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Subject: "help connectin sb 900 and sb 800 wireless" Previous topic | Next topic
Jose Andres Silver Member Nikonian since 13th Mar 2003Sat 22-Nov-08 09:34 PM
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"help connectin sb 900 and sb 800 wireless"
Sat 22-Nov-08 09:44 PM by Jose Andres

Buenos Aires, AR
          

hi nikonians.

I am new to speedlight but I have a decent equipment with with I would like to start delving into flash photograpy.
My main body is a Nikon D3. I have purchased the new SB 900 with which I would like to use wirelessly with my SB 800.
I have the Sb29 cable cord, to be connected to the SB900 for off camera flash, but I am also interested in connecting wireless both flash for an off camera shot.

My intention is to take (family) portraits (using my D3 + Nikkor 85 mm f1.4) with both flashes pointing the subject at 45º (one stronger than the other). I have both Gary Fong whale tail reporter and origami, for diffusing the light.

I know that the best way would be to purchase the SU 800. However, after starting to read the strobist website, I came across to the " ebay wireless flash triggers" (see an example here:

http://cgi.ebay.com/YN-Wireless-Flash-Trigger-V2s-for-Nikon-SB-900-SB-600-z_W0QQitemZ110315800681QQcmdZViewItemQQptZPortable_Flashes_Strobes?hash=item110315800681&_trksid=p3286.c0.m14&_trkparms=72%3A1234%7C66%3A2%7C65%3A12%7C39%3A1%7C240%3A1318

So, my question is: does these device (transmiter and adapter) worth the investment or not?
I can asume that this combo device has some limitations compared with the more capable and expensive SU 800.
I would like to hear from you to find out which are the pros and cons of this cheaper combo alternative.

I have in mind to set the SB 900 as a master as well as triggering the SB 800 wireless and I am asking if I can set the Sb 900 to trigger the sb 800 with i.e. one stop less power, and if so, how would it be connected with my D3.

Finally, I saw that I would have to purchase 2 flash stands (I saw that on Adorama, I could get each for 29 dollars) so my question is -since I do not plan to use an umbrella, whether it is necessary to buy a shoe adapter to mount the flash on that stand or not.

Budget is not a concern, but I would like to know the pros and cons between the Su-800 and that device.

Sorry if these kind of questions have already been made.
Thanks for any input.

Jose, nikonian
from Santiago del Estero, Argentina
http://joseandresbasbus.zenfolio.com

  

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Subject Author Message Date ID
Reply message RE: help connectin sb 900 and sb 800 wireless
HBB Moderator
22nd Nov 2008
1
Reply message RE: help connectin sb 900 and sb 800 wireless
Jose Andres Silver Member
23rd Nov 2008
4
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HBB Moderator
23rd Nov 2008
9
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Jose Andres Silver Member
24th Nov 2008
18
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HBB Moderator
25th Nov 2008
21
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Jose Andres Silver Member
25th Nov 2008
22
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Wayne
22nd Nov 2008
2
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gkaiseril Gold Member
22nd Nov 2008
3
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Jose Andres Silver Member
23rd Nov 2008
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Jose Andres Silver Member
23rd Nov 2008
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gkaiseril Gold Member
23rd Nov 2008
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Jose Andres Silver Member
23rd Nov 2008
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23rd Nov 2008
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25th Nov 2008
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23rd Nov 2008
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23rd Nov 2008
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24th Nov 2008
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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 MemberSat 22-Nov-08 09:56 PM
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#1. "RE: help connectin sb 900 and sb 800 wireless"
In response to Reply # 0
Sat 22-Nov-08 09:56 PM by HBB

Phoenix, US
          

Jose:

You can fire your SB800 as a wireless remote by placing the SB900 on your D3 and setting it as Master. Then set the SB800 up as a remote. From here, you can set either speedlight to TTL or manual mode as desired and vary their power levels as necessary. No cables are necessary to make this work. The on-camera master and the remote must all be on the same channel to work. The remote unit can be on any group, A, B or C. You will select all modes and power settings for the on-camera and the remote unit on the back of the on-camera SB900.

You will not need an SU800 unless you wish to use both the SB800 and SB900 as remote units.

You will not need a flash adapter for the light stands as the plastic shoe that comes with the speedlights can be mounted on the 1/4-20 thread on the light stand. However, you will not be able to tilt the speedlight down with this approach. A better solution is to mount a small ball head between the light stand and the speedlight shoe. In this manner, the light stand can be raised above the subjects and the speedlight pointed down at them which eliminates shadows behind them.

Hope this helps a bit.

Regards,

HBB in Phoenix, Arizona
Nikonian Team Member

Photography is a journey with no conceivable destination.

  

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Jose Andres Silver Member Nikonian since 13th Mar 2003Sun 23-Nov-08 02:25 PM
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#4. "RE: help connectin sb 900 and sb 800 wireless"
In response to Reply # 1


Buenos Aires, AR
          

Thanks HBB for your input.

AS to:

A
>better solution is to mount a small ball head between the
>light stand and the speedlight shoe. In this manner, the
>light stand can be raised above the subjects and the
>speedlight pointed down at them which eliminates shadows
>behind them.

could you please show me some picture of this setup or give me a link to a website, so that to see what kind of small ball head are you talking about.


Jose, nikonian
from Santiago del Estero, Argentina
http://joseandresbasbus.zenfolio.com

  

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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 MemberSun 23-Nov-08 06:31 PM
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#9. "RE: help connectin sb 900 and sb 800 wireless"
In response to Reply # 4
Sun 23-Nov-08 08:19 PM by HBB

Phoenix, US
          

Jose:

Here are a pair of images showing assorted uses of small ball heads with SB800s.

