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Nikon Flash Mode: TTL or TTL-BL?
  
 
D. Diggler
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p.1 #1 · p.1 #1 · Nikon Flash Mode: TTL or TTL-BL?


My second has been using an SB-910 flash and getting noticeably inconsistent results. (He's shooting the flash on-camera with the camera in full manual exposure.)

I've been doing a little research on the 910 settings and in the menu there is the option to set either TTL or TTL-BL. Which of the two are you using?



Nov 15, 2013 at 06:48 AM
Ian Ivey
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p.1 #2 · p.1 #2 · Nikon Flash Mode: TTL or TTL-BL?


-BL is the setting for fill flash. The difference is that the camera assumes that you want the flash output to balance the results to lift shadows, rather than to serve as the key light. When using normal TTL mode, the camera wants the flash output to be the dominant light.

I'm not absolutely sure, but I suspect that because TTL-BL mode means the flash assumes a somewhat smaller overall responsibility for the exposure, it may produce marginally more consistent results.

I use TTL-BL mode for on-camera bounce during receptions, with two or three off-camera manual flashes. It gives me pretty consistent results so long as I am aware of proximity to the off-camera units (i.e., if there's inconsistency, it is more likely due to my shooting subjects who are too close to, or too far from, the manual off-camera flashes).



Nov 15, 2013 at 07:13 AM
hendrikm
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p.1 #3 · p.1 #3 · Nikon Flash Mode: TTL or TTL-BL?


Like Ian said : TTL-BL is a fill flash.

I use TTL-BL for direct flash outside, if needed.
For bounced flash I use TTL, as TTL-BL would be too weak.

@diggler:
- what camera is used?
- what metering mode is he using?
- Are the inconsistent results from the beginning or do they worsen over time?
- I assume that all the lenses are at least AF-D...



Nov 15, 2013 at 08:21 AM
D. Diggler
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p.1 #4 · p.1 #4 · Nikon Flash Mode: TTL or TTL-BL?


hendrikm wrote:
- what camera is used?
- what metering mode is he using?
- Are the inconsistent results from the beginning or do they worsen over time?
- I assume that all the lenses are at least AF-D


Camera is D7100.

Metering on the camera would be Matrix. The camera is under full manual exposure, though.

Inconsistent results are from the beginning.

Various lenses ... Tamron, Tokina, Sigma, Nikon AF-S.



Nov 15, 2013 at 10:51 AM
hendrikm
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p.1 #5 · p.1 #5 · Nikon Flash Mode: TTL or TTL-BL?


D. Diggler wrote:
Metering on the camera would be Matrix. The camera is under full manual exposure, though.


Yes, but the flash has to be metered, too.

Inconsistent results are from the beginning.

Ok, so it has nothing to do with the flash reducing power because of overheating

Various lenses ... Tamron, Tokina, Sigma, Nikon AF-S.

Don´t know about the third party lenses, but at least the AF-S lens tells the camera the focus distance.


One thing he could try: Next wedding, shoot in centerweighted metering. The results might be off, but at least they would be constant.
Matrix metering has changed with the newer cameras (like d800, don´t know about the 7100, though): the part of the image with the active af area gets much more important for the exposure calculation



Nov 15, 2013 at 01:31 PM
MRomine
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p.1 #6 · p.1 #6 · Nikon Flash Mode: TTL or TTL-BL?


TTL-BL also avialable on the SB900 but not the SB700


Nov 15, 2013 at 02:18 PM
Mark_L
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p.1 #7 · p.1 #7 · Nikon Flash Mode: TTL or TTL-BL?


Which batteries?
Which situations? If full power won't expose something correctly the flash can look inconsistent
How fast does he shoot? (jumping the recycle?)

TTL-BL (attempts to) balance the EV of the subject with the background



Nov 15, 2013 at 09:54 PM
D. Diggler
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p.1 #8 · p.1 #8 · Nikon Flash Mode: TTL or TTL-BL?


hendrikm wrote:
.
Metering on the camera would be Matrix. The camera is under full manual exposure, though.

Yes, but the flash has to be metered, too.


