D90 and SB-600 - wireless use?

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by kazakh, Nov 16, 2010.

  1. kazakh macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jan 19, 2009
    #1
    Hi,

    I am looking into getting a flash (either the SB600 or wait until the SB700). I understand that both can be used wirelessly.

    I've never used a wireless flash - how exactly would it work? From Youtube videos I see that the internal pop-up flash on the D90 still goes off at the same time as the SB600.

    Is it possible to have just the external SB600 go off, but non the pop-up?

    thanks
     
  2. Designer Dale macrumors 68040

    Designer Dale

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    Mar 25, 2009
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    Folding space
    #2
    I'm not a strobe shooter, but here's what I know. You can control your external flash with a wireless trigger. It is not something that comes with the flash. It plugs into both the external flash and the camera. I think you can fire the whole thing off with a remote control.

    This is an educated guess based on what I have read from posters who use artificial lighting.

    Dale
     
  3. compuwar macrumors 601

    compuwar

    Joined:
    Oct 5, 2006
    Location:
    Northern/Central VA
    #3
    Generally, you'd want to use the built-in flash as a fill anyway (or at least I would) but you can put it in commander mode, turn on auto FP, then use any shutter speed over 1/200th- that's the only "hack" I can find that turns off exposure completely for the built-in flash.

    Paul
     
  4. compuwar macrumors 601

    compuwar

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    #4
    Nikon's Creative Lighting System (CLS) includes an infra-red wireless trigger mode that's built in to all but the low-end SB400 flash and all but the entry level bodies' built-in flash. The only time it's not useful is if you don't have good line of site to the remote flash (or a white wall to bounce the signal off) or if you're shooting in bright sunlight. In those cases, you're better off with radio triggers.

    Paul
     
  5. Ruahrc macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Jun 9, 2009
    #5
    The Nikon wireless flash system is called CLS, and although it is an extremely deep subject that you can probably read up on elsewhere, here's a basic overview:

    The D90 is sending pulses of flash before the actual exposure and the flash of the SB600. It happens quickly, so you think they all go off at the same time but in reality the D90 pulses are over when the exposure is taken, leaving just the light from the SB600 in the picture. I don't know the exact details but the pulses tell the SB600 how strong to fire and when, etc. Using this system you can then control the power of the SB600 from the D90 without having to go over to the SB600 and set it up. Also there is this thing called iTTL mode which is kind of like metering for flash, the flash can somehow (unclear to me) determine what the proper power is to correctly expose the subject in the viewfinder, or you can just straight up tell the flash to fire a manual burst (full power, half power, etc).

    The triggering is actually done via infared light so there is an optional accessory that goes in front of your D90 flash that blocks the visible light but lets the IR through, and cuts out any residual flash from the D90 pop-up flash in the picture.

    The advantage is that any camera (D90 or higher) can act as a commander and you can use the built in flash. The disadvantage of optical triggering is that it is line of sight based, so your remote flash has to be able to "see" the pulses or it won't fire. If it's behind some obstruction, or too far away, it won't work. You can also use most of the flash units themselves (basically any current Nikon flash except the SB-600) as commanders, if you need more power than your built in pop-up can provide, or if your camera does not have the commander ability built-in. Obviously if you are using an external flash mounted to your camera as a commander, you will need a second (or more) flash to position remotely.

    Another advantage is that you can control multiple sets or "banks" of flashes at once. So you can set one flash to be one power, another flash to be a different power (to light the background, etc) all from your camera without having to move. The higher end equipment (SB900) can control up to 3 banks, the lower stuff like the D90 or SB700 can control up to 2.

    If you need greater range, or can't have line of sight, you can get radio-based wireless triggers. The drawback is that most of the cheap ones can't do the iTTL metering so you can only run in manual mode, and I think you are limited to one bank. However, there are some newer wireless triggers (I think PocketWizard makes the most advanced ones?) that support iTTL and everything. The drawback is that these units are expensive. But they are much more capable as far as range or placement goes.

    Anyhow it's more than enough to get a single SB600 or SB700 and just play with the built-in commander on your D90. You can always add more capability later and that first SB600/700 you buy will still be useful, so it's not really wasted money.

