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View Full Version : What kind of flash setup for Weddings using a D70?



mrshaase
08-26-2005, 06:06 AM
Hi There! I have been learking recently trying to make up my mind what flash setup to get. I got my first Nikon in 1996 the Nikon N6006 and loved it did a few weddings with a Quanary off camera flash just for friends and family and now my husband purchased me a D70 last christmas so I can start doing more professional digitial work wedding senior picts ect. I have no idea what flash set up to use. Looking at the latest thread about the SB 600 and the SB 800 I am wondering about master-slave flashes and do I really need both or would just one work and which one should I go with. If I am going to sink the money into it I need to do it right so the extra 120.00 isn't that big of a deal. I love the idea of using a flash but still preserving the natural light and shadow but I remeber reading about diffusers and do I use a standard Stofen type bounce diffuser or a warming bounce diffuser? I noticed that one of the packages I am looking at for the BS 800 says it comes with Colored Filter Set SJ-800 (FL-G1 and TN-A1) and Diffusion Dome SW-10H. I believe the filter set is for when using as a slave to create a color on your background but is this Diffusion Dome the same type thing as the Stofen?

I was also considering what off camera bracket to use. I have had my eye on the Stroboframe Pro-T and the more compact Stroboframe PRESS-T and thought I am going to be going to and from location to location do I need larger or will the smaller PRESS-T work better? But then I saw Stroboframe Quick Flip 350 and wondered what the difference was besides the price?

Sorry I have so many questions but like I said if I am going to put together this setup I want to do it right. I am hoping all of you in your wisdom can help me! Thanks!

Candice

Kenyada
08-26-2005, 06:59 AM
I would suggest the SB-800 Speedlight as your first investment, and I would couple that with a Nikon SC-29 remote coil cable, which will give you the option of flash placement away from the camera. It may also negate the need for the off-camera bracket. I've got this set up, and I'm planning to add an SB-600 as the "slave" flash, which will add lighting flexibility.

mrshaase
08-26-2005, 07:30 AM
If you use the coil for the flash without the bracket where do you place it? Do you have a tripod you put it on or hold in in your hand?

Kenyada
08-26-2005, 07:42 AM
I use a tiny tripod (12" max) for the SB-800 but it comes with its own mounting bracket for table use. The coil unit can be handheld because it just transmits a signal. As long as the speedlight "sees" the infrared signal, it will respond.

jamison55
08-26-2005, 08:46 AM
I've worked with a couple of wedding photographers who have handheld their flashes to try to make the light a little less flat. That requires you hold the camera in one hand and the flash in another...something that I can't be bothered to do because sometimes I need a free hand, and I have a hard enough time keeping my camera steady enough with two hands!

I'm a Canon guy, so I can't comment on the Nikon units, but I find that I can do 95% of the weddings I shoot with just a single on-camera flash. I use a couple of diffusers depending upon the situation (a Flip It! card mostly and an Omni Bounce). For the other 5% - the bad weather and really bad lighting - I keep a studio strobe kit in the trunk of my car. I just picked up a 3rd ETTL flash this week, however, and plan to experiment with a master/slave combo on the dance floor at my next wedding.

For a bracket, I just recently traded my Stroboframe Quick Flip for a Stroboframe Camera Flip (http://www.adorama.com/SB310900.html). I was constantly breaking the feet off of my off-camera shoe cords due to the weight of the flash when the Quick Flip went vertical, and alway had the flash in a awkward above-and-to-the-right position to the lens because of the diffuser. The Camera Flip keeps the flash in the same position over the lens while the camera moves...a much better setup!

D70FAN
08-26-2005, 09:25 AM
Thanks Jamie, I always learn a lot from your insights as a wedding photographer, and was hoping that you would address Candice's questions with real life experience. So thanks.

I just aquired a Lightsphere II for portraiture and it is pretty impressive with the SB800. It seems to absolutely kill any flash reflections, and was wondering if you had tried one for weddings.

As a note, the Nikon iTTL flash system, using SB800's or 600's as the primary or as active slaves, works extremely well. With each slave actively sending exposure information and the camera able to very accurately calculate the exposure. I've only used this system once (and it wasn't mine) and it was almost like shooting in natural light. If I were a wedding photographer (and I'm not) this system is ideal for reception hall and even the wedding as it is all indirect flash (the camera is just the controller).

Kenyada,

It sounds like you have used this system and thanks for your input as well. Since I have only used this once (using 3 SB800 remotes), and was blown away, it's nice to hear from someone using it in single mode on a regular basis as well. I'm going to see about getting the SC-29 in the near future, but have no immediate need. So thanks again.

Kenyada
08-26-2005, 12:24 PM
Kenyada,

It sounds like you have used this system and thanks for your input as well. Since I have only used this once (using 3 SB800 remotes), and was blown away, it's nice to hear from someone using it in single mode on a regular basis as well. I'm going to see about getting the SC-29 in the near future, but have no immediate need. So thanks again.

