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A question about flash compensation


Kimberley, CA
1791 posts

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Wingman Silver Member Awarded for sharing his excellent work and continued contribution to the forums, most notably at the Aviation forum. Donor Ribbon awarded for his generous support to the Fundraising Campaign 2014 Nikonian since 02nd Dec 2002
Wed 13-Nov-13 05:21 AM | edited Wed 13-Nov-13 05:27 AM by Wingman

I am a fairly infrequent user of flash, but there are situations where it is needed, obviously. I use a D700 and D800, and have an SB-800 and SB-600.

One situation where I do sometimes need flash is for outdoor fill. From reading Russ's series, I know to use P mode -- I've actually found this out myself by shooting in my usual A mode but with flash and overexposing stuff pitifully. So P mode and iTTL-bl it is. Supposedly the camera reads the ambient and the flash automatically adds some fill. How much does the flash add, and does this amount vary under different conditions? If so what determines just how much the flash is adding? How much of the frame must be occupied by the shadowed area for the flash to work properly? (An example would be a person 10 feet away with her face shadowed by a cowboy hat or baseball cap, shot with a 50mm lens -- can the flash (or camera) read the fairly small shadowed area and figure out how to add fill to it?)

Another question: Does the flash compensation control work in iTTL-bl? If so, and I set say -2/3 EV of compensation does the flash still vary fill according to conditions but with 2/3 stop less than it would have used? Or once I set the -2/3 EV am I at a fixed ambient - 2/3 stop?

I hope these questions make some sense. Even after using these flashes occasionally for 5 years now I find the whole system rather difficult to understand. I do a lot more "shoot, chimp, correct" sequences than I like. It would be nice to have a bit more understanding of and control over this complex system.

Neal Nurmi

---Wingman Photo---