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How do use Nikon CLS to improve your images?

 
 
Father Kodak
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      06-13-2006
I currently own one Nikon SB800 and I'm trying to decide whether to
get a second SB800. On various websites and forums, people post how
they have 3, 4, and sometimes more of these speedlights.

What isn't clear to me is exactly HOW Nikon CLS is better. And I've
given up trying to figure this out from the Nikon sales literature.

Why is the SB800 better than the same amount of non-CLS speedlights?

What is the benefit to your images of adding yet another SB800 to
your equipment bag?

How do you use wireless control to actually improve your images?

If you mix CLS and older Nikon speedlights, or non-Nikon speedlights,
is CLS still as useful? (I've heard that the pre-flashes from the
SB-800 can trigger off wireless slaves of other speedlights.)

Is this all marketing hype from Nikon?
 
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=?iso-8859-1?Q?Rita_=C4_Berkowitz?=
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      06-14-2006
Father Kodak wrote:
> I currently own one Nikon SB800 and I'm trying to decide whether to
> get a second SB800. On various websites and forums, people post how
> they have 3, 4, and sometimes more of these speedlights.


Yes, get at least two more. You can use the SB600s as well is money is an
issue. You will need at least one for the camera (D2x) or the D200/D70. I
find it better to use the SB800 on the D200 instead of the built-in flash.

> What isn't clear to me is exactly HOW Nikon CLS is better. And I've
> given up trying to figure this out from the Nikon sales literature.


I wouldn't go as far as saying it is "better." It takes advantage of the
iTTL system and gives you easier control over lighting. Of course, you can
use any non-TTL lighting system and remotes, but you have to spend the time
to set it up manually, which most people do. The great thing about the
B800s is you can drop them off where you want without worrying about wires,
remotes, and manual setup. They work exceptionally well for backlight and
still communicate when placed behind solid objects.

> Why is the SB800 better than the same amount of non-CLS speedlights?


It's just the lighting system designed for the new digital cameras

> What is the benefit to your images of adding yet another SB800 to
> your equipment bag?


More creative lighting techniques can be exploited with minimal effort.
Plus, the SB800 is such a small package that you can create a
battery-operated studio in the field in a moments notice.

> How do you use wireless control to actually improve your images?


The Nikon system? I just strategically place the SB800s where I feel they
will give me the best lighting while eliminating harsh shadows. Also, you
can create shadowing to obtain a certain mood you are after.

> If you mix CLS and older Nikon speedlights, or non-Nikon speedlights,
> is CLS still as useful? (I've heard that the pre-flashes from the
> SB-800 can trigger off wireless slaves of other speedlights.)


I never tried it, but I think you can control other lights via cable off the
SB800.

> Is this all marketing hype from Nikon?


Yes and no! It's their system and this is what works best with very little
effort on the users part. Again, you can use any lighting system; you just
have to know what will work best for you in certain situations. if you move
around a lot and want to travel light, the SB800s are fantastic.







Rita

 
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Jim
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      06-14-2006

"Father Kodak" <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote in message
news:(E-Mail Removed)...
>I currently own one Nikon SB800 and I'm trying to decide whether to
> get a second SB800. On various websites and forums, people post how
> they have 3, 4, and sometimes more of these speedlights.
>
> What isn't clear to me is exactly HOW Nikon CLS is better. And I've
> given up trying to figure this out from the Nikon sales literature.

Good Points
No cables going all over the place. No cab
les restricting where you can place all of those flash guns.
Bad Points:
The high cost of the extra guns.
>
> Why is the SB800 better than the same amount of non-CLS speedlights?

Handier to install.
>
> What is the benefit to your images of adding yet another SB800 to
> your equipment bag?

I am more likely to use the extra things now that there are no cords to
tangle my feet.
>
> How do you use wireless control to actually improve your images?

No cords, hence I am more likely to be able to put the guns where they are
needed.
>
> If you mix CLS and older Nikon speedlights, or non-Nikon speedlights,
> is CLS still as useful? (I've heard that the pre-flashes from the
> SB-800 can trigger off wireless slaves of other speedlights.)

Yes, you heard correctly. You can mix them if you are more careful than me.
>
> Is this all marketing hype from Nikon?

No, Canon has much the same equipment. Nikon (or whomever makes the guns)
has been trying to get this to work ever since the introduction of the late
unlamented SB26. The current scheme is the best one yet.
However, no scheme such as this is a substitute for good technique.
Jim


 
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[BnH]
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      06-14-2006
CLS is better because you can do things wirelessly [adjust everything from
the commander flash]
No need to bend down / up to adjust the flash output level or have cords
[SC-18] everywhere just to do a TTL flash session.

