I photograph gravestones carved in the 1700s. Most are in the sun but many are beneath fully leafed-out trees and won't see the sun 'till fall. To photograph those, I recently purchased a Speedlight 700 expecting to use it hand-held off the camera. I thought I could trigger this flash by a radio signal from the camera but the occasionally intelligible user's manual is not helpful. I'm not even sure I can trigger the unit with the on-camera flash.
I found Darrell Young's manual on the D5000 invaluable bu it does not explain how to use the flash remotely. What is a good resource? How do I use this damned thing?
#1. "RE: Flash and the D5000" In response to Reply # 0 Tue 21-Jun-11 11:30 PM by aolander
Nikon's flash system uses the camera's built-in flash or an external flash or commander unit as a "commander" to control other flash units via IR light, i.e. the system does not use radio signals. I don't believe the D5000's built-in flash can act as a commander. You would have to use a remote cord such as the SC-29 (or others) to use the flash off-camera.
#2. "RE: Flash and the D5000" In response to Reply # 1
Aye, there's the rub. The SC-29 cord is a bit short of 2 m. Light on these stones provides the best modeling at about 15 degrees which means the camera is on a tripod and the light is held above the stone, close to the plane of the stone, and commonly 2-3 m away from the camera.
I had a kludge on a coolpix 8700 that involved a Rube Goldberg contraption on the pop-up flash that held a photocell on the end of a 4 m flash extension cord. It sort-of worked but it is Arizona and I am in Boston where the graveyards are.
I'm still in a quandary having spent $330 on something I may not be able to use.
#3. "RE: Flash and the D5000" In response to Reply # 2 Wed 22-Jun-11 07:12 AM by MEMcD
If you want, you can use the Speedlight built into your D5000 in Manual flash mode to trigger the remote SB-700 set in SU-4 remote mode (Manual flash control). You should also set the camera in Manual exposure mode as well as SU-4 mode is an optical slave that will trigger the remote when it detects the flash from your cameras built in Speedlight. Be sure that you point the sensor on the SB-700 towards the built in Speedlight to maximize the range in daylight conditions. Good Luck and Enjoy your Nikons!
#5. "RE: Flash and the D5000" In response to Reply # 3
OK. Good idea. I went out into Cambridge Common Burial Ground on a gray New England day, found a stone under a big tree, and did some experiments. Results were irregular but I have a fundamental problem. I cannot let the camera flash hit the stone. Straight-on light is flat and detail is lost. Ideally, illumination should come from 10-20 degrees "above" the face of the stone casting the carving in strong side light.
I used a wide piece of tape and a credit card to shield the flash and point the light up, away from the stone face. But I found that the slave flash would only fire within about 1.5 m of the camera. I used numerous readjustments to try to get the slave to fire from further away but to no avail.
Does anybody else have my problems? ...or a solution?
#6. "RE: Flash and the D5000" In response to Reply # 5
Did you have the built in Speedlight set to fire at 1/32nd Power or 1/16th Power? If the built in Speedlight was set to a low power setting, and the Remote SB-700 at or near Full Power, the contribution of the built in Speedlight should be minimal unless you are very close to the tombstone. If you are close enough to the tombstone that the built in Speedlight is contributing to the exposure you could try using an IR3IG in the cameras hotshoe to convert the white light from the built in Speedlight to Infra Red light. Using optical slaves in daylight conditions can result in distance problems. Are you using the tilt and twist features to orient the SB-700's optical sensor to be aimed directly at the built in Speedlight on your D5000? See pages D-23 and D-25 in the SB-700 Users Manual. Good Luck and Enjoy your Nikons!