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How-to's Accessories Reviews

A Study on Camera Compensation when using Flash in TTL Mode

Russ MacDonald (Arkayem)

Keywords: nikon, speedlights, lighting, flash

The SB-800 Flash Instruction Manual (as all the manuals for iTTL capable Nikon speedlights) says that when using the flash in TTL mode, adjusting Camera Compensation will lighten or darken the entire image, which means it must increase or decrease flash power, so I thought I should examine that subject.


Note: The images in this study are directly from a DSLR (a D200 camera) without any modification except compression to make them suitable for uploading.


Image 1: Flash OFF, Camera A mode, 1/25th, f/2.8, Camera EV=0


I shot Image 1 with the flash Off using camera A mode with f/2.8 selected. I could see in the viewfinder that the camera automatically selected 1/25 shutter. Notice that the image is properly exposed with pixels in the histogram extending all the way from black shadows on the left to bright highlights on the right and there are some shadows on the face and is approximately the same brightness as the background. The yellow color is due to the incandescent lighting and the poor Auto White Balance function on the D200. I will not correct or balance the color during this study.


Image 2: Flash On in TTL mode, FEC=0, Camera A mode, 1/60, f/2.8, Camera EV=0
Note: FEC means Flash Exposure Compensation


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User on July 25, 2013

As a avid stobe user I found this very informative. Thanks for the post

User on July 16, 2013

Very instructive. I had read that in the manuals, but seeing the demonstration pictures is a huge help. Now when I'm adjusting the EC and FEC I'll have the pictures in my mind instead of the memorization of the text.

Mike Banks (unclemikey) on July 10, 2013

I also fount this very confusing. It would seem to me that in A-mode to change the background the shutter speed would have to change. If so, how is the change to the entire exposure made if set to entire frame?

User on July 10, 2013

For someone who is trying to learn to use flash photography, this is very helpful! Thanks!

Victor Rakmil (VR8) on July 10, 2013

This is very helpful. Perhaps you could explain how the e4 custom setting changes this on the D7100. Its a bit confusing. Regards.