For me and my setup, I found manual control is good already for my small
studio
[I set 2x SB-26 , 2x SB-800 on SU-4 mode and SB-30 as the master]
hence I have not invested my 3rd SB-800 for other needs as the 2 quite
suffice.

=bob=


"Father Kodak" <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote in message
news:(E-Mail Removed)...
>I currently own one Nikon SB800 and I'm trying to decide whether to
> get a second SB800. On various websites and forums, people post how
> they have 3, 4, and sometimes more of these speedlights.
>
> What isn't clear to me is exactly HOW Nikon CLS is better. And I've
> given up trying to figure this out from the Nikon sales literature.
>
> Why is the SB800 better than the same amount of non-CLS speedlights?
>
> What is the benefit to your images of adding yet another SB800 to
> your equipment bag?
>
> How do you use wireless control to actually improve your images?
>
> If you mix CLS and older Nikon speedlights, or non-Nikon speedlights,
> is CLS still as useful? (I've heard that the pre-flashes from the
> SB-800 can trigger off wireless slaves of other speedlights.)
>
> Is this all marketing hype from Nikon?



 
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Father Kodak
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      06-14-2006
On Thu, 15 Jun 2006 02:20:10 +1000, "[BnH]" <b18[at]ii[dot]net> wrote:

>CLS is better because you can do things wirelessly [adjust everything from
>the commander flash]
>No need to bend down / up to adjust the flash output level or have cords
>[SC-18] everywhere just to do a TTL flash session.


Ah, now we're getting somewhere specific. What is it you adjust and
why? Presumably you could still do these adjustments with other flash
systems, but you would have to walk around to each of the units?

Do CLS flashes do a "better job" than other flashes of "coordinating"
among themselves to adjust their individual output to get a better
overall exposure? How? Why?

FWIW, I don't do any "studio" type photography. It's all "in the
field" or "on location" mostly in public areas so I like the concept
of just "dropping" the lights down where they are needed to moderate
shadows.

Aside from carrying units in an already overburdened shoulder bag, my
biggest concern is that someone walking by might just decide to take a
unit for himself/herself.

Father Kodak
 
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ttdaomd@hotmail.com
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      06-15-2006
It is a good system if you want to do it quick and dirty. Most people
who use multiple flashes want much finer lighting control than just
TTL. Certain macro-photography aside, any slaved flash system adjusted
by manual settings and guided by flashmeters would be better for most
people who actually use multiple flashes.

> Ah, now we're getting somewhere specific. What is it you adjust and
> why?


I think, with all due respect, that if you are asking this question,
you are not really ready for multiple flash photography.

Tien

 
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Father Kodak
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      06-16-2006
On 15 Jun 2006 10:17:35 -0700, http://www.velocityreviews.com/forums/(E-Mail Removed) wrote:

>It is a good system if you want to do it quick and dirty. Most people
>who use multiple flashes want much finer lighting control than just
>TTL. Certain macro-photography aside, any slaved flash system adjusted
>by manual settings and guided by flashmeters would be better for most
>people who actually use multiple flashes.
>
>> Ah, now we're getting somewhere specific. What is it you adjust and
>> why?

>
>I think, with all due respect, that if you are asking this question,
>you are not really ready for multiple flash photography.
>
>Tien


Maybe, or maybe not. Or maybe I'm willing to learn, because I've seen
t he results possible with multiple flash. I think I understand why
people use multiple flashes. I'm asking why CLS is such a claimed
improvement.

Father Kodak
 
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ttdaomd@hotmail.com
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      06-16-2006

Father Kodak wrote:
> Maybe, or maybe not. Or maybe I'm willing to learn, because I've seen
> t he results possible with multiple flash.


You know, there is nothing magic about flash photography. Flash is just
another way of controling light. And light is everything. Don`t be
offended. Regardless of your budget, I just think you need to learn to
use one flash better before getting more units, just because you will
benefit more from learning the basics.

I would get a few books on studio photography. They will teach you the
way to use the 2 different kinds of flashmeters. Start with one flash,
play with the various manual settings and different bounce angles. Mix
it with ambient lighting. Play with the manual white balance controls.
Then get more flashes -and their studio accessories- and have fun.

As an aside:

One pet peeve of mine with digital photography and slr`s in particular
is that this technology permits people who have had very little
photography education to access very sophisticated photographic
techniques which were once only used by advanced amateurs and pros.
That is great. You can take pictures like a pro. Well, sort of.
Coming from an age when I used only a Nikon F, 5 studio flashes,
Minolta and Sekonic spot and incident flash meters, the new digital era
offers so much more opportunity to get the job done right. The problem
is that a lot of people just don`t have the knowledge base to take
advantage of all these functions and end up being uneducated consumers
without really knowing what to do with all this wonderful stuff. Pity.
If manufacturers of digital slr's would make their equipment perform
only on manual settings for the first month to force neophytes to learn
atleast some basics, I think it would of benefit to them in the long
run. Yah, pretty radical. Just dreaming.

