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Using CLS (TTL) without an ambient exposure?

Discussion in 'General flash photography, lighting, and technique' started by jklofft, Sep 30, 2008.

  1. Is anyone using a multi-flash set-up using off-camera CLS/TTL where they are completely overpowering the ambient light? I can get a correct exposure consistently if I set all of the remotes to EC 0. As soon as a start adjusting the EC on any of the remotes (or master), all bets are off (generally it’s underexposed). This is true even if at least one of the remotes (or master) is left on EC 0. Has anyone figure out how to make this work predictably? Thanks.
  2. ???

    You want to over power the ambient light without adjusting the flashes from 0 in ttl mode ?

    What ambient light ? bulb in a dark basement or the harsh sun at noon ?

    Tell us what you want to achive , and it will be easier to help you.
  3. Indoor lights not daylight. Something that would be black at 1/250 at say f/5.6 or 8.
  4. cwilt


    Apr 24, 2005
    Denver, CO
    Fast shutter speed and low ISO. Shutter is your main control for ambient without effecting flash up to sync limit.

  5. Charles,

    Thanks, but I guess I didn't make my question clear. I understand about the separate exposure systems and how to knock out the ambient. My issue is getting CLS to work more predictably when there is not ambient light contributing to the exposure. CLS seems great for balancing the light, but if it is the only light source, not so much. Does that make more sense?
  6. Johnny Yuma

    Johnny Yuma

    Jun 27, 2007
    SE MI
    Hmm, I haven't had much of a problem doing this.
    CLS doesn't always know what you are trying to do, so EC is needed.
    I think you would be better off trying Manual Mode in this situation though.
  7. Here are two examples where I used CLS to fire my flash without any ambient exposure. It should be noted that both shots were set in manual exposure. This is probably the only way to get consistent results when trying to overpower the ambient. I'm not sure it can be done in TTL with exposure compensation only, especially since you need to underexpose the ambient more than 3 stops to render it completely dark.

    D80 firing an SB-600 placed inside the book, aimed at my daughter. Taken at 62mm f/5.0 1/400 second at ISO 100. It was in the middle of the day (12:14), and the room was lit completely by window light.
    Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available)

    This image was also set so no ambient light registered in the image. Also taken with the D80 firing an SB-600 into a shoot-through umbrella. 85mm, 1/200 second at f/10 to eliminate the ambient light at 2:00 in the afternoon.

    Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available)
  8. Great work! Love them both. Looks like manual might be the best alternative. Thanks.
  9. cwilt


    Apr 24, 2005
    Denver, CO
    Now I know what your saying. :wink:

    Manual flash control is always my prefered method. Next would be spot metering and use FV lock. Some camera models switch to matrix when using FV lock so check your manual.
  10. You say you are adjusting EC (exposure compensation) on your remotes; however, what you're doing is adjusting the Flash Compensation (FC).

    Exposure compensation (usually that little +- button near the shutter) and effects both flash and ambient exposure. Flash compensation effects only the flash and can be done in a variety of ways; on the flash, via the same button that raises the pop up along with a dial, or via the Advanced Wireless Lighting menu.

    If you want to use CLS/AWL and your goal is to under expose the ambient and have a properly exposed subject with the light shortfall made up by brighter than normal flash, try this:
    Dial in a stop or or two of negative EXPOSURE compensation and at the same time dial in a stop or two of positive FLASH compensation. Generally speaking, you should expect the subject (assuming it's illuminated by the flash) to be properly exposed and the background darker than normal.

    Of course, life isn't always perfect and you can expect to fine tune these adjustments to get what you want, but it should be a starting point.:smile:
  11. Bob,

    That does seem to work with one flash. My problem comes in when I have two (or more) flashes with different compensation values set. For example if I have the key light group set at 0 and the fill at -1.7, I'll get underexposure.
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