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Forums Lobby MASTER YOUR TOOLS Nikon Speedlights & Lighting topic #59747
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Subject: "Is TTL not the best setting?" Previous topic | Next topic
Cerulean Silver Member  La Paz, BO  Nikonian since 19th Oct 2009 Fri 09-Nov-12 06:05 PM
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"Is TTL not the best setting?"



Friends:

I read somewhere that TTL/TTL-BL is not the best setting for a flash. Why is this if it is true?


“ Your first 10000 photographs are your worst." – Henri Cartier-Bresson

  

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gpoole Platinum Member Fellow Ribbon awarded for his excellent and frequent contributions and sharing his in-depth knowledge and experience with the community in the Nikonians spirit. Awarded for his very generous support to the Fundrasing Campaing 2014 Writer Ribbon awarded for his article contributions for the Articles library and the eZine   Farmington Hills, US  Nikonian since 14th Feb 2004 Fri 09-Nov-12 06:59 PM
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#1. "RE: Is TTL not the best setting?"
In response to Reply # 0



I'm not sure where you read this, but I don't agree. If you have the time and possibly a flash meter, setting the flash(s) to manual and your camera to manual may give you more control and more accurate exposure, but TTL is hard to beat for quick shooting situations.

Note that TTL and TTL-BL are 2 different settings.

The BL in TTL-BL is for balanced. Your camera will try to balance the ambient light with the light produced by the flash. You should use this mode when the flash is used for fill. For example an outdoor portrait with the subject's back to the sun. Often in this mode you will want to dial in some negative flash compensation to keep the fill looking natural.

You should use TTL when the flash is the primary source of light, such as photographing indoors at night. Your camera will ignore the ambient light and set the exposure only based on the flash. The background which is lit mostly by the dim ambient light will probably be dark in your image.

Gary in SE Michigan, USA. Co-organizer of the Southern Michigan Chapter
Nikonians membership - My most important photographic investment, after the camera.
D4, D810, D300 (720nm IR conversion), D90, F6, FM3a (black), FM2n (chrome)
YashicaMat 124, Graflex Speed Graphic 4x5
My Nikonians Gallery & Our Chapter Gallery

  

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Cerulean Silver Member  La Paz, BO  Nikonian since 19th Oct 2009 Fri 09-Nov-12 07:23 PM
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#2. "RE: Is TTL not the best setting?"
In response to Reply # 1



Hi Gary. I indeed use the flash as fill. This is what I do in an evening where I would have a nightclub type lighting:
(please supply comments to improve my system)

Aperture Priority (if not then Speed on 1/8 or 1/20th)
f/stop wide open
Turn off Noise correction in camera
Make sure to have SPOT metering active (optional)
Turn down camera exposure compensation to -2.0 so that the background is a bit darker than the subject. (I will illuminate the
subject with flash)
Use Speedlight SB-900 or newer
Flash will read TTL-BL
Flash exposure compensation -0.5 EV
Test shot and adjust as necessary
(If the background is too dark, you need to decrease your shutter speed, but since I am in Aperture priority I would up the ISO)
ISO fixed at 1600 to get more of the ambient light in the shot.
Fix noise with Topaz De Noise PS Plugin or Photo Ninja


“ Your first 10000 photographs are your worst." – Henri Cartier-Bresson

  

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gbowen Gold Member  Canton, US  Nikonian since 01st Apr 2011 Fri 09-Nov-12 07:30 PM
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#3. "RE: Is TTL not the best setting?"
In response to Reply # 0



TTL-BL is not meant for indoors with dark backgrounds. I found that out during a wedding with my very first DSLR, a D70, and my SB-600 in a dark ark of a church. I shot a few frames, and saw in my LCD that my subjects were underexposed. I immediately switch to TTL and went on to shoot a successful wedding.

Since, as I understand it, the camera's meter plays a part in the exposure, since input is taken from it to set the proper flash setting to fill in shadows. In TTL, it is reading the output of the flash alone as the light strikes the sensor, or film if you are using a 35mm. Does that make sense?

Correct me if I'm right!