The top image shows a pair of SB800s shooting into a large umbrella. The ball heads make it easier to align the speedlights with the umbrella shaft, thus keeping them close to the center for more uniform and symmetrical illlumination. The pair of ball heads are attached to a small, inexpensive flash bracket with short 1/4-20 bolts and washers.

The bottom image shows the ball heads with assorted other clamps.

The bottom clamp is a Manfrotto Super Clamp (about $35 US) with a Manfrotto Flex Arm (don't remember the cost) and small ball head at the end. Very flexible configuration.

The next one up is a contractors clamp (about $5.00 US) with a small ball head. Useful for adding SB800s to light stands for small spot lighting.

The third from the bottom (orange jaws) is a smaller version of the contractors clamp. Used for attaching SB800s to smaller diameter tubing.

The fourth from the bottom is a small ball head attached directly to a light stand. With this one, you can raise the light stand above the subject's head and tilt the speedlight down, thus avoiding unwanted shadows.

The top one is another example of a Manfrotto Flex Arm and Super Clamp (not shown) which is attached to a nearby shelf.

Hope this helps a bit.

Regards,

HBB in Phoenix, Arizona
Nikonian Team Member

Photography is a journey with no conceivable destination.





Attachment #1, (jpg file)
Attachment #2, (jpg file)

  

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Jose Andres Silver Member Nikonian since 13th Mar 2003Mon 24-Nov-08 01:50 PM
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#18. "RE: help connectin sb 900 and sb 800 wireless"
In response to Reply # 9


Buenos Aires, AR
          

hello HBB. Many thanks for your pictures and input. They are awesome. OF course, they give me and idea of the studio light.


Jose, nikonian
from Santiago del Estero, Argentina
http://joseandresbasbus.zenfolio.com

  

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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 25-Nov-08 12:19 AM
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#21. "RE: help connectin sb 900 and sb 800 wireless"
In response to Reply # 18


Phoenix, US
          

Jose:

I forgot to mention that I use the Really Right Stuff (RRS) flash adapters between the small ball heads and the speedlights in the two images above. These adapters are made of high grade aluminum, are insulated and include the small hole for the locking pin of the SB800 and other Nikon speedlights.

Before I discovered the RRS adapters ($30 US each) I was using the Nikon AS-10 flash adapters which were a lot more money as I recall. The pair of SB800s in the umbrella are using the RRS adapters. The SB800s in the bottom image are using a combination of the RRS and the AS-10 adapters.

The plastic AS-19 foot that comes with the SB800 can also be used between the ball heads and the speedlights. In some situations, clearance is limited as they are rather large, which is one reason why I use the small RRS adapters. Also, in rough situations, the plastic AS-19 foot may crack under stress in a moving vehicle, dropping an SB800.

Using these assorted clamps, ballheads and adapters, I have mounted my speedlights in some very unusual places in very unusual orientations, including upside down, hanging from the roof of a rapidly moving armored vehicle; on fences during night shoots with law enforcement agencies; in helicopters, in moving patrol cars, and other odd places. I have never had a unit fall for any reason. In my view, the money spent on quality accessories pays dividends.

Thank you for your comments.

Regards,

HBB in Phoenix, Arizona
Nikonian Team Member

Go here for a list of membership upgrade benefits.

Photography is a journey with no conceivable destination.

  

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Jose Andres Silver Member Nikonian since 13th Mar 2003Tue 25-Nov-08 01:20 AM
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#22. "RE: help connectin sb 900 and sb 800 wireless"
In response to Reply # 21


Buenos Aires, AR
          

hello HBB.

Thanks for your latest input. After reading Wayne's umbrellas tutorial, I could realise that speedlights do need a flash shoe adapter, as you also pointed out.

After reading all your -and all others Nikonians who gave their opinion as well on this thread- I have just made up my mind and bought the Smith Victor umbrella's kit and also 2 stroboframe flash shoe (indicated on Wayne's tutorial). You have been very helpflull something I really appreciate.




Jose, nikonian
from Santiago del Estero, Argentina
http://joseandresbasbus.zenfolio.com

  

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Wayne Registered since 05th Nov 2005Sat 22-Nov-08 10:38 PM
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#2. "RE: help connectin sb 900 and sb 800 wireless"
In response to Reply # 0
Sun 23-Nov-08 05:16 AM by Wayne

US
          

>
>I know that the best way would be to purchase the SU 800.
>However, after starting to read the strobist website, I came
>across to the " ebay wireless flash triggers" (see
>an example here:

There are different kinds of "wireless", for example optical and radio.

There is a HUGE difference in the SU-800 and these radio triggers.

The radio triggers cannot communicate with the camera, the transmitter only communicates with the receiver. These are simple manual mode triggers, but which work wireless by radio. All flashes must be in manual flash mode. Many people do prefer to use manual mode, and they set the flash power levels and camera aperture themselves, perhaps with a handheld flash meter. This radio trigger system can work with any brand of flash, it need not be the expensive Nikon flashes.

You can also set manual power levels on the Nikon commander also, but its main feature is that it can do automatic TTL metering of wireless remote multiple flashes. Point and shoot multiple flash, so to speak. This is done wirelessly via infrared light.

You can put one SB-600, SB-800, or SB-900 into menus for Group A and you put one flash into Group B (and the SU-800 has a group C if you have a third). Then the commander will automatically equalize the power level of those remote flashes so that they meter equally at the subject. Instantly and automatically. You can also specify individual compensation for each, to specify your lighting ratio, and the system will do this too. You can probably have your pictures and have the system disassembled and stored away before you get the manual lights setup. The big difference is automatic TTL vs Manual flash mode.

