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Using Nikon flash, indoor and outdoors

J. Ramon Palacios (jrp)

Keywords: flash, speedlights, sb_28, su_4, studio, lighting, filter, guides, tips, nikon, f100, film, cls, teddy

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The Nikon Speedlights flash system is a wonderful tool. Notwithstanding, new users seem disconcerted with the names, descriptions and instructions to use it, not to mention how to use it well. Most feel a visual demonstration is imperative, so here it is. In this article you will find many samples images of using Speedlights under various conditions, indoors and outdoors.

We have many Speedlight resources here at Nikonians, such as this overview which you may find helpful. As always, if you have any questions, please do not hesitate to ask in our Speedlights forum where a lot of conversations and insight on Nikon flashes is being shared.



F100 with SB-28 on hot shoe at left. Second SB-28 on SU-4 at right.

All tests were performed with a Nikon F100 camera on a sturdy tripod with a pro ballhead, SB-28 speedlights, AF-S 28-70mm f/2.8D ED Zoom Nikkor with 81A filter from 8.8 feet (2.7 meters) at 70mm focal length, shot on Fujichrome Provia 100F Professional (RDPIII).

When a diffusor was used it was the Sto-Fen® Omni-Bounce®

Slides were digitized on a Nikon Coolscan IV ED scanner, without any alteration to color, curves or anything else, except for a slight unsharp mask performed equally on all enlargements.


The teddy bears, preferred subject for this kind of tests due to their non reflective "fur", borrowed from my grandchildren, at their play room.

(1) Control picture without flash, overhead ceiling quartz lights

Exposure: 1/8 sec f/2.8
Camera settings for this entire test roll:
Program mode: P (except when noted)
Metering mode: Matrix

First conclusion: the bears and the chair scream for thorough spring cleaning.


click for enlargement

(2) Flash: on hot shoe
Flash head: straight into subjects
Flash settings: TTL + Matrix
Flash compensation: + 0.3 
Exposure: 1/60 sec, f/4

Result: a bit harsh light, but evenly distributed, including the brown bear chest.

clieck for enlargement

(3) Flash on bracket, above the lens
Flash head: at 45 degrees upwards, white card out to bounce some light straight into subjects.
Flash settings: TTL + Matrix
Flash compensation: + 0.3
Exposure: 1/60 sec, f/4
Result: softer, more depth, cleaner whites, not enough light in the chest of the brown bear. Fortunately most of our subjects don't have that nose.

click for enlargement

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Originally written on May 11, 2002

Last updated on January 24, 2021

J. Ramon Palacios J. Ramon Palacios (jrp)

JRP is one of the co-founders, has in-depth knowledge in various areas. Awarded for his contributions for the Resources

San Pedro Garza García, Mexico
Admin, 46140 posts


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