What flash mode is your non-Nikon brand iTTL flash?

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Nikon's current CLS iTTL flash system was introduced ten years ago. Since then, there were endless discussions about TTL vs TTL BL flash modes. We pretty much know what these do now, and it's died down somewhat. In fact, the only Nikon flash still in production that even has a TTL menu is the SB-910. The others (SB-700, SB-400, Internal flash, and Commander) are TTL BL by default (unless Spot metering, which overrides with TTL mode).

There is really no other way to say it, but very many (maybe most?) camera users never learn the first thing about using their flash. Many exceptions of course, but many only turn it on, aim it forward (direct flash), and then complain about their flash pictures, and avoid using flash all they can. They never learn how it works, what it does, or how to use it. Which is a real shame of course, it is really pretty easy, and it can be so good.

Automatic flash means the dumb computer tries to do it, but we have to watch, and stand ready to help it. And about the first thing we need to know about automatic flash is, what is it trying to do? Is our iTTL flash TTL or TTL BL mode? These are rather different. For the few Nikon flashes, we have learned. But for non-Nikon brand flashes, I'm not aware the subject ever came up about "what mode is my flash?". A tiny few non-Nikon flashes do have a TTL/TTL BL menu, but most don't. But they will do something, and it seems good if we knew what to expect that the flash is going to do?

The Exif data easily tells us what the camera metering is doing (flash mode), and a quick glance at results also tells us what it did.

It seems clear the Yongnuo 565 does TTL mode (where for example, the SB-700 does TTL BL mode). One mode is not better than the other, only different, rather different metering, which certainly affects our use. IMO, the simplest view is that we must help TTL units when in bright ambient, and must help TTL BL units indoors. But frankly, I don't even have a clue about what all the non-Nikon flash brands even do?

For anyone interested, those with a non-Nikon brand iTTL flash (for Nikon) are invited to Four Flash Photography Basics we must know - Flash mode, Is your flash TTL or TTL BL?, which is about how to quickly determine your automatic flashes TTL mode, either from Exif, or a simple test (about what the difference is). It is also suggesting when you determine the mode of your flash, that you shoot me a quick email and tell me too. :smile: I hope to make a list, and the goal is to hear about a wide range of varied brands of iTTL flash for Nikon. Then maybe we can know more about the general case of what our automatic flashes are doing.
 
Joined
Nov 25, 2008
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Wayne I think you are right. I think most are intimidated by the flash.

I went to the "Flash Bus Tour" a couple of years ago. Things started making sense for me after that. Manual flash is really pretty simple to do. It's easy to change settings until you get the desired results.
 
Joined
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I agree, flash seems pretty easy, actually easier because then we can control it, and it can be so good. Assuming we care.

Yes, manual flash is easy to adjust if only one flash, but it does help to meter multiple flash, to set their levels relative to each other. Which is easy too, the meter tells us what we are doing.

And TTL results flash do vary sometimes (common reflective metering issues), but we simply watch those results too, and use Flash Compensation to dial it in right. This becomes second nature real fast.

I'm getting no response wondering about the flash mode of automatic third party flash brands doing Nikon iTTL. We know the Nikon system defaults to TTL BL, but at least one Yongnuo flash does not. It seems like the very first thing we ought to know is what mode our flash system is trying to perform, so I thought it was a real good question.

I would again encourage everyone with non-Nikon brand iTTL flash to look at this:

Does your non-Nikon flash operate in TTL or TTL BL mode?

Just looking at their Exif can tell this flash mode, and then they can tell us, and we will all know. Or if easier, there are instructions there inviting them to simply email a flash image to me, and I will check it.
 
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