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Forums Lobby MASTER YOUR TOOLS - Hardware & Software Nikon Speedlights & Lighting topic #60772
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Subject: "Flash Purchase Help Needed" Previous topic | Next topic
fgaston Registered since 05th Mar 2007Sat 09-Feb-13 04:34 PM
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"Flash Purchase Help Needed"


Wilton, US
          

Hi:

I need a flash for indoor sports & continuous shooting (indoor track), where I'll be taking about 1,000 pictures at partial power. I use D600 & D700 & 70-200mm lens.

Had settled on Metz 58 AF2, but wondered if inability to go beyond 105mm to 200mm was a limiter?

Considered used SB-900 but if I'm going to be doing bursts of continuous, that's a non-starter. Also thought about Qflash, but out of budget and too bulky.

Is my only option an SB-910, or is the 105mm limitation on Metz not a big deal?

Thanks, Fred

http://fredgaston.smugmug.com/

  

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Replies to this topic
Subject Author Message Date ID
Reply message RE: Flash Purchase Help Needed
blw Moderator Awarded for his high level of expertise in various areas
09th Feb 2013
1
Reply message RE: Flash Purchase Help Needed
MEMcD Moderator In depth knowledge in various areas
10th Feb 2013
2
Reply message RE: Flash Purchase Help Needed
fgaston
11th Feb 2013
3
     Reply message RE: Flash Purchase Help Needed
blw Moderator Awarded for his high level of expertise in various areas
11th Feb 2013
4
     Reply message RE: Flash Purchase Help Needed
MEMcD Moderator In depth knowledge in various areas
12th Feb 2013
5

blw Moderator Awarded for his high level of expertise in various areas Nikonian since 18th Jun 2004Sat 09-Feb-13 07:09 PM
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#1. "RE: Flash Purchase Help Needed"
In response to Reply # 0


Richmond, US
          

The "limitation" is not really a limitation at all. All that the limit means is that the fresnel won't extend further and therefore concentrate the beam to a narrower state. To work around the issue, you can use a Better Beamer or similar that puts another fresnel in front and this narrows the beam. Since the narrower beam doesn't spread out as quickly, it doesn't fall off at the same rate and thus is effective at a greater distance.

However, before you go there, have you ascertained that you will be allowed to shoot that much flash? Often the officials preclude this, particularly if you have a powerful flash. (I have been "ejected" from a sports event for "using" just such a powerful flash - until I pointed out that I couldn't possibly have done it as I had no flash unit at all.)

> Considered used SB-900 but if I'm going to be doing bursts of continuous, that's a non-starter.

You specifically said at partial power. I've done the experiment with the SB-900 and as long as you are shooting at partial power, you can shoot pretty much as fast as you want and not hit the thermal cutout. Or at least, I shot hundreds of frames at partial power without even making the thermal indicator budge before I got bored and gave up. I reported on the test here.

_____
Brian... a bicoastal Nikonian and Team Member

My gallery is online. Comments and critique welcomed any time!

  

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MEMcD Moderator In depth knowledge in various areas Nikonian since 24th Dec 2007Sun 10-Feb-13 11:43 PM
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#2. "RE: Flash Purchase Help Needed"
In response to Reply # 0


US
          

Hi Fred,

There are a few things you should consider when using flash at low power when you are shooting sports.

1, To shoot continuous at multiple FPS with any speedlight the power level will have to be set very low: 1/8 or less if you plan on shooting bursts of 4-8 images at a time.

2, You are planning on using your 70-200mm, I assume you will be some distance from your subject. Since the power required is inversly peportional to the square of the distance the actual amount of light reaching the subject will be further reduced.

3, You will be limited to shooting at the maximum sync speed of the camera (D600 = 1/200th sec., D700 = 1/250th sec.). If the flash is not providing well over two stops of power, you won't be able to rely on the short flash duration to freeeze the subjects movement. Therefore the shutter speed is the limiting factor in freezing the subjects motion.

4. When using direct flash with a telephoto like the 70-200mm red-eye can be a problem. Even when using a flash bracket. The lower the ambient light level, the more of a problem it will be.

To get around these limitations:

1. Shoot single frame underexposing the ambient by 2 2/3rds or 3 stops and take full advantage of the short flash duration to freeze the subjects motion.

or

2. Forget about the flash, cranck up the ISO and the shutter speed.

or

3. Use multiple Speedlights or strobes to reduce the required output of each unit allowing you to underexpose by about three stops and shoot short bursts.

4. Get PW Multimax Tranceivers and several strobes (groups of strobes) and take full advantage of Quad Triggering and Speed Cycler mode. With 4 sets of strobes set at low power you can shoot at up to about 8FPS though you will be 100% Manual control. With the right strobes the flash duration can be extremely short and with enough of them you can shoot long bursts if you want to.
You can even sync multiple remote camera bodies to sync with the strobes.
The problem is expense, the amount and weight of gear you will have to carry, set-up, and take down.