Tien

 
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Father Kodak
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      06-17-2006
On 16 Jun 2006 07:57:12 -0700, (E-Mail Removed) wrote:

>


>
>I would get a few books on studio photography. They will teach you the


Can you recommend any favorites (or unfavorites!)?

>. Mix
>it with ambient lighting. Play with the manual white balance controls.
> Then get more flashes -and their studio accessories- and have fun.


Well, I have been doing photography for yay-many years with only
ambient light. If I haven't done much with flash, or anything with
multiple flash, it's because i never do "studio" photography.
Closest to "studio" work is indoor snapshots of the family with one
flash, sometimes bounced, and no consideration of ambient light. And
not posed in any sense.

>
>As an aside:
>
>One pet peeve of mine with digital photography and slr`s in particular
>is that this technology permits people who have had very little
>photography education to access very sophisticated photographic
>techniques which were once only used by advanced amateurs and pros.


I don't disagree.

>That is great. You can take pictures like a pro. Well, sort of.
>Coming from an age when I used only a Nikon F, 5 studio flashes,
>Minolta and Sekonic spot and incident flash meters, the new digital era


I started out with a hand-me down Kodak Signet rangefinder and a
Weston V (?) lightmeter. Eventually I could afford two Nikon
F2's(with meter heads) and a bunch of lenses. Also got me a Pentax
Spotmeter V recently. And of course the one "requisite" flash.

It's almost by accident that I'm now interested in multiple flash
possibilities. I still don't do "studio" photography, but I have seen
some nice examples of "on location" work done with multiple Nikon
speedlights. And, when I forgot to bring my one flash with me on a
recent trip, I "had to" pick up an SB-800.

> If manufacturers of digital slr's would make their equipment perform
>only on manual settings for the first month to force neophytes to learn
>atleast some basics, I think it would of benefit to them in the long
>run. Yah, pretty radical. Just dreaming.


It is just dreaming. The SLR manufacturer who does this will simply
help out his competition. Most "neophytes" are actually people who
"just want a nice picture" and have no further interest in
photography. Those people are much better served by cameras that do
all the "thinking" for them. I think HP (?) even has software that
does automatic red-eye removal in digital images.

With F2 bodies, I certainly know how to operate a camera's settings.
Yet there have been times when I have lost shots. So about 12 years
ago I went out and got an N90s. I use it about 50/50 between manual
and auto modes. On my AI lenses, it adds electronic rangefinder and
aperture priority auto-exposure compare with my F2. But until I got
the SB-800, that was it. The SB-800 "widens the gap".

Note that I still don't have digital cameras. I'm waiting for that
elusive Nikon full-frame camera. In the meantime, I'm interested in
what CLS could do for me. So maybe I'll pick up a F6 (used?) so I can
use CLS with film, until this FF Nikon D SLR arrives.

Father Kodak


 
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ttdaomd@hotmail.com
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      06-17-2006

Father Kodak wrote:

> Note that I still don't have digital cameras. I'm waiting for that
> elusive Nikon full-frame camera. In the meantime, I'm interested in
> what CLS could do for me. So maybe I'll pick up a F6 (used?) so I can
> use CLS with film, until this FF Nikon D SLR arrives.


You sound like me, minus 3.5 weeks ago when I went out and got a D50
and SB800 (since my SB25 and SB25 did not do TTL with the D50), still
waiting on the Nikon full-frame. Instant gratification and not the
least of which is being able to use my dozen fixed-aperture AF Nikkors
which had been sitting on the shelf along with the F4s. But the color
rendition of the D50 wasn`t as satisfying and I needed more control of
white balance. (Nikon does not do as good a job in autowhite balance as
Canon, IMHO)

The D200 purchase was a good decision for me because it represents a
small percentage of my Nikkor lens investment. (If it weren`t for the
Nikkors, I would have gone for the FF Canons.) I can have fun and
still be active in photography while waiting for the full-frame. Once
THE Full-Frame comes, and I have no doubt that it will since size does
matter, (in 2 years?), the D200 will instantly become a good backup.

If you have a pile of good Nikkors, I would recommend thinking about
the D200 even with its banding and dead pixel issues especially since
you got yourself an amazing flash unit in that SB800 and some Nikkors
already. You can experiment a lot more efficiently with CLS on a
digital camera that is for sure. I took the plunge and don`t regret it
at all...well only a bit. I only wish that I had started with Canon
DSLR but alas, there weren`t that many of them back in the mid-70's.

Tien

 
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