Problem with D90 and Speedlights

Discussion in 'Nikon' started by paul_belton, Jun 25, 2009.

  1. Everytime i use a speedlight with my D90 everything seems under exposed. I am not sure what i can do to resolve it. I am using ceiling bounce on P mode ISO 200 f/4 1/60 second and it all seem dark. Using no flash is lighter. I am not ure what else i can change to try and get it exposed corectly. I have tried a SB400 and SB600 and they woth seem under exposed
  2. As I understand it, iTTL does not work when flash is either off camera or is in bounce position. (I might be wrong.) If that is the case, it looks like your camera is having trouble metering in bounce mode. There's another answer which may be more likely though. The SB600 is not all that powerful, and may not have enough power to provide enough light indirectly. I really doubt the SB400 would. I sometimes use the SB800 for bounce, but subjects are relatively close when I do that, and I am careful to always use the pull up white reflector card too. Try some shots with the flash aimed straight on, then bounced. I'm thinking you probably have a power issue.
    Kent in SD
  3. In the example above, presuming that the room has typical ceiling no more than 8 or 12 feet up, an SB-600 has more than enough power to light that scene at ISO 200, f/4 and a 1/60th.

    Do you have the strobe in TTL/BL mode, or normal TTL?

    Do you happen to have the flash compensation on the camera dialed down from "0" to some negative off-set?
  4. You may need to raise your ISO a bit. I suggest you turn Auto ISO on and see what results you get.
    You can also try adjusting your flash's exposure compensation up a bit (without Auto ISO on or raising your ISO).
    Kent, the SB-600 (and even the SB-400) has more than enough power to do the job when boucing but the camera has to be set correctly based on all shooting conditions.
  5. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    First of all, do not use P for indoor flash photography. I happen to be a very uncommon fan for the Program mode among serious photographers, but that is only for outdoor work. P will limit the shutter speeds and aperture you can use for flash photography.
    Try A or M and see whether you get better results.
  6. When you bounce the flash you should use EV compensation for the flash (+1-2) because in TTL mode the flash power is calculated as the flash would be directed to the subject, and of course by bouncing you loose light on the way :) .
  7. When you bounce the flash you should use EV compensation for the flash (+1-2) because in TTL mode the flash power is calculated as the flash would be directed to the subject, and of course by bouncing you loose light on the way :) .​
    Not correct. The camera reads the flash through the lens. Doesn't matter where the flash is pointed.
    To the OP. Make sure you do not have flash compensation set. Also, you may need to boost flash compensation due to what appear to be light/white walls in the provided example. The camera's meter is going to want to make them grey. Boosting your ISO isn't going to help if the problem is flash.
  8. I have a similar problem with the D90 and an SB800. I'm using the flash off-camera and it beeps to indicate there wasn't enough flash power. I started trying to bounce it, but even if I point it right at the subject from a few feet to the left of the camera it does the same some times (and gives nasty shadows).
    1. Replace the batteries with fresh ones.
    2. Mount the SB-600 on your D90, bounce it straight up.
    3. Turn on the SB-600, change to TTL FP mode (no BL). Make sure there are no +/- number in the top right corner. If there are, hit the +/- button until it reads 0.
    4. On your camera switch to Manual, adjust to 1/200 shutter (I think that's the fastest shutter sync on the D90) and your largest aperture (smallest f/#).
    5. Take a test photo.
    Even if the ceilings are 20ft high the SB-600 has enough power to bounce as long as they're not painted black (like in clubs).
    Let us know the results.
  9. do not use P mode in flash photography. make sure there is no flash compensation in both the camera and the SB-600. use A or M and do test shots so you can remember which settings will suit you; or set auto ISO and set to your desired aperture (in A mode) or desired speed (in S mode).
  10. 'P mode ISO 200 f/4 1/60"
    Assuming exposure compensation is off (on the camera and flash) and that the flash is discharging at maximum output (which it probably is not), the only thing wrong with this combination of settings is the ISO. Whether the photographer chooses these setting manually or in any of the shooting modes including P, the shutter speed and aperture selected are certainly not out of wack.
    Either raisinig the ISO and/or flash output will correct this 'problem'. It is not unusual to have to adjust flash output and perhaps also increasing ISO when bouncing. Shooting in this manner also tends to show more color saturation, especially in skin tones. You may find the need to lower your saturation setting a bit.
  11. May be in Commander mode??
  12. I'm going to jump in with these guys and say that....assuming the ceiling is not very high:
    1) Check if there is flash exposure compensation set on the FLASH
    2) Check if there is flash exposure compensation set on the CAMERA
    3) Check if there is exposure compensation set on the CAMERA
    Any of these three can affect your exposure, and they are all additive. If each of the above was set to -0.3EV, your total exposure would be 1 full stop underexposed.
  13. <p>just to bring another view to the table: i just checked my camera on iso 200, f/4 and 1/60. there doesn't seem to be any other light than some mysterious large sized soft light on the ceiling. there is no natural lighting coming in from the side, etc. there are specular highlights on her arm, little on the forehead and the knee. what we are seeing here is a photo made almost exclusvely by flash. in my apartment with all of my lights on, iso200 f/4 1/60
  14. Ray House

