Back-up gear for Events: D80/D90? and SB-600 vs. ?

Discussion in 'Wedding and Event' started by r._nelson, Dec 17, 2010.

  1. Hi Everyone.
    I am slowly gathering gear to begin shooting events more regularly, and although I've shot a few events with just one body and flash, I fully believe in the necessity for carrying back-ups. I'm planning on wearing two bodies with different lenses, so I'll be using my backup rig, but I've never done that before, so if my plan doesn't work out than they'll truly be my "back-ups."
    BODY: I shoot a D90, and I am wondering if I should save a bit more money for another D90, or possibly make do with a D80. Either way I'd be using the same batteries, memory cards, and the similar navigation appeals to me. I realize the D80 does not perform as well in high-ISO situations vs. the D90, but I have read threads where D80s were used successfully in low light with a fast lens, or of course with flash. I would like a body with a motor. Thoughts?
    Flash: I own a SB-600. Should I buy a second? I am aware of the advantages of staying withing the Nikon CLS lighting environment, but I own two strobes, with no plans on integrating my on-camera flashes with my strobes. In the field I suspect I'll simply need to use either TTL and manual-mode flash settings. I'm I wrong about this assumption?
    1.) Could I (or should I) consider a 3rd.-party flash as my backup, and if so, what kind? The market seems flooded, so I value a knowledgeable recommendation in this area.
    2.) Am I missing the picture by not thinking about a more powerful flash overall, like the SB800/900 or 3rd.-party flash?
    Yes, money is a factor!
    Thanks,
    Randy
     
  2. Way easier to use two of the same bodies. This way, if there is a problem, you don't have to stop and think about which body you have and the control differences. The SB800 is a good choice for a 1st and relagate your SB600 to the backup position.
     
  3. The low-light deficiencies of the D80 are serious, and in event shooting, you'll encounter more headaches from it than you may be anticipating. The difference between the performance of the two bodies is enough that, when you need that second body for a second lens, you may be so averse to using the D80 that you will just want to swap lenses, making the D80 a cumbersome lens-holder.
    And I second Stephen's note about the ease-of-shooting benefits of having identical bodies.
    If you really don't care about using CLS (and I don't blame you, as it is not well suited to event shooting), then the SB800 might be overkill, and it's expensive. Before you add a flash to your kit, spend some time over at www.strobist.com to get some ideas about remote-triggered flash. Event photography benefits immensely from having two or three off-camera remote-triggered flashes. Look into Cybersync triggers (Paul C. Buff) -- I've found them to be 100% reliable, and they don't break the bank. If you have two flashes, you'll want two CSRB+ receivers (you could save $20 each and get the more basic CSRB receivers, which are also smaller) and one CST trigger (really, get two triggers, one for each camera and that way you also have a backup trigger if one stops working).
    You must shoot in manual mode on the camera to use dumb-triggers like these ("dumb" in that they don't transmit information two ways -- they simply trigger the flash to fire at whatever manual power setting you've set the flash to). If you're not already in the habit of doing that, you'll want to practice a bit. But it's not rocket science.
    One benefit of using a radio trigger setup in manual mode is that you can pick up inexpensive and/or used strobes on eBay (you do need to be sure they have a PC connector or, much less common, a mini-jack) such as older Nikon SB-28 units, or some of the Vivitar units, or lots of others. I have three SB-28s which cost me about $90 each. I am a lot less worried about those if someone knocks a stand over or drops one than I would be about an SB-900 or SB-800.
    The SB-600 does not have a PC connector, so you'll need a PC-hotshoe adapter to use the SB-600 with the Cybersyncs, but the adapter is cheap.
     
  4. The D80 and D90 don't compliment each other since the D90 can do everything the D80 can, but better. Lot's of hobbyists will drop their D90s for the D7000 so you should be able to pick one up for a good price when the D7000 is in stock everywhere.
    The SB600 is a good flash both in ttl and especially in manual. And it's easier to use the same equipment both during use and when you are troubleshooting something not working. If you later wish to integrate your hotshoe flashes with your strobes you have many options with the SB600s so no need to worry about that. Buy used from a hobbyist (they don't use their equipment much).
    So basically double up on the equipment you are already using and are familiar with. You'll have zero effort switching between your equipment and post production work will be identical. Concentrate on shooting and business instead.
     