The Three-SB-800 set?? I'm N-V-US!! The closest I'm going to come to that (without a very good divorce attorney) will be adding the SB-600 to my 800 :) Sometimes I shoot with just the onboard 800 and then compare the results with the off center SB-800 w/SC-29. It opens a lot of creative possibilities with soft shadows and light. But, as you know, it's all good.

D70FAN
08-26-2005, 01:53 PM
The Three-SB-800 set?? I'm N-V-US!! The closest I'm going to come to that (without a very good divorce attorney) will be adding the SB-600 to my 800 :) Sometimes I shoot with just the onboard 800 and then compare the results with the off center SB-800 w/SC-29. It opens a lot of creative possibilities with soft shadows and light. But, as you know, it's all good.

Yeah, I was N-V-US as well, and it was a one time chance as I was helping shoot a wedding for a freind. The D70 was almost brand new, and I had no idea that the camera had that kind of capability. I only shot a few, but was duely impressed, and vowed to get at least a 2 flash setup someday. So far I'm halfway there. ;) The CFO keeps a pretty tight reign on this photographers budget as well.

Just the combo of D70 + SB800 is pretty incredible by itself, and I'm still learning how they work together. I just got the Lightsphere II diffuser, yesterday and that is pretty impressive as well.

jamison55
08-26-2005, 02:34 PM
I just aquired a Lightsphere II for portraiture and it is pretty impressive with the SB800. It seems to absolutely kill any flash reflections, and was wondering if you had tried one for weddings.

No, however I have worked with a couple of folks who use them. I just can't bring myself to spend the $40 on an upside down milk jug! I use a Flip It! bounce card almost all day and point my flash straight up with pretty good control over flash shadows. Outside, when I need a wider area of light, I go to the Omni Bounce. Always looking for something better, though...

Kenyada
08-26-2005, 02:47 PM
Just the combo of D70 + SB800 is pretty incredible by itself, and I'm still learning how they work together. I just got the Lightsphere II diffuser, yesterday and that is pretty impressive as well.

After that endorsement, I'm headed straight to Mr. Fong's website for my Lightsphere II. Thanks for the tip! :)

D70FAN
08-26-2005, 03:25 PM
After that endorsement, I headed straight to Mr. Fong's website for my Lightsphere II. Thanks for the tip! :)

Yup. I guess I could have used an inverted plastic milk-jug (as eluded to by Jamie), but the opaque ones (milk jugs) are really hard to find here in Arizona, and it doesn't look very professional or fit the SB800 very well.

Seriously, it seems to do a great job on the SB800, but I have only had it for one day.

jamison55
08-26-2005, 07:55 PM
You have to wash out the milk jug diffusers quite well, too; otherwise the smell is unbearable! Seriously, though, I have seen some beautiful work done with a LSII...can't wait to see some of yours, George!

mrshaase
08-26-2005, 10:19 PM
Plastic Milk Jugs, Lightsphere II, the diffuser that comes with the sb-800, a 3 1/2 x5 white index card. I have been reading and reading today and I guess I just get more confused. I really don't want to fork out the $40 for the lightsphere II when somthing else will do the same job. I keep reading that when you use a diffuser that your wide angle range on the flash is more limited. How do you compensate for this with as little hassle as possible?

D70FAN
08-26-2005, 10:29 PM
Plastic Milk Jugs, Lightsphere II, the diffuser that comes with the sb-800, a 3 1/2 x5 white index card. I have been reading and reading today and I guess I just get more confused. I really don't want to fork out the $40 for the lightsphere II when somthing else will do the same job. I keep reading that when you use a diffuser that your wide angle range on the flash is more limited. How do you compensate for this with as little hassle as possible?

Like everything else, sometiems you have to take the plunge and experiment. The Lightsphere II is not a panacea, but it does cut down on reflections and glare, even on a great flash like the SB800.

The LS II does not restrict wide angle illumination as severely as the included diffuser which is actually for wide angle only. All diffusers have a different effect at different focal lengths, and with different exposure systems.

D70FAN
08-26-2005, 10:31 PM
Seriously, though, I have seen some beautiful work done with a LSII...can't wait to see some of yours, George!

Me too! ;)

TheWheels
08-27-2005, 12:13 AM
Don't underestimate the power of the diffuser that comes with the SB-800 ... its pretty incredible. The D70 and SB800 combo is killer! As for the gels that come with the 800 ... they are to correct the flash to match color tempatures of tungstun and floresent lighting. They work really well actually. As for the light sphere ... some photogs love it ... some hate. Its just a tool. Figure out what you like best and use it. The diffuser that comes with the 800 does a fantastic job. Rule #1 if you have something to bounce light off of, including the diffuser, then use it. As Dave Keiser says ... Direct flash sucks! In probably 95% of all my wedding work in which I use a flash its pointing straight up ... used only as a subtle fill flash. I find that works best and looks most natural. As for a bracket ... try not using one. Years ago I used a bracket because that is what I saw most the other pros using ... About a year ago I stopped for some reason ... I love the freedom.

