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Subject: "Problem using TTL-BL with D4" Previous topic | Next topic
mel_klim Silver Member Charter MemberFri 27-Sep-13 10:35 PM
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"Problem using TTL-BL with D4"


Los Angeles, US
          

I have a D4 and SB900. The image was taken using TTL-BL on Program Mode (1/160s f4.5) with no exposure compensation on the D4 or the SB900. Matrix metering was used. The display on the SB900 shows TTL-BL FP. Auto FP was selected in the D4 menu (e1). Why is the background blown out?

I have a D700 and SB800 and took the same image with the same settings except the camera selected 1/250s and f13 on Program Mode. The background was property exposed. I also use the SB800 on the D4 and still the background was blown out. So the problem seems to be with the D4. Any suggestions?


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Replies to this topic
Subject Author Message Date ID
Reply message RE: Problem using TTL-BL with D4
mel_klim Silver Member
27th Sep 2013
1
Reply message RE: Problem using TTL-BL with D4
mel_klim Silver Member
27th Sep 2013
2
Reply message RE: Problem using TTL-BL with D4
mel_klim Silver Member
27th Sep 2013
3
Reply message RE: Problem using TTL-BL with D4
jim thomas Silver Member
28th Sep 2013
4
Reply message RE: Problem using TTL-BL with D4
mel_klim Silver Member
30th Sep 2013
6
Reply message RE: Problem using TTL-BL with D4
Arkayem Moderator
30th Sep 2013
8
     Reply message RE: Problem using TTL-BL with D4
jim thomas Silver Member
30th Sep 2013
9
Reply message RE: Problem using TTL-BL with D4
Arkayem Moderator
28th Sep 2013
5
Reply message RE: Problem using TTL-BL with D4
mel_klim Silver Member
30th Sep 2013
7
     Reply message RE: Problem using TTL-BL with D4
jim thomas Silver Member
30th Sep 2013
10
          Reply message RE: Problem using TTL-BL with D4
mel_klim Silver Member
30th Sep 2013
11
               Reply message RE: Problem using TTL-BL with D4
Luke_Miller Silver Member
30th Sep 2013
12

mel_klim Silver Member Charter MemberFri 27-Sep-13 10:38 PM
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#1. "RE: Problem using TTL-BL with D4"
In response to Reply # 0


Los Angeles, US
          

I should add that the picture was taken inside my garage which warrant the use of TTL-BL.

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mel_klim Silver Member Charter MemberFri 27-Sep-13 11:03 PM
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#2. "RE: Problem using TTL-BL with D4"
In response to Reply # 0


Los Angeles, US
          

I solved the problem. I exchanged lenses and got a good background exposure. Cleaned contacts on my 24-70mm and retook the picture. All is good!!!!

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mel_klim Silver Member Charter MemberFri 27-Sep-13 11:20 PM
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#3. "RE: Problem using TTL-BL with D4"
In response to Reply # 0


Los Angeles, US
          

Okay...so I thought it was a lens contact problem. I was wrong. It appears that if I kept the focus point on the subject, I will get the blown out background. Instead, I focused on the subject and then moved the focus point to the background. Only then did I get a correct background exposure. Is this correct use of TTL-BL on a D4?

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jim thomas Silver Member Nikonian since 12th Jan 2003Sat 28-Sep-13 11:57 AM
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#4. "RE: Problem using TTL-BL with D4"
In response to Reply # 0


Edmond, US
          

Hi Mel,

Since the photo was taken in your garage I assume that the ambient light was very dim. If so I think that you should use TTL not TTL BL to light your subject. I would shoot this photo in manual mode, meter the background and set the aperture and shutter speed accordingly,set the flash to TTL, make sure that the center focus point is on the subject and take the picture. By shooting in TTL BL you are telling the camera and flash that the subject will be lit primarily with ambient light, so it is allowing as much ambient light into the picture as possible to try to do that. At least that is my understanding. Hope that helps.

JDT

  

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mel_klim Silver Member Charter MemberMon 30-Sep-13 12:25 PM
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#6. "RE: Problem using TTL-BL with D4"
In response to Reply # 4


Los Angeles, US
          

Hi Jim

Thanks for the suggestion and I think using TTL was the correct call because the subject was in pretty deep shadow.

Mel

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Arkayem Moderator Awarded for his high level skills in flash photography Charter MemberMon 30-Sep-13 01:35 PM
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#8. "RE: Problem using TTL-BL with D4"
In response to Reply # 4


Richmond Hill, GA (Savannah), US
          

Hi Jim,

That method is what we used to use for everything before TTL-BL was invented. It is still the best for many situations like this. It is also best for shooting people in front of sunsets. The downside is that you have to have time to set it up. If you are shooting people at a reception, there is almost never enough time to set that up, and TTL-BL will work well enough to get useable images. TTL-BL is really designed to save you time and make sure you get the shot.

In TTL-BL, the Matrix meter measures the whole frame and tries to determine the 'ambient' by an 'average' of the brightness across the frame. Then, it sets the flash power to produce that same ambient brightness on the subject based on the distance to the subject as reported by the lens.

However, the more of the area of the frame covered by a dark subject, the lower the 'average' ambient and the lower the resulting BL flash power is set.

