Hi Guys and Gals I'm looking for a way to use a SB800 mounted on a light stand but would like to be able to reduce the flash output i.e. 1/2 or 1/4 power. I can do this on remote control (from a D80 or D300) but cannot figure a way to do this in manual MODE.
I was hoping to fire the flash remotely but adjust the power in fractional terms from the camera. i could just move the flash but this is difficult when at a wedding reception. Thanks for your interest.
>Hi Guys and Gals >I'm looking for a way to use a SB800 mounted on a light stand >but would like to be able to reduce the flash output i.e. 1/2 >or 1/4 power. I can do this on remote control (from a D80 or >D300) but cannot figure a way to do this in manual MODE. > >Any ideas.
I assume you want to trigger this with a PC cord or Pocket Wizard, as that is the only way you could fire it in Manual mode on a cold shoe on the light stand.
OK, turn the unit on. Hold down MODE and ON/OFF together for 2 or so seconds until the screen inverts. That is a master reset. I do this to make sure you do not have anything funky set on the strobe.
Now hit the Mode button on the SB00 twice until it says M in a box in the upper left corner of the display, this is Manual mode. Then just use the + or - controls on the top and bottom of the ring surrounding the SEL button to set the power. The unit will fire from the PC connection OR if you have a simple hotshoe adapter on the lightstand.
If you want to trigger the SB-800 when it sees any other flash go off, you want SU-4 mode. Hold down the SEL button for 2 seconds until the Custom modes screen appears. Select the top right box (2 squiggly lines and 2 flashes), hit SEL again, and scroll down to the bottom of the list to select SU-4. Hit the ON/OFF button to drop into SU-4 mode instantly. Screen should now say REMOTE, with a squiggly line and an A in the upper left corner. Hit the MODE button, and the A will turn to M in the corner, and manual power display will appear in the top of the screen, usually 1/1 if you have not used it before. Then just use the + or - controls on the top and bottom of the ring surrounding the SEL button to set the power.
>I'm looking for a way to use a SB800 mounted on a light stand >but would like to be able to reduce the flash output i.e. 1/2 >or 1/4 power. I can do this on remote control (from a D80 or >D300) but cannot figure a way to do this in manual MODE. > >Any ideas.
There are two Manual Flash modes: 1) Commander Manual: In this mode you set the flash on Remote Mode and you set the Commander in Manual mode. Then, you set the power of the flash from the ommander, and it is sent to the flash during the preflash sequence used by all CLS operations.
2) Manual: In this mode, the flash power can only be set on the back of the flash using the rocker switch. The problem is that it can't be fired wirelessly when in Manual mode. This is why they included the SU-4 Manual mode on the SB-800. The SU-4 Manual mode will fire the flash any time it sees another flash fire. So, to use this mode, you have to put the Master Flash (pop-up or other) in Manual mode as well, so there are no preflash pulses that will fire the slave flash early.
All that said, you can also control the power of the flash when using it remotely in TTL mode. On the Commander, just change the flash compensation, and the flash power will change.
Yes, an SB800 in remote SU-4 mode will fire any time it sees a speedlight pulse, yours or another photographer's.
If you use the Commander Manual mode suggested by Russ, you can control the power setting on the remote SB800 from your D80 or D300, and it will only fire when it sees the coded perflash pulse from your camera's popup speedlight.
Hope this helps a bit.
HBB in Phoenix, Arizona Nikonian Team Member
Photography is a journey with no conceivable destination.
>If I select manual mode and SU-4 mode will the SB800 flash be >triggered by other flash units? Thanks for your response.
To be clear...Manual mode and SU-4 mode are 2 different things.
SU-4 is actually SU-4 REMOTE mode. SU-4 REMOTE Mode itself has 2 modes, accessed by the MODE button while in SU-4 REMOTE mode. They are:
1) Automatic - this means relying on the light sensor on the SB-800 to vary its flash duration, it is NOT TTL.
2) Manual - You set the power level at the SB-800, and it fires at that level until changed.
The only thing Remote about SU-4 REMOTE mode is the flash is triggered. You cannot control anything else remotely in this mode, unlike CLS.
You need to be careful with SU-4 mode, especially at a venue like a wedding where there will be others with cameras that flash. SU-4 will fire the SB-800 whenever it sees another flash go off...even if the triggering flash is not yours. Unlike CLS, which is a coded signal and has the ability to be set on different channels, SU-4 is just gonna flash in response to anyone's flash. This means SU-4 REMOTE mode is only good in a controlled environment that you can be sure there are not other flashes operating.
>To be clear...Manual mode and SU-4 mode are 2 different >things.
Your comments are correct, but I like to look at it a bit differently.
The SU-4 Manual mode is really identical to the regular Manual Mode, except a slave optical trigger has been added. You can get exactly the same operation by attaching a Wein Optical trigger to the foot of the flash and using it in regular Manual mode.
SU-4 Auto Mode doesn't work very well, so I don't recommend it. Specular reflections can feed back into the slave and cut it off early.
Hey you guys out there have been fantastic. Although I didn't explain too clearly what I was trying to accomplish I have learned so much from all your responses that I now feel I will be better able to use the SB800. Basically if I want to use the SB800 off camera and mounted on my stand (with no direct connection) I can use the Nikon CLS system and control the power from my camera. Alternatively I buy pocket wizards and do the same thing albeit with more reliable results due to the remote functions being radio triggered. In conclusion I forget about the SU-4 mode for my wedding photography. Thanks again for all your support I only wish I had tapped into your help many moons ago. Have a great image making weekend.
> Alternatively I buy pocket wizards and do the same thing albeit with more >reliable results due to the remote functions being radio >triggered.
