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Correct Metering Mode for TTl/TTl-bl?

Bravozulu

Los Angeles, US
762 posts

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Bravozulu Silver Member Nikonian since 04th Jun 2012
Thu 30-Aug-12 06:29 PM

A reference book on my D7000 camera suggests that strobe use in these two modes requires camera metering to be set on SPOT.

A book on Speedlights suggest that Matrix is the best choice for camera metering.

Perhaps the writer advising SPOT was speaking of speelights as REMOTES.

What's the right answer?

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MEMcD

US
28592 posts

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#1. "RE: Correct Metering Mode for TTl/TTl-bl?" | In response to Reply # 0

MEMcD Moderator In depth knowledge in various areas Nikonian since 24th Dec 2007
Thu 30-Aug-12 09:39 PM

Hi Gary,

When you use Spot metering, the flash mode will change from TTL-BL to TTL.
When the flash will be the primary light source, TTL flash mode will provide the best results. When you are using the flash for fill, TTL-BL mode should be used.

The built in Speedlights and the SB-400 and SB-700 use TTL-BL as the default mode.
The only way to use Standard TTL mode is to use Spot metering.
Good Luck and Enjoy your Nikons!

Best Regards,
Marty

Bravozulu

Los Angeles, US
762 posts

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#2. "RE: Correct Metering Mode for TTl/TTl-bl?" | In response to Reply # 1

Bravozulu Silver Member Nikonian since 04th Jun 2012
Thu 30-Aug-12 09:58 PM

I should have mentioned that I mainly use an SB800. Sometimes an SB700.

Where does a person learn all this stuff? I've got these books -- Joe Mcnally - Hotshoe Diary, Mike Hagen - CLS and Neil van Niekerk - Off Camera Flash and there are still gaps in my head.

And I continue to ponder EC +/- on the camera vs EC +/- on the strobe.

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Arkayem

Richmond Hill, GA (Savannah), US
6044 posts

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#3. "RE: Correct Metering Mode for TTl/TTl-bl?" | In response to Reply # 2

Arkayem Moderator Awarded for his high level skills in flash photography Charter Member
Sat 01-Sep-12 12:04 AM

>Where does a person learn all this stuff? I've got these books
>-- Joe Mcnally - Hotshoe Diary, Mike Hagen - CLS and Neil van
>Niekerk - Off Camera Flash and there are still gaps in my
>head.

Have you checked out my blog on this subject?

I recommend you start with article 1. and read them consecutively.

http://nikonclspracticalguide.blogspot.com/2008/01/nikon-flash-two-separate-metering.html

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

Bravozulu

Los Angeles, US
762 posts

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#4. "RE: Correct Metering Mode for TTl/TTl-bl?" | In response to Reply # 3

Bravozulu Silver Member Nikonian since 04th Jun 2012
Sun 02-Sep-12 06:07 PM

It took a little reading to clarify my thoughts.

Spot metering is proper for foreground lighting. Requiring a TTl mode set on the speedlight.

Moreover, the random accumulation of EC +/- factors that have been dogging me point to a guilty suspect --- Matrix Metering. Which again is the partner of the TTl-BL mode. Not only does matrix spin off sorts of exposure corrections, you can never know why or duplicate the particular settings.

Or, so it seems today on Sunday, Sept 2. I will bow to those with greater speedlight knowledge, especially you Russ. I am aware that the University of CLS does not promise a fixed graduation date to students. We may be in school for the rest of our lives.

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Arkayem

Richmond Hill, GA (Savannah), US
6044 posts

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#5. "RE: Correct Metering Mode for TTl/TTl-bl?" | In response to Reply # 4

Arkayem Moderator Awarded for his high level skills in flash photography Charter Member
Sun 02-Sep-12 06:56 PM

>It took a little reading to clarify my thoughts.
>
>Spot metering is proper for foreground lighting. Requiring a
>TTl mode set on the speedlight.

The Nikon system helps you out a little bit here. If you are in TTL-BL mode and you select Spot metering on the camera, it automatically changes the speedlight to regular TTL. That is because in Spot Metering mode, there is no data for TTL-BL to work with. TTL-BL depends on a metering of the frame that includes both the subject and the background. In Spot Metering the only metering information is what is reflected off the subject. Matrix metering usually gives the best results when using TTL-BL fill flash.

Remember that the camera metering data has no direct connection to the flash power. The camera metering only measures the amount of ambient light there is. Ambient, of course, adds to the Regular TTL flash. This is why when using regular TTL, you have to be careful to underexpose the ambient by a couple of stops and let the flash provide the primary exposure. If you use regular TTL and you don't underexpose the subject, you will get overexposed subjects. This is why most people always use camera Manual mode when using regular TTL and just set to underexpose by 2 or 3 stops. It's not critical. Then the flash handles essentially the entire exposure.

