Manual use of SB 26 with N90s
I have an N90s with a short in the body somewhere that causes my speedlight to act like a disco light, so I'm attempting to use my SB-26 with an SC-15 sync cord and a remote handle/hotshoe setup.
I'm so accustomed to the camera and speedlight "talking to one another" that shifting to manual mode has me a bit stumped. I'm especially interested in using the SB-26 for fill-flash purposes, primarily for shooting outdoor portraits.
I'd appreciate anyone's suggestions on how to set the camera (everything from mode to aperture to shutter speed) in order to re-create the TTL-metering for fill flash. Many thanks, in advance,
#1. "RE: Manual use of SB 26 with N90s" | In response to Reply # 0
jrp Charter MemberSun 23-Sep-01 04:40 PM
TTL is like pregnancy, either you have it or you don't. For what you are telling us, the means to communicate TTL info is out. So maybe your best bet is to use your SB-26 in manual, compute distance and GN info and adjust apertures accordingly.
If your machine is not setting the shutter speed automatically between 1/60 and 1/125 to come into sync, you may have to do it manually too.
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#2. "RE: Manual use of SB 26 with N90s" | In response to Reply # 0
jnscbl Basic MemberMon 24-Sep-01 01:42 AM
Outdoor portraits with manual flash is certainly no strain. Just select the shallowest aperture that your lens performs well at. If a prime, full aperture; a zoom, maybe stopped down a stop or two. For manual flash, use manual mode on the camera. Set the aperture, then use the shutterspeed to adjust the exposure. For a balanced lighting, set the power on the flash to match the aperture and the flash-to-subject distance. For key flash, use the shutterspeed to underexpose by one stop (shutterspeed doesn't affect flash). I believe the N90 synchs at up to 1/250, so this gives you plenty of flexibility. For fill flash, override the flash's aperture setting (if it receives it from the camera) and set it to one stop wider than you are actually using. In other words, lens set to f4, flash set to f2.8; or, just use the next lower power setting, say 1/8 instead of 1/4. The nice thing about manual flash is that you get exactly what you ask for, none of that "backlighting fooled the meter" crap. You may never go back, at least for outdoor portraits.
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#3. "RE: Manual use of SB 26 with N90s" | In response to Reply # 0
Ed Basic MemberMon 24-Sep-01 04:01 AM
LAST EDITED ON Sep-24-01 AT 06:07 AM (GMT)
Manual is fine if you're flash is on camera. For each aperture you choose, the Nikon SB-26 is already internally calculating the correct flash-subject distance by dividing the aperture you've chosen into the fixed GN and indicating the result (the flash-subject distance) by a bar over the distance scale. The trick with Manual is you need to guesstimate the actual flash-subject distance to match (or adjust) with the indicated distance on the flash LCD.
Here's how to do Manual fill-flash:
1) Meter your subject, and set your shutter speed and aperture. Your shutter speed should be within the camera's top sync speed.
2) Switch your SB-26 to Manual mode.
3) The aperture you've chosen will appear on your SB-26 LCD. When you reset your aperture on the lens, the SB-26 will also adjust its aperture with a corresponding change in the distance indicator.
4) If necessary, reduce the flash power until the distance bar indicator corresponds to the flash-subject distance (which you estimate after focusing the lens). This setting is 1:1 flash/sun ratio.
5) For -1 fill-flash, you need to reduce the flash power *once* from this setting, e.g. if it says 1/4 power, reduce by half to 1/8. You're now in fill-flash territory. This will be 1:3 lighting ratio.
All this is fine and dandy if your flash is on camera since you can use the lens focus indicators to estimate the distance.
But since you're planning to take the flash off camera, estimating the flash-subject distance would be more difficult (but not impossible - you can always carry a meter stick ). The alternative to using Manual is Auto-mode. Your SB-26 has 4 modes: TTL, Manual, Non-TTL Auto and Repeating Flash.
Using non-TTL Auto gives you more flexibility and efficiency over Manual. Simply choose an aperture that covers the flash-subject distance and as long as you stay within this range your exposures will be fine.
Here's how to do fill-flash in Auto-mode:
1) Set the SB-26 to "A" mode.
2) Meter your scene and set your shutter speed and aperture.
3) Unlike Manual and TTL, the SB-26 will not adjust the flash aperture to follow the lens aperture. Set the flash aperture manually to correspond to your lens and check the distance range to ensure it covers the flash-subject distance. Using a wide aperture such as f/4 with ISO 100 film gives you anywhere from 5-40 ft (I'm only approximating here to give you a rough idea of the flash range).
4) If you set the flash aperture the same as the lens, this is 1:1 flash/sun ratio.
5) Stop down the lens 1 stop, and you're in -1 fill-flash territory. This will also underexpose the ambient light. Alternatively, you can "open up" the flash aperture 1 stop to get the same -1 fill flash effect.
The advantage of Auto-mode over Manual is that you and the flash can move around, close in on your subject, etc. without adjusting apertures and distances for each shot.
I've had success with outdoor portraits with all 3 methods of fill-flash: TTL (with compensation), Auto-mode, and Manual. It's not rocket science but it takes practice to be efficient at these modes.
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#5. "RE: Manual use of SB 26 with N90s" | In response to Reply # 0
One thing to check about that short you seem to have. I have found weird things can happen (including the disco effect) if the flash and/or the camera are powered on while attaching the flash to the camera. Make sure both are powered off and reseat the flash.
Just a suggestion,
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