Just a few random thoughts from the peanut gallery.

Oh and don't even think about buying something other than the Sb-800 if you are doing weddings ... and for that matter you better have at least one other D70 and another SB-800 for when your main camera and/or flash goes out on ya. YIKES but it happens. Had a S2 go out on me and a Sb-24 a few years back for that matter. Don't EVER shoot a wedding without backup gear. I got lucky for the lack of insight in my weekend warrior days ... but what if you don't.

Matt

jamison55
08-27-2005, 03:43 AM
As Dave Keiser says ... Direct flash sucks! In probably 95% of all my wedding work in which I use a flash its pointing straight up ... used only as a subtle fill flash.
Matt

A fellow DWF'er dropping in? I agree 100%, nothing beats a bounced flash. That's why I like the Flip It! card so much. I can angle it to throw just a little light or a lot of light forward depending upon my bouncing surfaces. I went quite a few weddings without a diffuser at all, bouncing my flash off of different surfaces (even my hand) after reading Dave Kaiser's article. The Flip It! helps avoid the racoon eyes effect.

As for going bracketless, I tried it for a wedding or two when my off shoe cords went down, and, though my arms thanked me, I found that the convenience of not having a bracket was outweighed by the inconvenience of having to rotate the flash head every time I changed the orientation of the camera.

I suspect if you talked to 15 different wedding photogs, you'd get 15 different answers! It's all about finding what works for you. Oh, and ditto on the backup, though when you're starting out it can be a film camera and a less expensive flash. Just so's you have someting that you can finish the wedding with if your main gear goes down.

D70FAN
08-27-2005, 08:26 AM
Thanks guys. Even though most of us will only shoot weddings as a guest, there are a lot of commonanlities with shooting family get togethers, and other social occasions. It's just that with a wedding, you are responsible for a (hopefully) once in a lifetime occasion, where you are being paid to preserve that memory. Quite a responsibility.

TheWheels
08-27-2005, 01:13 PM
A fellow DWF'er dropping in? I agree 100%, nothing beats a bounced flash. That's why I like the Flip It! card so much. I can angle it to throw just a little light or a lot of light forward depending upon my bouncing surfaces. I went quite a few weddings without a diffuser at all, bouncing my flash off of different surfaces (even my hand) after reading Dave Kaiser's article. The Flip It! helps avoid the racoon eyes effect.

As for going bracketless, I tried it for a wedding or two when my off shoe cords went down, and, though my arms thanked me, I found that the convenience of not having a bracket was outweighed by the inconvenience of having to rotate the flash head every time I changed the orientation of the camera.

I suspect if you talked to 15 different wedding photogs, you'd get 15 different answers! It's all about finding what works for you. Oh, and ditto on the backup, though when you're starting out it can be a film camera and a less expensive flash. Just so's you have someting that you can finish the wedding with if your main gear goes down.

Yes yes ... DWFer here. It was down last night so I ended up here somehow. First time ... and couldn't help but make a comment on flash. As I said in my post ... its all a tool. Find what tool works best for you. Then when you done with it ... find another tool and use it.

About the backup stuff ... just makes me nervous that someone might be shooting a wedding without it. Maybe I threw too much of my opinion in there. Good luck to anyone starting off though. Its an interesting road.

Matt

mrshaase
08-28-2005, 08:57 AM
Oh, and ditto on the backup, though when you're starting out it can be a film camera and a less expensive flash. Just so's you have someting that you can finish the wedding with if your main gear goes down.

I have a Nikon N6006 with a Quanaray flash that I have as Back up Equiptment just in case so I think I am covered there. I did a few "free weddings" you know friends just out of college who where really poor, our sunday school teacher's second wedding, ect and used my N6006 with great results so if all else fails I have that in the trunk and film in the freezer.

That also answer's my question about Brackets. I will get the less exspensive one and if I like it I will get the better one when the cheap one dies. If I don't like it I guess I sell it on ebay! :D

I was looking at the Lightshpere II and discovered that just as recently as last week Mr. Fong has intorduced a new Lightshere called LIGHTSPHERE PHOTOJOURNALIST! It is really cool you might want to go HERE (http://www.xanga.com/home.aspx?user=digitalphotographersnet) to check it out. It is a flexable Lightsphere! No adapters fits all cameras. Looks really COOL! But he won't be doing a prerelease on these. Only 500 to go arround at a time. That way won't have to deal with the problem's had apparently had in the past with missing orders. Where do I get in line?


Candice