  5. Body = another D90 minimum for all the reasons listed.
    Flash = SB900. First, it is always better to have extra power and not need it than need extra power and not have it. Second, it allows you to use external power. This drastically reduces your recycle time. I can't imagine doing event work without using external power on a shoe mount flash. You might be able to pick up a used SB800 for a little less and that too will accept external power. And, the SB900 (or 800) has a PC port allowing you to use something like Pocket Wizard wireless transceivers. Plus, the Nikon flashes have a HUGE advantage in that the PC port is bi-directional. By this I mean you can have the flash on the camera and then plug a transmitter into the flash (the D90 doesn't have a PC port) and then transmitter plugged into the flash will trigger your off camera flash. Great at a reception to trigger a remote strobe, non-CLS.
     
  6. First of all, let me say that CLS for the vast majority of events, especially indoors ones works like a charm - have been using it for years and has NEVER failed me yet. So, before you plug money on another solution which offers you range you probably won't need in the expense of FULL control of all you remote lights, test the CLS concept...;-)
    As for suggestions....hmm...I'll throw a spanner in the works and say: how about looking into a used D300? It can't be any more expensive than a new D90 and it is quite a bit better as a camera overall. AND also get a used SB800 (loads of people are flogging them now that the SB700 has come into the scene - I was able to pick up one for VERY, VERY little).
    Then, with your two cameras, you can set both built-in flashes to "Commander" mode, set the same flash settings on the cameras and use them at will and your two remote flashes will ALWAYS fire and give you wonderful light...;-) And if something changes, you can adjust output in one, the other or both within seconds and without ever having to go to the lights themselves...
     
  7. Marios, I'm sure wireless CLS works great for you but everybody doesn't share your opinion. There is a reason why pocketwizards, radio poppers, skyports, cybersyncs and other radio triggers are very popular. The reason is that CLS doesn't work so great for many of us - unless you use it as Nikon says you should (see below).
    00Xt0s-313085584.jpg
     
  8. That's why IMO, this forum is tops. Thank you for the responses.
    As a newcomer to event work, I'm not sure it would be prudent of me to start of shooting with remote fired flash in the field just yet. I have a small studio at home with two strobes, and I am just beginning to take shots with predictable and repeatable results that look good. I'm happy about this because I am now establishing a baseline from which to build, but I've much more to learn.
    As I begin to develop my style, it might be that I'll choose to use remote flash in my approach to event work, however, there are many event photographers whose work I admire that rely primarily on ambient light and use flash as a mild supplement when necessary. These seem to be the documentary/journalistic -type shooters, and this a style that is appealing to me and one I am drawn to. On the other hand, I know there are wonderful event shooters that regularly bring 2/3 mono lights into the field and create a lighting schemes that are amazing. The Sekonic web site has a tutorial that illustrates this approach and it's great, imo.
    But I am trying to learn as much as I can right now, so when Ian (his post above) suggested I visit the strobist.com site for some ideas - I did. Reading through the Lighting 101 series, I was able to see that beginning to use off-camera flash in the field doesn't have to be difficult, so I am now interested in learning this lighting technique. As I said, I don't know if I'll choose to use it in my developing event style - but I want to learn it.
    FLASH: So I go to strobist.com and see their recommended off-brand flash, here: http://www.mpex.com/browse.cfm/4,14648.html (the LumoPro LP160). I see this flash as worthy of consideration. Adorama sells a store-brand radio trigger, and now I’ve got a back-up shoe mounted flash (with more power than my SB600), that I can fire remotely either with or without a camera-mounted flash. But… SB600s are also inexpensive now, and the Nikon store has them refurbished at a great price.
    John D. Yes, good point re: SB900/800 battery power & PC synch, and one well taken. Money is tight though.
    Pete S, Sound logic. You’ve kinda summed it up, just double-up my current gear and concentrate on shooting, but that LumoPro LP160 Manual Flash does look interesting… and it has more power. It’s only money, right? Hum.
    Marios: You are correct, CLS is powerful and is an affordable choice. However as much as I understand and have experimented with the Nikon CLS system (firing my SB-600 and studio strobes remotely); given the choice I would likely choose radio frequency over IR. It just makes more sense to me. Isn’t there a potential for miss-fires if people or objects get in the way of the IR beam/s, and what if I would need to setup up a lighting scheme outside of ideal CLS conditions? True, radio is more of an investment, but seems worth it. I’m not saying it can’t or doesn’t work successfully, and it apparently works great for your approach. Certainly CLS does offer powerful control. I think I would need to experiment with CLS a bit more to be convinced away from radio though.
    Back to the BODY: Yes, I would love to purchase a D300, but since I’m having to buy ‘two’ of everything money is an issue. Still, as I understand it, the IQ of the D90 is very close a D300, even for low-light performance. As to longevity, durability, 51-point & quicker focus, media redundancy (ability to write to 2 cards!) – yeah, I want a D300! And I suppose responses are correct to pass on the D80 idea if I’m going to try and shoot with two bodies, so I suspect I’ll end up buying a used 90.
    Thanks for all of the fantastic advice, as always. I’ve learned quite a bit from this thread.
    R.
     
