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Tried DPR , now here. Got an SB800/Stroboframe question

Discussion in 'Studio Equipment and Lighting' started by Steve S, Mar 29, 2005.

  1. Steve S

    Steve S

    Feb 1, 2005
    SE Florida
    Thinking it would be busier over there, I thought I'd get a quicker answer over there 1st, but got 0 replies in 4 hrs. Nervous about going on location to do some headshots with my D2X & SB800 mounted up on a Stroboframe. Some indoors, some out. Since it's on the Stroboframe, should I bounce the SB800 for the interior shots off the low white ceiling, or aim it straight at them? Would -1 1/2 EV be a good starting point for the SB? Any other camera or flash settings to recommend?
    With my (very)limited experience shooting with my SB800, I've been using it on iTTL-BL-FP. What if the shutter speed's too low indoors? Should I switch to Shutter priority instead of my usual Aperture priority, or go to full Manual?
  2. Steve, I am in the same boat as you however, I have learned a few things about lighting. I can answer your question about bouncing the SB-800 and that is yes I would bounce it. This way, you get soft even lighting.

    I have limited experience with this type of flash, I usually shoot in Automatic so I don't screw up any pictures.

    BTW, what Stroboframe do you use for your X?

    Thanks and good luck. Hopefully more pro lighters will chime in and help both of us you on the other questions.
  3. mrdinh


    Mar 8, 2005
    North Dakota
    bounce it baby!...alway try to bounce if you can...i agree with catz...you never want that black hole effect with direct flash...

    how high is the ceilings?
  4. Steve S

    Steve S

    Feb 1, 2005
    SE Florida
    Bounce it stright up or @45deg?

    The ceiling is 8ft max, made of white aucoustic tiles. What about keeping the shutter speed up? Any suggestions there?
  5. Re: Bounce it stright up or @45deg?

    Hey Steve,

    I'm going to take a stab at the shutter spped question. If you are taking pictures of moving subjects while bouncing the flash, I would go with shutter speed priority. Ifnot then Aperture or Manuel would be fine. Do you need an answer on how to calculate bouncing the flash too. I can answer that too for you.

    Just give me a holler. I'm here to help.
  6. Steve S

    Steve S

    Feb 1, 2005
    SE Florida
    As I said in the 1st post, these are going to be "heads

    So, unless they're making it extremely difficult for me by dodging around or something, they will not be moving ;)  What I am concerned about is the low ambient light inside, affecting the shutter speeds, if I shoot in A priority. I also want to shoot in base 100 ISO (if possible), but I'll crank up the ISO if necessary, using an open aperture setting. I better do some testing quick, or I'm gonna look like some fool with an expensive camera! That's not good, since they may be bringing me back in the future. I'm pretty sure we're gonna do this in the next day or two.
    I think I may need another SB800 setting besides iTTL-BL-FP. Can you tell I don't know bupkis about my SB?
  7. Steve, I'll have to go along with the rest and say bounce it. I'm not fond of straight on flash in most cases, and by that I mean mounted on the camera either with or without a bracket. Bounced flash just has a more natural look to me.
  8. I'll second (or third,) the "Bounce It Baby!" answer. Straight on flash is too flat IMO as I personally prefer uneven or sidelit images.

    I'm very interested in people's opinions on flash brackets. I personally can't stand them because they really slow down the way I work... which is more of a journalistic/fashion approach to portraits & weddings.

    As for your shutter speed and other settings. You have tons of options here. I would say that your answer lies in the ambient light.

    If the ambience is low, you can really get away with dragging (slowing down) the shutter. This will allow the background to burn in. You can get some neat affects with this, but it does require some practice to get right. You may want to set your flash setting to rear curtain when doing flash portraits.

    Here's an example shot with D2x, 28-70, & remote off-camera SB800. My settings were 1/20 sec. f/4 ISO 400, handheld.

    If you want to go a little safer route, take the diffusion dome that came with your SB800 and use that when you bounce. This will create a very soft even, yet still directional, light. Using the diffusion dome means that you must be a little closer to your subjects than without, but the result is much cleaner. For your shutter speed, again, I would recommend that you play that one by ear depending on your ambience. If you have allot of light, you can drop your ISO down below 400, but otherwise, you may want to start shooting at ISO 400 with a moderate shutter speed of 1/80. Your shutter won't matter much at moderate speeds, it's your f-stop that really changes the exposure.

    I recommend that you set your flash EV to 0 to start. I generally only reduce the flash output if I can't bounce the flash. If you do this while bouncing, you may inadvertantly underexpose your images. If you get into +EV settings, you are adversely affecting the flash recycle times and can lead to inconsistant flash exposures. Watch your histogram and make your flash EV changes in moderation (ie - set D2x to 1/3 stops rather than 1/2 if you haven't already.) iTTL is very accurate, let it do it's job.

    Good luck, let us know how it turns out.

    I hope this helps.
  9. JeffKohn


    Apr 21, 2005
    Houston, TX
    I don't think the extra height of a bracket matters much; redeye is rarely a problem with an external flash in the hotshoe in my experience (with the one exception noted below).

    Where I do think a bracket would come in handy is for shooting verticals. I like to use the Lumiquest ProMax 80/20 for bounce flash, but it just doesn't work when shooting veritcal. And even if you use bare-flash or the diffusion dome you might be able to angle it up somewhat but the flash is stilll going to be closer to the lens than is ideal, which can make red eye or lens shadow more likely. So I think a bracket could definitely be useful, I just haven't found one that would meet all my requirements without costing too much (I want arca-swiss compatiblity).
  10. Pick shutter speed based on background lighting

    If you want the background to show, pick a shutter speed and aperture that'll make that happen; your flash will brighten the subject a bit and make them stand out. If you underexpose your background one stop, it'll be visible but a lot less distracting. If you want it to disappear, set the highest shutter speed and smallest aperture you can.

    I was strongly encouraged in lighting to stop thinking about shutter speed as a way to freeze motion when shooting with flash or in mixed light. Instead, I was told to think about it as a background illuminator, sometimes you're better off on a tripod at 1/4 second if your background is important.

    If you're including the background, be sure to gel your strobe so that all colors of light are the same temp, so that when you white balance, everything is balanced the same. The worst possible thing that can happen to you has happened to me enough times to make me cringe thinking about it - if your lighting temp / white balance mixes are far enough apart that you get highlights in one color and shadows in another, with transitions that are neither. Almost completely undrecoverable in Photoshop.

    That's why Nikon included gels for incandescent and flourescent. Used to be you gelled the camera lens, now you gel the light.
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