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Forums Lobby MASTER YOUR TOOLS - Hardware & Software Nikon Speedlights & Lighting topic #23208
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Subject: "What is BL (Auto balanced fill flash) on SB-800?" Previous topic | Next topic
aesculanus Registered since 27th Jun 2006Sun 13-May-07 04:11 PM
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"What is BL (Auto balanced fill flash) on SB-800?"


US
          

I don't understand this. the manual just says it "balances between the background and subject automatically." How is that different from just using TTL? Does it account for whether the flash is pointed forward or bouncing? How/when am I supposed to use it?

  

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Replies to this topic
Subject Author Message Date ID
Reply message RE: What is BL (Auto balanced fill flash) on SB-800?
Exposure1
13th May 2007
1
Reply message RE: What is BL (Auto balanced fill flash) on SB-800?
HBB Moderator Hal is an expert in several areas, including CLS Awarded for his excellent article contributions to the Resources.
15th May 2007
2
Reply message RE: What is BL (Auto balanced fill flash) on SB-800?
Exposure1
16th May 2007
3
Reply message RE: What is BL (Auto balanced fill flash) on SB-800?
Luke_Miller Silver Member
17th May 2007
4
     Reply message RE: What is BL (Auto balanced fill flash) on SB-800?
wijnands
21st May 2007
5
          Reply message RE: What is BL (Auto balanced fill flash) on SB-800?
Exposure1
26th May 2007
6
Reply message RE: What is BL (Auto balanced fill flash) on SB-800?
umdah
03rd Jun 2007
12
Reply message RE: What is BL (Auto balanced fill flash) on SB-800?
adagosto
27th May 2007
7
Reply message RE: What is BL (Auto balanced fill flash) on SB-800?
edmun
27th May 2007
8
Reply message RE: What is BL (Auto balanced fill flash) on SB-800?
jrp Administrator JRP is one of the co-founders, has in-depth knowledge in various areas. Awarded for his contributions for the Resources
28th May 2007
9
Reply message RE: What is BL (Auto balanced fill flash) on SB-800?
Arkayem Moderator Awarded for his high level skills in flash photography
28th May 2007
10
Reply message RE: What is BL (Auto balanced fill flash) on SB-800?
adagosto
29th May 2007
11
     Reply message RE: What is BL (Auto balanced fill flash) on SB-800?
amit711
03rd Jun 2007
13
          Reply message RE: What is BL (Auto balanced fill flash) on SB-800?
jrp Administrator JRP is one of the co-founders, has in-depth knowledge in various areas. Awarded for his contributions for the Resources
16th Jan 2008
14

Exposure1 Registered since 08th May 2006Sun 13-May-07 05:13 PM
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#1. "RE: What is BL (Auto balanced fill flash) on SB-800?"
In response to Reply # 0


US
          

It is used mostly as you describe, to balance the subject and the bakground light. TTL does not work the same way as it basically exposes for the subject opposed to trying to balance background lighting. This is a simplified explanation fo the differences.

Indoors and using bounce flash then use TTL. Some people have used TTL/BL indoors instead of TTL, but that is not normally done.

You will find when using TTL if you bounce flash, TTL will help, but adjustment of flash EV on the bask of the SB800 is usually needed to help get the proper exposure.

Best to shoot & experiment much as you can to see the differences.

You will encounter some real "flash experts" here who will be able to give you greater details and better advice than I.

DL Cleve, Oh

www.lorenzopics.com

Visit my Nikonians gallery.

  

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HBB Moderator Hal is an expert in several areas, including CLS Awarded for his excellent article contributions to the Resources. Charter MemberTue 15-May-07 09:30 PM
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#2. "RE: What is BL (Auto balanced fill flash) on SB-800?"
In response to Reply # 0


Phoenix, US
          

Kevin:

You will get more responses if you will fill in your profile. We don't even know what camera you are using.

Dominic is right: BL is adjusting the flash output to give you a balance between the ambient illumination portion of the exposure controlled by the aperture and shutter speed and the supplemental illumination provided by the SB800.

You can experiment with this by yourself.

Place your camera in manual mode on a tripod. Select an aperture that gives you the desired depth of field. Then select a shutter speed that gives you an acceptable exposure without the SB800. Leave the aperture and shutter settings alone for the rest of this exercise. I suggest a tripod with a fixed scene in front of the camera so each test shot will be capturing the same image and changes you make will be easily visible. Hand holding and shooting a different scene every time reveals nothing.

