How do modern Speedlights work.
I was recently given a used SB-15 Speedlight. It is in great shape and works well and is surprisingly compatible with my N80 (according to the N80 manual). From the SB-15 manual it appears that this flash was designed with the FG in mind. It has a guide number of about 80 feet/25 meters, about twice that of the built in. It is very flexible as far as bounce goes: when in the horizontal position the flash head can rotate to pointing straight up with 4 stops in between. You flip the whole thing over and the flash head can point downward in the same increments...great for macro work. When the whole unit is fliped up vertically the flash head can tilt to the left or right the same way..not bad.
So I'm asking myself, why do I need new Speedlight? Of course the reason I'm asking myself that is because I've never used or even looked at a more modern Speedlight and have no idea how they function. With the SB-15 (and the SB-16 I used to own, a great flash) you have to turn a dial to determine the best aperture for your subject distance. This isn't that big a deal but it does limit you when it comes to catching on-going events (vs posed shots).
So, how do they work? Other than the info being on an LCD what is the difference between the type with the dial and the new ones? I know they have automatic zoom heads vs the kind on the SB-16 that you adjust by hand. How does and SB-28 know what your zoom setting is?
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#1. "RE: How do modern Speedlights work." | In response to Reply # 0
mythrenegade Basic MemberSat 08-Dec-01 09:31 PM
>So, how do they work? Other than the info being on an LCD >what is the difference between the type with the dial and >the new ones? I know they have automatic zoom heads vs >the kind on the SB-16 that you adjust by hand. How does >and SB-28 know what your zoom setting is?
The lens communicates the zoom to the camera, and the flash (in my case an SB50) matches it. When I zoom to 35 or 50mm, the flash zooms along with me. It's very clever, and allows you to essentially not think about the flash.
I think that's pretty much the main difference. With a "modern" speedlight, you don't have to think about it, it just works, like the flash on your camera. It will communicate with the camera and stop firing when the subject is properly exposed, it zooms as needed, and works automatically for you. With an older flash, you need to stop and think to be sure that you have the flash set at the right power for your shot. For portraits and such, it's not a big deal at all. For candids, it can make a huge difference, because you don't have time to set your flash.
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#2. "RE: How do modern Speedlights work." | In response to Reply # 1
Sat 08-Dec-01 11:02 PM
Well, this is where I get confused. The SB-15 is a TTL capable flash. It meters through the lens. The dial on the top of the Speedlight doesn't affect flash output, as far as I know. It is really just there to help you calculate the appropriate fstop.
If the camera doesn't register enough light after the flash, the flash indicator flashes a few times to let you know, just like with the pop-up flash.
Do the new flashes utilize distance info to set your fstop when you are in P mode? (I'm not talking about 3D fill flash).
So I'm still here wondering what the real difference is. I know I don't get 3D mulit-sensor balance fill flash, even if I do use a 'D' lens. There is no zoom head so zoom range is limited(35mm or "longer", 28mm with diffuser) It doesn't have repeating flash or high speed sync but otherwise it has all the _basic_ features of the newer flashes. No redeye or AF assist light and it obviously doesn't have the off camera capabilites of the SB-50.
Oh, I was wrong in the initial post. When the body of the flash is vertical you can only tilt the flash head to the right, not the left.
If the newer Speedlights don't change your fstop or shutter speed based on the subject distance then it is no more likely to have the appropriate output than the SB-15 except in terms of superior guide numbers. And, you could just set the fstop on the SB-15 to 4 or 5.6 (or whatever) and shoot away. This would be no different from using the pop-up.
Am I thinking right here? I'm a flash idiot so I could have it all wrong.
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#3. "RE: How do modern Speedlights work." | In response to Reply # 2
jrp Charter MemberSun 09-Dec-01 02:50 AM
Your questions have good logic behind, however, for a very good flash primer, that by Moose is here.
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#4. "RE: How do modern Speedlights work." | In response to Reply # 2
jnscbl Basic MemberSun 09-Dec-01 03:00 AM
George, the speedlight doesn't do anything in TTL mode. It is the camera doing all the work. In order to be TTL capable, the flash must be able to communicate with the camera. In Program mode, if the shutterspeed is higher than 1/125 when you turn on the flash, it will change to 1/125, and the aperture will stop down to compensate. In low light, the shutterspeed jumps up to 1/60, and the aperture usually just goes to the widest on the lens in use. That's the camera's programming, not the flash. The zoom information is provided by the CPU in the lens. It has nothing to do with whether a lens has a "D" designation. But again, this is controlled by the camera. The N80 operates the motorized zoom on the flash, but the N60 won't. Bottom line, you've got yourself a TTL flash to use on your N80.
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#5. "RE: How do modern Speedlights work." | In response to Reply # 2
krf Charter MemberSun 09-Dec-01 09:46 PM
According to the literature I've read, the distance information provided by "D" lenses helps the camera and flash determine the proper exposure for the subject you are focused on. That way if you have a large background that is darker than the subject, the computer won't tell the flash to blast away your subject in an attempt to light up the background. The TTL computer, without the distance information, will tend to average the exposure for the entire scene, which might not be the optimum exposure for your main subject. I've read some accounts that the difference between TTL with 3D Matrix metering and plain TTL flash metering is mostly noticeable with slide film since it has narrower exposure latitude than print film.
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#6. "RE: How do modern Speedlights work." | In response to Reply # 5
Mon 10-Dec-01 12:48 PM
Thanks for the help guys. I'm starting to figure this flash stuff out.
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