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Archive 2013 · Nikon Flash Mode: TTL or TTL-BL?
  
 
DesmondD
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p.2 #1 · p.2 #1 · Nikon Flash Mode: TTL or TTL-BL?


D. Diggler wrote:
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.


It's much like using centre-weighted metering with a dark background, if your subject gets smaller in the frame exposure increases but with flash the subject also needs to be within range of the flash or there is under-exposure. I'd imagine your second likes to shoot wide - that's when the subject gets a little small in the frame for metering purposes.
There are many experienced photographers who still shoot TTL flash but they know exactly what they are doing and how to adjust exposure accordingly.
My advice to people regarding metering modes and flash settings is "Shoot in the mode you understand best regardless of what mode that is". Learn to understand a mode and how it behaves in certain situations and you have a level of predictability.
I like the 'safer' modes like matrix metering and TTL-BL when the action speeds up. If I were to shoot in manual mode I would forget the camera on a setting when the lighting changes and really mess the exposure up.
Matrix and TTL-BL keeps my exposures within 'salvageable' limits for all shots



Dec 29, 2013 at 06:13 PM
D. Diggler
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p.2 #2 · p.2 #2 · Nikon Flash Mode: TTL or TTL-BL?


DesmondD wrote:
I'd imagine your second likes to shoot wide - that's when the subject gets a little small in the frame for metering purposes.


Yeah, on the wider side.



Dec 30, 2013 at 06:37 AM
DesmondD
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p.2 #3 · p.2 #3 · Nikon Flash Mode: TTL or TTL-BL?


D. Diggler wrote:
Yeah, on the wider side.


That's when TTL-BL blows TTL flash away.






Dec 30, 2013 at 06:41 AM
D. Diggler
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p.2 #4 · p.2 #4 · Nikon Flash Mode: TTL or TTL-BL?


DesmondD wrote:
That's when TTL-BL blows TTL flash away.


Thanks for the comparison shots there, Desmond.

There's a big difference in how TTL and TTL-BL compute proper exposure. I've taken some test shots around the studio of very "simple", non-complex scenes like a table or the floor. I shot in matrix mode and the only change I made was flipping the mode on the flash back and forth between TTL and TTL-BL. The exposure that TTL comes up with can be noticeably different from the TTL-BL.



Dec 31, 2013 at 09:01 AM
 

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DesmondD
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p.2 #5 · p.2 #5 · Nikon Flash Mode: TTL or TTL-BL?


D. Diggler wrote:
Thanks for the comparison shots there, Desmond.

There's a big difference in how TTL and TTL-BL compute proper exposure. I've taken some test shots around the studio of very "simple", non-complex scenes like a table or the floor. I shot in matrix mode and the only change I made was flipping the mode on the flash back and forth between TTL and TTL-BL. The exposure that TTL comes up with can be noticeably different from the TTL-BL.

There's also the factor of taking ambient into account. A simple test is to shoot an indoor scene with the ambient under-exposed by at least 2 stops with TTL and TTL-BL flash for the first test, if it is something like a person's face in the centre of the frame the exposures will likely be equal. Then change your settings for the ambient so that ambient is correctly exposed and the TTL shot will be over-exposed because the flash will still put out the same amount of power. TTL-BL on the other hand, will reduce it's output by "-1.7" for exactly the same scene - because it has seen the meter reading for ambient exposure and realizes it is no longer the main light source.
I have "bucketloads" of sample images



Dec 31, 2013 at 06:51 PM
jbouchard
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p.2 #6 · p.2 #6 · Nikon Flash Mode: TTL or TTL-BL?


I realize this is an old thread, but I have to ask, by sticking to manual exposure mode isn't the OP's second completely ignoring variations in ambiant light, which generally exist and have some contribution?

If you use settings like ISO 200, f/11, 1/250 indoors your background will be several stops underexposed such that the flash is responsible for almost all of the exposure. Personally I don't like that dark background look, and now you are dependent on the flash exposure algorithm to be perfect. I think it's possibly asking the camera's automation to do a complex task, but then tieing one hand behinds it's back.

Lately I've been going the other way, something like ISO 1600, 1/60th, and S or P mode so it can set aperture. This would be underexposed without a flash, but much less so. Now the flash handles the rest. I starting doing this mainly so it wasn't victomizing my subjects with a massively bright flash, but i like the fact that the background isn't unnatureally dark, and I think it gives me more consistant exposure. With my SB-800 I usually choose TTL-BL. With my SB-700 it chooses TTL-BL in matrix or center weighted mode, and TTL in spot mode as other people have said. I'm almost always using bounce mode off the ceiling if there is a ceiling to use.

Just my 2cents worth.



May 04, 2017 at 02:09 PM
swainsons
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p.2 #7 · p.2 #7 · Nikon Flash Mode: TTL or TTL-BL?


Interesting article.

When you shoot OFF CAMERA, and use CLS to fire OCF, how do you select TTL-BL? As its not an option. Only way I know is to go to spot metering, or be very accurate in your metering in camera, i.e., manual mode? Same can be said when using the Yongnuo 622n TTL triggers.

I shoot with older SB900, and backup SB600, and honestly I have not had many issues with TTL, sometimes amazed at what it actually delivers.

Manual flash is generally better, but as we all know, who has time to setup lights when the actions hot during the wedding?

All the best



May 09, 2017 at 05:15 PM
elkhornsun
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p.2 #8 · p.2 #8 · Nikon Flash Mode: TTL or TTL-BL?


I shoot TTL with CW metering and adjust the flash EV to provide the "right" amount of fill, usually -0.7 EV. With higher ISO practical with current cameras the flash need provide far less of the light for an exposure. I am setting the camera exposure for the ambient light and then the flash is truly fill and not going to be apparent in the pictures I take.

Always a good idea to use a real person for a test subject, and lighter skin and hair makes errors in flash exposure much more obvious, in a real simulation. I use a hotel lobby for testing flash and camera settings as the high ceilings and artificial light sources are similar to what I will encounter during a reception or indoor ceremony.

You can learn far more by going out and trying different settings than by any other means. With each new speedlight and each new camera I start over with my testing as I want to learn of any idiosyncrasies long before I use the camera and flash with a client at a wedding. In considering the "best" settings I put more emphasis on the consistency of the results as that is of prime importance.



May 11, 2017 at 11:51 PM
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