1. Welcome to NikonCafe.com—a friendly Nikon camera & photography discussion forum!

    If you are thinking of buying a camera or need help with your photos, you will find our forum members full of advice! Click here to join for free!

SB800 and an umbrella softbox question

Discussion in 'General flash photography, lighting, and technique' started by Terri French, Aug 19, 2008.

  1. I am experimenting on using my sb800 as a remote flash with my onboard flash on my D200 triggering the remote.

    I have the sb800 mounted on a light stand shooting into a photek umbrella softbox that I've used many times with my studio lights. I figured that I would need more light than normal out of my flash.

    I set my camera on manual f5.6 1/125 and set the camera to fire the remote at +3

    The camera fired the flash but after I took the shot the display on the flash said -3ev. What does that mean and why did it say that since I set the flash to fire at +3 on my camera?

    Also, what ev would you set using your sb800 in this type of shooting situation?

    Sure hope this all makes sense.
  2. WayneF


    Apr 3, 2006
    I think the regular Commander/Remote system does not show this, so I am puzzled how you might be triggering the SB-800 with the internal flash to see this.

    But see page 33 of the SB-800 manual about that report. In iTTL (hot shoe or SC-28) operation, the upper right corner of its LCD shows the amount of underexposure if the flash does not have sufficient power to provide the exposure you are requesting. I think this is what you are seeing, but am puzzled how the internal flash comes into play.

    Your +3 compensation is asking for 3 stops more flash power than iTTL camera metered exposure would think necessary in the situation (0 EV, so +3 seems excessive). The -3 EV status is telling you there was not enough flash power to do it. -3 EV says you need 8 times more flash power, or f/2 instead of f/5.6 (to accomplish the +3 EV request). Sometimes we can ask for more than the flash can deliver.

    I should add, you do not have to manually compensate TTL for the loss of a softbox, or a ceiling bounce, etc. The TTL system meters that part that does get through, and exposes accordingly.
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 19, 2008
  3. re: SB-800 and umbrella softbox.

    Hi Terri,

    My limited experience shooting both the SB-800 and SB-600 through both umbrellas and a 30" by 30" softbox is this;
    Place the umbrella or softbox as close to the subject as you can, set the flash(es) to fire as a slave, as you are doing, and then set the power output on the camera for the flash output to manual and then adjust the output to where you can get the best exposure. Once you have the power set correctly you can be assured of consistent exposures. For example I was shooting the SB-600 through the softbox at about 1/4 power with the softbox about 6 feet or so away from the subject and I was getting sufficient light for my purposes. Another benefit of using manual flash settings is for hair and background lights with the SB's. Here is my only complaint with the CLS system, I really could use a fourth channel.
    A sample can be seen here.

    The hair light in this picture is a miniature LED flashlight mounted to a flex arm and installed on a light stand. The other two lights are an SB-800 through an umbrella and an SB-600 through the above mentioned softbox.

    I have not been very successful using the CLS to control the flash output when using modifiers, even though others have shown considerable success. I am sure with practice I could master this, but I have found the manual settings allow me to be more creative and accurate with my lighting.
    But remember, this is what works for me, and not to mention I am being trained to use manual for all my shooting by an ex-member from here.

    I hope this helps you.
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 19, 2008
  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.