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Thread: How to meter with Nikon SB-700 Speedlight ?

  1. #1

    Default How to meter with Nikon SB-700 Speedlight ?

    Hi Bros & Sis,
    i understand how to meter the sence with the metering system in my Nikon D-90
    But when i attach the external flash, no matter how i adjust, the metering system will always show (-) Negative value.
    so how to i properly expose my picture if my metering system always show(-) Negative with my Speedlight attached ?

    Just Shoot It ...

  2. #2
    Moderator daredevil123's Avatar
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    Default Re: How to meter with Nikon SB-700 Speedlight ?


  3. #3

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    Thanks devil
    Will do some read up
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    Moderator ziploc's Avatar
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    Default Re: How to meter with Nikon SB-700 Speedlight ?

    An important concept to understand when doing flash photography is that the camera actually exposes the subject and the ambient separately. The meter does not measure the exposure of the subject, it measures the exposure of the ambient. Then under iTTL the flash will "fill in" the subject with the camera measuring the amount of flash light reflected from the subject. When your meter shows negative value, it simply means the ambient will be underexposed. If it is -1 the ambient will be underexposed by one stop, 2 stops for -2, etc.

  5. #5

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    Hi ziploc
    That's means is impossible to meter the ambient light with flash attach right ?
    Becoz if I get a perfect exposure for my ambient, my main subject will be over-exposed
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  6. #6

    Default Re: How to meter with Nikon SB-700 Speedlight ?

    The exposure of the subject with the flash is different from the exposure of the ambient light. Making adjustment with your ambient exposure will not over-exposed your subject. If you want perfect exposure of both the ambient and the subject with the flash, you need to meter both the ambient light and the flash. It is not impossible to meter with the flash attached to your camera, you just have to switch it OFF to meter the ambient light as what you usually do when you meter without the flash. When your using iTTL on your flash, the system do the proper exposure for you. You will need to make adjustment with your flash setting if you are using it in manual mode and want to make some effects or drama with your subject.

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    Moderator ziploc's Avatar
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    Default Re: How to meter with Nikon SB-700 Speedlight ?

    Quote Originally Posted by fatBozZ View Post
    Hi ziploc
    That's means is impossible to meter the ambient light with flash attach right ?
    Becoz if I get a perfect exposure for my ambient, my main subject will be over-exposed
    You'll need to watch out the min shooting distance indicated on your flash. For a given iso and aperture setting (and focal length), there will be a range where the flash can fire effectively. If you're too close and exceed the min shooting distance, the flash power cannot get lower and your subject will be overexposed.

  8. #8

    Default Re: How to meter with Nikon SB-700 Speedlight ?

    Thanks everyone ,,, i finally got what u guys mean .... thanks once again
    Just Shoot It ...

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    Quote Originally Posted by ziploc

    You'll need to watch out the min shooting distance indicated on your flash. For a given iso and aperture setting (and focal length), there will be a range where the flash can fire effectively. If you're too close and exceed the min shooting distance, the flash power cannot get lower and your subject will be overexposed.
    This applies in TTL mode when the range is shown right? The range will change according to the focal length, or essentially, the focal length of the flash zoom head right?
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  10. #10

    Default Re: How to meter with Nikon SB-700 Speedlight ?

    Quote Originally Posted by MilanTristan View Post
    The exposure of the subject with the flash is different from the exposure of the ambient light. Making adjustment with your ambient exposure will not over-exposed your subject. If you want perfect exposure of both the ambient and the subject with the flash, you need to meter both the ambient light and the flash. It is not impossible to meter with the flash attached to your camera, you just have to switch it OFF to meter the ambient light as what you usually do when you meter without the flash. When your using iTTL on your flash, the system do the proper exposure for you. You will need to make adjustment with your flash setting if you are using it in manual mode and want to make some effects or drama with your subject.
    Hi. Sorry to hijack this thread as i'm also having an issue trying to use SB-700 to do a proper metering. After reading, I still don't really quite understand this part about switching the flash to meter and than on iTTL. Am i right to say that, in this case, i metered without speedlight on and then switch to manual, on flash and fire away?