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

Bravozulu

Los Angeles, US
762 posts

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#6. "RE: Correct Metering Mode for TTl/TTl-bl?" | In response to Reply # 5

Bravozulu Silver Member Nikonian since 04th Jun 2012
Sun 02-Sep-12 07:34 PM

Great summation.

What had me running in circles was looking at the EXIF data in Playback and seeing random EC +/- factors. Some with a lightning bolt, other without. And none of them entered by me. Ok, perhaps the flash EC factors.

The camera in Matrix Metering reads all sorts of subtle illumination quantities, such as contrast, and then mixes that into the exposure setting.

It begins to feel like two conductors leading one orchestra. Crazy.

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Arkayem

Richmond Hill, GA (Savannah), US
6044 posts

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#7. "RE: Correct Metering Mode for TTl/TTl-bl?" | In response to Reply # 6

Arkayem Moderator Awarded for his high level skills in flash photography Charter Member
Sun 02-Sep-12 07:56 PM

>The camera in Matrix Metering reads all sorts of subtle
>illumination quantities, such as contrast, and then mixes that
>into the exposure setting.

Not sure what you are referring to here.

Since you are using Matrix metering, that means you must be shooting fill flash outdoors in bright light. Correct?

If you are indoors in indoor lighting, you should be using regular TTL and camera Manual mode set to underexpose by 2 or 3 stops.

Outdoors, in bright ambient light, the flash should be in TTL-BL mode, and the camera should be in either S or P mode (P mode preferred). Then, the camera will expose the ambient normally, and the flash will fire to add fill to make the subject the same brightness as the rest of the frame.

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

rigard

Oklahoma City, US
6 posts

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#8. "RE: Correct Metering Mode for TTl/TTl-bl?" | In response to Reply # 7

rigard Registered since 30th Apr 2010
Mon 03-Sep-12 02:02 AM

But how does one underexpose the ambient? What mode should one use to meter the ambient? Do you press the shutter down halfway off to the side of the subject to meter and then use EC to take the exposure down a stop or two? Example: I always have a problem understanding when someone says 'expose for the sky' then compensate with EC to get a good exposure on the subject. What does 'expose for the sky' mean? and how to do it. Would that be the same as 'meter for the sky'? Sorry for question but I can't seem to wrap my limited brain power around this concept. Thanks....

Rick Gardner OKC
"keep looking up"

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Arkayem

Richmond Hill, GA (Savannah), US
6044 posts

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#9. "RE: Correct Metering Mode for TTl/TTl-bl?" | In response to Reply # 8

Arkayem Moderator Awarded for his high level skills in flash photography Charter Member
Mon 03-Sep-12 01:24 PM

>But how does one underexpose the ambient? What mode should
>one use to meter the ambient?

It's easiest to learn to use the light meter in the camera. Then you measure the ambient light with the camera in Manual mode. Basically, you adjust the aperture or shutter to collapse the dots to the center in the meter display to set the camera to a normal ambient exposure. Then, you adjust the aperture or shutter to move the dots in the dark direction for three big tic marks to underexpose by 3 stops. Then you take a test picture WITHOUT THE FLASH to be sure that you have a very dark image just to verify that you indeed have set the camera to underexpose by 3 stops. Then, you turn ON the regular TTL flash and take the picture. The regular TTL flash will handle the entire exposure.

I highly recommend you read my 'Cookbook' blog article on this:

http://nikonclspracticalguide.blogspot.com/2009/12/camera-flash-cookbook-for-any-lighting.html

>Do you press the shutter down
>halfway off to the side of the subject to meter and then use
>EC to take the exposure down a stop or two?

You should normally leave camera EC at zero, because it changes both the flash power and the camera. Instead, use the camera in Manual mode and adjust the shutter to set the exposure based on the built-in light meter.

>Example: I always
>have a problem understanding when someone says 'expose for the
>sky' then compensate with EC to get a good exposure on the
>subject. What does 'expose for the sky' mean? and how to do
>it. Would that be the same as 'meter for the sky'?

Yes, 'Expose for the sky' and 'meter for the sky' mean the same thing.

To meter for the sky, you would use camera Manual mode and point the camera at the sky (usually in Spot metering mode), and adjust the aperture and shutter to zero the built-in light meter display. You can also use P, S, or A modes, and point the camera at the sky and half-press the shutter and read the f/ stop and shutter speed that the camera chooses. Then, switch to Camera Manual mode and set these settings into the camera. Then, recompose and take the picture. This is how I shoot sunsets with a subject in the foreground. I set the camera to expose for the sky, and then I use the regular TTL flash (with the camera still in Manual mode) to expose the subject.

But leave camera EC at zero. You rarely need to adjust EC.

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

rigard

Oklahoma City, US
6 posts

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#10. "RE: Correct Metering Mode for TTl/TTl-bl?" | In response to Reply # 9

rigard Registered since 30th Apr 2010
Tue 04-Sep-12 05:47 AM

Thanks much Russ, that helps...

rigard

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G