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SU-800 Practical Use - Solving Limitations

Arkayem

Richmond Hill, GA (Savannah), US
6044 posts

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Arkayem Moderator Awarded for his high level skills in flash photography Charter Member
Tue 17-Nov-09 12:54 PM

I have owned an SU-800 for a couple of years now, but last weekend I ran across a new problem.

I was shooting portraits with my D3 with my SU-800 mounted in the hot shoe in my portable studio booth at a military ball. I was using two umbrellas, each with an SB-800 Remote flash.

All was going well until I turned the camera to portrait orientation. Then the umbrella to my right quit flashing. I checked to make sure I had the small round red IR window on the Remote facing the camera, and it was.

I quickly realized that it was the camera body that was blocking the IR signal from the SU-800. Since the head of the SU-800 won't rotate, there is nothing you can do about this.

I have never seen this problem before, because every other time there has been a low enough ceiling for a bounce. Here the ceiling was 20 feet high and black, so there was no bounce.

So, I had to come up with a quick solution (the client was quickly getting impatient). Then, it came to me: a bracket! I quickly mounted the SU-800 on my CB Junior bracket and SC-29 cable, so it would remain above the camera when in portrait orientation.

The client who was waiting while all this took place wasn't amused, but the bracket completely solved the problem for the rest of the night!

You learn something every day!

Incidentally, I had seen this problem before while using the pop-up flash on my D200, and I had always solved it by attaching an SB-800 as Commander, with a diffuser mounted on it, pointed straight up. It's too bad the head of the SU-800 doesn't swivel.

Russ
Nikonian Team Member
Russell MacDonald Photography
Nikon CLS Practical Guide

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