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Thread: Nikon D7000 off camera flash question

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    Letrow's Avatar
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    Nikon D7000 off camera flash question

    I have been experimenting with using the SB-700 speedlight off camera. Quite fun actually, but I encountered one problem now and would like to see if anyone had any thoughts.

    The way it works is that the SB-700 can be used as a remote and the flash on the camera acts as commander unit. You can choose various schemes in the D7000. E.g. the fixed on camera flash participates (as TTL/manual/--) or (and this is what my question is about) it acts as commander only, but doesn't provode flashlight to the photo (the -- mode).
    What it does in this case is emit a pre-flash, just before the photo is taken, to alert the SB-700. Works perfectly, but...

    But...when you photograph a person the pre-flash is still blinding him/her and the effect in the final photo is that his eyes are partly closed when the actual photo is taken. The SB-700 can be on the side (or wherever you want) and shouldn't blind the subject, the problem is with the pre-flash from the on camera flash unit.

    The problem would be solved if I used a transmitter (or a cable), but I don't want to spend money on a transmitter and the cable would make me less flexible.
    My idea is that I might construct a small paper box that would direct the light from the on camera flash upward or something. The SB-700 would still see it I suppose, but the subject wouldn't get blinded anymore.

    Any other ideas for this?

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    Re: Nikon D7000 off camera flash question

    Hi Peter,

    The preflash will still be present. The camera uses a preflash to determine the flash power to use for the exposure. So the off camera flash is actually firing a preflash too. All the iTTL signals are sent before and after the preflash, first to start the preflash, then with power setting information for the main flash having read the preflash.

    Your only solution to avoid preflash is to use manual flash power. Not an issue if the flash to subject distance is constant. You can figure out the power with just a few shots. However your camera will still use a flash to transmit the wireless signal containing the flash power to use to the speedlight. This can be circumnavigated by using radio triggers or, much cheaper, a long sync cable.

    Your option to build a paper box to control the flash in manual power mode may work. Effectively you will be building a snoot to funnel the wireless light signal toward the speedlight.

    Not everyone is sensitive to the preflash signals. However some people are fast blinkers. My brother nearly always has his eyes shut in flash photos. Manual flash with no optical wireless signals is the best option in this case.

    Good luck.

    Alex
    Last edited by herbert; 23rd January 2012 at 11:48 AM.

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    Re: Nikon D7000 off camera flash question

    Alternatively, set the AEL/AFL button to lock the flash exposure. Once you hit this, it does the preflash for metering, When you next press the shutter all you get is the "fire now" signal to the slave flash from the camera. Works well unless your subject is moving about, so for portraits it works really well.
    If the subject does move towards or away from the flash unit, just lock the flash agin and you're ready again. Takes seconds to do.

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    Re: Nikon D7000 off camera flash question

    You can cover the pop-up flash with a red filter or gel to minimize the flash effects. The slave flashes operate on the IR component so will still operate, albeit with reduced distance. I used some red plastic wrap to cover mine and it still worked, I believe that such filters are available on line.

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    Letrow's Avatar
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    Re: Nikon D7000 off camera flash question

    Quote Originally Posted by JonathanC View Post
    Alternatively, set the AEL/AFL button to lock the flash exposure. Once you hit this, it does the preflash for metering, When you next press the shutter all you get is the "fire now" signal to the slave flash from the camera. Works well unless your subject is moving about, so for portraits it works really well.
    If the subject does move towards or away from the flash unit, just lock the flash agin and you're ready again. Takes seconds to do.
    That sounds plausible, so I have to try that one out. I'm making a small paper construction as well, to direct the light upward instead of forward. Will have to see what works best. The gels is basically the same idea I guess, but it would still disturb the subject too much maybe.
    Will let you know what works best.

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    New Member Xevailo's Avatar
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    Re: Nikon D7000 off camera flash question

    Hello everyone

    I have also concidered buying a SB700 for my D7000 as an off-camera flash (without additional gear such as triggers or a cable), but I still have some questions that the manual won't answer me:

    1) Is TTL still available if the flash is seperated from the camera?
    2) If TTL is still available, how does the camera communicate with the flash?
    3) As the interal flash is the master that triggers the SB700, does that mean that it always fires when the pictures is taken, or does it only fire a pre-flash and then remains quiet?

    Thanks in advance,

    Xevailo / Alex

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    Re: Nikon D7000 off camera flash question

    Quote Originally Posted by Xevailo View Post
    1) Is TTL still available if the flash is seperated from the camera?
    Yes, as long as you're using the Nikon CLS system, you will have iTTL capability.

    2) If TTL is still available, how does the camera communicate with the flash?
    With light signals. It's kind of like morse code, but with light. Your pop-up flash will send out the signals, and the front red plate of the flash is in front of a sensor that "sees" the signal. The signalling is very similar to how a television remote control talks to a tv. That the system is light-based is also its biggest weakness. indoors, it's not so bad, because the signals can be bounced of walls and ceilings, and the "line-of-sight" (i.e., where the sensor can "see" the signal, so you can't hide the light in a closet or behind a door) the requirement is relatively loose. But outdoors, where there may be no bounce surfaces, line of sight may become more of an issue, and distance may be reduced. This is why a lot of folks also use radio triggers: for range and reliability.