Now place your SB800 on the camera and set it to the Manual mode. Start with the SB800 in the M1/1 setting which is full power. Press the shuter and look at the image. If it is too bright and overexposed, leave the aperture and shutter alone and set the SB800 to M1/2, which is one stop down. Press the shuttter again and look at the image. If still overexposed, set the SB800 to M1/4, which is two stops down. Continue until you get an exposure that is an acceptable blend of ambient illumination (aperture and shutter) and supplemental illumination (SB800). If you get to M1/128 (eight stops down) and the subject is still overexposed, your subject is too close to the SB800 and/or is very highly reflective and you will have to resort to other techniques. These include moving the zoom head to a wider setting (smaller zoom head focal length number) and/or using the diffuser dome or the built in wide-flash adapter. These tactics spread the flash power over a wider angle/area and or diffuse it which effectively reduces the guide number of the SB800 for those configurations.

This exercise will demonstrate the concept of an exposure balanced between ambient and supplemental illumination. You the photographer get to decide which balance or ratio is best.

Let us know if this helps.

Regards,

HBB in Phoenix, Arizona

HBB in Phoenix, Arizona
Nikonian Team Member

Photography is a journey with no conceivable destination.

  

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Exposure1 Registered since 08th May 2006Wed 16-May-07 02:55 PM
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#3. "RE: What is BL (Auto balanced fill flash) on SB-800?"
In response to Reply # 2


US
          

Yep - As my original post said - one of our flash experts has emerged from his herd of SB800's!

Take Hal's advice and you will be all set.

DL Cleve, Oh

www.lorenzopics.com

Visit my Nikonians gallery.

  

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Luke_Miller Silver Member Nikonian since 19th Apr 2006Thu 17-May-07 12:43 PM
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#4. "RE: What is BL (Auto balanced fill flash) on SB-800?"
In response to Reply # 3


Rural Virginia, US
          

The "rule of thumb" I use is TTL when the flash is the primary light source (i.e. low ambient light levels) and TTL-BL when ambient light is the primary light and flash is used for fill.

Places We Have Been

www.peppermill-multimedia.com

  

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wijnands Registered since 11th Aug 2006Mon 21-May-07 10:28 AM
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#5. "RE: What is BL (Auto balanced fill flash) on SB-800?"
In response to Reply # 4


NL
          

That's also what I understood from the manuals. Is this wrong?

  

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Exposure1 Registered since 08th May 2006Sat 26-May-07 07:52 PM
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#6. "RE: What is BL (Auto balanced fill flash) on SB-800?"
In response to Reply # 5


US
          

yes it is

DL Cleve, Oh

www.lorenzopics.com

Visit my Nikonians gallery.

  

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umdah Registered since 12th Nov 2005Sun 03-Jun-07 09:04 AM
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#12. "RE: What is BL (Auto balanced fill flash) on SB-800?"
In response to Reply # 2


riyadh, SA
          

>Kevin:
>
>You will get more responses if you will fill in your
>profile. We don't even know what camera you are using.
>
>Dominic is right: BL is adjusting the flash output to give
>you a balance between the ambient illumination portion of
>the exposure controlled by the aperture and shutter speed
>and the supplemental illumination provided by the SB800.
>
>You can experiment with this by yourself.
>
>Place your camera in manual mode on a tripod. Select an
>aperture that gives you the desired depth of field. Then
>select a shutter speed that gives you an acceptable exposure
>without the SB800. Leave the aperture and shutter settings
>alone for the rest of this exercise. I suggest a tripod
>with a fixed scene in front of the camera so each test shot
>will be capturing the same image and changes you make will
>be easily visible. Hand holding and shooting a different
>scene every time reveals nothing.
>
>Now place your SB800 on the camera and set it to the Manual
>mode. Start with the SB800 in the M1/1 setting which is
>full power. Press the shuter and look at the image. If it
>is too bright and overexposed, leave the aperture and
>shutter alone and set the SB800 to M1/2, which is one stop
>down. Press the shuttter again and look at the image. If
>still overexposed, set the SB800 to M1/4, which is two stops
>down. Continue until you get an exposure that is an
>acceptable blend of ambient illumination (aperture and
>shutter) and supplemental illumination (SB800). If you get
>to M1/128 (eight stops down) and the subject is still
>overexposed, your subject is too close to the SB800 and/or
>is very highly reflective and you will have to resort to
>other techniques. These include moving the zoom head to a
>wider setting (smaller zoom head focal length number) and/or
>using the diffuser dome or the built in wide-flash adapter.
>These tactics spread the flash power over a wider angle/area
>and or diffuse it which effectively reduces the guide number
>of the SB800 for those configurations.
>
>This exercise will demonstrate the concept of an exposure
>balanced between ambient and supplemental illumination. You
>the photographer get to decide which balance or ratio is
>best.
>
>Let us know if this helps.
>
>Regards,
>
>HBB in Phoenix, Arizona

