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!

Still a bit lost... Flash shooting questions

Discussion in 'General flash photography, lighting, and technique' started by LindaZ, Jul 1, 2008.

  1. LindaZ


    Jul 29, 2007
    Wilmington, NC
    When I'm outside shooting in a shadowy area, should the camera be set to front or rear sync? Or does it matter?

    Yesterday I was practicing and I found a sweet spot at 1/250 at f4. I want the look where the subject is evenly lit and the background isn't dark. It seem to work well when the subject is in the shadows and the light is somewhere behind him (but not actually reaching the area)

    Now lets have the subject in the shadows and the sun is in the clouds but my subject is now facing the same direction the sun is at.
    Now my photos look more "flashy" with a lighter subject and darker background. Should I tell my flash or camera to do something different in those situations? Or should I do a EV/EL on the background or the subject before pressing the shutter?

    Is there a super easy tutorial available for pretty plain flash use (nothing fancy) ?

    I use TTL and a diffuser, if that makes any difference.
  2. I'm a novice, so beware!
    If you want the background lighter, yes rear synch is the way to go. But that means your foreground subject must be still. Though I believe you can get the same result shooting in manual mode. Spot meter on the background and set exposure for the look you want for it. Then in TTL (not iTTL) shoot and adjust for effect. Remember. Aperture control flash exposure and shutter the ambient exposure.
  3. LindaZ


    Jul 29, 2007
    Wilmington, NC
    I think my flash Sb600 doesn't tell me wether it's iTTL or TTL? I can't see the "i" anywhere. I think I tried to adjust the flash by pressing the +/- but couldn't really tell any difference.

    Ok rear sync.. great. Spot meter background... so it's exposed correctly and not under/over exposed?
  4. Remember, I'm a novice too!

    On my 800 you cycle through the modes by pressing the mode button.

    You asked: "Ok rear sync.. great. Spot meter background... so it's exposed correctly and not under/over exposed?"

    Yes, I think so! What rear synch does is set your camera to a slower shutter speed to let more ambient light in.
  5. LindaZ


    Jul 29, 2007
    Wilmington, NC
    Ok, so I should shoot A and not M then, otherwise I would cancel that out right? But then what's the point of metering the background? Pesky, aren't I? LOL
  6. Pesky is OK--in fact it's great! I'm learning by telling!

    Use A mode if you use slow synch, use M and do the same thing yourself.
  7. LindaZ


    Jul 29, 2007
    Wilmington, NC
    Gottcha! Thanks Nick!
  8. I thought all rear-synch did was fire the flash at the end of the exposure cycle and not the beginning. It doesn't influence the actual exposure at all - does it?
  9. Uhh You don't have to use rear sync. Especially in daylight. In rear sync, the flash fires at the end when the shutter is closing, instead of when it first opens. Your exposure in sunlight won't really matter all that much when using rear sync because it's so fast. It's best when it's used around 1/3" or slower.

    That being said, for fill flash in sunlight, meter for the sky, and TTL will most of the time get the face spot on. If not, use EV adjustments on either the flash or the camera.

  10. True, but. . . normal (front sync) works between 1/60s and 1/250s (on my D2x--and it can be changed using CSM E2), while rear sync works between 30s and 1/250s (as does slow sync, but that fires when the shutter opens).

  11. LindaZ


    Jul 29, 2007
    Wilmington, NC
    No thread is complete without photos. So here's some of my plays, just cropped and sized direct from camera.

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

    slow shutter, spot meter, and I did use the rear sync mode on mode A. Turned out pretty funky due to the slow shutter speed. fun fun..

    This was probably more the look I was after - I'm pleased by the result of this one. 1/160 f3.2, spot, A.
    View attachment 218657

    CLS, although it's like having a carrot in front of a bunch of bunnies, they can't keep their hands off it.
    View attachment 218658
  12. Cool--love the funky one, it sure shows how active young kids are! But the other 2 are precious!
  13. I don't think so.

    The front or rear synch just changes what part of the exposure cycle gets the flash (the beginning or the end). I've never had a need to use slow-synch but I don't think it applies here anyway.

    In manual (which it sounds like what she's doing), shooting outside for simple fill-flash, using front or rear synch modes should be largely irrelevant.

  14. I'm sure on the first statement--just checked it out in Thom's book.

    You got me on the second---I think default (front sync) should work and/or be best.
  15. Hmm... I don't know who Thom is, but that just isn't true. Front-synch is the default, normal, and it'll work in just about anything. In Program or Aperture-Priority my D200 defaults to 1/60-second but there's a simple menu option to change it.

    I had to prove it to myself. These two are both at 1/5-sec at f5.3 with an SB800 in TTL. The first is front-sync (normal), the second is rear-sync.

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

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

    Maybe we're talking about two different things? In manual you can set things up any way you want. Front or rear synch just changes the position of the flash during the exposure cycle.

    But...in any of the "auto" modes you have to defeat the defaults by changing to slow or rear synch. They put a 1/60th-sec default in to avoid blurred backgrounds and smeared lights in dark rooms or night photography, slow-synch just tells the camera to ignore the flash when calculating the ambient exposure, and rear-synch changes the position of the flash during the exposure (and thus the nature of the blue).

    I'm still learning a lot about the newer flashes myself. For 20 years I've used a Vivitar 285HV and there's still a learning curve.
  16. Oops, I need to add something. Based on "Yesterday I was practicing and I found a sweet spot at 1/250 at f4" I thought we were talking about shooting in manual. I see from the exif that these were shot in aperture priority.

    Yup - rear synch will allow that mode to drop below whatever the default or pre-set lower shutter-speed limit is (the D200 and I think D300 defaults to 1/60th but it can be changed through the menu).

    In this case, Linda, the ambient exposure was at 1/200th-second so front or rear synch shouldn't have made any difference at all.
  17. Thom is Thom Hogan, author of what many consider to be the definitive e-books on Nikon digital cameras (http://www.bythom.com/ ).

    I think we ARE talking about 2 different things-and I think we do agree!

    Manual (I'm talking manual exposure mode for the camera,not M mode for the flash) allows you to pick speed and f-stop (and you can go slower than 1/60 provided you have set a lower sync speed using the menus--lower than the 1/60 default). Slow or rear sync does this for you in any of the Auto exposure modes. Right?

    Shooting in M mode also sets the flash in d-ttl (which is why Linda couldn't find it on her flash LCD).

    Man, this flash stuff seems simple, but needs a multi-headed monster to make it all work-especially since there are multiple ways to get it to sing. And the fact that I am only an occasional flasher :) eek:)  makes it even more confusing!

    Thanks for the discussion and all!
  18. jfrancis


    May 8, 2005
    Orlando, FL
    You don't need to use rear curtain synch.

    The most consistent way is to set your camera on manual and your flash on TTL.

    First, set your exposure for the background - which if you have decided on a particular aperture for DOF reasons, will mean setting your shutter speed to ensure a correct exposure. Then simply recompose, focus on your subject and shoot.

    If you want more or less flash light on the subject, dial up/down the flash EV accordingly.

    If you want more/less background (ambient) light, adjust your shutter speed up or down accordingly.

    If your shutter speed becomes too slow for effective handholding, raise your ISO.

    If your shutter speed needs to be above 1/250 (or whatever the max synch speed is for your camera) then set FP Flash mode on the camera.
  19. Thanks! I always forget that one!
    And thanks for setting the record straight--we were getting there- slowly. . . . . .:biggrin:
  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.