    I say all of this because I am myself very interested in the SB700 as my first flash too. I have never really shot with flash much in the past, mainly because I only have the built-in flash on my D80, but think it would be useful and interesting to learn some basic lighting techniques with a single (off-camera) flash.

    A great site for learning some off-camera flash basics is the strobist website: www.strobist.com. They are really into doing things manually and using older (cheaper) equipment, but much of the basic theory applies should you still decide to go with the convenience of the CLS system.

    Ruahrc
     
  6. compuwar macrumors 601

    compuwar

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    #6
    Honestly, the only time I use TTL is when I'm using a single flash for multiple-distance shots- otherwise if I'm setting up multiple flashes, I'm probably going to be setting them all manually- the real advantage to the radio triggers that will do TTL is that they will generally do FP/high-speed sync. Radiopoppers did it first, now they and Pockewizard have TTL-capable radio triggers for Canon- I'm not sure the Nikon ones are available yet.
     
  7. Phrasikleia macrumors 601

    Phrasikleia

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    #7
    Do yourself a favor and just forget TTL. You really don't need it. You can expand your creative options a lot more by going with wireless triggers like Cybersyncs, which are relatively inexpensive and give you the freedom to shoot in bright light, through walls, or from great distances. You can spend as little as $159.95 on a manual flash that has the power of an SB-900 and then add a Cybersync trigger and receiver for just another $127. Total investment of under $290, and you're off and running. Use the rest of the money for some gels, a stand, or modifiers. Done.
     
  8. pna macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    May 27, 2005
    #8
    I've been working my way through all of the incredible information on strobist this past month, and am starting to think this is pretty sound advice overall. My only concern in giving up TTL completely has been for situations like family reunions, weddings, etc, when I'd be moving around a lot and wouldn't have time to do a lot of futzing with flash power. Am I correct in that the lumopro flash you're linking to would need to be done in full manual in those situations?

    And perhaps more importantly, for those that shoot in those kinds of fast-moving situations, is it that big of a deal not to be able to use TTL?

    Thanks for any thoughts.
     
  9. kazakh thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jan 19, 2009
    #9
    wow, thanks everyone for really detailed answers. Helps me a lot.
    Now just need to wait for the SB700 to come out and play with it. Would you guys personally get the SB600 instead of the new SB700? I heard that SB600 is a bit more powerful, and provides easier-to-use controls.
     
  10. Phrasikleia macrumors 601

    Phrasikleia

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    #10
    Even at events, I try to use off-camera flash as much as possible because the results are just miles better than the look of on-axis lighting. But there are those times when you don't have someone to hold a flash and move around with you, and you really do have to stick the flash on the hotshoe. In those cases, it is nice to have TTL, especially if the lighting is changing a lot.

    I personally have four Speedlites, two of which can do TTL, but I do all kinds of different shooting with flash. For someone who just wants to get into doing off-camera lighting on a budget, I'd recommend starting with an inexpensive manual flash and wireless triggering. That will get you up and running and will open up a whole new world of possibilities. Anyone who gets into to it will inevitably acquire more flashes, so it's not like the manual flash will go to waste if you later purchase one that can do TTL.
     
  11. Ruahrc macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Jun 9, 2009
    #11
    Just as matrix metering is not always the best choice, I think TTL metering is a tool and used properly in the right situation it can be a real benefit. You should be aware that strobist seems to be a little biased against TTL-enabled equipment mainly because they cost more to buy. And strobist is all about being economical. There's nothing wrong with splurging in a little luxury/technology though, provided you take the time to learn it properly.

    Obviously nobody really knows, but it stands to reason that the SB700 is going to be the easier-to-use one, given it has inherited the wheel and new control layout of the SB900- whose UI has been widely praised. As for power, the guide numbers are very close with a slight edge to the SB600, but don't forget that the SB700 also has some built in light modification (center weighted, normal, or even illumination beam) which may allow it to better focus the light on a particular area. Again nobody really knows, but I'd say it's a tossup between the two in terms of output power.
     

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