Anyway, it is a huge difference in the two systems. Not really comparable.


>I can asume that this combo device has some limitations
>compared with the more capable and expensive SU 800.

Oh yes, earth-shattering understatement.

The radio triggers do have advantage in distance range, esp outside or in the sun, but the SU-800 works in most normal rooms. And you do need to learn to use the cameras FV Lock mode with the Nikon system, to prevent pictures of the subject blinking.


>I have in mind to set the SB 900 as a master as well as
>triggering the SB 800 wireless and I am asking if I can set
>the Sb 900 to trigger the sb 800 with i.e. one stop less
>power, and if so, how would it be connected with my D3.

You can use either of these two flash models, or the SU-800 as commander on the camera. These commander functions are the same, the SU-800 just has no flash head. It seems more reasonable to use a $250 SU-800 for the commander than a $400 SB-900. Normally, we dont want the flash on the camera anyway. Put the flashes remote, and put the SU-800 on the camera.

You CANNOT use the radio triggers with the Nikon commander system.
You can use radio to trigger the flashes in manual mode, but not combined with the commander system. You cannot combine these two systems. One or the other.

As to connecting them, see this:
http://www.nikonians.org/nikon/d200_and_cls/
It is about the D200 commander, but the SU-800 commander menu is really the same, works the same, no issue.

Also see Nikons quick setup sheet:
http://www.nikonusa.com/Assets/Common-Assets/PDF/FastTrack_To_WirelessSpeedlights.pdf


>Finally, I saw that I would have to purchase 2 flash stands (I
>saw that on Adorama, I could get each for 29 dollars) so my
>question is -since I do not plan to use an umbrella, whether
>it is necessary to buy a shoe adapter to mount the flash on
>that stand or not.

Get two umbrellas. This is such a gigatic improvement for such a little cost. The umbrellas are SOOOOOO good, such a major improvement to the system, for such a minor cost. I fear you are making a big mistake. Get two umbrellas. White ones, 45 inches, with removeable black cover for shoot-through too. Shoot through will not be your major effort, but good to have it.

If money is not much issue, maybe you wasted $50 on them at worst. But it is not a waste, it will be the overwhelming major part of your portrait situation. Forgive me, but in comparison, the Fong stuff is a toy. Seriously, get the umbrellas. White ones, 45 inches, convertible.

To answer the question, yes, get the bracket anyway. The bracket does hold the umbrella in correct position to the flash, and it provides tilt to aim it higher or lower. If just the flash on the stand alone (no umbrella bracket), it has its tilt head which tilts up OK, but the flash head does not tilt down. I think you still need the bracket for it, to tilt down. Tilt down is what we mostly do. The exception of course is if you bounce it on the ceiling, which is up, then the bracket would not be necessary.

You may be interested in http://www.scantips.com/lights/umbrellas.html

Scroll down a bit to the hardware tips there.

  

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gkaiseril Gold Member Nikonian since 28th Oct 2005Sat 22-Nov-08 11:09 PM
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#3. "RE: help connectin sb 900 and sb 800 wireless"
In response to Reply # 2
Sun 23-Nov-08 02:24 PM by gkaiseril

Chicago, US
          

Nikon does not make an RF trigger for the CLS flash system, but Radio Popper has an RF solution that converts the commander/master flash unit electric pulses for the flash tube to RF and transmits that information by RF to remote receivers that then convert the RF signals back to IR. But for your D3 you will still need an SU-800 or SB-900/800 on the camera. The Radio Popper works with Nikon's CLS system and other systems as the IR control signal is a coded as series of timed digital pulses using the same IR frequency as TV remotes.

If you still have your D200, that camera has a commander/master ooption using an attached CLS light or the pop-up flash.

George
My Nikonian Galleries

  

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Jose Andres Silver Member Nikonian since 13th Mar 2003Sun 23-Nov-08 03:01 PM
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#6. "RE: help connectin sb 900 and sb 800 wireless"
In response to Reply # 3


Buenos Aires, AR
          

thank you George. I have doubts on the D200 pop up flash, since I read that, when acting as a commander, it emits preflash signals to the other flashes, making people blink their eyes. Any comment will be appreciated

Jose, nikonian
from Santiago del Estero, Argentina
http://joseandresbasbus.zenfolio.com

  

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Jose Andres Silver Member Nikonian since 13th Mar 2003Sun 23-Nov-08 03:00 PM
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#5. "RE: help connectin sb 900 and sb 800 wireless"
In response to Reply # 2


Buenos Aires, AR
          

Hello Wayne.

Many thanks for your extensive help. I really appreciate your opinion. Let me respond and ask you some questions by quoting some of your statement.

>The radio triggers cannot communicate with the camera, the
>transmitter only communicates with the receiver. These are
>simple manual mode triggers, but which work wireless by radio.

Ok. Since I like flash ttl, I discard that trigger. Thanks.

> All flashes must be in manual flash mode. Many people do
>prefer to use manual mode, and they set the flash power levels
>and camera aperture themselves, perhaps with a handheld flash
>meter.

So far, I prefer ttl flash, not manual, until I get a real grasp of the flash world (may be in the future).

>You can put one SB-600, SB-800, or SB-900 into menus for Group
>A and you put one flash into Group B (and the SU-800 has a
>group C if you have a third). Then the commander will
>automatically equalize the power level of those remote flashes
>so that they meter equally at the subject. Instantly and
>automatically. You can also specify individual compensation
>for each, to specify your lighting ratio, and the system will
>do this too.