  9. I would recommend that before you spend any money on off camera flash set ups, you use the Nikon CLS system on non-important shots, just to get your feet wet and find the off camera flash 'style' of your own. Then spend money, because then, you'll know what you require. Buying a second SB unit that works with your current digitals, and functions as a back up, is not a bad thing. If it were me, I'd buy an SB-900. A Lumopro can't function as a back up on camera flash (very easily).
     
  10. Thanks Nadine.
    It seems that the consensus is for a Nikon flash, and considering my main focus right now is acquiring the proper back-up and/or dual-camera-rig that will be easiest for me to navigate starting out, I suppose going Nikon is the smart move.
    Should I be worried about buying a used or refurbished flash (SB-800)? Am I looking to save money in the wrong area?
    Oh yea, the SB-600 interface is not the friendliest I've come across! Do you know if the 800 or 900 is improved in this area?
    Best,
    Randy
     
  11. Oh yea, the SB-600 interface is not the friendliest I've come across! Do you know if the 800 or 900 is improved in this area?​
    The SB800 has a very similar interface to that of the SB600. The SB900 has a much improved interface, especially where CLS is concerned. You simply move the switch into remote or commander, no hunting through the menus. The SB700 will have the same interface as the SB900, only like the 600/800 comparison, the 700 won't accept external power (deal breaker really) and doesn't have a PC port.
     
  12. The SB-900's menu and interface is significantly improved over the SB-800's, and is incomparably better than the confounding SB-600 interface. You'll very much enjoy having the SB-900, if you can spring for it.
    The SB-800 units are outstanding, however, and if you find a good deal on a used one, I wouldn't hesitate to pick it up. One benefit of the older 800 over the 900 is the 800 doesn't suffer from the tendency to overheat and shut down, the way the 900 does. And I've had my on-camera 900 shut down on me a few times. It's frustrating, because it usually happens at key moments -- not because of Murphy's Law, but because those are the moments where you're shooting rapid-fire, which is what leads to thermal shutdown.
    Really, you're in good shape either way -- the 900's interface is worth the trouble of learning how to navigate around the thermal issue, and the 800 is a stout, reliable strobe that isn't likely to break even under some rough use.
     
  13. Again, great response guys. Thanks.
    I just searched and found Shun's comprehensive Nikon flash article, here:
    http://www.photo.net/equipment/nikon/guide-to-ttl-flashes/
     
  14. Since I shoot Canon and others have answered your SB-specific questions well, I will defer to them, except to say that Canon's flashes have the same situation concerning thermal overheating/shut down. The 580EX does not have the shutdown, the 580EX II does. It isn't that the 580EX does not overheat, because it does, it's just that it will merrily overheat, and this kind of damage is incremental so one day it will just stop functioning (the flashtube) or go out with a puff of smoke and and 'snap, crackle, pop'.
    My point is--dealing with the thermal shutdown issue is just something you will need to do, once you get into the product stream. The SB800 will overheat as well, but you won't know it.
     
