn some important and useful stuff along the way.

Ideally you should have both manual and autoflash at your disposal for different purposes. The Metz provides both, but the Yongnuo doesn't.

Pitbullo Contributing Member • Posts: 525
Re: A flash decision - do I need TTL?
1

Ray speaks the truth! Go for the TTL flash!

Manual flashes are ok in situations you have full control over. Still life, portraits or water drop pictures etc.

In all everyday - situations TTL is king! If you cant afford it now, save some more and get a TTL flash.

vw671 Contributing Member • Posts: 539
Re: A flash decision - do I need TTL?

Tckay wrote:

Hi,

Im just beginning to use flash. I have an A57 and currently use the onboard flash with a self made bounce card. I would like an external flash and can't decide between the Yongnuo 560ii or the Metz 50 Af-1, the difference between them is that the Yongnuo is half the price (£55 vs £129) but does not have TTL capability.

As a beginner i'm interested to know how necessary others find this function. I genreally photograph my chiidren/pets, indoors with large aperture.

Thanks for any advice.

If your taking pics of children and pets forget manual. I tried both and TTL is the way to go. Get TTL+HSS an it's even better.

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Undah Veteran Member • Posts: 5,320
Re: A flash decision - do I need TTL?

Tckay wrote:

Hi,

Im just beginning to use flash. I have an A57 and currently use the onboard flash with a self made bounce card. I would like an external flash and can't decide between the Yongnuo 560ii or the Metz 50 Af-1, the difference between them is that the Yongnuo is half the price (£55 vs £129) but does not have TTL capability.

As a beginner i'm interested to know how necessary others find this function. I genreally photograph my chiidren/pets, indoors with large aperture.

Thanks for any advice.

I recently got the Metz 50 AF-1.  It's a phenomenal flash, powerful, has the tilt, swivel, built-it bounce card and diffuser.  Works beautifully in TTL.  It's much easier to get the proper flash exposure the first time with TTL.

However,

I have a family member that has eyes close without fail using TTL flash.  So I must use Manual mode, which cheaper flashes can handle.  Shoot me a PM with offer if you want to buy mine.

HobbiesAreFun
HobbiesAreFun Senior Member • Posts: 2,457
Re: A flash decision - do I need TTL?

Manual flash works well for controlled setups, but at times TTL is just the way to go. I use both a Yongnuo 560 IIs and a Minolta 3600 HS D. The Yongnuo is incredible as an optical slave shot thorugh an umbrella or whatnot for various lighting purposes, but the Minolta 3600 HS D is my main workhorse when I'm doing events as it changes power according to what is needed, thereby being more reliable shot to shot.

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BlueFightingCat Forum Member • Posts: 70
Re: A flash decision - do I need TTL?

You definitely will need and appreciate TTL. If not yet then later on. You'll be kicking yourself if you don't get it. Look into the Nissin flashes. They are really great value. You get a lot of features for a decent price.

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Jeadm Senior Member • Posts: 1,673
Re: A flash decision - do I need TTL? Is a pig's a** pork?

+1 Yes, definitely you do need TTL. If manual was truly that important you can always go into manual mode if need be with a TTL flash. That isn't the case the other way around.

I just picked up a used Metz 50 AF-1 for $150. You may have trouble finding a new one, they've discontinued the model. It's being replaced with the Metz 52 AF-1, which just came in stock this weekend for $250 at B&H.

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Oleg L K Regular Member • Posts: 236
Re: A flash decision - do I need TTL?

Well, wouldn't you mind distinguishing between "TTL-flash" and "auto-flash"?

If all you need is from "TTL" is automatic light metering, then old-style auto-thyristor flashes will do it for you for less money. Moreover, unlike today's TTL, they still measure light in real time - during the shot. On contrary, TTL on the DSLR relies on pre-flash for the metering. So TTL is no more the most accurate method - unless camera-subject distance doesn't change.

IMHO the more important feature of the dedicated TTL flashes (more precise some of them) is high-speed-synchronization. With manual or auto-thyristor flash you cannot use exposure times less than your camera's X-sync, which is around 1/160 - 1/250 dependig on the model; with dedicated HSS-capable flash you can use any.

Regards,

Oleg.

IanML Senior Member • Posts: 1,653
Re: A flash decision - do I need TTL?

Undah wrote:

I have a family member that has eyes close without fail using TTL flash.

Try with and without red-eye reduction.  It may improve the issue - everyone is different in that respect.