    I've been trying to avoid this problem of the flash causing my subject to be overexposed by using rear curtain flash. Thus i'm hoping to be able to get over it.

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    Default Re: How to meter with Nikon SB-700 Speedlight ?

    Quote Originally Posted by unknownidt View Post
    Hi. Sorry to hijack this thread as i'm also having an issue trying to use SB-700 to do a proper metering. After reading, I still don't really quite understand this part about switching the flash to meter and than on iTTL. Am i right to say that, in this case, i metered without speedlight on and then switch to manual, on flash and fire away?

    I've been trying to avoid this problem of the flash causing my subject to be overexposed by using rear curtain flash. Thus i'm hoping to be able to get over it.
    If you have a shot with this problem, can you post it up with EXIF, so we can see what is the problem and advise accordingly..

  12. #12
    Moderator catchlights's Avatar
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    Default Re: How to meter with Nikon SB-700 Speedlight ?

    Quote Originally Posted by unknownidt View Post
    Hi. Sorry to hijack this thread as i'm also having an issue trying to use SB-700 to do a proper metering. After reading, I still don't really quite understand this part about switching the flash to meter and than on iTTL. Am i right to say that, in this case, i metered without speedlight on and then switch to manual, on flash and fire away?

    I've been trying to avoid this problem of the flash causing my subject to be overexposed by using rear curtain flash. Thus i'm hoping to be able to get over it.
    rear curtain flash has noting to do with flash exposure or ambient light exposure, it only fire the flash prior the second curtain close, instead of fire once the shutter fully open, the effect of rear curtain sync is more apparent when the shutter is long.

    So my guess is you may have already give more than adequate exposure on the ambient light for your subjects, so combine the flash and ambient lights, it overexposed.
    try underexposed the ambient lights by one to two stops.
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  13. #13

    Default Re: How to meter with Nikon SB-700 Speedlight ?

    Quote Originally Posted by catchlights View Post
    rear curtain flash has noting to do with flash exposure or ambient light exposure, it only fire the flash prior the second curtain close, instead of fire once the shutter fully open, the effect of rear curtain sync is more apparent when the shutter is long.

    So my guess is you may have already give more than adequate exposure on the ambient light for your subjects, so combine the flash and ambient lights, it overexposed.
    try underexposed the ambient lights by one to two stops.
    i guess so. because when i take a photo with normal flash, the flash seems to make the person look like ghost(which is why i presume my flash has made it overexposed). However, using the same setting, when i use rear curtain flash, the person is more naturally lit. that's why since then, i have been using rear curtain since the person kinda look more natural.

    However, i will try to underexposed the ambient light by 1-2 stops to see if it works.

  14. #14

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    Quote Originally Posted by unknownidt

    Hi. Sorry to hijack this thread as i'm also having an issue trying to use SB-700 to do a proper metering. After reading, I still don't really quite understand this part about switching the flash to meter and than on iTTL. Am i right to say that, in this case, i metered without speedlight on and then switch to manual, on flash and fire away?

    I've been trying to avoid this problem of the flash causing my subject to be overexposed by using rear curtain flash. Thus i'm hoping to be able to get over it.
    ambient metering means metering the available light while the flash is OFF. Flash metering means you need to turn ON your flash and re-FOCUS on your subject. This small detail of re-focusing on your subject has a big effect to your flash metering as it is the time that the Flash system meters the subject for correct exposure. It is NOT the same when you turn OFF the flash, meter your subject, turn ON the flash while you HOLD the ambient metering, then shoot (I wouldn't do that). Also, when you meter the subject with the flash AND RE-COMPOSED (subject not at the center of the frame), the flash metering will not be correct. If you need to re-compose your shot, make sure you use flash value lock (FV lock).

