D2X and SB800

Discussion in 'Nikon DX DSLR' started by Mitchell, Sep 23, 2005.

  1. For some reason, I cannot get my D2X to recognize my on camera flash (sb800 or sb600). While in program mode, the camera fires the flash, but it does not meter correctly. Basically, the camera meters and fires as if the flash is not on board. Am I missing something obvious here? I suspect there is a setting that I do not see that tells the camera to meter for the flash.

    With my D70, I just put the flash on and fired away with great results!

    Please help!

    Mitch
     
  2. there are some rather cryptic intructions in both manuals. It took me FOREVER to figure it out, but then I am a stupy. I use it so seldom I can not remember how I did it. I have 2 sb600's and one sb800 and a bracket and use NONE of them. (see what I mean about the stupy thing)
    I may offer some of this stuff in the for sale section.
     
  3. I'm glad I'm not the only one. It is disappointing to me that the Nikon literature regarding the use of flashes is so poorly written. Even Tom Hogan's ebook is sketchy.

    Now, I don't consider myself to be a dummy. Afterall, I did go to medical school. Why is there not a more intuitive way to have the camera meter for and use the flash??

    Surely someone can help me. :confused:

    mitch
     
  4. It should work pretty much the same as it did on the D70.

    I would check for obvious problems. Is the flash shoe pushed all the way into the mount? Etc.
     
  5. It should work like my D70? It certainly doesn't seem to. My D2X is always firing at the minimum shutterspeed set on the e menu. Regardless of aperture priority or P mode use. This doesn't make any sense to me. Interestingly, the pics look quite good, but I believe the camera should be choosing a much faster shutterspeed. It seems to be adjusting flash output when the aperture is changed instead of shutterspeed in program mode.

    Here is a snapshot from this morning with flash.

    [​IMG]

    Mitch

     
  6. Hi Mitch,

    It is difficult for me to offer too much advice without knowing in what mode your camera is set and also your flash. First off I will say that the above picture appears to be correctly exposed while still giving you a half way decent exposure on your background. If it were shot at a higher speed your background would go black. Let's think about this a minute. In Aperture priority you are picking the aperture and the camera is picking the shutter speed (up to the highest sync speed allowed by your camera). In a darkened house the shutter speed will be attempting to give you a good exposure for the background and the flash will be trying to balance that with a good exposure for the subject. It would be normal for this to be a slow shutter speed and in fact may be so low as to cause the camera to seek the lowest setting you have set in the e options. From your description that appears to be what is happening.

    Personally I shoot all flash shots in Manual as this give me complete control. I meter for the background setting the camera to underexpose by 1 stop. I then recompose, focus on the subject, and take the shot. The flash will determine how much light to give so that the subject is exposed properly and the camera will underexpose the background by 1 stop. This way I can control how I want the background to look. I could make it lighter or darker as I desire. I can also set the Aperature to give me the DOF that I want.

    When I shoot in Program, with the flash on iTTL, the camera will make those calculations for me and it usually does a half way decent job but again, in a darked house the shutter speed will be fairly low. One other thing, you don't tell the camera to meter for the flash, the camera and flash meter for the correct exposure of the background and subject. That is when on iTTL.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 24, 2005
  7. Does it fire at 1/60th of a second? I think it is supposed to do that in P & A modes. Mine has always done that.

    If you want to go up to 1/250 you need to be in manual mode, set it at say 1/250th and F8 and SB-800 will fire the flash strongly enough to expose it correctly.
     
  8. Andreas, it won't do that if you are outside in the bright light with camera on iTTL. It will then be pushing up against the sync limit of the camera you are using. For the D2H that is 1/250, not sure what the D2X is. Also, I forgot to mention in my above post, if you want a higher shutter speed indoors you may have to raise the ISO.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 24, 2005
  9. xaviermacau

    xaviermacau

    84
    May 9, 2005
    Macau
    Flash is intended to be used when there's not enough ambient light. I have my camera speed set at 60 the lower speed with which I am confident when shooting handheld. If you want higher speed you either shoot in S mode or at higher ISO. I had a problem on the other end, that is to have background evenly exposed to which, after shooting with D100 for more than 2 years and now with D2x, in A or P mode, if you set flash in rear, you have a still lower speed which allows the background to be correctly? exposed. I you shoot a higher speed you're going to get a darken background. From your image, the subject is well exposed but the background is under.
     
