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Author Topic: Flash for Nikon D70s  (Read 3846 times)
Jamal
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« on: September 27, 2005, 02:31:29 PM »
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I did a quick search of this forum and did not find anything pertaining to my quandry.  I am new to photography and am looking for a flash unit for my Nikon D70s DSLR.  What I have found on the web is that the Nikon SB600 and SB800 are good fits for the D70s.  I will probably go for the SB600, but would like to do some more research.

Are there any other makes that I should be looking at?

My needs, I think, are pretty basic.  I will be photographing people (musicians during live performances, mostly), but not in a studio.  I will only need the flash attached to the camera and won't be doing any multiple flash setups.  Depending on how close I can get to a stage I often need the flash to have greater range than the built-in flash.

I have already gathered a few seemingly reliable sites for reviews, etc., but none of them contain information that helps me with this question.

Thanks.
-Rich
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BryanHansel
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« Reply #1 on: September 28, 2005, 11:53:39 AM »
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I'd go with the SB-800, which is what I use.  It doesn't cost that much more but is more powerful.  You'll be surprised how handy that is, especially for dark scenes.  

You should also consider getting a cord to take the flash off camera and a flash bracket to hold the flash off camera.  This will allow you to move the flash to get it over the lens when shooting vertically, so the light doesn't look like it is coming in from the side.  If you get a bracket get one that doesn't require tightening and untightening when you flip the bracket.

The D70 also allows you to use the internal flash to set off an off camera flash, which when used with the SB600 and SB800 will allow some creative shots.  It's a near perfect system.  Sometimes, depending on the person, it's helpful to preflash them before the picture is taken.  Because the way Nikon handles flash now there is a small preflash fired before the picture is taken instead of bouncing the light off the film plane.  Some people will blink at this preflash.  I set the AE-L/AF-L button to do this as I hardly every use it to lock exposure.  This is the only little quirk with the Creative Lighting System that I've run into.

Stick with the Nikon flash.
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Jamal
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« Reply #2 on: September 28, 2005, 12:57:25 PM »
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Thankyou for the advice... I wasn't really giving the 800 a fair chance, now I'm feeling convinced.  I had not heard of flash brackets before but googled a few a moments ago so I now know what you're talking about.
Two questions:
1. When you say "pre-flash them before the picture is taken," are you referring to the Nikon pre-flash or a work-around to avoid 'the blink' caused by the Nikon pre-flash?  I have definitely experienced the pre-shot blink and some quick smiles have even vanished because the subject thought the shot had been taken.
2. I'll be working in low-light environments where space is at a premium (live music venues), so I need to stabilize my shots or use a flash and a tripod is not feasible.  I am not always going to want a flash either, since they tend to obliterate the colorful stage lighting.  I have read about, but not really found, shoulder/chest braces for added stability (Cullmann model 0800 was referred to, but I have yet to find one on the web)... any ideas on where I might find something like this?  Alternative solutions?  Unfortunately, I am not the steadiest of hands either.

I won't be insulted if you choose not to answer my additional questions.  Newbie querries can be annoying and I appreciate your helping me with my first post.

-Rich
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Richowens
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« Reply #3 on: September 28, 2005, 02:42:26 PM »
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Rich

You might find this useful.

gopod

Rich
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Jonathan Wienke
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« Reply #4 on: September 28, 2005, 09:41:47 PM »
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My needs, I think, are pretty basic. I will be photographing people (musicians during live performances, mostly), but not in a studio.
Given that, you shouldn't be using flash at all. If any regional/national-level artists are involved, flash is usually forbidden during performances. Flash also washes out the stage lighting and results in much more flat, lifeless-looking shot in most cases. Get a camera that can produce produce good results at ISO 1600 and fast glass (f/2.8 or better) and learn how to use ambient light.
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Jamal
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« Reply #5 on: September 29, 2005, 10:33:20 AM »
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Rich, thanks for the link.  An interesting but, for now, too expensive option. (I'm keeping it bookmarked)