Hi Hal,

Thanks for your lucid explanation. Problem is I am still confused..
very very confused.I wanted to avoid flash, but have to get this
understood and working for me.

read manuals umpteen times, but no light ( ! ) yet. As I understand
it if I set my d200 to ttl and mount the sb-800 on camera, I would
get TTL-BL if I use matrix metering( or center-weighted ) and put the D200 in A/S/P. With this set-up I should be able to control
sb-800 output with the on camera flash compensation ( button on the
LHS + dial ). 2 questions, please. 1) how is this different than what
you so lucidly explain?, and if I use the set-up mentioned above ( not yours ) I generally set exposure for normal exposure measurement.

I am correct in my understanding?

By putting the camera in manual mode, I am using TTL with my sb-800,
is this correct?

Off camera, I have in-camera settings to commander,built-in to ttl or '---',group A say to ttl and channel 3 say. Off-camera sb-800 set
to remote and same channel and group.Question: What would make this set-up TTL-BL as opposed to TTL and vice versa? I dial in flash compensation in-camera using corresponding group A counter. Am I
correct?

To set exposure for ambient light I get very low shutter speeds in ' M' or 1/60 unless using slow flash.

Please,please can you guide me if I am on the right track or not as
either I am frying my subject or vanishing them.

Sorry for the long winded post, but need the expert's advice.

Best regards and thank you.

umdah

  

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adagosto Registered since 03rd May 2007Sun 27-May-07 03:28 AM
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#7. "RE: What is BL (Auto balanced fill flash) on SB-800?"
In response to Reply # 0


Fountain Hills, US
          

Hello.

If you don’t mind, I would like to jump in here.

I use a D80 with the SB600. I have wondered the same issue of TTL and TTL/BL.

I use the SB600 primarily in daylight and often in areas with a lot of shadows. Having said this, I should be using TTL/BL in these conditions? Then if I need it indoors and in lower light conditions, TTL would be more appropriate.

Am I in the ball park?

Adam

  

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edmun Registered since 16th Sep 2003Sun 27-May-07 10:59 AM
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#8. "RE: What is BL (Auto balanced fill flash) on SB-800?"
In response to Reply # 7


eugene, US
          

To confuse the issue.

TTL is a brighter version of BL. It is about a stop or 2 brighter.

If you use TTL for fill you dial in more minus compensation.

If you use BL as a main flash you dial in more plus compensation.

Take a person or a object outside in sunlight and run this test just once for peace of mind.

Set camera for proper exposure in manual. (make sure there are lots of shadows0

Then set turn on flash and set it let it do its thing.

Now turn the flash down 2 stops and shoot a image at every 1/3 adjustment until you are 2 stops over.

Different people like different affects and you can start a small war over which one is right.

Pick the one you like. I like -.3 or -.7 for what I shoot.

ledmun

  

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jrp Administrator JRP is one of the co-founders, has in-depth knowledge in various areas. Awarded for his contributions for the Resources Charter MemberMon 28-May-07 08:56 AM
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#9. "RE: What is BL (Auto balanced fill flash) on SB-800?"
In response to Reply # 0


San Pedro Garza García, MX
          

In general:

Interiors - TTL
Here your flash will the main light source and your subject will be perfectly exposed.

Exteriors with good (bright) ambient light - TTL BL
Here your flash is mainly for shadows fill, your main light source is ambient light.

Have a great time
JRP (Founder & Administrator. Nikonian at the north-eastern Mexican desert) Gallery, Brief Love Story, The Team
Join the Silver, Gold and Platinum members that help this happen; upgrade. Join your personal web site to the Nikonians WebRing
Make sure you check our workshops at The Nikonians Academy and the product catalog of the Photo Pro Shop

  

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Arkayem Moderator Awarded for his high level skills in flash photography Charter MemberMon 28-May-07 03:05 PM
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#10. "RE: What is BL (Auto balanced fill flash) on SB-800?"
In response to Reply # 0


Richmond Hill, GA (Savannah), US
          

>I don't understand this. the manual just says it "balances
>between the background and subject automatically." How is
>that different from just using TTL? Does it account for
>whether the flash is pointed forward or bouncing? How/when
>am I supposed to use it?