  10. Hi Gordon,

    I may be misunderstanding what you are saying about your technique, but the way I am reading your description I'm not sure I can agree with the assumptions. If you are metering the background and using -1 EV (on camera), then yes, the camera will seek to underexpose the background by 1 stop as you say. BUT...the flash relies on exposure instructions from the camera doesn't it? So in this case the flash produces output necessary to illuminate the background underexposed by 1 stop, since that's what the camera settings are asking for. The fact that the subject may be properly exposed is merely a function of the subject being closer to the flash than the 1 stop underexposed background. In other words, I don't think the flash is doing anything to "determine how much light to give so that the subject is exposed properly". Rather, it is following the camera's instructions to underexpose the background by 1 stop, and in so doing it throws enough light so that the closer subject is properly lit.

    (Of course, I am assuming you don't have the flash set to balanced fill flash mode, which as I understand it DOES attempt some automatic adjustment between subject and background. Following Thom Hogan's advice, I don't ever use balanced fill flash mode, as it wrests too much control away from the user and can produce unexpected results.)

    As a similar approach to your technique, I prefer to meter the background, but then dial in -1 EV on the flash rather than on the camera. I suspect the results are similar in terms of subject illumination.

    I agree that much better and clearer documentation is needed for Nikon's speedlights and their many controls and functions. I am probably totally confused in my understanding of how things work, even if occasionally I obtain pretty decent results!

    Best wishes,

    David
     
  11. Hi David,

    I set my flash on TTL and it is looking at the subject for the correct exposure, providing the subject is in the center and occupies the majority of the frame. I use spot or center weighted for metering and if the subject is not in the center of the frame I use FV to lock the exposure before taking the picture. My camera is nearly always in Manual. Try it indoors and watch how you can make the background any degree of darkness that you want with a perfectly exposed subject. You can place a subject in front of a window and adjust the outside light while maintaining correct exposure on the subject. In effect what you are doing is the same thing that the camera and flash do in iTTL in CLS mode except you are in control. I also use this method when doing fill flash outdoors. Give it a try.
     
  12. Just a note. In Av mode and a relatively dark room, the shutter will try to slow down enough to balance the flash output with ambient light. But it will not go slower than 1/60 unless you shift into slow sync mode.

    Back to the original question, I used to have a similar problem with my D1X and SB-800. Often, I couldn't get the flash to go into fill mode. I'm not sure that I ever understood the root cause, but usually I could correct it by methodically checking all the settings and connections.
     
  13. Thank you all for your replies. I didn't expect this to be such an interesting discussion. My mistake was expecting the camera to meter differently with the flash attached. At this point, I just use aperture priority (as advised by Thom Hogan) and rely on the camera to make the necessary adjustments to the flash output.
    Here is a shot today using TTL BL mode.

    [​IMG]
     
  14. debult

    debult

    120
    Jun 11, 2005
    The Netherlands
    Balanced Fill Flash

    Mich,

    In P-mode the camera does BALANCED flash (Fill flash). Meaning it balances the flash to the ambient exposure.
    It does NOT function as that EXTRA light source brightening the overall scene in the way you might expect.

    You still have balanced flash mode even in "A" when the "BL" sign shows on your flash. You have removed the "P-mode" aperture restriction though ("P" closes down to 5.6 or more. Net result no more under exposure at 1/60 (default setting in low light when mounting a flash).

    If you do not want the balanced mode I recommend Thom Hogans shorthand for fill flash:
    1. Camera in Aperture priority mode (lifts aperture restrictions)
    2. Camera in Slow Sync (lifts shutter speed restrictions)
    3. Flash in Standard TTL: no matrix/BL symbol (removes camera-induced balancing)
    • D70 with internal flash: via manual exposure or spot
    • D100/70/70s or D2h/x with external SB800/SB600, via the Mode button
    4. Dial in flash exposure compensation [(D100/d70 in camera or on flash not both) / (D2h/x on the flash)], as starting point use:
    • 1 stop for people
    • 1.7 stop for scenic fill
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 1, 2005
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