  15. Personally I'd skip the SB-600, 800, 900...
    I've always liked the SB-28. It was the best flash Nikon ever made, but is largely overlooked now because it was a film model. But it's very easy to work with (one of the nice features about it is that power output is controlled by simple +/- buttons, so there's no complex interface) and has none of the performance issues of the 800 and later series. It works with external power packs too, so can give sub-second recycling if needed.
    The SB-28 is out of production so you have to buy it second hand. But that also makes it very cheap. I bought several at an average of $40 each, with enough money left over to get two pairs of pocket wizards. The SB-28 is very easy to work with (especially with PWs) and you could find it's the cheapest, most versatile and highest performance off-camera rig in town.
    If you've been reading the strobist site you'll notice that these units get recommended a lot. They've basically got the all the features you need, none of the ones you don't, and are both powerful and affordable.
     
  16. To add to Neil's comment, the SB-28 additionally can serve as a backup on-camera flash in "A" mode, which is one reason to like it better than the Lumopro units, which I'm sure are otherwise excellent.
     
  17. I can certainly see the wisdom of an SB-28--for someone already experienced with flash and/or off camera flash, as well as for someone who knows what flash use he likes. For someone who already has a 'modern', i-TTL flash for the on camera flash, and does not yet know what direction he will be going with flash/off camera flash to fit his style, I would still recommend an SB 600/800/900.
    I don't shoot Nikon, so I can't speak from experience, but knowing auto thyristor flashes well, I would guess that the SB-28 will have the same low output ceiling as any auto thyristor flash geared toward lower ISOs in the 70s and 80s, even the early 90s. While it may be argued that high ISOs are used best 'without flash', I find that the ceiling I referred to hampers me, and I have used and loved auto thyristor flashes for a long time. I even used my Metz 54 auto thyristor with my modern digitals for a while, with good success, but eventually came back to my ETTL flashes. I even use the Canon wireless system sometimes, but most of the time, I use dumb triggers with manual off camera flashes.
    Plus, auto thyristor takes more time to control (flash comp), and while I am the type that can use different models and brands of gear without a problem (for simultaneous use and/or backup), a back up flash that uses the same metering system as the main flash is a plus for a beginner/intermmediate photographer, and the double benefit of this plus the ability to get one's feet wet with off camera flash before spending a bunch on triggers and other off camera gear, still overrides the benefits of a cheaper, auto thyristor flash. Just my opinion.
     
  18. @ the OP --
    First, I would recommend NOT purchasing refurbished or used flash units. While with DSLRs you can tell exactly how many shutter actuations have taken place, you can never tell how many times a flash has popped. Nor can you tell how many times the flash has been overheated and, if overheated, the shut-off been overridden/ignored.
    I would suggest either another SB-600, for ease of use, or to get a new SB-900 to run on your primary camera and relegate your SB-600 to backup use.
    I'd also get a power supply and 16-24 rechargeable batteries for the SB-900. The power supply will not only reduce flash recharge times, but it will increase the time it takes to overheat the flash head. This is not actually a proven fact, only my personal experience. I've also found that if/when the SB-900 overheats, removing the batteries from the flash unit speeds cooling time.
    I'd also hold out until you can purchase a used/refurbished D90. There is no comparison between the D80 and D90 when it comes to performance. I agree that a D80 will likely become a very expensive lens holder.
    Hope this helps
    RS
     
  19. Neil, the SB600 is actually the same interface as the SB80. One button for on/off, one button to select mode, one to cycle zoom settings and +/- buttons to change power. Recycles pretty fast in 2.5 seconds for a full pop but has 1/2 stop less power than SB28. Requires modification to get a separate pc sync jack (similar to all Canons except 580EXII).
    The SB600 is my favorite for on-camera use because it's small and light and fast to operate. I don't need anything more powerful. Since a backup for on camera flash is needed I think it's a good move to start with two identical ones and the original poster already have one SB600.
    I like the older Nikon speedlights for off camera flash and I use a bunch of these myself. But they can't be had that cheap anymore as the strobist movement have driven up the prices. And unless you're very comfortable with auto or manual on-camera flash they aren't that great as a backup.
     