I can see that the SU 800 is definitelly what I am after. However, I asume that both a Sb900 and Sb800 would perform -while on camera- the same functions you already described. In this case, I could opt for 2 different approaches:

a) SU 800 to be mounted on my D3. Pros: less bulkier combo to hand hold. Sb 800 and sb 900 as remote, mounted on light stands. Cons: more expensive than a sb 600 and no 3rd flash output.

b) SB 800 or SB 900 mounted on camera as master. The other flash remote and a purhcase a sb 600 to be used as another remote, both mounted on light stands. Pros: cheaper than the SU 800 and add a 3rd flash output, cons: combo bulkier on hand.

SO, tell me what approach do you recommend for a wireless setup: the SU 800 or the sb 600.


And you do need to learn to use the cameras FV Lock
>mode with the Nikon system, to prevent pictures of the subject
>blinking.

This statement is related to my previous question. I am afraid that the SB 800 or the SB 900 mounted on camera as master -as well as the built in flash of my D200- would fire a preflash signal that would result in people blinking their eyes. Is this true?. Whit a SU-800 as a master, I am getting rid of this preflash?. (If a SU 800 is a better solution to prevent eyes blinking, it would be a better choice than a Sb-800 as a commander).


>Get two umbrellas. This is such a gigatic improvement for
>such a little cost. The umbrellas are SOOOOOO good, such a
>major improvement to the system, for such a minor cost. I
>fear you are making a big mistake. Get two umbrellas. White
>ones, 45 inches, with removeable black cover for shoot-through
>too. Shoot through will not be your major effort, but good to
>have it.

Thanks for the tip. I will consider it.

>
>If money is not much issue, maybe you wasted $50 on them at
>worst. But it is not a waste, it will be the overwhelming
>major part of your portrait situation. Forgive me, but in
>comparison, the Fong stuff is a toy. Seriously, get the
>umbrellas. White ones, 45 inches, convertible.

I am not in the position to argue it. Common sense indicates me that a big 45 inches umbrella has more diffusing power than the whaletail. However, I am pleased with the way the Garyfong softens the light by bouncing it on the ceiling, especially, by facing the back of the whale tail with the open flap, to create this surround light, as explained in the video tutorial.


What about using a whale tail 45º (bouncing flash) with my other sb800 mounted on a light stand, at the other 45º, with a 45 inches umbrella?


Finally, thanks for the other links provided. I will check them out, since they are helping me narrowing my research.

Jose, nikonian
from Santiago del Estero, Argentina
http://joseandresbasbus.zenfolio.com

  

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gkaiseril Gold Member Nikonian since 28th Oct 2005Sun 23-Nov-08 03:23 PM
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#7. "RE: help connectin sb 900 and sb 800 wireless"
In response to Reply # 5


Chicago, US
          

>This statement is related to my previous question. I am afraid that the SB 800 or the SB 900 mounted on camera as master -as well as the built in flash of my D200- would fire a preflash signal that would result in people blinking their eyes. Is this true?. Whit a SU-800 as a master, I am getting rid of this preflash?. (If a SU 800 is a better solution to prevent eyes blinking, it would be a better choice than a Sb-800 as a commander).

The SU-800 has an IR filter over its flash tube so this can cut down on the blinking of subjects. If you use the built-in flash Nikon offered the SG3-IR filter to block the visible light from the pop-up flash and only let the IR component pass. Using the SU-800 or SG3-IR will only allow the use of the commander funciton and not the master. Nikon defines commander as control of the remotes but commander unit is not to contribute to the exposure, while master will control and contribute to the exposure.

Subjects blinking is dependent on how fast the subject's blink reflex is to a strong light. If the subject has a slow blink response, their eyes will be closed for the real exposure. FV lock is one way around this.

George
My Nikonian Galleries

  

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Jose Andres Silver Member Nikonian since 13th Mar 2003Sun 23-Nov-08 04:57 PM
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#8. "RE: help connectin sb 900 and sb 800 wireless"
In response to Reply # 7


Buenos Aires, AR
          

thanks again Wayne.

Cool gadget offered by Nikon. I saw your link and I looked up on adorama site (did not find) and B&h, where I found this:

http://www.bhphotovideo.com/bnh/controller/home?ci=0&shs=SG-3IR&sb=ps&pn=1&sq=desc&InitialSearch=yes&O=jsp%2FRootPage.jsp&A=search&Q=*&bhs=t

Is it the same?

Jose, nikonian
from Santiago del Estero, Argentina
http://joseandresbasbus.zenfolio.com

  

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gkaiseril Gold Member Nikonian since 28th Oct 2005Sun 23-Nov-08 08:30 PM
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#12. "RE: help connectin sb 900 and sb 800 wireless"
In response to Reply # 8


Chicago, US
          

Yes, there is considerable confusion about the name, some use a "1" instead of the "I" and then there is the location of the hyphen. Much like the "commander" and "master". I think this is related to the translation issues.

George
My Nikonian Galleries

  

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Jose Andres Silver Member Nikonian since 13th Mar 2003Tue 25-Nov-08 07:15 PM
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#25. "RE: help connectin sb 900 and sb 800 wireless"
In response to Reply # 12


Buenos Aires, AR
          

thank you George for your comment. I have ordered the SU 800 so, I don't think I will need this small device for my D200.


Jose, nikonian
from Santiago del Estero, Argentina
http://joseandresbasbus.zenfolio.com

  

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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 MemberSun 23-Nov-08 06:59 PM
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#10. "RE: help connectin sb 900 and sb 800 wireless"
In response to Reply # 7


Phoenix, US
          

George and Jose:

I have been using multiple SB800s and the SU800 for several years, with all kinds of subjects. Here are a few observations.

