Exposure issues with Nikon flash - advice needed. Ta!
I'm at my wits end!
My problem is getting the correct exposure with my Nikon D2Xs or D300S and SB600 and/or SB800 flash units for my macro work. When in manual, which I use most, if I need to expose a 1/3 stop more, it exposes 2-3 stops more. If I need to under-expose by say 2/3rd stop it under-exposes by, say, 3 stops. On many occasions I have not even been able to get the correct exposure at all (it either under-exposes or over-exposes, never in between). This happens no matter what mode I use. I have applied every single change to try and solve the problem. Everything from exposing in manual/aperture priority/P; TTL/manual on the flash; changing exposure on the camera either through shutter speed/ISO/aperture; distance of flash from subject; power of flash; etc., etc. Other times it works okay(ish) and usually first time (I just need to adjust shutter speed up or down to get the right exposure, and usually down when the batteries begin to fade!). At such times, I do get the correct exposure, usually in manual mode on the camera and manual mode on the flash, but invariably get some under-exposed (because the flash hasn't had time to re-charge) and over-exposed (no idea why). I've used the system in wireless and wired. Batteries are fully charged and I either use rechargeable AA's or Quantum battery(ies).
I run a Nikon system for my macro work. I either use two SB600 flashes in tandem or a single SB800 for fill-in, both outdoors or indoors.
Please assume that I at least know the basics of using my flash - I've read the manuals backwards as well as the more in-depth accounts on-line and have had five frustrating years of using them. I don't normally use flash but there are circumstances, i.e., freezing the motion of a moving insect or filling in the shadows in direct sunlight, where I need it. Sadly I have lost some money-earning shots through the variance in flash exposure and it's been getting me down lately.
If I've left out any important information you need to help suss out the problem, please do say so.
If anyone can help pinpoint the problem I would be very, very appreciative as would my hair, half of which has already been pulled out.
Last edited by duff photographer; 07-01-2012 at 01:18 PM. Click to view previous post history.
This crosses over the the bailiwick of DPUG.org and I do not believe that APUG is the best place for this question.
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Which camera are you using? This is posted in the 35mm section.
Sounds to me like the perfect application for a flash meter - whether analog or digital!
Save yourself the trouble and scoldings and ask at photo.net. DPUG isn't that active.
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Thanks, I will.
Originally Posted by CGW
I assumed that because it was an issue which would occur with both analogue and digital (I do both) I might get a working reply. My mistake.
..apologies to all for posting in the wrong bit.
SB16 TTL works perfectly fine on my FM3A & F3 and of course with C41's latitude you have more than enough for post work.
Originally Posted by duff photographer
Digital fill flash works a lot differently than film fill flash, since most TTL flash systems on film cameras measure light reflection from the emulsion and that is simply not possible on digital. For that reason, and arguably, film TTL fill flash still works better than it does on digital cameras.
Debugging the problem will be digital-specific most likely, since the problem will be based on completely different hardware methods than we see on film cameras.
Jim MacKenzie - Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada
A bunch of Nikons; Feds, Zorkis and a Kiev; Pentax 67-II (inherited from my deceased father-in-law); Bronica SQ-A; and a nice Shen Hao 4x5 field camera with 3 decent lenses that needs to be taken outside more. Oh, and as of mid-2012, one of those bodies we don't talk about here.
Favourite film: do I need to pick only one?
This makes a bit of sense.
Originally Posted by PhotoJim
PS. I should have posted on DPUG not APUG but my brain was only half working so...
I'll agree with Brian Shaw--analogue or digital, this is simple with a flash meter. Use the meter to determine the base exposure, and then add any fillter factor and the magnification factor for macro to determine the actual exposure using the table attached to the following post:
and then add reciprocity factor, if that's something you have to worry about.
How to do this in an automated way with Nikon's TTL gizmos? Beats the heck out of me. I have a flash meter and a table, and I'm good--any camera, any format.