For shooting at distance, the SB-900, SB-910, and Metz 58 AF-2 are actually better options than the Q-flash. While the Q-flash has more power and significantly faster recycle time without the chance of overheating, the Tele-Reflector is huge and even more cumbersome than the standard reflector.

While the SB-900 will thermally shut down when driven hard, the SB-910 increases it's recycle time which in your situation will likely be as bad or worse than the flash shutting down.

The Metz 58AF-2 has the same duty cycle as the Nikon Speedlights.
They recommend allowing a 10 minute Cool Down period after 15 full power flashes.
Good Luck and Enjoy your Nikons!

Best Regards,
Marty

  

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fgaston Registered since 05th Mar 2007Mon 11-Feb-13 03:06 PM
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#3. "RE: Flash Purchase Help Needed"
In response to Reply # 2


Wilton, US
          

Thanks Brian & Marty.

This particular indoor venue is well lit and does permit flash photography, so fill-flash/partial power should be fine. I typically crank up the ISO, but my post-processing to adjust the WB & exposure on 1-2K of pictures, even in Lightroom, is too time consuming.

In terms of slower sync speed of D600, I typically shoot w/o flash at 1/320 & f/2.8 and let ISO float to 6400. So

1. Given I'll be using Metz for first time tomorrow night (with no time to play with it) what setup would you suggest to try to freeze the subjects? Is it a matter of playing with partial power to find balance?
2. If 1/200 won't freeze action, should I try to high speed sync? Does it depend how far away the subject is?
3. If you think the D700 with the slightly faster synch speed of 1/250 will be better, I'm happy to try that instead.
4. To the flash is it the same if I shoot continuous burst of 3-4 shots, vs. 4 shots over 4 seconds, in terms of max partial power?
5. Maybe I should sell D600 & D700 & get used D4 for the 1/320 sync? (I don't lust for a D800 & the file size-already not liking D600 file sizes).
6. Re: your advice "Shoot single frame underexposing the ambient by 2 2/3rds or 3 stops and take full advantage of the short flash duration to freeze the subjects motion", can you explain in a little great detail please? Do I meter without flash & reduce exposure by close to 3 stops?

Thanks again for all your help, Fred

http://fredgaston.smugmug.com/

  

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blw Moderator Awarded for his high level of expertise in various areas Nikonian since 18th Jun 2004Mon 11-Feb-13 04:55 PM
26893 posts Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on Linkedin    Click to send email to this author Click to send private message to this authorClick to view this author's profileClick to send message via AOL IM
#4. "RE: Flash Purchase Help Needed"
In response to Reply # 3


Richmond, US
          

> This particular indoor venue is well lit and does permit flash photography, so fill-flash/partial power should be fine.

The problem with this is that you need to juggle the exposures. 1/200th probably won't stop the action, and while you are going to get more light, you're running a significant risk of "double" exposures - one flash mostly frozen, and a blurry ghost from the ambient. You may not have the problem, but you very well might.

> If 1/200 won't freeze action, should I try to high speed sync?

That's not what it's designed for. The FP sync causes the flash tube to fire for an extended period of time, and it is pretty restricted in its range. FP sync is usually limited to about 10-15 feet, almost certainly not what you're needing.

> To the flash is it the same if I shoot continuous burst of 3-4 shots, vs. 4 shots over 4 seconds, in terms of max partial power?

I dont think so, but it'll be dependent on the internal of the various flash designs. I know nothing about the Metz.

> Shoot single frame underexposing the ambient by 2 2/3rds or 3 stops and take full advantage of the short flash duration to freeze the subjects motion

Basically that means that you're NOT going to be shooting partial power - that looks a lot like full power or pretty close to it. You won't be able to shoot a whole lot of flashes this way, although I'm sure that the Metz will do more than an SB-900/910.

> Do I meter without flash & reduce exposure by close to 3 stops?

Your in-finder meter will show you the ambient exposure. You're aiming for something that's quite underexposed.

I'm not very optimistic about how well this will work. There's a reason you don't see a lot of sports pros using flash on the field.

_____
Brian... a bicoastal Nikonian and Team Member

My gallery is online. Comments and critique welcomed any time!