First, there remains considerable confusion concerning the terms "Master" and "Commander". I first encountered the term "Master" when I purchased the first few members of my SB800 herd several years ago. Nikon introduced the "Commander" term at some later date, unknown to me. Rather than try and sort them out and get into prolonged discussions with other Nikonians, I use them together as: "Master/Commander"

With the SB800 on-camera as master/commander in TTL mode with front curtain sync, the interval between the preflash and image capture pulses is quite short, a few milliseconds. This is enough for many people to blink and their eyes will still be closed when the image capture pulse occurs. Yes, FV lock can be used but this requires an extra step and a bit of time. In my experience, when using an SU800 as the on-camera master/commander, the subjects are usually looking at the camera. The remote SB800s will still respond to the preflash signal from the SU800 as required by CLS, but the subjects are not usually looking at the remote SB800s (or others) that are to one or both sides of the camera. This usually cures the blinking problem, unless you are shooting a large group, at which time other blink dynamics come into play.

When using the built-in popup speedlights, the SG-3IR filter is a very useful device for avoiding the blink reflex. I removed the filter panel from an SG-3IR and taped it over the lens of one of my SB800s and it works extremely well. Do not do this if you are firing machine-gun style in continuous mode as the filter is absorbing a lot of heat energy and will soon melt, along with the SB800 lens, if not given adequate time to cool.

As you know, even when the on-camera master/commander (popup, SB800, SB900) is set to OFF (---), it will still emit a low power image capture triggering pulse while the shutter is open. Some will blink at this, others will not. The time interval between this pulse and the image capture pulse that follows from all speedlights is too short for them to get their eyes closed.

Hope this helps a bit.

Regards,

HBB in Phoenix, Arizona
Nikonian Team Member

Photography is a journey with no conceivable destination.

  

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Wayne Registered since 05th Nov 2005Sun 23-Nov-08 08:02 PM
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#11. "RE: help connectin sb 900 and sb 800 wireless"
In response to Reply # 5
Sun 23-Nov-08 08:14 PM by Wayne

US
          

>Ok. Since I like flash ttl, I discard that trigger. Thanks.

I thought that might be your opinion, so it seemed necessary to mention this very large difference.

>I can see that the SU 800 is definitelly what I am after.
>However, I asume that both a Sb900 and Sb800 would perform
>-while on camera- the same functions you already described. In
>this case, I could opt for 2 different approaches:
...
>SO, tell me what approach do you recommend for a wireless
>setup: the SU 800 or the sb 600.


The SB-600 may be less expensive than the SU-800, but the SB-600 CANNOT be a commander. The SB-600 can only be a remote (and the SU-800 cannot be a flash). The SU-800, SB-800, or SB-900 can be commander, but the SU-800 is the least expensive of these, also is smaller and lighter weight on the camera. Seems pointless to waste a more expensive and heavy flash for a commander, when the less expensive SU-800 can do it better.

The SB-800 and SB-900 as commander can also be used as a flash to add illumination to your picture, but it MUST be on the camera to be commander, and camera is not often where we want the light. Commander cannot be remote.


>This statement is related to my previous question. I am afraid
>that the SB 800 or the SB 900 mounted on camera as master -as
>well as the built in flash of my D200- would fire a preflash
>signal that would result in people blinking their eyes. Is
>this true?. Whit a SU-800 as a master, I am getting rid of
>this preflash?. (If a SU 800 is a better solution to prevent
>eyes blinking, it would be a better choice than a Sb-800 as a
>commander).

There are two types of Nikon CLS "preflash" which cause blinking. There is actual preflash from every remote (individually, one at a time, but too fast together to realize this) and there is the multiple commander signals from the commander on the camera to control these remotes. Both are before the shutter opens ,and both can cause subject blinking.

The SU-800 does invisible infrared commander flashes, whereas the flash unit commanders use the regular visible flash tube. Therefore the invisible SU-800 is said to be better about not causing blinking, and no doubt it is. Some think the hot shoe IR Shield helps prevent blinking of the visible commanders, but Nikon actually sells it as a macro tool, to be an aid for close subjects at mere inches, not at a few feet. Opinions do differ about when it is needed. I have one, but I do not use it. I use FV Lock.

However, these solutions (involving infrared) ONLY affect the commander signals. No matter what, you still have the remotes in your umbrellas which are shining into the face of your subject, and they still do very visible preflash, and they are not shielded or shieldable. You would seem to be making a poor bet if you assume the remote preflashes will never cause blinking. The exception to this would be using Commander manual power levels, when the commander still flashes commands then, but the remotes do not preflash if manual power level. But manual power level is not TTL.

Regular walk-around hot shoe bounce flash in TTL mode needs FV Lock too. Not as many people blink that way (not as much as commander, there are no commander signals and only one flash preflashing), but some people ALWAYS blink either way. Using FV Lock is only the insurance your shot will be usable.

Using FV Lock is always the answer, and it is a fine answer. It is always there and available if you need it.


>I am not in the position to argue it. Common sense indicates
>me that a big 45 inches umbrella has more diffusing power than
>the whaletail. However, I am pleased with the way the Garyfong
>softens the light by bouncing it on the ceiling, especially,
>by facing the back of the whale tail with the open flap, to
>create this surround light, as explained in the video
>tutorial.

Yes, 45 inches is good, when close enough. And bounce is very good. too.. Both are excellent. Bounce just comes from above and is difficult to aim. Umbrellas do the same bounce, but are much more versatile to do exactly what you want to do. Umbrellas are always white too, and closer for better power levels. and softer light. Large and close is what makes soft. Only disadvantage is that umbrellas cannot go on the hot shoe for walk around operation.