    3) As the interal flash is the master that triggers the SB700, does that mean that it always fires when the pictures is taken, or does it only fire a pre-flash and then remains quiet?
    It always fires, but if you set it to "--" the amount of light contributed to the scene will be minimal and should not register at normal subject distances.

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    Re: Nikon D7000 off camera flash question

    Superglue.
    Glue the models eyes open.
    Honest, it works great. Pre-flash now not a problem.


    Graham

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    New Member Xevailo's Avatar
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    Re: Nikon D7000 off camera flash question

    Quote Originally Posted by inkista View Post
    Yes, as long as you're using the Nikon CLS system, you will have iTTL capability.


    With light signals. It's kind of like morse code, but with light. Your pop-up flash will send out the signals, and the front red plate of the flash is in front of a sensor that "sees" the signal. The signalling is very similar to how a television remote control talks to a tv. That the system is light-based is also its biggest weakness. indoors, it's not so bad, because the signals can be bounced of walls and ceilings, and the "line-of-sight" (i.e., where the sensor can "see" the signal, so you can't hide the light in a closet or behind a door) the requirement is relatively loose. But outdoors, where there may be no bounce surfaces, line of sight may become more of an issue, and distance may be reduced. This is why a lot of folks also use radio triggers: for range and reliability.


    It always fires, but if you set it to "--" the amount of light contributed to the scene will be minimal and should not register at normal subject distances.
    Thank you very much for your fast answer, that solves all my questions
    So this basicaly means either poor range (outdoors) and TTL or better range but going all manual with a radio trigger. -Or spending a fortune in radio TTL triggers such as the Pocketwizard MiniTT1-Nikon. Guess it'll be manual then.
    Greetings,

    Alex

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    Re: Nikon D7000 off camera flash question

    I have a D300 and an SB800. The pre-flash and measurement then full flash all travels at the speed of light and by design is so fast that I can't see any time lag. There isn't any delay to allow a blink with my camera and flash. I will however get what you describe if Red Eye Reduction is turned on. A bright pre-flash to constrict a persons iris used in that case. A quote "The monitor pre-flashes used for flash exposure assessment are too weak and occur to close to the main flash output to have any appreciable affect on the size of a subjects pupils".

    Your set-up may certainly be different but it's worth a check to see if Red Eye is on. You also might try Rear Curtain Sync if you have it.

    Let us know how you make out.
    Last edited by Andrew1; 25th February 2012 at 06:02 PM.

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    Re: Nikon D7000 off camera flash question

    Quote Originally Posted by GrahamH View Post
    Superglue.
    Glue the models eyes open.
    Honest, it works great. Pre-flash now not a problem.


    Graham
    Don't laugh, but almost had the opposite problem the other day when a makeup artist used superglue to attach some fake eyelashes to the model - and her eye ended up getting glued shut for a few minutes!

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    Re: Nikon D7000 off camera flash question

    Peter,

    I'm using a D7000 with a SB700 speadlight I have pulled my hair out over the same issue. Nikon sells a very sophisticated piece of equipment called the Nikon SG-3IR IR Pane...

    Yes sounds fancy doesn't it? You can get this amazing piece of technology made from Nikon for an amazing $12!!!

    Okay I will drop the smug sarcasm...

    But really it is a piece of plastic that drops down over the pop up flash. It says that this device lets IR light go through it so not to blind the model, with the pre flashes. (My problem was the flash pre fires still seemed to appear in the shot, this was problematic for low key shots & smoke photography where I did not want any of the background getting lit.)

    here is the link HERE

    Ever Nikon owner that doesnt own the SU-800 Wireless Speedlight should have one of these.

    I hope this helps.

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    Letrow's Avatar
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    Re: Nikon D7000 off camera flash question

    Quote Originally Posted by KTHXBAI View Post
    Peter,

    I'm using a D7000 with a SB700 speadlight I have pulled my hair out over the same issue. Nikon sells a very sophisticated piece of equipment called the Nikon SG-3IR IR Pane...

    Yes sounds fancy doesn't it? You can get this amazing piece of technology made from Nikon for an amazing $12!!!

    Okay I will drop the smug sarcasm...

    But really it is a piece of plastic that drops down over the pop up flash. It says that this device lets IR light go through it so not to blind the model, with the pre flashes. (My problem was the flash pre fires still seemed to appear in the shot, this was problematic for low key shots & smoke photography where I did not want any of the background getting lit.)

    here is the link HERE

    Ever Nikon owner that doesnt own the SU-800 Wireless Speedlight should have one of these.

    I hope this helps.
    Thanks for the advice, I'll have a look at this and see whether it helps. I actually made something myself the other day to do the same thing, but still have to try it out. Andrew's rear curtain might be of help as well I guess, so...