    Ray House Ray House

    In the menus set the the minimum shutter speed for the flash @ 1/15 or use rear curtain, and use a tripod. In TTL/BL the camera is trying to match flash exposure to ambient light and you are under exposing because of this. Also, don't use TTL/BL but instead TTL.
  15. I concur with Ray - it looks like you're using TTL/BL, which will underexpose the foreground subject in an attempt to match with what its assuming is a brighter background. If you push the MODE button and shift to straight TTL, this should fix your problem straightaway.
    Likewise, you can also switch to A or M, in the latter setting to some nominal setting, like 1/200 f/5.6, and TTL should automatically provide the correct amount of flash for the subject. The background will probably be dark, depending on how distant it is.
  16. Cheers guys. I will have a play with it over the weekend. I am taking some photos of the neice and i'll see what happens.
  17. The tip on TTL/BL, I can confirm that for me it solved a lot of issues knowing when not to use it.
    But something completely different: on my D300, I found that with a SB600 I got (slight) underexposure when Active D-Lightning was enabled. With ADL turned off, flash performance was far more reliable. So you might want to check that too.
  18. I also have 2 D90's and one works fine with bounce in TTL or TTL / BL, the other does the opposite with regular underexposed images in EXACTLY the same situation using the SAME flash and the SAME location and SAME settings. This also goes for direct flash shots as well. Its an inexplicable pain in the ass. With the offending one , I occasionally run this on manual if I have time, it is lacking judgement on Shutter priority or Aperture Priority. This camera also underexposes without the flash.I believe there is an issue with some D90's in this regard and at least 2 of the above posters have the same issue. This just cant be explained away. The only thing that I can think of is maybe a firmware upgrade is required?
  19. isa


    it may be that the white of the wall makes you take underexposed the woman because the camera says"how much white so is enough!"" So, you must work with a compensation of the exposure,
    White in the frame +1, or more steps/-----black in the frame-1 or 2 steps.This expecially if you don'have on in theese situations a measure SPOT of the light, but a medium central or global measurement.
    But you try to test with neutral gray on the wall, if is always underexposed, and you have no compensation in camera, go to the assistance.D 90 and SB is a good company for me.
    Sorry for my pedestrian english i hope you may undestand
  20. my response seems to have been truncated from earlier.
    I meant to say that at those exposure settings, the scene was 4-5 stops underexposed. so it is possible that the flash is underpowered. take a picture in manual mode at ISO 200, f/4 1/60 and you'll find that the picture is well underexposed. adding flash to this may not be able to rectify it. my diagnosis.
    i am unfamiliar with any problems with d90s and strobes, so i cannot comment.
    as the ttl-bl purposely underexposing the foreground, it is my impression that the fill flash mode should add more light to bring the foreground up to the EV of the rear. thus there is no "underexposure".
    one more, it's possible that the meter is getting the rear wall to 18% and thus the person will be underexposed. one remedy might be to switch to center weight and set it to "overexpose" by a stop. this will focus the meter on the person and incidentally removes the option of TTL-BL at the same time.
  21. Dan, you never told us what flash synch is set on the camera. I am assuming it is front curtain. The flash synch setting will affect your final exposure. You should not be getting underexposed results. I do most of my flash work in A mode. My best guess as to the problem is weak batteries or conflicting exposure compensation settings as already pointed out. The latter has happened to me more than a few times. I now try and discipline myself to make all of my flash comp settings on the camera and none on the flash unit itself just to avoid such problems.
    Another possible problem, but probably not yours today, are the custom settings for flash, maybe found at "e". On my D 300, I had to change some of these to allow for a wider range of shutter speeds for my flash work.
    Joe Smith
  22. Ray House

    Ray House Ray House

    Center weight metering does not cancel out TTL/BL, however switching to Spot metering will. Under exposure is common with the D80 and D90 while in TTL/BL mode and isn't considered a fault by Nikon, simply the way it is programed. The balanced fill is trying to balance the background with the amount of fill and since most users use the default of the shutter speed @ 1/60th with slow lenses of f4/f5.6 they experience under exposure. Several ways around this...TTL set on the flash, default set on camera @ 1/15th (tripod needed), use spot metering, set flash exposure comp @ +1 or use manual settings. Looking for faults such as low batteries or camera problems is useful, but not the fix for a common problem. Learning how the camera operates and its settings are far more helpful. IMHO.
  23. Ray House

    Ray House Ray House

    !/30th, f5.6, TTL mode set on flash and bounced onto the ceiling.
  24. I have a D90 and recently bought my first speedlight, the SB-600. Never read the manual. The SB-600 is very easy to use and powerful enough for indoor use, especially at home.
    No problems so far with exposure. My camera is almost always in 1/125-1/200s shutter speed in M mode, and it's never dark or underexposed. And my house is very poorly lit. Just use M mode also in your flash and play with the settings! That's it! Have fun!
    Also, you should have a white or light-colored ceiling so the light can bounce off of it nicely. :)
  25. the flash will report how much light is missing in EV value, why not simply look to see what the value is and use compesation at the same rate?

Share This Page