>What about using a whale tail 45º (bouncing flash) with my
>other sb800 mounted on a light stand, at the other 45º, with a
>45 inches umbrella?

Try it, you will like the umbrella. I would suggest trying two umbrellas too, to make your decision. Try it before rejecting it, because it appears common consensus that umbrellas are wonderful magic.

Bounce is indeed very good, and I use bounce at every opportunity when setting up an umbrella is not possible. But I use the umbrella or a soft box at every opportunity when that setup is possible.

  

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Jose Andres Silver Member Nikonian since 13th Mar 2003Mon 24-Nov-08 02:57 AM
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#15. "RE: help connectin sb 900 and sb 800 wireless"
In response to Reply # 11


Buenos Aires, AR
          

Hi Wayne.

Thanks again. So far, I am discarding adding a SB 600 and instead, I would choose the SU 800.
I would also appreciate to give me some clue (and links) about FV lock.

As to umbrellas, what about this combo?

http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/425220-REG/Impact_DFUMK_Digital_Flash_Umbrella_Mount.html/BI/4775/KBID/5289/

These ones are 32 inches, not 45. Any difference or any other combo that you suggest me (light stand, umbrella clamps and umbrellas?).



Jose, nikonian
from Santiago del Estero, Argentina
http://joseandresbasbus.zenfolio.com

  

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Wayne Registered since 05th Nov 2005Mon 24-Nov-08 03:54 AM
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#16. "RE: help connectin sb 900 and sb 800 wireless"
In response to Reply # 15
Mon 24-Nov-08 04:02 AM by Wayne

US
          

>I would also appreciate to give me some clue (and links) about
>FV lock.

See your camera manual index for FV Lock. The camera will have a button which can be programmed to provide the FV Lock function. Camera models vary. Probably the Function button, and maybe DOF Preview button can be used, Sometimes AE-L, but see the manual.

When taking a flash picture, you can just push the shutter button and everthing happens, including the shutter and the subject blinking.

Or, you can push this FV Lock button instead of the shutter button, and then all the CLS preflash stuff occurs... the commander sends signals and the remotes do preflashes and the TTL metering occurs, and the subject blinks. Everything except the shutter does not trigger. Then at the subsequent shutter button(s), the shutter triggers and the flashes fire, remembering the previous locked Flash Value (FV) which is used with no more preflashing or blinking.

Continuing with more shutter buttons in a studio situation does no more preflashing, continues to use the locked FV (Flash Value). When you sense something changed to need metering again, just do the FV Lock button again at will to get an updated FV. Note the manual telling you about the small L which appears in the viewfinder, to tell you when the system has a locked FV available.

FV Lock simply separates the actual shutter from all the preflashing and metering and blinking. Plus in studio situation, your exposures will not vary slightly (not metered again) when using FV Lock. Plus surely a little more battery life not doing all that preflashing.

>As to umbrellas, what about this combo?
>
>http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/425220-REG/Impact_DFUMK_Digital_Flash_Umbrella_Mount.html/BI/4775/KBID/5289/
>
>These ones are 32 inches, not 45. Any difference or any other
>combo that you suggest me (light stand, umbrella clamps and
>umbrellas?).

That is a very popular umbrella kit. Many like it and it will do a good job. The actual size of any umbrella will be a few inches smaller than this dimension. I think someone told me those were 29 inches, but not sure I remember. My 45 inchers are 40 inches and my 60 inch is 48 inches actual size. I am very happy you are interested, believe me, it is the right decision for when the situation lets it be used. But frankly, IMO I see no reason not to get 45 inches.

Speaking from experience, I would quickly replace those flash shoes with this one:

http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/50546-REG/Stroboframe_300_405_Shoe_General_Purpose.html/BI/4775/KBID/5289/

Please see this link about the shoes, and about size, and about other kits:
http://www.scantips.com/lights/umbrellas.html (scroll down on that page about the shoes and kits).


The basic rule of thumb for soft light from softboxes and umbrellas is this:

The light (meaning the umbrella fabric in this case) ought to be at least as large as the area you are lighting. If doing waist-up half portraits, maybe that view covers 40 inches of height. I am speaking of that size, the size of the picture area to be lighted. The fabric ought to be that size too, and its fabric distance should not be farther from subject than that distance too. That is, at least 40 inch umbrella or softbox at no more than 40 inches distance for a 40 inch picture area. This rule of thumb guarantees very nice soft light.

So for a sitting portrait, the main umbrella is close, so that the subject can reach out and touch the main light stand pole. As close as possible, which is likely more than the 32 inch umbrella size. The fabric ought be within 3 to 4 feet from their face.

That is about the main light, or about two equal lights in equal lighting on each side. But for the fill light concept, the fill must be more distant, back near the camera, to allow the lens to see the subject, since the fill light is normally very close to the lens axis (to provide fill to light what the lens sees).

At this size and distance, the light from the large close umbrella comes to the subject from their left and from their right, which self-fills the shadows to provide very soft light. Smaller or farther is not as soft. Large and close is what makes soft. This is why the 32 or 45 inch umbrella is so superior to the little 4 inch dome diffuser. 4 inches is not 45 inches, and cannot do this.

Ceiling light is large and therefore pretty soft too, but we cannot aim it, nor put it where we want it.

We cannot always provide that size of course, for example group photos cannot have an umbrella that relative size. Even full length portraits are an issue unless we have six foot umbrellas. We get by then. But very often we can do it, and we try to do it.

The umbrellas cannot be too large or too close. Close makes it be large. You can put the smaller umbrella closer to do the same thing. It is about the computed field of view size from the subject, regarding how large they see the light to be. But size is the advantage.