  14. #14

    Re: Nikon D7000 off camera flash question

    the minute i removed the red eye function i dont get those preflashes at all..hope this helps

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    Re: Nikon D7000 off camera flash question

    Peter,

    The item that Michael mentions came with my Nikon R1C1 macro lighting kit and I use it all the time when using the on-board flash as commander to control my remotes in macro work.

    Grahame

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    Re: Nikon D7000 off camera flash question

    My solution with different gear was to place my finder in front of the on-board and you would need to ensure some flash escaped to set up the remote ... I'd guess that the pre-flash though blinding to the subject is not that powerful so a bit of trial and error to discover how much to cover with finger.

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    Re: Nikon D7000 off camera flash question

    Quote Originally Posted by merlinthewise1 View Post
    the minute i removed the red eye function i dont get those preflashes at all..hope this helps
    I suspect that you have hit the nail on the head. The normal operational preflashes have no noticeable time delay, so the likely explanation is that the issue is the red eye reduction. Unless you are using the pop-up flash on the camera as a flash, there is no need for red-eye reduction. Any of the normal flashes (other than perhaps the SB300 and SB400) sit high enough on the hot shoe to be far enough off the optical axis to get red-eye. It one is using off-camera flash, the unit is even further off the camera axis.

    When I use the pop-up flash as my trigger flash in Commander mode, I ensure that it is set to disabled, i.e. none of its light output contributes to the shot; it will still go off, but just before the shutter opens.

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    Re: Nikon D7000 off camera flash question

    Since there's so much in this thread about the SB-700 and D7000 already, I thought I'd post my question here. I have the same two pieces of equipment and would like to use the SB-700 remotely and also take advantage of its ability to read ISO and distance measurements from the camera. Since the flash won't be co-located (but nearby, obviously) with the camera, I'd like to tweak its output and perhaps set it manually. In other words, I'd like to take advantage of the "intelligence" of the flash (knowing the ISO setting and camera's distance to subject) but manually increase or decrease the intensity. Nikon's CLS (complicated lighting system?) seems a bit all or nothing, and for now I'm using the SU-4 setting on the camera and setting flash power manually. If it's possible to do what I'm asking, could someone please walk me through the settings?

    thanks, Bruce

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    Re: Nikon D7000 off camera flash question

    Quote Originally Posted by brucehughw View Post
    ... I'd like to take advantage of the "intelligence" of the flash (knowing the ISO setting and camera's distance to subject) ...
    Just a note. What iTTL is doing isn't what the old autothyristor "Auto" modes do. The autothyristor modes, like those on older film-era flashes, are using a sensor in the flash to determine the cut-off point for the light, and requires the iso/aperture setting. The SB-800/900/910 all still have this mode, too. Not sure about the SB-700, but I don't think it does.

    But what iTTL (and CLS uses iTTL) is doing is having the camera body tell the flash to send out a small "preburst" of light at a known power level (typically a low one). The camera then meters this pre-flash, and based upon the metering results, then sets the flash's output power. So, unlike "Auto" mode, this require camera/flash communication, but doesn't require the iso/aperture information be communicated to the flash, since all of the exposure calculations/data are in the body.

    ... but manually increase or decrease the intensity. Nikon's CLS (complicated lighting system?) seems a bit all or nothing,
    But part of the all is being able to remotely change the settings on your flash. This is why we like it and use it. You can also do all sorts of other things like use iTTL to set the flash power automatically, or use FP (high-speed sync) flash to go over your max-sync shutter speed. SU-4 mode can't do any of those things.

    I'm a Canon shooter, so I can't give you specifics, but I googled up this beginner's guide to using CLS. But it looks like the steps to set up are:

    On your flash:

    1. Set the SB-700 to REMOTE with the on/off switch position.
    2. Set a group for the flash.
    3. Set a channel for the flash.


    On your camera:

    1. CUSTOM MENU -> Bracketing/flash.
    2. e3: Flash cntrl for built-in flash
    3. COMMANDER MODE


    At this screen, you can set the pop-up flash's and remote flash group settings. "--" for the popup flash means it's a commander-only and no output level. Mode you can set to M or TTL. If you set a group to M mode, you'll get manual power level ratio settings (1, 1/2, 1/4, etc.). If you set a group to TTL mode, you can set the flash exposure compensation (+1EV, -1/3EV, etc.)

    Set the same channel you set on your flash.

    You should now be able to shoot with the flash off-camera, and to adjust the power level, you just get back to the COMMANDER MODE settings.

    After you use it for a while, if you get irritated with the fact that the range/reliability isn't great outdoors in bright sunlight, then you can think about getting TTL radio triggers. Even if you don't use TTL, they can be handy, because they'll communicate most of the hotshoe protocol, and still allow you to use features like FP flash and remote power setting.

  20. #20
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    Re: Nikon D7000 off camera flash question

    Bruce - if you are firing the remote flash using "Commander" mode, you can dial in flash compensation in 1/3 stop increments by flash group setting through your camera. I'm not 100% sure what you are trying to do.

    I personally tend to set flash manually unless I am shooting in "run & gun" mode. Manual flash gives you more predictable results in studio shooting.

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