  15. #15

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    Quote Originally Posted by unknownidt

    Hi. Sorry to hijack this thread as i'm also having an issue trying to use SB-700 to do a proper metering. After reading, I still don't really quite understand this part about switching the flash to meter and than on iTTL. Am i right to say that, in this case, i metered without speedlight on and then switch to manual, on flash and fire away?

    I've been trying to avoid this problem of the flash causing my subject to be overexposed by using rear curtain flash. Thus i'm hoping to be able to get over it.
    by the way, make sure that you are not shooting Shutter priority mode. You can't shoot with a flash in Shutter priority mode (unless you want overexposed result). Remember, Shutter controls ambient light, and Apperture controls flash light. You can't let the camera think of the apperture setting and flash meter at the same time. you can shoot at Apperture priority and Manual mode BUT Apperture priority will give you more ghosting as it will try have a properly exposed ambient light (slow shutter speed). Manual mode let you decide if you want the ambient underexposed (some drama and extra shutter speed) or properly exposed.

  16. #16
    Moderator ziploc's Avatar
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    Default Re: How to meter with Nikon SB-700 Speedlight ?

    Quote Originally Posted by MilanTristan View Post
    ambient metering means metering the available light while the flash is OFF. Flash metering means you need to turn ON your flash and re-FOCUS on your subject. This small detail of re-focusing on your subject has a big effect to your flash metering as it is the time that the Flash system meters the subject for correct exposure. It is NOT the same when you turn OFF the flash, meter your subject, turn ON the flash while you HOLD the ambient metering, then shoot (I wouldn't do that). Also, when you meter the subject with the flash AND RE-COMPOSED (subject not at the center of the frame), the flash metering will not be correct. If you need to re-compose your shot, make sure you use flash value lock (FV lock).
    Sorry but this is incorrect. Ambient metering has nothing to do with whether the flash is attached/on/off. The camera metering system will behave the same regardless of whether the flash is attached or on/off. What you see on the metering scale is the ambient exposure value. The camera will never be able to meter the flash without it being fired, hence the flash metering will not be displayed on the exposure meter. The flash metering is done via pre-flashes, where the camera fires the flash in low power to meter the illumination of the subject in order to determine the final flash output power.

  17. #17

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    Quote Originally Posted by ziploc

    Sorry but this is incorrect. Ambient metering has nothing to do with whether the flash is attached/on/off. The camera metering system will behave the same regardless of whether the flash is attached or on/off. What you see on the metering scale is the ambient exposure value. The camera will never be able to meter the flash without it being fired, hence the flash metering will not be displayed on the exposure meter. The flash metering is done via pre-flashes, where the camera fires the flash in low power to meter the illumination of the subject in order to determine the final flash output power.
    You are definitely correct. However, what I try to make beginning photographers to put in their mind is that there are 2 meterings in flash photography. Most beginners will think that the metering that they see at the viewfinder is enough and correct to get proper flash exposure. Pre-flashes used to meter the correct flash exposure can always be taken using FV lock and not shoot to meter. Shoot-to-meter will not always work especially when your subject is not in the center of the frame. I do agree that what you see in the viewfinder is the ambient metering but a beginner might not understand the actual ambient exposure if he will just meter and shoot with the flash as the flash will then have an effect to the resulting photo.

  18. #18

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    Quote Originally Posted by unknownidt

    Hi. Sorry to hijack this thread as i'm also having an issue trying to use SB-700 to do a proper metering. After reading, I still don't really quite understand this part about switching the flash to meter and than on iTTL. Am i right to say that, in this case, i metered without speedlight on and then switch to manual, on flash and fire away?

    I've been trying to avoid this problem of the flash causing my subject to be overexposed by using rear curtain flash. Thus i'm hoping to be able to get over it.
    if you are still getting overexposed shot, and you dont have FV lock feature in your camera, you can always use flash compensation. you just have to find some way to reduce your flash power if your having overexposure problem.

  19. #19

    Default Re: How to meter with Nikon SB-700 Speedlight ?

    icic. sorry for the late reply as i was busy. I have tried it again, and I seems to have gotten the effect i want. Thanks for the help. Really helpful to read in this forum.

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