  

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Jose Andres Silver Member Nikonian since 13th Mar 2003Mon 24-Nov-08 01:49 PM
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#17. "RE: help connectin sb 900 and sb 800 wireless"
In response to Reply # 16


Buenos Aires, AR
          

hello Wayne.

Again, many thanks for your opinion.

I am absolutelly indebted for your ample coverage of soft flash light for portraits.
I have checked both links provided and I came to the conclusion that this 45 inches umbrellas kit would be what I should consider:

http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/250348-REG/Smith_Victor_401484_UK2_Umbrella_Kit_with.html/BI/4775/KBID/5289/

This kit is one of the recommended in the "scantips" site. One question: the light stands are grey, not black. Does it have any reflection concern? I read that black stands are reflection free. On the other hand, are the stands portable and light weitght enough to carry? I am thinking of carrying at least one of these and my tripod on trips, so that to use the flash with the Gary Fong diffusers.
At home, I would use the umbrellas'kit for better control.

A further question: when using both flashes with that umbrellas' kit, does a tungsten ambient light affect the white balance (in the assumption that the w&b of the camera should be set to "flash"), or not?.

Thank you again with the tip for the flash shoes. I would definitelly consider 2 of them (one for each stand).

And again, thanks for the tip of the distance of the soft light to the subject. It really gives me a sense of space and idea about how this soft light is working.

Jose, nikonian
from Santiago del Estero, Argentina
http://joseandresbasbus.zenfolio.com

  

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Wayne Registered since 05th Nov 2005Mon 24-Nov-08 02:56 PM
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#20. "RE: help connectin sb 900 and sb 800 wireless"
In response to Reply # 17


US
          

>I have checked both links provided and I came to the
>conclusion that this 45 inches umbrellas kit would be what I
>should consider:
>
>http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/250348-REG/Smith_Victor_401484_UK2_Umbrella_Kit_with.html/BI/4775/KBID/5289/

This Smith Victor kit is the one that I use, and I like it very much. It is "in stock" at Adorama". These are 45 inch umbrellas (across the curved top) which are about 40 inches across (as is any 45 inch umbrella). I have others now too, but these stands and umbrellas are still my favorite... they just "work". The Smith Victor Raven stands are fully black. These Smith Victor stands are not air cushioned whereas the others are, but which is a plus to me for umbrellas, as they work extremely smoothly and the umbrellas are feather light.

I think the gray stands may be the Photogenic stands, next one down (according to a customer comment). Gray would not be any concern to me, because for the closest work where that might possibly reflect, you would use shoot-through instead of reflected anyway. The Photogenic Eclipse umbrella is the one that has the ribs covered by the fabric, so the ribs might show less in reflected use. That is good too (but ribs necessarily show the same in shoot-through use). I also have the Photogenic Eclipse 60 inch umbrella, and it seems excellent too, but is too large to work around in regular rooms. I dont have the Photogenic kit, but I bet I would like it too. Technically, Smith Victor and Photogenic are the same company now, in the same building in Illinois, but these products are a little different. I assume all stands and umbrellas are imported now.

>are the stands portable
>and light weitght enough to carry? I am thinking of carrying
>at least one of these and my tripod on trips, so that to use
>the flash with the Gary Fong diffusers.
>At home, I would use the umbrellas'kit for better control.

Yes, when you are able to use the umbrella, they make everything simply fabulous, like magic. Yes, the umbrellas fold up like any rain umbrella, and they and the stands are 26 or 27 inches I think for these. Could go into a large suitcase, but they provide a vinyl carrying case to hold it all (cases will not have durability suitable for air travel, but otherwise very suitable).

>A further question: when using both flashes with that
>umbrellas' kit, does a tungsten ambient light affect the white
>balance (in the assumption that the w&b of the camera
>should be set to "flash"), or not?.

The color of ambient light could always be a problem with any flash, but this depends on your camera settings. We use a fast shutter speed with flash to simply keep the ambient out. Use camera maximum shutter sync speed with flash, if you want to keep the ambient out. Use a slower shutter speed if you want to allow it in. See http://www.scantips.com/lights/flashbasics4.html

  

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Jose Andres Silver Member Nikonian since 13th Mar 2003Tue 25-Nov-08 01:27 AM
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#23. "RE: help connectin sb 900 and sb 800 wireless"
In response to Reply # 20
Tue 25-Nov-08 01:28 AM by Jose Andres

Buenos Aires, AR
          

hello Wayne.

I have no more words to say thank you for all your help.
I have just made up my mind and placed an order at B&H for Smith Victor kit, 2 stroboframe flash shoes, following your entire advice, and I also ordered -for creating a wireless communication- the whole kit of the R1C1, which adds a flash system for my sort of macro shots.

I also purchased the DVD: Hands on Guide to Creative Lighting, with which I plan to learn how to use a wireless flash. Later on, I would buy the Nikonian book on speedlights, which is available after January 2009, according to Amazon.com.


I would also say a big thank to JRP, for his usefull contribution, and of course, all nikonians, who make this site an excellent source of wisdom.

BTW: are you the owner of scantips website?



Jose, nikonian
from Santiago del Estero, Argentina
http://joseandresbasbus.zenfolio.com

  

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Wayne Registered since 05th Nov 2005Tue 25-Nov-08 04:12 PM
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#24. "RE: help connectin sb 900 and sb 800 wireless"
In response to Reply # 23


US
          

Yes, that is me. I know you will be very impressed by the soft light from the umbrellas. Closest thing to magic we know. I think you needed stands anyway, so the added cost of the umbrellas seems only about half of your investment in the diffusion dome, which seems trivial compared to the benefit. We cannot always use umbrellas, but when we can, wow! The trick with umbrellas is "large and close", but even at ten feet is worthwhile.

