flash doesn't sync properly with camera: is it my camera or my flash?

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by OreoCookie, Sep 18, 2009.

  1. OreoCookie macrumors 68030

    Joined:
    Apr 14, 2001
    Location:
    Sendai, Japan
    #1
    I have a Nikon D80 and a SB-400 flash. I have been perfectly happy with both -- until last month: when I use the (external) flash, it would fire alright, but the picture is dark, i. e. I suspect the flash fires either too early or too late. Oh, and that happens with fresh batteries as well.

    I would like to figure out whether it's the camera or the flash that's the problem. So far, I haven't had any problems with the built-in flash(let).

    Can anyone help me troubleshoot? Is my camera the problem (= expensive) or is it the flash (= relatively cheap)?
     
  2. toxic macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Nov 9, 2008
    #2
    if you haven't already, try resetting the camera and/or flash, just to get software issues out of the way.

    does this occur at all shutter speeds? HSS on or off? second curtain sync?
     
  3. OreoCookie thread starter macrumors 68030

    Joined:
    Apr 14, 2001
    Location:
    Sendai, Japan
    #3
    To my knowledge, I cannot upgrade the firmware of the flash, but I will try to upgrade the firmware of the camera.
    I've tried 1/60 s, 1/20 s and second curtain sync. I haven't tried HSS, though.
     
  4. compuwar macrumors 601

    compuwar

    Joined:
    Oct 5, 2006
    Location:
    Northern/Central VA
    #4
    Are you using it on a hotshoe, or remote? is the power level at full or not? What mode is the flash in? What does your EXIF data say about the flash?
     
  5. toxic macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Nov 9, 2008
    #5
    I meant to reset the camera and flash to default settings, in case there's some obscure setting that's throwing it off.

    the easiest way to isolate if it's the camera or flash is to grab another camera and use it with the flash.
     
  6. dllavaneras macrumors 68000

    dllavaneras

    Joined:
    Feb 12, 2005
    Location:
    Caracas, Venezuela
    #6
    I've had that problem happen to me every now and again with my Canon Speedlite. I just remove the flash, clean the contacts and that's it, problem solved.
     
  7. OreoCookie thread starter macrumors 68030

    Joined:
    Apr 14, 2001
    Location:
    Sendai, Japan
    #7
    It's in the hotshoe. The SB-400 just has an on/off switch, so there are no settings on the flash I can potentially screw up. The EXIF data indicates, the flash has fired (it only shows a cryptic number in Aperture, 31 instead of 0).
     
  8. OreoCookie thread starter macrumors 68030

    Joined:
    Apr 14, 2001
    Location:
    Sendai, Japan
    #8
    Ah, ok, I'll try that. (Even though I'm sure I haven't activated any funny settings unbeknownst to me.)
    I'm on a trip in Chile at the moment and I do not have access to another camera at this point. However, once I've narrowed it down, I will probably go to a good camera store here.
    I cleaned the contacts with a cloth and q tips and they look fine.


    Update: I've reset the camera, cleaned the contacts again and it seems to work fine for now. I'll for sure use the flash tonight, so I hope the problem is settled now.
     
  9. cosmokanga2 macrumors 6502a

    cosmokanga2

    Joined:
    Jan 7, 2008
    Location:
    Canada, where we live in igloos.
    #9
    If you go into Custom Menu and scroll 2/3 of the way down there should be a menu that controls the flash output and settings. You can also hold the flash button on the front of the camera and rotate the command dial to change the power output.
     

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