George

  

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Cerulean Silver Member  La Paz, BO  Nikonian since 19th Oct 2009 Fri 09-Nov-12 07:39 PM
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#4. "RE: Is TTL not the best setting?"
In response to Reply # 3



Well, yes and no. I took test shots with TTL-BL and the settings as above, but I downplayed the background a bit so that the focus of attention is the subject. I will try some back-to-back shots with TTL vs TTL-BL to see what happens.

Again thanks!


“ Your first 10000 photographs are your worst." – Henri Cartier-Bresson

  

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gbowen Gold Member  Canton, US  Nikonian since 01st Apr 2011 Fri 09-Nov-12 07:49 PM
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#5. "RE: Is TTL not the best setting?"
In response to Reply # 4



That's the beauty of digital. You can try things all day long and get immediate results and make adjustments as needed for free. DSLRs are great educational tools.

George

  

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Arkayem Moderator Awarded for his high level skills in flash photography   Richmond Hill, GA (Savannah), US  Charter Member Sat 10-Nov-12 02:18 AM
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#6. "RE: Is TTL not the best setting?"
In response to Reply # 2



>Hi Gary. I indeed use the flash as fill. This is what I do
>in an evening where I would have a nightclub type lighting:
>(please supply comments to improve my system)
>
>Aperture Priority (if not then Speed on 1/8 or 1/20th)
>f/stop wide open
>Turn off Noise correction in camera
>Make sure to have SPOT metering active (optional)

The camera cannot be in Spot metering mode when using TTL-BL. This is because the metering in the camera has to read the entire frame (or most of it in the case of Center Weighted metering) in order to be able to calculate the proper power for fill.


Russ
Retired Professional Photographer
Nikonian Moderator
Russell MacDonald Photography
Nikon CLS Practical Guide

  

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Arkayem Moderator Awarded for his high level skills in flash photography   Richmond Hill, GA (Savannah), US  Charter Member Sat 10-Nov-12 02:25 AM
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#7. "RE: Is TTL not the best setting?"
In response to Reply # 4



>Well, yes and no. I took test shots with TTL-BL and the
>settings as above, but I downplayed the background a bit so
>that the focus of attention is the subject. I will try some
>back-to-back shots with TTL vs TTL-BL to see what happens.
>
>Again thanks!

The key to making TTL-BL work right is to make sure the camera light meter is zeroed (centered). You must have a correct ambient exposure for the system to add proper fill.

If you are indoors in low ambient conditions (like a night club), it is often very difficult to get a correct ambient exposure without slowing the shutter way down (and risking severe ghosting). This is one of the key reasons you should not try to use TTL-BL when in low ambient conditions.

Regular TTL does not measure ambient light and will fire at the samme power regardless of the brightness of the ambient light. This is why you have to turn regular TTL way down in order to use it in the daytime. However, in the dark ambient of a night club, regular TTL is exactly what you need. In this case, the flash is primary, meaning it will provide nearly all the exposure.

Russ
Retired Professional Photographer
Nikonian Moderator
Russell MacDonald Photography
Nikon CLS Practical Guide

  

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Cerulean Silver Member  La Paz, BO  Nikonian since 19th Oct 2009 Sat 10-Nov-12 02:49 AM
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#8. "RE: Is TTL not the best setting?"
In response to Reply # 7
Sat 10-Nov-12 02:50 AM by Cerulean


Thank you so much Russ. I must admit you open insights that could have troubled me if I hadn't tried and fooled with flash as much. What I'm trying to do is hone the result. I realize that on camera flash is flat so the results will only go so far. The need is to roam single handedly with the flash in one hand and the camera in the other is a goal. I want to get good at this because I find that I take a lot of these types of photographs. The night brings out a complex quality in people which is fun to capture.
I was wishy washy about Auto vs. TTL vs. TTL-BL and now I realize that at least TTL will be there in these (night) situations (on camera). Outside in daylight really never worries me because I can ballpark/guess the fill pretty well. In fact daytime I would use a cheaper flash that doesn't even have TTL but forsakes these for simple setting of fractions of full power.

