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D70s - Fill Flash - Hats off to Bob and Kent! Problem Solved

Discussion in 'General Technical Discussion' started by PhotoByMark, Jul 10, 2005.

  1. Well, I am baffled and confused - What is new?

    Here is the deal.

    I went down to our little dance halle to take some pics of the band. I used aperture priority, ttl mode and spot metering, min flash sync at 1/60, and pop the flash up for fill flash using front curtain sync.

    It is a dance halle so it is lit but not real well and needed a little boost. I went to take a pic and the flash would not fire. Instead I got this horribly long shutter speed - 30 seconds or so -seemed like it anyway. I did this repeatedly and still no flash and very long shutter speed. So, obviously I am not understanding how to use fill flash on D70s correctly.

    I then switch to manual mode flash and same thing. Hmmmm. I then tried to increase f-stop and still the same thing-I kind of expected that. My reasoning was decrease the light and surely flash will fire now and I was freaking out as I was missing the shots I wanted to take. No flash, long very long shutter speed. I then went the other way with the f-stop and opened it up as much as possible. Meter still said "low". ok. But shouldn't the flash at least fire and shutter speed at the minimum which I had set at 1/60s. So I am a flash dummy right now and my logic does not sync up with the camera logic at all.

    On my other digital camera Olympus 2100 (5 years old now). When I wanted to use fill flash I would set the flash mode from automatic to force mode I guess you call it. And flash would fire for every shot.

    So my real question here is - What is the proper setup so that I know the flash is going to fire? Even if the pic is going to be underexposed wouldn't the flash still fire?

    I really do not understand this and I know someone out there can get me on the right track.

    I am bummed out cause the best part of the show that I wanted to shoot and I did not get at all.
  2. Ok - I will post a few pics that illustrate what I am asking. Give me a few minutes....

    ok here is a sample pic:

    Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available)

    And Exif Data:
    Camera: Nikon D70s
    Exposure: 0.25 sec (1/4) Why???? Shouldn't have been 1/60 s?
    Aperture: f/4.5
    Focal Length: 28 mm
    Exposure Bias: 1 EV
    ISO Speed: 1600

    Orientation: Normal
    X-Resolution: 300 dpi
    Y-Resolution: 300 dpi
    Software: Nikon Capture Editor 4.3.0 W
    Date and Time: 2005:07:10 02:09:52
    YCbCr Positioning: Centered
    Exposure Program: Aperture priority
    Date and Time (Original): 2005:07:10 00:08:23
    Date and Time (Digitized): 2005:07:10 00:08:23
    Maximum Lens Aperture: 38/10
    Metering Mode: Spot
    Light Source: Flash
    User Comment: Copyright 2005 PhotoByMark
    Sub-Second Time: 90
    Sub-Second Time (Original): 90
    Sub-Second Time (Digitized): 90
    Color Space: sRGB
    Sensing Method: One-chip colour area sensor
    Compression: JPEG
    Quality: RAW
    White Balance: FLASH
    Sharpening: MED.H
    Focus Mode: AF-S
    Tag::Nikon Type 3::0x0011: 5002
    ISO Speed Requested: 200 (May be different to Speed Used when Auto ISO is on)
    AE Bracket Compensation Applied: 0/1
    Tone Compensation (Contrast): CS
    Lens Type: 14
    Lens Min/Max Focal Length, Min/Max Aperture: 24/1, 120/1, 35/10, 56/10
    Bracketing & Shooting Mode: Shooting Mode: Single Frame AE/Flash Bracketing Off White Balance Bracketing Off
    Colour Mode: MODE2
    Lighting Type: NATURAL
    Hue Adjustment: 3
    Noise Reduction: OFF
    Tag::Nikon Type 3::0x0099: 1520, 1008
    Tag::Nikon Type 3::0x009A: 78/10, 78/10
    Tag::Nikon Type 3::0x00A0: NO= 100423d2
    Tag::Nikon Type 3::0x00A2: 680158
    Total Number of Shutter Releases for Camera: 2002
    Image optimisation: CUSTOM
    Saturation: NORMAL
    Tag::Nikon Type 3::0x0E08: 1
    Tag::Nikon Type 3::0x0E09: Nikon Capture Editor 4.3.0 W
    Tag::Nikon Type 3::0x0E10: 5096
    Image Width: 3008 pixels
    Image Length: 2000 pixels
  3. Gale


    Jan 26, 2005
    Viera Fl

    this is deffinately the weakest link for me. I have not a clue.

    Only used my flash a few times....
    And the learning goooooooooooooooos on and on.

    Hope some folks chime it here.
    Will watch with interest.

    Thank you for asking.
  4. jfrancis


    May 8, 2005
    Orlando, FL
    My guess is that the ambient light was way too dim to utilize fill flash. The D70's on-board flash is pretty weak anyway. My advice is to buy a SB800 Speedlight, set it to iTTL and let it do its thing.
  5. Thanks for the response.

    If I get an SB800 (which is on my list to get) is there a way to force it to fire? That is, I am relying on it to fire. The pics I did get when the flash fired came out decent. Some pics the flash fired others didn't.

    I searched for hours late last night trying to get a clue and understand however, I really did not find the answers I am looking for.

    So anyone know of a book on iTTL and flash logic? Off to Amazon I go.

    In my haste last night I ordered Thom's Ebook. Thinking there maybe something in there about flash. There is another Ebook that is suppose to real good. Cannot remember the author's name. So I guess I will find that out too....

    I have got a lot to learn about flash and how/why it works.