  20. I wanted to check out how powerful the Lumopro 160 was compared to the other speedlights mentioned so I made a guide number comparison with some popular flash units.

    Nikon usually states their guide number at 35mm full frame coverage using ISO100 which is a good and fair comparison that actually have some relevance to a real situation so I used that.

    To get a better sense what the guide number actually means I also calculated what the f-stop would be with straight on flash, no modifiers, ISO 100 from 20 feet.
    Nikon SB-700, zoom 35mm, GN 91.9 ft, f/4.6
    Lumopro 160, zoom 35mm, GN 98 ft, f/4.9
    Nikon SB-600, zoom 35mm, GN 98 ft, f/4.9
    Canon 430EXII, zoom 35mm, GN101.7 ft, f/5.1
    Nikon SB-900, zoom 35mm, GN 111.5 ft, f/5.6
    Nikon SB-28, zoom 35mm, GN 118 ft, f/5.9
    Canon 580EXII, zoom 35mm, GN 118.1, f/5.9
    Nikon SB-800, zoom 35mm, GN 125 ft, f/6.3
    Typical f-stops in 1/3rd stop increments are: f/4, f/4.5, f/5, f/5.6, f/6.3, f/7.1, f/8
    PS. Numbers are from the manufacturer's own data in the products user's guide.
     
  21. Richard wrote:
    I would suggest either another SB-600, for ease of use,​
    I think that may be the first time anyone has written that sentence, ever. :p
     
  22. LOL you're right. I was referring to the OP already having an SB-600 as its UI is terrible
     
  23. Wonderful thread, and I'm learning much. I'm definitely going to get a second D90. FLASH: Still reading/thinking. It seems the major issues are:
    * Used vs. new
    * PC Sync and external battery capable
    * Cost (wish it wasn't)
    * Ease of use
    Honestly, considering I'm going to get another D90, an SB900 just isn't going to happen.
    SB-28s vary on ebay between $100-$180, possibly I can get one cheaper (craig's list, locally)
    Refurbed (Nikon Store) 600s are (I think) about $180-ish; ebay similar.
    Used SB-800s are within reach
    LumoPro $160 - new, and I can try it and return it if doesn't work out (can't do so easily with used/ebay)
    Question of Use: If I'm shooting in M, and dragging the shutter (some of the time, anyway) all I really need to worry about with a flash set to manual mode is a.) varying the power, and 2.) zoom - yes?
    (and if I should just start a new thread for this question, please let me know, but since we're on a roll and all... ;-)
    R
     
  24. If you are talking about a flash set to flash manual mode for off camera use, yes, varying the power would be nice. You don't need zoom control--it is a plus, but not necessary. More importantly, you will need a reliable triggering device.
    Between the LumoPro and SB-28, the SB-28 would be better. I didn't mean to sound so down on it. The flash at least, communicates with the camera, so the auto thyristor is one shade better than using an auto thyristor flash that isn't as integrated. Thing is, if your SB-600 goes down, will you be able to grab the SB-28 and know instantly what to do with it so you don't miss a single beat in the proceedings. Auto thyristor has it's own set of quirks. It can function as a back up flash (not the best, but it can), and it does so better than the LumoPro.
    If you get the SB-28 or Lumopro, you will need to decide on a trigger system right away. That is a biggie, in my book. Listen to the folks who have gone before--don't waste your money on cheapie triggers. And when you do spend good money on a system, it will be either ones that integrate with the CLS system (but more reliable, such as Radiopoppers) or dumb (but reliable) triggers. To me, it is too early to make that decision, since you don't have much experience with either.
    Between the SB-600 and SB-800, your call. Being that you don't know how much you will get into flash/off camera flash, I'd go for the SB-800 (the most power). You can never have too much power, as long as you can ramp it down. But you can run into situations (depending how you use flash, which is something you don't know yet) where you don't have enough power. Bouncing takes a lot of power, for instance, even at high ISOs.
     
