SB-800 Startup Tips?

Discussion in 'General Technical Discussion' started by JayR, Sep 10, 2005.

  1. JayR


    Jul 6, 2005
    Redmond, WA.
    Hi All,

    I just picked up a SB-800 flash unit to help with lighting in gloomy PNW weather. I normally shoot in A mode and let the camera figure out the shutter speed. If I do that with the SB800, the shutter speed remains at 1/60 for all apertures due to the flash sync speed set in the menu.

    Can someone give me some pointers to get me started?

    Here is what I have in mind after searching for tips.

    Set camera to Manual
    Use f5.6 or f8
    Use shutter speed of 1/60 or 1/125
    Flash set to TTL
    Diffuse dome on & flash rotated up by a couple of clicks
    Spot meter on facial skin
    Compose & shoot

    Camera in P mode
    Flash set to TTL-BL
    Matrix metering
    Compose and shoot.

    Any thoughts or suggestions would be really helpful.

    Thanks a lot.
  2. kjoosten


    May 1, 2005
    Houston, TX
    That should work pretty good...

    You didn't say what camera you have. You can synch slower than 1/60 in manual exposure by switching sych mode to "rear". Also, be aware that spot metering disables "balanced fill flash".
  3. JayR


    Jul 6, 2005
    Redmond, WA.
    Sorry about that.

    I am using a D70.
  4. jfrancis


    May 8, 2005
    Orlando, FL
    I don't understand why you would switch to manual (indoors) or program (outdoors). Use Aperture Priority like you normally do. Leave the SB800 on iTTL mode indoors and shoot. Outdoors, switch to BL and shoot.
  5. MontyDog


    Jan 30, 2005
    #1064 - You have an error in your SQL syntax;
  6. heiko


    May 15, 2005

    I also was a little confused about using flash on the D70, and particularly with the SB800.

    I found that Thom Hogan gave pretty good explanations, and that it also works. Now I use more often Manual exposure to better control the background light.

    One more thing: on the D70 you can set the mininum shutter speed for flash via Custom Settings. The default is 1/60, but you can go down to 1/30 or even less if you feel confident that you can hold it. Two days ago a friend showed me a portrait he took at 1/2 second exposure with built-in flash and it was crisp as can be. The explanation is simple: the exposure time/f-stop controls the background (which was out of focus anyway), and the flash lights up the subject. Since the flash fires only for a fraction of your exposure time (I think it's somewhere at 1/1000 second or even much faster), the exposure time can be quite long.

    Exposure correction doesn't work in iTTL-BL, as the camera tries to nullify your adjustments (as Paul pointed out).

    So after some experimenting I found that Manual mode or Aperture mode with iTTL works best for me, but there is still lot's of room for experimenting.

    Have fun - the SB800 is a great flash.
  7. MontyDog


    Jan 30, 2005
    #1064 - You have an error in your SQL syntax;