Just wanted to clarify one thing here...Pocket Wizards are very reliable radio triggers...BUT triggering is all they can do...they do not control any other functions as does CLS. You would have to configure all adjustments on the SB800 at the flash position itself, and all you can do from the camera's PW is send a firing signal to the other PW connected to the sync terminal on the SB800.
Many thanks for his titbit this is something else I need to consider, Did I read somewhere that the Quantum flash system links with the Nikon CLS and can I take this to mean I would have more control than with the Pocket wizards?
The Quantum system that support CLS runs a subset of the CLS controls, because the QFlash strobe is not capable of some of the things the SBs can do. The only current way to get the CLS control in full to remote CLS strobes is by using the RadioPopper system.
Radiopoppers are pricey at the moment, and you would need one for each CLS strobe that you wanted to ratio to work.
The current advantage for PW is that they hold their value well.
Thanks for the heads up on the quantum flash system - look like I will be stopping with the SB800 CLS system for now which appears from my fellow Nikoian's comments received so far to be a very good system when used within it's capabilities.
>Alternatively I >buy pocket wizards and do the same thing albeit with more >reliable results due to the remote functions being radio >triggered.
I scanned through this thread again, and the one thing I really can't understand is your objection to CLS optical triggering.
I shoot weddings and always have excellent reliability with CLS. Once I get my flashes up in the umbrellas and make sure the red IR window is pointed in the general direction of the camera, they fire 100% of the time. The only time I ever run into trouble is when the batteries get weak in the remote flashes.
I also use TTL with the FV Lock most of the time. It works great, and it is much quicker than manual flash.
I have been using the CLS system at weddings with no problem especially in the conditions you suggest i.e. keeping the sensor in line of sight to camera. So really no complaints - my question about manual operation and also using radio triggered communication with the SB800 is really to ascertain how creative I could get - perhaps putting a flash behind a wall or up a stairwell or behind a person to create a rim lighting effect. These are techniques I am developing to keep my wedding business one step ahead of the competition. If I think back to how good I have found the SB800 and it's CLS capabilities I have no real complaints, it's really just my inquisitiveness to push the (my) boundaries of my photographic knowledge.
I look forward to reading your blog and many thanks for your interest.
>Hi Russ > >I have been using the CLS system at weddings with no problem >especially in the conditions you suggest i.e. keeping the >sensor in line of sight to camera. So really no complaints - >my question about manual operation and also using radio >triggered communication with the SB800 is really to ascertain >how creative I could get - perhaps putting a flash behind a >wall or up a stairwell or behind a person to create a rim >lighting effect. These are techniques I am developing to keep >my wedding business one step ahead of the competition. >If I think back to how good I have found the SB800 and it's >CLS capabilities I have no real complaints, it's really just >my inquisitiveness to push the (my) boundaries of my >photographic knowledge.
Ahhhh...that makes sense. I do the same sort of thing, but I have found ways to make CLS work. For instance, indoors, in a studio environment there is usually enough bouncing for CLS to work out of sight. However, I sometimes have to place a white reflector out of the image to the right or left behind the subject, bounce enough of the CLS control pulses to fire a flash that is out of sight of the Commander. I have also found that using a Gary Fong Light Sphere on the Commander helps by sending the command pulses out in all directions to get the best chance of a bounce to a hidden flash.
>I look forward to reading your blog and many thanks for your >interest.
Thank you for reading it. I am working on several new articles if I can just find the time to finish them.
Quick follow-up questions: 1. When using the Pocket Wizards, should one always set the speed lights to manual mode, or su-4 mode, or either will do. Are there any differences in the two choices? 2. In using manual in commander mode from camera, can one still add other speed lights to be triggered by optical wiens?
>1. When using the Pocket Wizards, should one always set the speed lights to manual >mode, or su-4 mode, or either will do. Are there any differences in the two choices?
Pocket Wizard or SU-4 are both triggering methods. Typically when using a PW you are connected to the PC sync on the SB, and set the SB to manual operation. I have a couple of rigs with a Y-cord to trigger 2 SB-800s from a PW on a special mount in the same modifier( umbrella, softbox, etc.), but that is the same deal.
If you want to trigger a group of SBs (must be close enough to each other to see the f=triggering flash with the SU-4 sensor) from one PW, you set the one PW-connected SB to Manual, and all of the others to SU-4. All the SU-4 flashes will fire when they see a flash. Remember, SU-4 mode is of no use if you are in an environment where there may be any other flashes than your own. SU-4 responds to any flashed light, it does not have any ability to discriminate beyond that.
>2. In using manual in commander mode from camera, can one still add other speed >lights to be triggered by optical wiens?
No, this will not work because when using CLS, the commander sends a pre-flash signal (which is a flash before the exposure) to tell all the CLS speedlights how to fire. If any simple optical triggered strobes are in range, they will fire when they see this pre-flash, and be out of power when the exposure synced flash fires milliseconds later.
>1. When using the Pocket Wizards, should one always set the >speed lights to manual mode, or su-4 mode, or either will do. >Are there any differences in the two choices?
Pocket Wizards are RF transmitters and receivers. You connect the transmitter to the camera and you connect the receiver to the flash. Then, when you release the shutter, the sync signal is sent from the camera to the PW transmitter to the receiver which then fires the slave. When using PW's, you must set the slave flash to Manual mode.
SU-4 is an optical slave trigger system. You put your slave flash in SU-4 mode, or you attach a separate SU-4 receiver to it, and it will 'see' the light from any other flash and fire itself.
There are two SU-4 modes, SU-4 Manual and SU-4 Auto.
In SU-4 Manual Mode it's a fully manual system. You have to set the flash to the power you want on the flash itself.
In SU-4 Auto Mode, the slave flash will fire when the Master flash fires, and it will turn off when the Master Flash turns off. This allows you to adjust the power of the slave by changing the power of the master.