Jon, these won't be national acts and I am not sure how much you mean to cover with the term 'regional acts.'  For the latter it is a case by case basis, and after getting a scowl or two at my first shoot I quickly made it a policy to ask about flash beforehand.  Interestingly, in that first shoot I asked between sets and got the okay, after which ... no more scowls.
However, you are right that in most cases a flash ruins the shot.  Unfortunately, the camera I now have is the only one I'll have for a while.  And, no mirror-lock... booo.  So, I have been researching and reading on ways to 'use ambient light' and use software to minimize noise.
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BryanHansel
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« Reply #6 on: September 30, 2005, 10:11:39 AM »
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1. When you say "pre-flash them before the picture is taken," are you referring to the Nikon pre-flash or a work-around to avoid 'the blink' caused by the Nikon pre-flash?  I have definitely experienced the pre-shot blink and some quick smiles have even vanished because the subject thought the shot had been taken.
I'm talking about a work-around to fool the Nikon pre-flash system.  Go into your menu system and find custom setting 15 AE-L/AF-L and change that setting to "flash bolt" L FV LOCK.  Now with the flash attached or the internal flash up press the AE-L/AF-L button.  Notice that a small flash pops.  This is the preflash that is usually fired before the shot and it is the flash that causes people to blink.  Moving to a SB-800 removes this problem most of the time, but you still may run into a subject that still blinks -- like my cat.

Something to note about this work-around is that it calculates the flash power ahead of time, so in rapid changing lighting conditions, it can cause the flash to fire at the wrong amount of power, but that is barely ever an issue.
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Jamal
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« Reply #7 on: September 30, 2005, 01:22:37 PM »
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Bryan,

Gotcha and thankyou... don't know how long it would've been before I figured that one out on my own.

I know one big advantage to the 800 or 600 is the ability to bounce flash:  Last night I gave it another stab at a show with and without flash.  I can get close to getting good shots without a flash, but either the ISO is too high (1600) or the exposure too long (I yell at the musicians to stay still but they just don't listen).  I'm wondering if by using a bounce flash (like off the side a nearby PA which would be cropped anyhow) and manually setting the flash to a relatively low power would 'sneak' me into an acceptable shutter speed and ISO without killing the natural stage lighting.  If so, this pre-flash work-around would come in very handy for figuring out where to point the flash.  Any thoughts?
Whatever the solution is I am quickly learning that good shots take tremendous patience, luckily, that I have.

-Rich
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BryanHansel
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« Reply #8 on: September 30, 2005, 08:40:21 PM »
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You could probably set the flash to an EV of -2/3 or even up to -1 2/3 and still get the stage lighting.  A bounce off of a low ceiling is often helpful inside.  Most of my work is outside, so I usually set the flash to -2/3.

How fast of a lens do you use?  I'm not sure if a 50mm will give you enough reach, but you can pick up the 50 1.8 D for less than $100.  The 24 2.8 is around $300, and is an outstanding buy for the price.  I'm not sure what the cheaper 85 runs or how good it is, but it may be worth looking at if you're looking for faster glass and trying to save money.  I have a 35-70 2.8 push-pull which is a nice lens and can be had for good rates used.

Also, the Noise Reduction feature in the D70 works pretty well for reducing noise on long exposures.  I've never tried it with ISOs higher than 800.  Your exposures will be short enough that it won't add much time between shots.  Maybe you should see if it helps at all.
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Jamal
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« Reply #9 on: October 03, 2005, 12:55:05 AM »
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Bryan,

Your last post and our discussion kept me thinking and so at the last show I came up with a temporary solution until I can manage to purchase a flash.  The trick I had read about in previous weeks and that worked like a charm was to set a business card in front of the flash with elastic.  The diffusion (correct term?) created enough indirect light to get me an acceptable exposure without killing the stage light.  At ISO 800 I thought I had taken some shots with the built-in NR, but apparently I hadn't.  The Nikon Capture software NR worked nicely though.  I have some more work to do to get these things perfect, but I've hurdled the first major obstacle.  When I get a shot worth sharing I'll post it here (or in another forum).

I'm making a note of the EV settings you mentioned for later, thanks.

If I follow your comments on lenses correctly then I would be in great shape to get something like the 50mm 1.8 or even the 35-70 2.8.  One question though, are these Nikon lenses or some other make?

Thanks again... getting some workable shots is making this whole thing a heck of a lot a fun.

-Rich
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BryanHansel
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« Reply #10 on: October 03, 2005, 11:08:15 AM »
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I'd never tried the business card diffuser before.  Interesting approach.  

Those two lenses are by Nikon.  The 50 1.8 is just under $100 at B&H, and you should be able to pick up a 35-70 2.8 for around $350 used.
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