  25. If you're patient, you'll get an SB-28 on eBay for $80.
    http://cgi.ebay.com/Nikon-SB-28-Spe...Accessories&hash=item255fa988d0#ht_500wt_1156
    http://cgi.ebay.com/Nikon-Speedligh...era_Flashes&hash=item230c74b85c#ht_500wt_1156
    http://cgi.ebay.com/Nikon-SB-28-SB2...ra_Flashes&hash=item2c5988741d#ht_1236wt_1139
    A number of them sell on eBay for $100-$120, but there's significant variation. Could be related to auction ending times or something.
    Nadine, would you mind explaining a bit about the quirks of auto-thyristor? If I set the SB-28 to "A," it appears (in my limited testing) to work very much like my SB-900 in TTL. Interestingly, if I set the SB-28 to "TTL," it doesn't work at all (on my D300 and D3), which suggests to me that the modern TTL commands differ and the SB-28 isn't recognized by these current bodies in TTL mode.
     
  26. Ian, since I don't shoot Nikon, I won't know every last bit of info about the SB-28, but I can probably make intelligent assumptions about how it operates, given that I was a working photographer during the heyday of auto thyristor flashes, and have used them quite a bit. Perhaps Neil can correct me if I say something that isn't true about the SB-28.
    First, it isn't surprising that when you set the flash to TTL, it doesn't work correctly with your modern digital camera bodies. Both Canon and Nikon used 'regular' TTL with film bodies, but when digital took over, they had to come up with a flash metering system that wasn't dependent upon taking measurements off the film itself--hence i-TTL and E-TTL, both of which work off pre flashes.
    As for using an auto thyristor flash with modern digital bodies--it is complicated, so forgive me if I ramble or take a long time to explain things. One of the major things is that A mode will only work with camera manual mode and aperture priority mode. There are exceptions, and I don't know if the SB-28 is one of these, but mostly, the above is true. So if you are used to relying on shutter priority or even Program, from time to time, you may be caught off guard when you want to slip into shutter priority for some fast breaking action.
    With non-integrated auto thyristor flash/camera body combos, the flash will not 'know' what the camera settings are, so ISO needs to be set on the flash, and an auto aperture needs to be selected on the flash. With i-TTL or E-TTL, as you know, you need not set these on the flash. I am sure the SB-28 'knows' what the settings are, however, with a Nikon body--or at least, I would be surprised if it didn't. If working with a non-integrated flash/camera combo--obviously--the above set up will slow you down. With film, having to set the ISO was no big deal, since we didn't used to jump around with ISO like we do now. But since we do jump around now, it is a concern, as well as every time you change aperture.
    Then there is the problem of comping the flash exposure. With auto thyristor, this was mostly done by changing the ISO control dial on the flash or changing the aperture on the camera--basically 'lying' to the flash--to get your plus or minus comp. I don't know how the SB-28 handles this. If there is a separate comp control which works the same way as with i-TTL, that's great. If not, it is a pain.
    Auto thyristor flash metering works off a sensor eye built into the flash, so outside, it tends to overexpose, meaning you will need your comping control to be fast working and able to ramp downward, which can be a problem (explained below). Indoors, for most auto thyristor metering I've used, you will get overexposure closer than about 6 feet, be fine between 6-10 feet, and be underexposed beyond 10 feet, without comping. On top of this, the usual subject reflectance will affect things--white clothing and surroundings will cause underexposure and black clothing and surroundings will cause overexposure.
    Lastly, when auto thyristor was popular, we were not using ISO 1600 and higher much. So if you notice, on auto thyristor flashes with dials, the ISOs only go to maybe 800 or 1000, only sometimes to ISO 1600, rarely higher. We were also not using the really wide apertures much either, so auto apertures going down wider than f2.8 are rare, and sometimes, they don't go wider than f4.
    I don't know why, but E-TTL (and probably i-TTL) can manage much smaller/faster flash duration/power than an auto thyristor flash at its lowest setting. So there is a limit to how low an auto thyristor flash can go, meaning, with the limitations just described, one's ability to integrate the flash automatically using high ISO, wide apertures, and in comping the flash down really low (minus comp) becomes difficult, if not impossible, in some cases.
     