Also, matrix is much more sophisticated than just making an pure average for the ambient. It analyzes the frame and tries to figure out the setting. When it sees bright areas in the top of the background, it will often assume those areas are sky, so it lets them become somewhat overexposed to use the full dynamic range of the camera to help achieve a proper ambient exposure on the subject. The smaller the bright areas in the background, the more likely they will be blown out in TTL-BL mode.

Russ
Nikonian Team Member
Russell MacDonald Photography
Nikon CLS Practical Guide

  

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jim thomas Silver Member Nikonian since 12th Jan 2003Mon 30-Sep-13 02:10 PM
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#9. "RE: Problem using TTL-BL with D4"
In response to Reply # 8


Edmond, US
          

I understand that. Nonetheless, if one is not shooting in an environment that requires frequent changes in settings, such as this situation, shooting in manual as I described is still more reliable since one does not have to be concerned about what the camera is seeing as "background" and therefore discouting by a calculation made by some unknown algorithm. I think that in Mel's situation TTL should be used.

JDT

  

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Arkayem Moderator Awarded for his high level skills in flash photography Charter MemberSat 28-Sep-13 12:06 PM
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#5. "RE: Problem using TTL-BL with D4"
In response to Reply # 0


Richmond Hill, GA (Savannah), US
          

>I have a D4 and SB900. The image was taken using TTL-BL on
>Program Mode (1/160s f4.5) with no exposure compensation on
>the D4 or the SB900. Matrix metering was used. The display on
>the SB900 shows TTL-BL FP. Auto FP was selected in the D4
>menu (e1). Why is the background blown out?
>
>I have a D700 and SB800 and took the same image with the same
>settings except the camera selected 1/250s and f13 on Program
>Mode. The background was property exposed. I also use the
>SB800 on the D4 and still the background was blown out. So
>the problem seems to be with the D4. Any suggestions?
>
>
>

Barring a camera problem, there are several things that could be causing this.

What metering mode were you using on the camera? Center weighted or Matrix?

When shooting TTL-BL flash, moving the focus point (without changing the focus distance) may change the camera ambient exposure, but not the flash power. In TTL-BL mode, the flash power is determined almost entirely by the distance reported by the lens. If the focus was maintained on the subject, then moving the focus points will not affect flash power.

This image looks like you may have been using center weighted metering mode on the camera. Then if you move the focus point to the background (with the focus still fixed on the subject), the background will change considerably. That same effect may occur when in Matrix metering mode, but to a much less extent.

It also makes a difference in Matrix mode when the subject fills a smaller portion of the frame. Then the Matrix metering has more background to work with to get the ambient (background) exposure set right.

You should definitely be using Matrix metering for this type of shot, so the whole frame will be analyzed.

Also, I notice in this image the ISO is 140. Were you using Auto ISO? Auto ISO has not worked very well with flash on any of the Nikon cameras, and it could be contributing to the problem here.

Russ
Nikonian Team Member
Russell MacDonald Photography
Nikon CLS Practical Guide

  

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mel_klim Silver Member Charter MemberMon 30-Sep-13 12:32 PM
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#7. "RE: Problem using TTL-BL with D4"
In response to Reply # 5


Los Angeles, US
          

Hi Russ

I did use Matrix metering and Auto ISO. I also had Auto ISO turned off and got the same result. I used your technique and place the focus point in the background and got a perfect exposure. But I also got a perfect exposure when using my D700 with TTL-BL by placing the focus point on the subject. Going to play around some more this weekend.

Mel

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jim thomas Silver Member Nikonian since 12th Jan 2003Mon 30-Sep-13 02:11 PM
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#10. "RE: Problem using TTL-BL with D4"
In response to Reply # 7


Edmond, US
          

Hi Mel,

Have you tried using TTL and manual as I suggested? I think you will like the result if you do.

JDT

  

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mel_klim Silver Member Charter MemberMon 30-Sep-13 02:55 PM
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#11. "RE: Problem using TTL-BL with D4"
In response to Reply # 10


Los Angeles, US
          

During family events, I do shoot manual on the camera body and TTL and so I am comfortable with this technique. I also use the GF modifier on the flash.

I also shot this image using manual mode on both the D4 (1/250s, f5.6 and ISO100) and SB900 (1/8 power) where I got a perfect image. I wanted to compare it using TTL-BL.

I am practicing shooting manual on camera and flash for an upcoming family wedding portrait that will be at an outside location. Certainly, during the actual fast moving wedding ceremony and reception, I will use TTL and TTL-BL because I will not have time to fiddle with the controls.

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Luke_Miller Silver Member Nikonian since 19th Apr 2006Mon 30-Sep-13 04:21 PM
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#12. "RE: Problem using TTL-BL with D4"
In response to Reply # 11
Mon 30-Sep-13 06:26 PM by Luke_Miller

Rural Virginia, US
          

I routinely shoot in a very similar situation. A covered deck with a sunlit background. Subjects in full shade and background in full sun. On a sunny day I can easily get four to five stops exposure difference between foreground and background. I believe this is too much difference for any automatic exposure system to handle.

In my case the TTL flash system has no idea as to whether I want to minimize the underexposure of the area on the deck beyond the subject or minimize the overexposure of the background. TTL often assumes the former when I prefer the latter. I get the best results with manual exposure on both the body and flash. YMMV.

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