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Ian

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vw671 Contributing Member • Posts: 539
Re: A flash decision - do I need TTL? Is a pig's a** pork?

Jeadm wrote:

+1 Yes, definitely you do need TTL. If manual was truly that important you can always go into manual mode if need be with a TTL flash. That isn't the case the other way around.

I just picked up a used Metz 50 AF-1 for $150. You may have trouble finding a new one, they've discontinued the model. It's being replaced with the Metz 52 AF-1, which just came in stock this weekend for $250 at B&H.

Adorama had the 52 in stock for about two weeks now. Mine got delivered last Friday and I'm all the way on the West Coast. The only place I could find a new Metz 50 was at TriStateCamera but they are selling it for $230 shipped which is only $20 less then the new 52 so I went for the 52.

http://forums.dpreview.com/forums/thread/3366449

After using it the extra $20 was well worth it, I really dig the touch screen interface/display.

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Chris Malcolm Senior Member • Posts: 1,890
Re: A flash decision - do I need TTL? Is a pig's a** pork?

You don't need TTL to photograph kids running around at a party. You just need enough remote flash power to light the whole room , e.g a couple of big cheap manual only flashes in opposite corners bouncing off the ceiling on full power. Then you set your camera's pop-up low just to do some shadow fill at the camera settings you've set. No TTL, and shots which look completely naturally lit.

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Chris Malcolm

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Kzoozoomer Senior Member • Posts: 1,493
Re: A flash decision - do I need TTL? Is a pig's a** pork?

That's fine if all the photos will be in one room.  The last party I went to, I took photos of kids and adults in 6 different rooms.

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William Porter Senior Member • Posts: 1,676
Need? No. Want? Probably.
1

Let's use words carefully here.

Do you need TTL? No, you don't. Almost nobody does. Flash was around — and being used effectively — long before TTL appeared. The question "Do I need TTL?" is a bit like the question "Do I need an automatic exposure mode like P, A or S?" or "Do I need autofocus?" The answer to all these questions is No, you don't need that.

Getting a little bit less abstract and more practical: You really don't need TTL. I disagree with those who say it's necessary for shooting active subjects. I use manual flash at weddings a lot, photographing people dancing. Has various advantages and works just fine.

David Hobby, proprietor of the famous (and excellent) strobist.com web site (devoted to flash, especially off-camera flash) is an advocate of manual flash settings for real shooting.

Okay, that said, you probably want TTL. It certainly makes things easier.

I think sybersitizen's reply in this thread  is right on the money.

Will

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Dave Oddie Veteran Member • Posts: 4,088
How about an automatic flash?

Tckay wrote:

Hi,

Im just beginning to use flash. I have an A57 and currently use the onboard flash with a self made bounce card. I would like an external flash and can't decide between the Yongnuo 560ii or the Metz 50 Af-1, the difference between them is that the Yongnuo is half the price (£55 vs £129) but does not have TTL capability.

As a beginner i'm interested to know how necessary others find this function. I genreally photograph my chiidren/pets, indoors with large aperture.

Thanks for any advice.

Another alternative if cost is an issue is the Metz 36 C-2 which is an automatic flash and about £70 (here maybe other automatic models out there even cheaper). This flash has a "magic eye" on the front which allows you to simply set the ISO and aperture (to one of there values, f2, f4 and f8 for ISO 100) and the magic eye monitors the light reflected back of the subject and turns the flash off when it has received enough light.

Back in the day before TTL flash was invented this was state of the art stuff and miles better than manual flash.

It also has another advantage. It doesn't need a pre-flash to judge the exposure. Most if not all TTL flash systems fire twice in rapid succession when you take a photo. The first flash is so the camera can work out how much light is needed for the real exposure and it communicates this to the flash for the second main flash.

In the days of film TTL flash systems didn't need to do this because they measured the light reflected off the film and shut the flash off in real time. Digital cameras can't do that so have to resort to the pre-flash strategy (so much for progress eh?).

The potential problem with this is some people react to the pre-flash and when the photo is actually taken the result is a picture with eyes half closed. Strangely enough some people seem affected by this more than others and I speak from experience with my two sons one of whom with which it was virtually impossible to avoid this effect with my old A100.

I should say though this seems much less of a problem these days and isn't reported very often maybe because the time between the pre-flash and the main flash is much reduced on more modern cameras (???).

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perrydo New Member • Posts: 5
Re: How about an automatic flash?

Just checked B&H for METZ 52 AF-1 price is now $299.

Thanks

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