So even if the camera exposure is set fully manually (with ISO, shutter, and aperture all being locked down), what mode the camera's metering is set at [Matrix, spot, center weighted] will affect the output of the flash?



Nov 16, 2013 at 11:26 AM
hendrikm
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p.1 #9 · p.1 #9 · Nikon Flash Mode: TTL or TTL-BL?


D. Diggler wrote:
So even if the camera exposure is set fully manually (with ISO, shutter, and aperture all being locked down), what mode the camera's metering is set at [Matrix, spot, center weighted] will affect the output of the flash?


Yes, you can shoot at 1/250. f22 and ISO 100 in a dark room and would still get a properly exposed picture. So the flash has to be metered, and even though matrix is (probably) the recommended setting, it is prone to changing exposure, therefore my advice to try centerwighted next time.



Nov 16, 2013 at 05:32 PM
D. Diggler
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p.1 #10 · p.1 #10 · Nikon Flash Mode: TTL or TTL-BL?


MRomine wrote:
TTL-BL also avialable on the SB900 but not the SB700


As you say, the SB700 doesn't give you the choice between TTL and TTL-BL.

I've been getting more consistent results out of the SB700 than the SB910. I've been running the SB910 in TTL mode with Matrix camera metering. I did some reading and found out that, when the camera is in Matrix (or center-weighted) metering mode, the SB700 operates in TTL-BL mode. (If the camera is in spot metering, the SB700 operates in TTL mode.)

Maybe if I change the SB910 to TTL-BL mode - the same as what the SB700 operates in - I'll get more consistent results like what the SB700 is giving me.



Nov 30, 2013 at 02:59 AM
 

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DesmondD
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p.1 #11 · p.1 #11 · Nikon Flash Mode: TTL or TTL-BL?


TTL-BL is no longer just for fill flash. Why else would the SB700 default to TTL-BL flash?
I have a blog on TTL-BL flashhttp://desmond-downs.blogspot.co.nz/2010/07/flash-nikons-new-ttl-bl.html and a new one regarding the fact that TTL-BL appears to use the matrix metering pattern of each model .http://desmond-downs.blogspot.co.nz/2013/12/flash-nikon-ttl-bl-as-reliable-as-your.html



Dec 25, 2013 at 05:33 AM
BigIronCruiser
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p.1 #12 · p.1 #12 · Nikon Flash Mode: TTL or TTL-BL?


A decent article on TTL-BL can be found here.


Dec 25, 2013 at 07:18 AM
julian45
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p.1 #13 · p.1 #13 · Nikon Flash Mode: TTL or TTL-BL?


MRomine wrote:
TTL-BL also avialable on the SB900 but not the SB700


SB700 only has TTL-BL



Dec 25, 2013 at 12:38 PM
julian45
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p.1 #14 · p.1 #14 · Nikon Flash Mode: TTL or TTL-BL?


The behaviour of the flash system has changed subtlely for the better since the first introduction of TTL-BL…which was a huge upgrade on the earlier system.

some random TTL-BL thoughts...

# use TTL-BL with bounced or direct flash…I do not see it acting very differently
# the system will primarily expose for what is in focus
# use matrix metering (even when in manual) for TTL-BL function - both spot and centre weighted metering tend to over expose and not use TTL-BL function.
# the system will subtlety expose for where the focus point is even if that area is not in focus.
# the system will use a D lens distance of focus information - this gives distance information which should give all the information for correct exposure? However I compared an 85/1.8 D and non D lens on a d300 with a variety of subjects with TTL-BL and the differences were minor
# using a nikon lens (some off brand lenses have issues such as my old sigma 50-150)



Dec 25, 2013 at 01:40 PM
julian45
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p.1 #15 · p.1 #15 · Nikon Flash Mode: TTL or TTL-BL?


D. Diggler wrote:
So even if the camera exposure is set fully manually (with ISO, shutter, and aperture all being locked down), what mode the camera's metering is set at [Matrix, spot, center weighted] will affect the output of the flash?


