The Attack Of The Killer Speedlight!

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by Shacklebolt, Jan 12, 2008.

  1. Shacklebolt macrumors 6502a


    Sep 2, 2004
    All shot with a Nikon D80 w/SB-600

    First w/18-135mm f/3.5-5.6 from 5 feet away. [w/o hood]

    Second w/70-200mm f/2.8 from 15 feet away. [w/o hood]

    This happens quite often whenever I point the flash directly at the subject. As it is, I have a lot of decent shots with indirect flash, and I've tried tinkering with setting on the speedlight itself, but my results are inconsistent. These are two of the more extreme examples.

    What am I doing wrong?


  2. compuwar macrumors 601


    Oct 5, 2006
    Northern/Central VA
    Which issue is bugging you, the vignetting or the overpowering? For the vignetting, you'll have to get better glass or find if your lens has a sweet spot (unless you're shooting too wide for the flash- in which case a second flash starts to be necessary.) For the power, just dial in some negative flash compensation. I generally have my SB800 somewhere just over one stop of negative compensation. If I'm not using fill with wildlife and a super-telephoto though, I'm generally bouncing the speedlight off its internal bounce card.
  3. taylorwilsdon macrumors 68000


    Nov 16, 2006
    Bay Area
    70-200 f/2.8 is hardly "bad" glass. You need to get some sort of diffuser/softener for your flash. Compuwar is right on about the negative compensation, but physically softening the flash will also help.
  4. JNB macrumors 604


    Oct 7, 2004
    In a Hell predominately of my own making
  5. ChrisA macrumors G4

    Jan 5, 2006
    Redondo Beach, California
    Direct flash is always an unflatterinf light. THe skin acts like a mirror and bounces the light right back at the camera.

    Think about what your light looks like from the point of vie of the subject. How big is the light in degrees of arc? Said another way: What matters is the apparent size of the light. If you bounce the light the reflector becomes the light source. or more acturatly the part of the reflector iluminated by the flash becomes the light source.

    Ceiling bounce, "tuperware" defusers and all the other tricks all work on this same principle makingthe light source bigger or smaller. Don't let people tell you that light can be some how changed and made soft. It can only be refleced.

    Those tuperware defusers work well becaose they allow some light to go diret to the subject and some light to bounce off the walls and ceiling.

    But you asked about how t get direct flash to work. I do it using manual exposure on the camera and "A" moe seting on my flash. I set the camera to f/2.8 or even faster and adjust the shutter for as slow as I can hand for that lens. This means I'm using the most amont of ambient light as possable. THe I set the f-stop and ISO on the flash to match the camera. Almost always I'll have to "tweek" the ISO seting onthe flash but with digital I can look at the LCD and dial it in with a few tests. I hate doing this but if there are not walls and ceilings you are forced to use direct flash

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