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Problem with SU-800

Discussion in 'General flash photography, lighting, and technique' started by actionshooter, Aug 11, 2009.

  1. actionshooter

    actionshooter

    Aug 26, 2008
    NY
    I've been playing around with the CLS system and using my D700 popup flash as a commander. This has worked very well setting off my SB-900s and SB-600 virtually every time. I was excited by this so I got a SU-800 that I can use with my D3. It came this morning and I swear I must have something wrong because it barely fires at all in TTL. I don't have it on the close mode and other yes, the channels and groups are all correct. If I do a test fire on the SU-800 it fires the lights so it is seeing the signal. It doesn't seem to matter if I'm in TTL or Manual mode on the SU-800.

    Any thoughts here? My D700 with the popup flash as commander in the exact room (I'm inside by the way with both flash sensors facing the SU-800 and I also have a low white ceiling...lots of bounce surface for the IR signals) with the exact settings as the SU-800, fires every time. I'm thinking about returning the SU-800, but I'm hoping I just have a setting wrong somewhere.
     
  2. Hopefully Wayne will respond soon. But what does ". . barely fires at all . . ." mean?
     
  3. actionshooter

    actionshooter

    Aug 26, 2008
    NY
    Meaning it might once in awhile, but it rarely does. The popup on the D700 fires the flashes every time. Should note that both of the remote flashes are only about 9 feet from the camera position so we aren't talking a range issue.
     
  4. WayneF

    WayneF

    Apr 3, 2006
    Texas
    I have no clue, and no SU-800, but check your manual, as the SU-800 does have a switch inside the battery compartment, for a macro situation or a normal situation. If this switch is in macro mode, it only needs range to go to the end of the lens. So while I dont know about the SU-800, perhaps that implies it may be at reduced power and short range? Check the manual about the switch.
     
  5. Make sure the little round sensor on the battery door side of the flash is pointed so it can "see" the SU-800.
     
  6. Is there any protective film over the SU800 IR window?
     
  7. actionshooter

    actionshooter

    Aug 26, 2008
    NY
    Done both Wayne. The first thing I changed was the Macro switch. The manual is worthless as at least 3/4 of it focused on the SB-R200 closeup system. Very little info in the manual about the SU-800 in commander mode.
     
  8. Muonic

    Muonic

    Jun 14, 2006
    If it works in the test mode, but not on the camera, perhaps it's a hot shoe connection problem with the D3. Have you tried the SU-800 on the D700?
     
  9. actionshooter

    actionshooter

    Aug 26, 2008
    NY
    Done that. I even pointed the SU-800 directly at the remote sensor less than a foot away and it won't trigger it. The kicker to all of this if I hit the test fire button on the SU-800 it will trigger the flashes every time. The signal is getting there. The test fire button will even trigger the flash (with kind of delay I might add) from another room with no direct line of site!
     
  10. actionshooter

    actionshooter

    Aug 26, 2008
    NY
    Yep! Done that also thinking I had a funny setting on the D3 somewhere. Same results on the D700.
     
  11. Muonic

    Muonic

    Jun 14, 2006
    That's strange. The SU-800 is so easy to set up, it's hard to imagine that the settings are wrong. I wonder if there is a problem with the hot shoe on the SU-800 itself??
     
  12. actionshooter

    actionshooter

    Aug 26, 2008
    NY
    That's what I was thinking (so easy to setup). I think you might be on to something with the SU-800 base not working correctly. I even just tried it on a TTL compatible cord with no difference. It is going back to Adorama!
     
  13. WayneF

    WayneF

    Apr 3, 2006
    Texas
    You do have it in your camera hot shoe, right? And making good contact there?

    It sounds defective then. You need a second sample of it.
     
  14. Growltiger

    Growltiger Administrator Administrator

    A test. Put the camera in M mode, set the shutter speed to 1/1000.
    Now turn on the SU-800.
    Did the shutter speed change to 1/250?
    If not, the camera isn't recognising the SU-800 (bad connection/shoe?)

    Other ideas...
    Is the SU800 set for TTL mode?

    Are you sure the flashes are not firing? Perhaps so little light is needed that you don't notice it? (clutching at straws here).
     
  15. actionshooter

    actionshooter

    Aug 26, 2008
    NY
    Too late to do test as I already packed it off and sent it back (a replacement will be here tomorrow...Adorama customer service did a nice job). That would have been a good test though. I tried the SU800 in all three modes (AA, Manual and TTL) with the same results in each case. I was using settings that forced the flash to fire, in fact my results on the LCD were black due to exposure. I'm hoping this was a dud one and the next one works. I was actually hoping the PW mini and flex system would be ready sooner as I would have went that direction.
     
  16. Sounds like a defective part. I picked up an SU-800 over the weekend, and haven't tried it yet. I sure would like to find out that I don't have this problem.
     
  17. actionshooter

    actionshooter

    Aug 26, 2008
    NY
    I figured I'd update everyone on the status of my SU-800 problem. As I mentioned in the previous post I sent it back to Adorama and got the replacement today. This one works like a champ and is as I'd expected. The first was a certified lemon. Actually the first Nikon item that I've ever purchased that didn't work right. At any rate I'm all set now and just need to find some time to play with it:smile:
     
  18. glad to hear it!

    i just read through this thread, I have an SU-800 and it works like a champ every time. If it has ANY trouble foring off indoors it is definatly defective.

    They are so easy to use that the only possible user error i could imagine is the macro switch that you had already checked.

    :biggrin:
     
  19. candyman7

    candyman7

    29
    Jun 29, 2009
    new jersey
    i have the su 800 on my d60 and i am having similar difficulties with it. it seems to not want to trigger the flashes but i just make slight adjustments to the flashes and it seems to work ok
     
  20. is this inside or outside?

    the IR flash from the SU-800 is strong enough to trigger an SU-800 with no line of sight in a larger room...

    i get my 2nd Sb-600 tomorrow. :) 
     
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