The trick with the Nikon wireless remote system is to put one flash in Group A and one in Group B, so that the commander can control them individually. Then it will set up the two to be equal at the subject, automatic setup. You can also specify compensation in the commander group menu to specify your lighting ratio, which it will also do. Typically lighting ratio is only for single faces, not for groups which should be lighted evenly.

  

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Jose Andres Silver Member Nikonian since 13th Mar 2003Wed 26-Nov-08 02:47 AM
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#26. "RE: help connectin sb 900 and sb 800 wireless"
In response to Reply # 24


Buenos Aires, AR
          

>Yes, that is me. I know you will be very impressed by the
>soft light from the umbrellas. Closest thing to magic we
>know. I think you needed stands anyway, so the added cost of
>the umbrellas seems only about half of your investment in the
>diffusion dome, which seems trivial compared to the benefit.
>We cannot always use umbrellas, but when we can, wow! The
>trick with umbrellas is "large and close", but even
>at ten feet is worthwhile.

Yes. Wayne. I agree with your statement and that is why I decided to try these umbrellas at home. Thank you for your help. In addition, it is nice to know that you are the writer of scantips. I bought your book on 2005 (I was living in Chile), when I was scanning my velvia slides. I found it an excellent source of wisdom. Congratulations!.


>The trick with the Nikon wireless remote system is to put one
>flash in Group A and one in Group B, so that the commander can
>control them individually. Then it will set up the two to be
>equal at the subject, automatic setup. You can also specify
>compensation in the commander group menu to specify your
>lighting ratio, which it will also do. Typically lighting
>ratio is only for single faces, not for groups which should be
>lighted evenly.
>

Good to know. Thanks. If you have more tips or sites to delve into wireless, please advice. I am waiting for the arrival of the Nikon School DVD, and I am also looking forward to the outcome of the nikonians book (however, it will not happen in the short run).

Jose, nikonian
from Santiago del Estero, Argentina
http://joseandresbasbus.zenfolio.com

  

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Martin Turner Moderator Expert professional PJ & PR photographer Nikonian since 19th Jun 2006Sun 23-Nov-08 11:36 PM
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#14. "RE: help connectin sb 900 and sb 800 wireless"
In response to Reply # 2


Bidford on Avon, GB
          

> Forgive me, but in
>comparison, the Fong stuff is a toy.

I disagree. I have umbrellas and reflectors, and a ringflash, but I still find the Gary Fong equipment invaluable. The only light modifier I carry around with me all the time I am shooting is a Gary Fong lightdome. The difference between a Fonged shot and something straight off the flash is extraordinary. A complete set up using off-camera flash and umbrellas is, of course, much more flexible. But there are many occasions when you are required to produce a professional result in very non-ideal conditions, for which brollies and lights on stands are simply impractical.

M A R T I N • T U R N E R
http://art.martinturner.org.uk
http://www.martinturner.org.uk

Nikonians membership: my most important photographic investment, after the camera

My Nikonians blog, Learning from the Portrait Masters, http://blog.nikonians.org/martin_turner/

  

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Jose Andres Silver Member Nikonian since 13th Mar 2003Mon 24-Nov-08 01:57 PM
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#19. "RE: help connectin sb 900 and sb 800 wireless"
In response to Reply # 14


Buenos Aires, AR
          

Yes Martin. I agree with you. I know that umbrellas are unbeatable for softness but the whale tail was a breeze every time I was taking pictures on my trips. The portability and light weight of that diffuser makes it very attractive.


Jose, nikonian
from Santiago del Estero, Argentina
http://joseandresbasbus.zenfolio.com

  

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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 MemberSun 23-Nov-08 10:58 PM
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#13. "RE: help connecting SB 900 and SB 800 wireless"
In response to Reply # 0
Sun 23-Nov-08 11:05 PM by jrp

San Pedro Garza García, MX
          

So, my question is: does these device (transmitter and adapter) worth the investment or not?
Such device will fire the camera and a flash if mounted on the camera's hot shoe, but will not substitute for a SU-800.

I can assume that this combo device has some limitations compared with the more capable and expensive SU 800
Your assumption is correct. The SU-800 will not only trigger the "slave" units, but will do it in complete i-TTL mode and allow for changing the settings of them, without having to do it on the flashes themselves. For example -1.0EV on one and no compensation on the second. Speedlights can also be arranged in 3 groups and 3 channels.

I would like to hear from you to find out which are the pros and cons of this cheaper combo alternative.
The only con I can think of is its price.
The pros are that it allows for truly Creative Lighting System functions without having a flash on the camera.

I have in mind to set the SB 900 as a master as well as triggering the SB 800 wireless and I am asking if I can set the Sb 900 to trigger the sb 800 with i.e. one stop less power, and if so, how would it be connected with my D3.
Yes, you can do that. Just change the settings of the SB-900 to Master and the remote SB-800 to Remote.
With a SU-800 you can set both the SB-900 and SB-800 as remotes as you first mentioned wanting to do.

Finally, I saw that I would have to purchase 2 flash stands (I saw that on Adorama, I could get each for 29 dollars) so my question is -since I do not plan to use an umbrella, whether it is necessary to buy a shoe adapter to mount the flash on that stand or not.
if you have room to place stands, they are nice to set the speedlights at the exact distance and height of your choice. Otherwise speedlights are easy to set on their own accessory foot on top of chairs, tables or furniture in general, or even on the ground.

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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