The metering mode changes the TTL-BL behaviour. By far the most consistent/conservative mode is matrix. As I understand spot and centre are TTL only, I find they will tend to produce more exposure and can blow parts out. Spot metering is often a useful tool as you can spot meter flash just a face…for example…just dial it down when using it



Dec 25, 2013 at 02:00 PM
D. Diggler
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p.1 #16 · p.1 #16 · Nikon Flash Mode: TTL or TTL-BL?


julian45 wrote:
The behaviour of the flash system has changed subtlely for the better since the first introduction of TTL-BL…which was a huge upgrade on the earlier system.


I read a technical article that agreed with you that the BL mode has changed over time to the point where it is now Nikon's most sophisticated flash mode - and has now become Nikon's default flash mode.



Dec 25, 2013 at 11:59 PM
DesmondD
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p.1 #17 · p.1 #17 · Nikon Flash Mode: TTL or TTL-BL?


julian45 wrote:
The behaviour of the flash system has changed subtlely for the better since the first introduction of TTL-BL…which was a huge upgrade on the earlier system.

some random TTL-BL thoughts...

# use TTL-BL with bounced or direct flash…I do not see it acting very differently
# the system will primarily expose for what is in focus
# use matrix metering (even when in manual) for TTL-BL function - both spot and centre weighted metering tend to over expose and not use TTL-BL function.
# the system will subtlety expose for where the focus point is even if that area is not in focus.
# the system
...Show more

#TTL-BL can give very different results between direct and bounce flash - the distance info with direct flash is superior. As with my original blog on the subject here I was using my D90 and bounce flash behaves just like matrix metering and severely under-exposes with white in any part of the frame - not so with direct flash which has the advantage of distance info. How well TTL-BL works in bounce mode depends on the matrix metering program for that camera - and it doesn't matter if you are in centre-weighted mode either, TTL-BL will work the same.
#With direct flash the distance info helps expose correctly for what is in focus - not so with bounce flash - the TTL-BL metering concentrates on reflected values anywhere in the focus point diamond.
#Centre weighted metering is fine for TTL-BL, try it.
#There are many focus points, which one will it expose for when it is not in focus and why do you say so? basically it meters mainly within the focus point diamond.
# Just to add to the info about 3rd party lenses, the Tamron early 17-50 F2.8 gave incorrect distance info which caused over-exposure with direct flash.

My results are on my blog on "Nikon's "New TTL-BL"". My latest studies show how it is linked to matrix metering shown on this blog
My latest studies show a comparison between the D90 and D5100 showing how their matrix metering programs have evolved in the same way as their TTL-BL and wireless metering - suggesting they are all linked together.




Dec 27, 2013 at 07:48 AM
D. Diggler
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p.1 #18 · p.1 #18 · Nikon Flash Mode: TTL or TTL-BL?


DesmondD wrote:
TTL-BL can give very different results between direct and bounce flash - the distance info with direct flash is superior. ... bounce flash behaves just like matrix metering and severely under-exposes with white in any part of the frame - not so with direct flash which has the advantage of distance info. How well TTL-BL works in bounce mode depends on the matrix metering program for that camera - and it doesn't matter if you are in centre-weighted mode either, TTL-BL will work the same.


All I know is TTL-BL in matrix mode on an SB-700 - both bounce flash and direct flash - is giving me a hell of a lot more consistency than TTL on an SB-910.



Dec 28, 2013 at 07:50 AM
DesmondD
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p.1 #19 · p.1 #19 · Nikon Flash Mode: TTL or TTL-BL?


D. Diggler wrote:
All I know is TTL-BL in matrix mode on an SB-700 - both bounce flash and direct flash - is giving me a hell of a lot more consistency than TTL on an SB-910.


It's good to have a combination that works well together. I have been telling people for years that TTL-BL will give greater consistency than TTL flash.



Dec 28, 2013 at 08:09 AM
D. Diggler
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p.1 #20 · p.1 #20 · Nikon Flash Mode: TTL or TTL-BL?


DesmondD wrote:
I have been telling people for years that TTL-BL will give greater consistency than TTL flash.


My second has been shooting the SB-910 in TTL for a year and is frustrated beyond belief at the inconsistent exposure he's getting! Exposure is all over the board. +2EV one shot, -2EV the next shot.



Dec 29, 2013 at 06:36 AM
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