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Should I rent the Sekonic L-358 for an outside wedding next month?

Discussion in 'General flash photography, lighting, and technique' started by stayathomedad, Jul 23, 2008.

  1. stayathomedad

    stayathomedad

    Mar 11, 2008
    Alaska
    I have a chance to rent the Sekonic L-358 for a wedding I have next month...

    The wedding will be on the side of a hill, and it's expected to be very sunny (safe to assume)...

    Will the Sekonic L-358 help me meter my sb-600 correctly or two sb600s using umbrellas?

    I read somewhere (late last night so I didn't bookmark) that it needs a cord to meter for flash.

    If this is the case, how will it help me for just ambient light that the D300 can't already do...


    thanks...
     
  2. jfrancis

    jfrancis

    May 8, 2005
    Orlando, FL
    If you are triggering the remote flashes via the D300, no - the meter will not help you. If you are triggering them via radio transmitter (e.g. Pocketwizard), - it may save you some time. However, if you are in direct sunlight, I assume you will be using them for fill. My recommendation would be to use PWs in sunlight.

    The meter will need a synch cord unless you are using PWs and have the PW module in the meter.
     
  3. If you're triggering via radio or even CLS, the meter will still work. As long as it's on, it will give you a flash light reading. I'd say yes, chimping, although it does work, does not look professional at a Wedding where there are many more potential clients, nor is it the quickest when you're on a time constraint.
     
  4. jfrancis

    jfrancis

    May 8, 2005
    Orlando, FL
    Not if you are in TTL. The meter will get confused by the pre-flashes.
     
  5. true, I stand corrected, apologies for that. However my second point is still correct that if triggering with radio, you will still get a reading :) 

    As you can tell everything I do is with PW's I tried CLS once, and it was just too unreliable, even indoors. PW's have never failed me yet.
     
  6. stayathomedad

    stayathomedad

    Mar 11, 2008
    Alaska
    I will either use the D300 in commander mode with the sb600s on umbrellas... OR I will use the sb600 connected to the D300 with a sync cable or on the camera's hotshoe...

    I will not be using PWs...

    Based on this, how will renting the sekonic help me address exposure/flash issues?
     
  7. jfrancis

    jfrancis

    May 8, 2005
    Orlando, FL
    I agree - which is why I recommended it. CLS can get very flaky outside - especially in direct sun.
     
  8. stayathomedad

    stayathomedad

    Mar 11, 2008
    Alaska
    Forgive me... are you saying not to use ttl even when the flash is on the hotshoe, but instead have it in manual mode?
     
  9. jfrancis

    jfrancis

    May 8, 2005
    Orlando, FL
    Tell us what you hope to achieve. Are you planning on using the speedlights just for fill - or are you hoping to underexpose the ambient and use the strobes as the main light?
     
  10. on the cameras hot shoe, just use flash as you would do normally.

    My personal method outdoors is to use arround -1.0 on the speedlight, in TTL-BL. Then put your body in manual and underexpose ambient by 1 stop, or use shutter/aperture priority with -1.0 exp comp on the body. I then adjust from there depending on the light and the effect I want.

    Off the body, CLS (this is the infra-red/pre-flash TTL trigger system Nikon Use) the pre-flashes will give you a reading on the meter, which will therefore ignore the real reading. If you're using a sync cable, (a real cable, not a TTL with a hot shoe connection) then you should be able to plug it into a sync port on the Sekonic, and use it to trigger your strobe.

    Alternatively, if you're using a TTL Sync Lead, then do some tests before hand, and see how much light you're losing through brollies, then just add +flash compensation and shoot them TTL off camera.
     
  11. jfrancis

    jfrancis

    May 8, 2005
    Orlando, FL
    I agree with Phil. The only other thing to watch is that outdoors in sunlight, your shutter speed might drop below your camera's maximum synch speed. In that event, make sure you are in FP (high-speed synch) mode. At that point, you may need to increase flash power to compensate for the loss incurred (this is where multiple speedlights come in handy).
     
  12. Off camera lighting can take a while to use well enough at something like a Wedding.

    If you're unsure about how you're going to do it, you've got 1 month to decide what method of off camera you're going for, then to practice the techniques.

    I'd personally play it safe next month and shoot on camera flash, and set up off camera flash only if you have plenty of time. Leave it till you know it inside out imo.
     
  13. jfrancis

    jfrancis

    May 8, 2005
    Orlando, FL
    It is easier than it sounds if you use manual exposure mode on camera, manual mode on flash, trigger with PWs and are comfortable with a flashmeter. You have an incredible amount of control that way.

    Here are a couple of images shot that way:

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
  14. In a word, no. That's not because it might not be useful. It's because your questions indicate you don't know how to use it... or even why you should use it.

    Renting gear that you aren't familiar with, and then trying to use it in a mission critical situation is a formula for disaster. Keep it simple, and stick to gear and techniques that you've already mastered.
     
  15. stayathomedad

    stayathomedad

    Mar 11, 2008
    Alaska
    I want to keep things VERY simple... The more I think about it the more I doubt I will use off camera flash... We won't have time and I'm too inexperienced to take chances in hopes of getting it right... Not to say I won't drag the umbrellas up the side of the mountain... ha...

    I suspect I will need the flash just for fill... I'll most likely have the sb600 on a bracket connected to the d300 via my SC-28...

    I believe the biggest problem I'll face is overexposing the shots... I shot a few group photos outside last month and they came out horrible... Thank goodness I shot in raw!

    I want to get the formals right in the most basic setup possible... nothing flashy nothing fancy nothing artsy... just simple and good...
     
  16. But the catch is, you need to be comfy with a flash meter and operating your camera and flash in manual mode.

    Otoh, if you're comfortable with cls, you can get some pretty good results, too.

    98150876.gif
    Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available)


    View attachment 226066
     
  17. stayathomedad

    stayathomedad

    Mar 11, 2008
    Alaska
    Thanks frank...

    Since we are on the subject, what are the correct steps for on camera fill flash...

    I will either use the 17-55 at 55 or the 70-200 at 70 for the group shots...

    I will most likely have it in M-mode... start around f/8 to get enough DOF for the group shots, and then hope my shutter will not need to be faster then 1/250th at ISO200...

    Then I will drop the flash down a stop and see how it looks for fill and from there...


    Please berate me if this is totally backwards or unacceptable...
     
  18. if the background is reasonably clean I would use the 17-55 @ 40-45, at 55 it has some distortion

    my method (everyones is slightly different) if it's reasonably light set the camera to manual exposure setting then start at max sync speed 1/250(?) then dial in enough aperture to have the ambient light at ~1stop under exposed, then dial in about -1 stop of flash exposure comp with the flash on ittl
     
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