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Lost with Flash
With flash I definitely qualify as a beginner. Ive been taking digital pictures for a number of years and understand most if not all the non-flash related stuff so you can answer using most photography terms..

I have Nikon digital SLRs (D50 and D300). I dont have a speed light and RARELY even open the built in flash unit. The reason is quite simple. The analog meter in the view finder that shows whether you will under/over exposure based upon the current settings always shows severe under exposure when I try and use the flash. I can push the built-in flash back down and work the shutter/aperture settings to quickly get where I need to be but how can I tell if the exposure will be correct when leaving the flash unit up?..

Comments (8)

I think they key issue here is that the meter in the camera only shows you ambient (non-flash) exposure. It wll not guess or predict the exposure when using flash and display that in your viewfinder..

What is probably happening is that your camera detects you are using the flash. At that point it will adjust it's settings (if you are using any kind of program or picture mode setting) to get correct exposure using flash. Depending on combination of equipment/settings/subject you should get reasonable exposures..

Try practicing using the flash in a certain setup, see how the flash works regardless of what your metering says and play around with it a bit to see how the different settings affect the results...

Comment #1

Ah, this is the beauty of auto flash and more importantly, ttl flash. now that you're familiar with your camera's metering system, it will help you in a lot of challenging situations, especially when using your flash. as you see (thanks to auto/ttl), the flash will adjust itselfthrottle back or power up to it's maximum capability when needed based on lens (ttl means through the lens) aperture and focal length. the confusion comes from the camera's meter all over the placeunderexposed when indoor and overexposed outdoor and the shutter speed is governed by it's min/max sync speed which is not your normal shooting mode...

Comment #2

OneMrEd wrote:.

With flash I definitely qualify as a beginner. Ive been takingdigital pictures for a number of years and understand most if not allthe non-flash related stuff so you can answer using most photographyterms..

I have Nikon digital SLRs (D50 and D300). I dont have a speed lightand RARELY even open the built in flash unit. The reason is quitesimple. The analog meter in the view finder that shows whether youwill under/over exposure based upon the current settings always showssevere under exposure when I try and use the flash. I can push thebuilt-in flash back down and work the shutter/aperture settings toquickly get where I need to be but how can I tell if the exposurewill be correct when leaving the flash unit up?.

No idea as I never used the built in flash in my D200, I always struggled as you do..

Solution: get a SB-400 speedlight, Nikon's smallest and cheapest. It nails the exposure everytime, automatically via i-TTL. I use it bouced off the ceiling. Simplicity itself! No harsh shadows or glare..

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Alex.

Http://alexandjustine.smugmug.com/..

Comment #3

Alex,.

Your samples are great. The second picture looks like the curved ceiling is too far away to bounce. Did you do something else, or is it also a straight bounce?.

David..

Comment #4

DSHarned wrote:.

Alex,.

Your samples are great. The second picture looks like the curvedceiling is too far away to bounce. Did you do something else, or isit also a straight bounce?.

Well, all shots were pp'd, maybe I did lighten it a bit. One thing I do do is click the head forward from 90 to 75 degrees if I think the bounce won't quite make the exposure, to give a bit more direct flash. But at that wedding it did superbly, I was really impressed..

Or maybe the SB-400 has a laser sensor to check the height of the ceiling and adjust....

And I can put it on my new Nikon P5100!.

Alex.

Http://alexandjustine.smugmug.com/..

Comment #5

Alex Leach wrote:.

Well, all shots were pp'd, maybe I did lighten it a bit. One thing Ido do is click the head forward from 90 to 75 degrees if I think thebounce won't quite make the exposure, to give a bit more directflash. But at that wedding it did superbly, I was really impressed..

I'm going to be taking a few candids at a party tomorrow night and the building has a cathedral ceiling 15-20 feet at the peak. I was thinking of just using a heavier diffuser, but I'll test with the 75 degree tilt first. Anyway, nice shots..

David..

Comment #6

Thanks for the great replies. It helpe a lot..

Ed..

Comment #7

DSHarned wrote:.

Alex Leach wrote:.

Well, all shots were pp'd, maybe I did lighten it a bit. One thing Ido do is click the head forward from 90 to 75 degrees if I think thebounce won't quite make the exposure, to give a bit more directflash. But at that wedding it did superbly, I was really impressed..

I'm going to be taking a few candids at a party tomorrow night andthe building has a cathedral ceiling 15-20 feet at the peak. I wasthinking of just using a heavier diffuser, but I'll test with the 75degree tilt first. Anyway, nice shots..

David.

Here's one that I took at that party with my old Vivitar 2500 angled at 65 degrees. I did add a little more diffusion with piece cut from a milk bottle. The only PP was to soften a couple of blemishes and to remove a reflection from the lip. The lighting and exposure is the jpg direct from the camera (Pentax K100d). Exposure 1/180 s, f/5.6, ISO 800, 18-55mm Kit lens at 55mm..

David.

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Comment #8

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