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Thread: Does anyone know about off camera flash

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    Super MURCer UtwigMU's Avatar
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    Default Does anyone know about off camera flash

    I want to use off camera flash on my Fuji X100. Does anyone know anything about flashes, commanders, etc...?

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    Moderator VJ's Avatar
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    I know a bit of the Nikon flash system, but different manufacturers have different functionalities.

    A simple slave flash (in Nikon terms this is an SU-4 functionality) has a light sensor and just flashes with a preset brightness and duration when it sees a flash. Depending on a number of factors, you camera adjusts for the flash: the camera fires pre-flashes to determine the exposure and then the question is whether it sees the flash of the slave flash (it may come too late). The second issue is if the slave flash does not recycle fast enough: it won't be able to flash at the same strength after the preflashes. My Nikon flash has this slave functionality and it worked with a D100 (which predates the advance nikon flash system) and it works with my girlfriend's Panasonic. The downside is of course that you have to set everything manually on the flash. It could be ok if you position the flashes somewhere in the room, prepare it all and then leave them there while taking photos, but it is not very mobile.
    The Nikon flash system allows for masters and slaves in multiple groups; the masters communicate with the slaves to send them their settings (this communication is done using a sequence of pre-flashes). You assign the flashes to a group and set the setting of the group on the master: no need to set every flash individually on the flash. Some aspects of that are automated even. No idea if Fuji has something similar.

    Generally, flash photography is quite tricky, and it works to look at it differently: in a way you are making two photos at once. There is the part of the photo that is not illuminated by the flash (e.g. because it is out of range), and the camera settings have to be set to illuminate that. On the other hand there is the part of the photo that is illuminated by the flash, and here the flash settings determine what it looks like. Both parts may even require a different white balance: the background could be neon-lit, but the foreground is flash-lit. (This is why professional flashes have colour filters: it changes the colour of the flash to match e.g. neon-light, in which case you actually have to set the white balance to neon).
    pixar
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    Super MURCer UtwigMU's Avatar
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    Yes I'm also leaning toward used Nikon SB 700 as I'm not sure other small makers will be there down the road and also because I'm leaning towards Nikon for my future DSLR. Namely the SB 700 can act as optical slave, so I can get that, stand and umbrella (not very expensive) and use camera flash as trigger. Latter I can add radio trigger and receiver and another flash.

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    Moderator VJ's Avatar
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    I have an SB800, and with 4 AA batteries it recycles fast enough to work on a Panasonic Lumix as slave flash (it has an option to add a 5th AA battery to recycle even faster, I never used it).

    There are third party radio triggers devices, such as PocketWizard, Cactus, ... but I have no experience with them. A friend of mine uses them extensively with his Canon DSLR. The standard Canon flash system is more limited than the Nikon system, but the radio transmitters have the added benefit that you don't need to rely on the light sensor catching the master flash. That is important for him as he makes photos in a dance hall.

    For my purpose, I mainly use the flash on camera (most of its uses), as it is much better than the built in flash. And the built-in flash casts a shadow with my main lens. It does get heavy to carry, so now I'm not sure I would go with a flash as heavy as the SB800 (but when I got it, there were no smaller alternatives). I have played around with using the remote flash functionality and would love to do more of that but somehow I never have time. I would have time here in Spain, but haven't brought my camera yet (too much other stuff that was more important). It is nice, but a different type of photography.
    pixar
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    Super MURCer UtwigMU's Avatar
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    Bought used SB 700 for 200€ and it does trigger as optical slave by Fuji. I'll go to physical store on Saturday to check out stands, shoes and umbrellas.

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    Moderator VJ's Avatar
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    Nice to hear it works!
    A very convenient thing (if it did not come with the flash) is a stand which has a shoe-connector for the flash and a thread for a tripod; it allows you so safely mount the flash on a tripod. And the stand also doubles as a stand to put the flash on a table or so.

    This is the Nikon model, but for sure there are other (and cheaper?) third party models.
    https://www.nikonusa.com/en/nikon-pr...ght-stand.html
    pixar
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    Super MURCer UtwigMU's Avatar
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    and the good tripod (0 tripods in stock now) costs 250€. after that my flash support will be worth more than my camera. I'll keep that in mind for the future though.

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    Moderator VJ's Avatar
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    I still have my grandfathers' aluminum tripod (Velbon). It is over 30 years old and still like new. I just put a manfrotto quickrelease on top, and that was it. One thing: if you ever wonder why some (mainly aluminum) tripods have carrying handles, try taking one outside in winter... Depending on what you want to photograph, a tripod is not that important, but when it starts doubling as a flash-stand, it may become more interesting.
    pixar
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    Super MURCer UtwigMU's Avatar
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    It works!

    Needed to figure out to dial down SB 700 from 1/1 to at least 1/2 in order to sync.

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    I snapped a couple of quick portraits of dad and results are great. Even he (doesn't know much about photography) noticed the pictures are better quality.
    Last edited by UtwigMU; 21st October 2017 at 15:16.

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    To me, good flash photography makes it look as if no flash was used. The photo's are better, but it is not immediately clear a flash was there. With typical internal flashes and most times when a compact camera uses a flash, you will immediately see it on the photo that a flash was used. A remote flash allows you to hide that, while still getting enough light on the subject. But it is difficult, and starts with the position of the flash, where you aim it and then the whole range of settings.

    Have fun with it!
    pixar
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    It's not so difficult! You put flash and camera in M mode. Then you select desired aperture for your subject (F2 or lower for portraits). You put shutter speed somewhere where it will sync and you can hand hold it if you don't have a tripod. 1/125-1000. Then you dial down your ISO to the point where background disappears without any flashes. You can also use ND filters (Fuji has built in ND filter which can be activated in the menu). Then you turn on your camera flash to minimum and check take a shot so that ambient is filled in a bit. Then you turn on your main flash and point it in the subject. Dial it up or down or move it in or away, use shoot through or bounce off umbrella.
    Last edited by UtwigMU; 22nd October 2017 at 03:50.

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    The image i took with flash for flickr friday Halloween made it in "in Explore" on Flickr - 7000+ views, 68 favorites.
    8bit pumpkin by i see world in lines, on Flickr

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    Moderator VJ's Avatar
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    Nice one!

    O, Nikon has a booklet for the SB-800 that shows some flash techniques. While some of the features are nikon only, the setups they show and the explanations they give on flash position are quite general:
    https://www.nikonimgsupport.com/na/N...d=1&lang=en_SG
    I learned quite a lot from this (different things to try, etc.).
    pixar
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