    I am concerned because when I need fill-flash but cannot get it to fire I am going to loose lots of those picture moments. :?
  6. jfrancis


    May 8, 2005
    Orlando, FL
    If you shoot (say) in aperture priority and set the SB800 to iTTL, it will always fire and control the exposure. Thom's e-Book is a pretty good source of information on the flash also.
  7. Thanks John.

    BTW-I understand what you are saying in your first post. That is sort of what happens, low ambient light, Meter even indicates "Low" in viewfinder.

    Even so, why would camera think it is better to go set shutter speed at 10-20 seconds and not fire the flash rather than at least fire the flash and fire shutter and slowest min flash sync speed that is configured in the custom settings?

    Let me think out loud. Camera says at this aperture, even with flash this pic is gonna come out way underexposed. So camera thinks it is better to not fire flash and go with a really long shutter speed to get correct exposure. My brain says, at this aperture, even with flash if pic is underexposed with min flash sync take pic at the aperature, min flash sync speed and fire the flash anyway. So I know I loose cause camera does not care what I think. :?

    Sorry I am so dense on this one. Trying to learn and understand.
  8. Tosh


    May 6, 2005
    Hi Mark,

    Something doesn't sound right with your D70. The pop-up flash should fire with the settings you had in bright light and dim light.

    You might first want to try the simple two-button camera re-set that's descibed in the D70 manual on p. 128 -- press and hold down the WB and ISO buttons for at least 2 seconds.

    There is another more drastic re-set that is similar to re-booting your computer. With the camera OFF, remove and replace the battery. then use a paperclip or thin rod to push the button recessed in the tiny hole on the camera bottom at the opposite end from battery cover. Then turn ON the camera. This re-set brings the camera back to its factory settings, so you'll need to re-input time, date, etc.

    If these re-sets don't help and the problem doesn't correct itself, you should send an email to Nikon. Maybe they can correct the problem without your having to send in your camera.

    Good luck, Mark.

  9. jfrancis


    May 8, 2005
    Orlando, FL
    What flash mode were you in? If you have it set to slow or rear curtain synch the camera will use the metered exposure. I just pulled my D70 out to check. If you set it to regular (front curtain) synch, the camera will show the lowest shutter speed selected in your custom settings menu.
  10. marc

    marc Guest

    i was just reading your post, we have a d100, and although, i very rarely use the pop up flash, it does work as advertised.

    can you put the camera in auto or p mode, set wb- flash
    focus priority and then, try to take some indoor shots.

    you can also try turning camera off, and then pop up flash and turn camera on

    good luck

  11. Mark,
    I don't know about the 70s, but my D70 did that to me a couple of times last year. The cause turned out to be very simple, and it was my fault. I always wear a hat for my old bald head. Even the lightest touch of my hat to the popup flash causes the flash to not fire and the camera switches to long exposure. I experimented a little with the popup flash -- works fine as long as nothing touches it, but doesn't work when even very slight pressure is applied. Try holding the camera well away from your body and just fire away at anything with the flash activated to see if this might be your problem too.
  12. Front Curtain Sync, iTTL mode.

    It is really wierd it did the same thing last time I took pics at that place.

    Now, I am sitting in my office flash fires all days long. Turn off light to make very dark. Flash fires. There is lots of red stage lights I wonder if this throws the meter off?

    Glenn - I will go ahead and reset I suppose. Can't hurt.
  13. Bob - Now that is very interesting. I was wearing a hat. Hmmm. I will experiment with that.
  14. Ken-L

    Ken-L Guest

    It was caused by using aperature priority with flash.
  15. Ken - Ok. Please tell me more.

    Which mode should I use to guarantee fill-flash will fire? "P" perhaps?

  16. ckdamascus


    May 14, 2005
    New Jersey
    Hmmm I usually shoot fill flash with Aperature Priority.

    Any references on this behavior?
  17. Try turning off Auto-ISO -- also, probably not a good idea to use spot metering for that shot.

    Seems like your choice of slow-sync flash (since you chose front-curtain) and Auto-ISO might be confusing the D70s into trying to get proper exposure via Auto-ISO first before trying to fire the flash -- that would explain why your shot is at ISO1600. The reason why it's still underexposed is probably caused by your use of spot metering -- and it probably thought you didn't need flash as a result.

    With the original D70, there was a firmware update that supposedly fixed this issue, IIRC, but I'm not too sure. I never updated my D70's firmware, so can't confirm this for myself, but yes, Auto-ISO w/ flash can sometimes confuse the old D70. I just never intentionally use both at the same time myself. :D 

    BTW, as I understand it, you *should* expect the shutter speed to be slow when you use slow-sync flash (to do "fill") in a low light situation. That's just how it works since there's not enough ambient light for faster shutter speeds. If you're doing fill flash in bright outdoor situation (when the sun is out), that would be different of course -- and you probably wouldn't need slow-sync flash at the point.

  18. All good responses. I have at least some things to experiment with.

    I thought I had turned off Auto ISO? Hmm I will go look. I did in a frantic start changing all sorts of parameters and that really did not help the situation at all.

    I think you are right spot metering is probably not a good choice either.

    I am curious about Ken's comment on Aperture Priority? Ken can you add some more to this about Aperture Priority and Fill Flash?

    Thanks for all the responses.
  19. Ken-L

    Ken-L Guest

    Aperature Priority in this setting forces the shutter speed to be too low.

    Based on this picture, fill flash isn't what I would use, unless I only wanted to highlight the guitar in the foreground on a stand, and that would be tricky since the background is darker.

    For this shot I would use standard flash settings, and bounce the flash if possible, or use a diffuser so that the equipment in the foreground doesn't get overexposed.
  20. Thanks for responding ken.

    I would like to try the things you mention but, right now the only flash I have is the onboard flash.
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