Migs


“ Your first 10000 photographs are your worst." – Henri Cartier-Bresson

  

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Arkayem Moderator Awarded for his high level skills in flash photography   Richmond Hill, GA (Savannah), US  Charter Member Sat 10-Nov-12 02:58 AM
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#9. "RE: Is TTL not the best setting?"
In response to Reply # 8



>Thank you so much Russ. I must admit you open insights that
>could have troubled me if I hadn't tried and fooled with flash
>as much. What I'm trying to do is hone the result. I realize
>that on camera flash is flat so the results will only go so
>far. The need is to roam single handedly with the flash in
>one hand and the camera in the other is a goal. I want to get
>good at this because I find that I take a lot of these types
>of photographs. The night brings out a complex quality in
>people which is fun to capture.
>I was wishy washy about Auto vs. TTL vs. TTL-BL and now I
>realize that at least TTL will be there in these (night)
>situations (on camera). Outside in daylight really never
>worries me because I can ballpark/guess the fill pretty well.
>In fact daytime I would use a cheaper flash that doesn't even
>have TTL but forsakes these for simple setting of fractions of
>full power.
>
>Migs

I kept the flash on-camera for almost all of my work when I was shooting weddings. The trick is to prevent the direct light from the flash from blasting the subject's face.

One way to get great flash shots with the flash on-camera is to turn the flash around and let it light your subject from the reflected energy in the entire room. In the night club situation, I would increase ISO, reduce shutter speed, and open up the aperture to allow lots of ambient to help out. I have gotten some really good night club shots using this technique.

In a smaller room, turning the flash around backwards will make outstanding portraits with really soft light.

Russ
Retired Professional Photographer
Nikonian Moderator
Russell MacDonald Photography
Nikon CLS Practical Guide

  

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Cerulean Silver Member  La Paz, BO  Nikonian since 19th Oct 2009 Sat 10-Nov-12 03:34 AM
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#10. "RE: Is TTL not the best setting?"
In response to Reply # 9



Here are a couple examples for you.

Click on image to view larger version

Click on image to view larger version


“ Your first 10000 photographs are your worst." – Henri Cartier-Bresson

  

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Arkayem Moderator Awarded for his high level skills in flash photography   Richmond Hill, GA (Savannah), US  Charter Member Sat 10-Nov-12 03:42 AM
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#11. "RE: Is TTL not the best setting?"
In response to Reply # 10
Sat 10-Nov-12 03:43 AM by Arkayem


>Here are a couple examples for you.

Yup, that's what I'm talking about! Your ISO9000/16000 on your D3s coupled with your 85mm at f/1.8 allows lots of ambient and a little flash goes a long way. Did you turn the flash around backwards or hold it in your hand? I find it simpler to turn it around backwards.

But when doing this, always use regular TTL or Manual, so you can get dependable results.

Russ
Retired Professional Photographer
Nikonian Moderator
Russell MacDonald Photography
Nikon CLS Practical Guide

  

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Cerulean Silver Member  La Paz, BO  Nikonian since 19th Oct 2009 Sat 10-Nov-12 11:21 AM
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#12. "RE: Is TTL not the best setting?"
In response to Reply # 11



I usually turn the flash way down so it acts as micro fill light and try and get someone to hold it from way back so the colors are saturated and the the mood isn't changed. I actually set the flash in one of these pics on a bar with a bottle in front as a diffuser. These are just one of those shots you get when you get lucky, when the mood is just right. But I must add that I am a post processing junkie. At least in my part of the world (Bolivia) you don't have to ask for permission to photograph someone. Thankfully we still don't have those problems. Plus people have gotten used to me packing a camera lots of the time.
My D3s is a great camera, but lately I have been playing with a Leica for it's unobtrusiveness. I just can't break the confidence barrier with it yet and it has disastrous noise low light.


“ Your first 10000 photographs are your worst." – Henri Cartier-Bresson

  

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Forums Lobby MASTER YOUR TOOLS Nikon Speedlights & Lighting topic #59747 Previous topic | Next topic