Before shooting any flash picture, it is best to evaluate the lighting first. Try to determine if the subject is brighter than the background or vice versa.

If the subject is backlighted (ie, the background is brighter than the subject), use TTL-BL, and the flash metering system will adjust the flash duration to increase the brightness of the subject to match the background. This is essentially the definition of 'fill-flash'. But, if the backlight is really strong, you probably will want to reduce the flash ev to avoid overexposing the faces. I normally start at -1.7 when shooting fill-flash at outdoor wedding shots. If possible, you want the fill flash to just open up the shadows on the faces and clothing without becoming the main light.

If the subject is equal to or brighter than the background but needs additional lighting, use TTL. This is the norm when indoors. In this mode the flash metering system will ignore the background and attempt to expose the subject correctly. Outdoors, this situation can occur in shady areas or at dusk (whenever the sky is not in the shot), and, again, I dial down the flash by 1.7 ev to start.

There are lots of times, especially outdoors, when you want to reduce the amount of fill-flash even though the histogram shows that the subject is properly exposed. Often the subject can be exposed correctly (from a technical standpoint) but be so much brighter than the background that he/she looks unnatural. Outdoors, this is often a big problem. The camera wants to push the histogram all the way to the right, but you want your subject to blend in with the rest of the shot and look as if they are actually being lighted by the sky. By reducing fill-flash you are actually reducing overall image contrast.

Also, if you try to use TTL-BL when the subject is already brighter than the background, you will often badly overexpose the subject.

Russ
http://russmacdonald.smugmug.com/

Russ
Nikonian Team Member
Russell MacDonald Photography
Nikon CLS Practical Guide

  

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adagosto Registered since 03rd May 2007Tue 29-May-07 11:37 PM
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#11. "RE: What is BL (Auto balanced fill flash) on SB-800?"
In response to Reply # 10


Fountain Hills, US
          

You guys are amazing!

Thank you.

Adam

  

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amit711 Registered since 02nd Jan 2004Sun 03-Jun-07 06:04 PM
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#13. "RE: What is BL (Auto balanced fill flash) on SB-800?"
In response to Reply # 11


Zurich, CH
          

Here is one observation I made with the TTL-BL on a SB800 with a D200...

I have a D200 + 18-200 VR. I use the SB800 outdoors in the TTL-BL mode, with -0.7 to -1.3 flash exposure compensation for a balanced fill-in flash. I have found that inspite of a correct exposure when seen in the histogram, the SB800 flashes an underexposure indication for 3 seconds after the shot is taken.

I have not been able to pinpoint under what circumstances does that happen...

The photos are taken under ambient light, typically towards evening. The TTL-BL flash is only used to highlight the shadows...

Here is the link to one of the photos taken when I got the indication on the SB800.

http://good-times.webshots.com/photo/2874019520101040308koQjWd

Request the gurus to clear the cobwebs in my head...

- Amit


Visit my Nikonians gallery.

  

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jrp Administrator JRP is one of the co-founders, has in-depth knowledge in various areas. Awarded for his contributions for the Resources Charter MemberWed 16-Jan-08 02:19 PM
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#14. "RE: What is BL (Auto balanced fill flash) on SB-800?"
In response to Reply # 13


San Pedro Garza García, MX
          

It is really simple.
The flash has determined the duration of a flash burst, but you are asking it to bring it down (-0.7 to -1.3), to make it shorter.
So when the image is made and the burst fired within, the flash is able to determine that as far as flash goes it is underexposed, whether you were looking for this or not, that is what you dialed in.
In this case, ambient light becomes the primary source and makes the most portion of the combined lighting.
The machine is not doing anything but what you asked her to do.

The -0.7 to -1.3 flash compensation applies to close foregrounds in landscapes with a far away background, to make it look natural.
It was a recommendation by pros, mainly the late Galen Rowel.
It could apply to portraits with subject wearing a shinny makeup or clothing.

Below a sample of TTL-BL with no compensation, evenly exposed for subject and near background.

Have a great time
JRP (Founder & Administrator. Nikonian at the north-eastern Mexican desert) Gallery, Brief Love Story, The Team
Join the Silver, Gold and Platinum members that help this happen; upgrade. Join your personal web site to the Nikonians WebRing
Make sure you check our workshops at The Nikonians Academy and the product catalog of the Photo Pro Shop

Attachment #1, (jpg file)

  

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