  27. In my experience Nikon DSLRs doesn't really communicate well with older Nikon flash units. The body will sense the flash and not exceed max flash sync speed but that is about it.
    The focal length setting, the aperture, the iso won't be automatically transferred. The AF illumination doesn't work. FP flash for high speed flash sync doesn't work. The flash will not power up/down when you turn of the camera.
    I haven't tried that many combos but I think the only thing that works as you would expect is when the flash and the camera body speaks the same type of TTL. D1-series, D100, D2-series and possibly D3 series cameras can speak d-TTL. d-TTL is used by SB-28DX and SB-80DX so these flashes with the camera bodies above should work as expected in auto non-ttl mode, as well as in d-TTL mode. (d-TTL is the predecessor to the current i-TTL)
    My older Nikon flashes goes up to ISO1600 in auto non-ttl mode but you are relegated to f8 or smaller apertures at this iso. I think the light sensor on the flash needs a certain amount of light to register and that is what causes this restriction. There are tables in Nikons user's guides for this.
    So basically - get an iTTL capable flash if you want to use it on camera (unless you really know what you are doing).
     
  28. In my experience Nikon DSLRs doesn't really communicate well with older Nikon flash units. The body will sense the flash and not exceed max flash sync speed but that is about it.​
    If I attach my SB-28 to my D700 in A mode, it automatically registers the ISO, aperture and focal length I'm using. The only setting that isn't transferred is the on-camera flash compensation setting. If I want to apply a compensation factor I can adjust aperture or ISO on either camera or flash. In practice, it's no slower than using the flash comp button on camera (it's just a case of rotating a dial or pressing a button) so I don't consider it much of a disadvantage.
    The only time I need to transfer all settings manually is when I'm not using a Nikon -- which these days is most of the time. One interesting side effect of using manual cameras like a rangefinder is that, once you remove the automation, it doesn't take long to understand how to use flash in manual mode. With either GNC or A modes, I find I enjoy more control over my results than I ever got with i-TTL, and I don't miss the distraction and lag of the pre-flash. The only material limitation of an older flash unit is not having ultra high ISO. But this is easily overcome by dialling down the power in either 1/3 or whole stops. In practice, you can work at ISO 128,000 if you want.
    So basically - get an iTTL capable flash if you want to use it on camera (unless you really know what you are doing).​
    Probably sensible advice, but I don't think it took me more than 20 minutes to become comfortable working without it. It's not difficult, and I found the time invested pays dividends in terms of results and flexibility. Not least in working with remote flash: if you understand manual flash you can set effective lighting ratios quickly and simply, over any distance, and don't have to rely on the limitations of CLS or similar systems.
     
  29. Neil--as said, I would have been surprised if the SB-28 didn't pick up the camera info. However, I am confused about the comping. On most cameras, if you change the f stop or ISO on the camera, and the flash 'picks that up', how is that comping?
    As for dialing the flash down for high ISO--that works great with manual flash use, especially with further modifiers--ND filters, etc. However, you just hit a wall if you try to use auto f stops. This is why I say that an auto thyristor flash is not such a good back up flash if one is used to i-TTL or E-TTL, and if one isn't already experienced with flash and at weddings. The differences can easily throw one if forced to very quickly use the A flash when the main goes down, without missing any of the action.
     
  30. On most cameras, if you change the f stop or ISO on the camera, and the flash 'picks that up', how is that comping?​
    Sorry, Nadine - I may not have been clear. That's the trouble with writing these things too quickly.
    I lock the aperture on the flash unit, adjust aperture on camera. Or vice versa. Or do the same with the ISO setting. What I'm not doing is letting the camera/flash choose -- or in other words, guessing at my intentions and giving me an average exposure for a scene that it doesn't understand, and where it can't see the quality or direction of the light. I appreciate that you can use the flash comp button to the same ends if using i-TTL. The outcome is the same both ways.
     
  31. Aha...thanks, Neil. Couldn't figure that out. It is good the SB-28 has a lock function. Most of the auto thyristor flashes I've used don't.
     
  32. Still reading and enjoying this thread. Many thanks.
    I shot a low light concert last night (for fun/practice) with my D90 and SB-600. I was trying a few new techniques with my flash, working only in M (camera) and iTTL & Manual (flash). I've a few questions, but I'll post them in a new thread later on.
    R.
     

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