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D3s flash woes

dodidodi Member
edited December 2010 in flash & lighting
Hi there,

Thanks for the informative texts found here. Coming from Canon 1D (and older Nikon bodies), I recently got a D3s. I like the camera a lot, but flash indoors is not exactly the same as a Canon - as you found out and wrote about. To me, after a week it is still too much guesswork for my liking. With Canon, I could use ambient light at 4000-6400 ISO to get a real nice background in large halls and nail the flash exposure of the foreground person without problems. With the D3s this is... well, not that straightforward. If I measure the background light, and next use the flash, the -3 is usually way overexposing the person in front. It seems to me Nikon SB900 output is just too much. I tried a lot of things, but nothing really seems to be repeatable. Usually I have no time for a second or third try to get it right. Am I missing something here? I tried matrix and spot, flash lock,... Is there any way to keep ambient light as it is, and dial down the flash more?
Any hints welcome...


  • Try the TTL/BL setting on your SB900. This sometimes helps balance the foreground and the background.

    Also, the Nikon system has a separate metering system for the flash, independent of the ambient metering system. It is permanently set to the center-weighted metering area. So if your subject isn't in the middle of the frame you won't get an accurate flash exposure.
  • Neil vNNeil vN Administrator
    I do have a problem with the D3 and SB-900 combination giving a flash output that is too strong for fill-flash. It's too obvious and too 'flashy', unless I pull down the exposure compensation even more, to around -5EV in total. This is true even when I have TTL BL as my flash mode.


    It's a work-around, and not ideal.
    I really wish the D3 + SB900 were capable of more subtle fill-flash.
  • Hi Neil, yes, I read that article. The problem is that if you really want the ambient to be very present, it likely gets too dark using this trick. Photocraftsman: that is interesting information. So the only way to get it more or less right is by using flashlock and recomposing, right? Unfortunately, in many press situations there is no time for this. I'd really like more than -3 correction because of the strong flash output. With Canon I more or less got to an automatic reaction on how to flash, with Nikon I am still in the trial and error phase. I was wondering if other brand flashes, compatible with Nikon TTL could exist with e.g. -5 correction on the flashhead. Anyone did research on that?
  • Does this behavior also occur with the SB800 or is it a particular issue with the SB900?
  • I only have SB900, can't comment on other flashes. Perhaps other people tried it?
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