  

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MEMcD Moderator In depth knowledge in various areas Nikonian since 24th Dec 2007Tue 12-Feb-13 02:42 PM
26969 posts Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on Linkedin    Click to send email to this author Click to send private message to this authorClick to view this author's profile
#5. "RE: Flash Purchase Help Needed"
In response to Reply # 3
Tue 12-Feb-13 07:19 PM by MEMcD

US
          

Hi Fred,

>This particular indoor venue is well lit and does permit flash
>photography, so fill-flash/partial power should be fine. I
>typically crank up the ISO, but my post-processing to adjust
>the WB & exposure on 1-2K of pictures, even in Lightroom,
>is too time consuming.

To overpower the ambinet WB with flash, you will need more than two stops of flash power that again means that you won't be shooting at low power unless you gel the flash to match the ambient WB.
Catch 22:
Using a gel will require more power to provide the same amount of light.

>In terms of slower sync speed of D600, I typically shoot w/o
>flash at 1/320 & f/2.8 and let ISO float to 6400. So
>
>1. Given I'll be using Metz for first time tomorrow night
>(with no time to play with it) what setup would you suggest to
>try to freeze the subjects?

I just checked the flash duration of the 58 AF-2:
Full Power = 1/125th sec.
1/2 Power = 1/650th sec.
1/4 Power = 1/1500th sec.

This means that you will have to shoot at less than full power to minimize the flash duration in order to maximize the freezing effect on your subject. The problem is the higher the ambient light level is, the higher the flash power must be to overpower it.
Again: Catch 22.

>Is it a matter of playing with partial power to find balance?

You will have to determine how much power you need to overpower the ambient by about 3-stops or so to overpower the ambient light level.

>2. If 1/200 won't freeze action, should I try to high speedsync?
>Does it depend how far away the subject is?

You will have to be very close to your subject to take advantage of FP High Speed Sync mode because flash power is significantly reduced.

>3. If you think the D700 with the slightly faster synch speed
>of 1/250 will be better, I'm happy to try that instead.

Given that the D600 has better high ISO performance than the D700,
I would try using the D700 with the Speedlight and shoot the D600 with ambient.

>4. To the flash is it the same if I shoot continuous burst of
>3-4 shots, vs. 4 shots over 4 seconds, in terms of max partial power?

It depends on the flash power required to overpower the ambient light level.
I suspect that you will need at least half power to overpower the ambient which will make shooting a 3-4 shot burst impractical since the first image will be correctly exposed, the second image might be ok, but the Speedlight will more than likely not fire for the third and fourth images because it will be recharging the capacitor.

If you are lucky enough to shoot at 1/4 power you might be able to get a burst of three.
Shooting 1FPS you could probably get 4 images at 1/4 power.
Again, I suspect 1/4 power will not be enough if the ambient light level is good but you can try.

>5. Maybe I should sell D600 & D700 & get used D4 for
>the 1/320 sync? (I don't lust for a D800 & the file
>size-already not liking D600 file sizes).

No!
The D4 has a sync speed of 1/250th sec. just like the D700 and the D800.
All three have the option to be set the shutter speed to 1/320th. sec. Auto FP mode.

>6. Re: your advice "Shoot single frame underexposing the
>ambient by 2 2/3rds or 3 stops and take full advantage of the
>short flash duration to freeze the subjects motion", can
>you explain in a little great detail please? Do I meter
>without flash & reduce exposure by close to 3 stops?

Yes!
If you use Aperture priority mode (from your User Profile) simply dial in 3 stops of negative Exposure Compensation.
The problem with shooting in one of the Auto modes (P, A, S, or Auto ISO):
Given that uniforms vari in brightness ( think white and black) and the background can vari quite a bit as well which can fool the meter into under exposing or over exposing the subject making it difficult to get consistant exposures.
Shooting in Manual mode eliminates the problems though if the lighting varies you must make adjustments on the fly. In Manual exposure mode, just meter for ambient and reduce the ISO and or the aperture by 3- stops.

The next question:
Are you going to use TTL flash control or Manual flash control.

TTL flash control is much easier but there is a slight delay for the monitor pre-flashes before the shutter releases.

Manual flash control will allow you to directly control the flash power level though you will have to use a flash meter or the trial and error method using the histogram to nail the exposure. As long as the flash to subject distance remains the same your exposures should be consistant. If the flash to subject distance varies you will have to adjust the aperture on the fly.

For sports I usually use multiple bodies.
Sometimes I will set one of them with a flash bracket and Speedlight.
The body set up with a Speedlight will always be set to Single frame release mode.

I don't think shooting in continuous release mode with a Speedlight is practical.
While it can be done with multiple sets of strobes it takes many hours of set up,
and two or three pack mules to carry all of the gear, it isn't worth the effort unless there is a large demand and you can sell the images at a premium price point.

As i stated above, I recommend setting up your D600 to shoot ambient light in continuous release mode and your D700 with the Speedlight in single frame release mode.
Good Luck and Enjoy your Nikons!



Best Regards,
Marty

  

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