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Not enough time at 1/500th?

Discussion in 'General flash photography, lighting, and technique' started by MurphyD, Jun 19, 2007.

  1. MurphyD


    Jan 17, 2007
    South Texas
    I was practicing with two strobes last night. I was working on Gordon's tutorial of metering the BG one stop under while the TTL from the flash exposes the subject.

    Camera on Manual
    On camera flash set to Commander mode, set to produce no flash output
    SB800 as remote, set to TTL, off camera
    SB28 on manual, triggered as a slave from the SB800, off camera
    Above 1/250 the SB28 is not captured
    Sync speed set to 250fp or to normal 250

    There is no doubt a good reason and I hope someone here can explain?

    Is it because of how FP works when capturing the light at higher shutter speeds?
    Singing off as Perplexed
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 19, 2007
  2. why not use both flash units at manual?

    just wondering.
  3. You don't say specifically, but I assume you're trying to trigger your SB-28 using an optical slave device? Is that right?

    I think I can help you, but I need to know how you're attempting to fire your SB-28

  4. Are you sure the sb28 is being triggered from the sb800? Maybe it's being triggered by the on-camera flash?

    But let's say it's being triggered by the sb800. Since the sb800 is in TTL, it's firing a pre-flash which may be triggering the sb28 prior to the shutter being released.

    Try putting both flashes in manual, as Andrew suggested, and see if you can get the sb28 to contribute.
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 19, 2007
  5. MurphyD


    Jan 17, 2007
    South Texas
    Thanks for the input.
    1. I was practicing Gordon's method of metering the background with the camera, one or two stops under, and letting TTL expose the subject. I had the SB28 at 1/64 as a kicker to highlight a specifice part.
    2.Yes, the SB28 is being triggered by an optical slave. Wein, supposedly designed to avoid being triggered by the pre-flash.
    3. I thought the on camera flash, even though set to "-" does the pre-flash routine. I tried turning off the SB800 and the on camera flash will indeed trigger the SB28.
    4. When the SB800 is included in the mix, I am unsure which triggers the slave. My eyes aren't that fast.

    I will try with both on manual.
  6. If the internal flash triggers the sb28 without the sb800, it will continue to do so with the sb800 added, because the preflash command always comes first. But if all of the remotes are in manual mode, there will be no preflash.
  7. I've done a lot of experimenting with mixing and matching Nikon's CLS with a second or third "dumb" slave flash. While certain modes can be made to work, generally speaking, I've found it's not worth my trouble. Yeah, by using FV lock I've achieved some success, but it's pretty much a PITA. Reliability and repeatability are a real problems. I've found that going completely CLS or completely manual works best for me.

    I've never tried one of those "smart" optical triggers which are supposed to ignore pre-flashes, but I would strongly suspect that your trigger ain't as smart as it claims to be. I wouldn't be surprised that it is getting confused because not only is your pop up flash sending out pre-flash and triggering signals, but your off-camera SB-800 is sending out pre-flashes ahead of the main flash too. All this happens pretty quickly and I'm wondering "how do it know?"

    Another source of confusion when doing these sorts of tests is the ability of the SB-24,25,26,28 series of flashes to recycle very quickly if they fire at low power. I've often made a "desk top" test at short range and low power that will seem to work. What actually may be happening is that the slave is firing with the pre-flashes, recycling quickly, and firing again with the main flash. Therefore it seems to work. However, when you get in the real world at longer distances requiring more power, you'll find that the slave won't have time to re-cycle and won't contribute to the exposure.

    Finally, I wouldn't be surprised if your optical trigger is unable to sync at speeds above your normal sync speed of 1/250, which would explain why you don't see it contribute at higher shutter speeds. Remember FP mode is specific to a specially matched combination of camera and flash. I'm unaware of any off camera FP sync capability existing as of today. That is not to say you can't make the slave fire when you use your camera and SB-800 in FP sync mode, but I am certain you won't get the results you're looking for because there is no way for the SB-28 to perform in FP sync mode when triggered by an optical slave. FP sync is controlled by the camera.

  8. When I wrote the little tutorial it was meant to teach a person how to control the background light while keeping consistent light on the subject. It was done using an SB800 flash. Remembering back the camera was in manual and the flash in TTL. It was meant for those first starting out with their flash and how you could make the background go from overexposed to underexposed and everything in between. This would also work with multiple flash arrangments but does rely SB800 and SB600 flashes. The SB28 is not a flash that I have ever used nor have I used the optical triggers. I am currently using the SU800 and like it a lot. As some have said, using the flash(s) on manual is also a great way to go.
  9. MurphyD


    Jan 17, 2007
    South Texas
    I feel like Mr. Edison. I have added more items to the list of stuff I know doesn't work.

    1. Wein optical slave triggers do NOT ignore pre-flashes as advertised. On- camera flash, SB800 on hot shoe or SB800 as a remote trigger the slave.
    2. Above 1/250s the SB28 triggered by the Wein slave does NOT sync in any configuration of both flashes on Manual, or SB800 on TTL and SB28 on manual, or FP/no FP. It works at 1/250 or below.

    Things I do know.
    1. I can use this all this equipment to make well lit pictures, just not faster than 1/250s
    2. I can use Gordon's wonderful tutorial to make better pictures.

    Thing I hope.
    Someone else can learn from our gained knowledge.

    Thanks Bob, Frank, Adrew, Gordon for all your help and input.
    That sounds like a 60's singing group. How are you guys in 4 part harmony?
  10. Thanks David, you are doing exactly what you are supposed to do to learn; i.e., experimenting. When I was trying to figure out how to use my two new flashes I failed to do that and suffered because of it. One day I woke up and started some controlled experiments and just went around the house photographing "things" and then moving my shutter speed, aperature, flash copmensation, etc., until I learned. It was like a light came on and I have never struggled with flash since that day.

    I am not a believer in using iTTL for that very reason. That may be fine after you have learned your lessons about what controls what but until that time I do not think that having the camera in control is the way to go. The Nikon CLS is great but using it teaches you very little. I am a believer in manual for camera and either TTL or manual for the flash. This way you can be in control and learn as you practice. There is time enough for auto everything after you have mastered the procedures yourself.
  11. chemisti


    May 24, 2007
    McKinney, TX
    Ditto with Gordon's observations:

    I can often sync my flashes at speeds much faster than 1/250 when I set the D50 to manual mode also - I shot something with an EBay radio trigger and my SB-24 last night at 1/800 with no problems.
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