d800 + sb800 + flash sync

Vipmediastar_JZVipmediastar_JZ Posts: 1,708Member
edited August 2013 in Nikon Flashes
I finally had a chance to do my self family shoot. It was fun except it was humid and I forgot my cyber commander to fire the sb800 remotely so I mounted it to the hot

I'm aware of the flash sync. I read and read and read about it. Since my daughter couldn't stay still I needed to up the shutter. However it was towards sunset so the exposure was a best 1/60 and the flash was for fill. I would like to share the photos but they will be shared next week. Sorry.

Now I'll post my question before the weekend because I have another practice session on Sunday and I hope I get some replies.

I shot in manual mode and set the flash sync speed to 250 autoFP High speed.
My understanding is that only if the shutter calls for 250 or higher the flash should strobe pulsate the flash.
The settings ended up being 85mm f3.2 1/60 ISO either 200-800. I tried to find a faster shutter to accomadate freezing my daughter but I guess the light didn't call for it unless I stopped past f/8 which I didn't want.

So the flash was strobing at 1/60 I changed it to manual ittl ittlbl etc. Finally I changed the the flash sync in camera to just 250 not auto 250 and it stopped strobing pulsating.

According to an article I read it should have not done that. http://darrellyoung.blogspot.com/2011/10/understanding-your-nikons-flash-sync.html?m=1

was it because it was mounted to the hotshoe and not fired remotely or is there potentially something wrong with the sb-800 or my d800 combo.

I have no isssues when I use the alien bee ab800 fired with the cyber commander.

Thoughts advice etc are welcome. I don't always use the sb800 but I will be using it for a few portraits in the future.

Post edited by Vipmediastar_JZ on


  • AdeAde Posts: 1,071Member
    edited August 2013
    I shot in manual mode and set the flash sync speed to 250 autoFP High speed.
    My understanding is that only if the shutter calls for 250 or higher the flash should strobe the flash.
    What do you mean, "strobe the flash"? Fire the flash?

    The "1/250 s AutoFP" setting means the flash will not enter "Auto FP" mode unless the shutter speed exceeds (is faster than) 1/250.

    Below 1/250, the flash still operates in normal mode (so it still fires, just not using Auto FP). Auto FP is a special mode which allows the flash to "pulsate" during high speed shutter operation.
    Post edited by Ade on
  • Vipmediastar_JZVipmediastar_JZ Posts: 1,708Member
    Ooops. I meant pulsate. It fired several flashes mine pulsated at 1/60 and did not work as normal until I changed the flash sync speed from auto FP
  • AdeAde Posts: 1,071Member
    Ok we probably mean different things by "pulsate".

    If you saw several distinct flashes during an exposure, that's probably not Auto FP. It's more likely your flash accidentally entered "red-eye reduction" mode. The Auto FP setting might have been coincidental.

    It's easy to accidentally change the flash mode to include "red-eye reduction" when pressing the flash button (I've done it while trying to set a flash exposure compensation). Maybe that was the issue?
  • Vipmediastar_JZVipmediastar_JZ Posts: 1,708Member
    Stop the presses.
    Yes that is what it probably was. Either red eye or rear curtain. I do remember setting the exposure comp back to 0 I must have changed the other settings too.
    I definitely had a brain freeze. It's easy when you are not taking your own photos in humid weather and un-cooperating toddler.

    At least I can now test the 250 auto again in daylight knowing I only had brain freeze.
  • IronheartIronheart Posts: 3,017Moderator
    Perhaps you are seeing the TTL pre-flash that occurs for metering purposes? What exactly is the problem, did the photos turn out okay?
  • Vipmediastar_JZVipmediastar_JZ Posts: 1,708Member
    Perhaps you are seeing the TTL pre-flash that occurs for metering purposes? What exactly is the problem, did the photos turn out okay?
    At first I had it as manual since I was going to fire remotely. I didn't switch to TTL until afterward. But I think we have figured out the problem - User error.

    Overall the photos came out good. Depth of field/concept/ was there. I might have missed the framing/composition but the exposure in the end was good.
  • TaoTeJaredTaoTeJared Posts: 1,306Member
    In high-speed-sync you will not see the "Pulses" - usually a pre flash (metering and or red-eye) and then all our eyes can see is one flash. In HSS pulses are so fast you will not see it. Note also the flash power is cut dramatically as well.

    On the use side, HSS is not determined by the flash but by the shutter speed, and only the shutter speed. You have to be shooting above 1/250th for HSS to happen as Ade stated. You can not controol how "fast" the light duration of the speed light like you can with some studio strobes.

    In the end, what you were thinking (using HSS to stop action) for a family photos by pulsing the light can not be done nor is it how it is done in this situation. Best success I have had is to get the shutter to 1/500 with small children, fire the flash manually at full power (or what the scene needs). ISO will have to rise. It's a priority of goals: 1) DOF to get everyone in focus (f5.6-f8 usually does it) 2) Freeze motion so there is no blur 3) ISO. IF you do not get the first two - the image is not good. I would say your shutter speed was way too low and your DOF was probably too shallow which may have made any movement by your daughter look worse by being out of focus (or moving out of the depth of field). At 12f (4m) the DOF of 85mm @ f3.2 is only 1.25ft (0.35ish m). For multi person family shots, Bokeh goes out the window unless you have a ton of room to work with, then you need to pull very far away from the background.

    I'm guessing you knew all of this but in the speed in the moment you just forgot. It is funny that I shoot these weekly but when I do my own family self shot (with me in them) they turn out like garbage as I will turn into an idiot for that moment.

    D800, D300, D50(ir converted), FujiX100, Canon G11, Olympus TG2. Nikon lenses - 24mm 2.8, 35mm 1.8, (5 in all)50mm, 60mm, 85mm 1.8, 105vr, 105 f2.5, 180mm 2.8, 70-200vr1, 24-120vr f4. Tokina 12-24mm, 16-28mm, 28-70mm (angenieux design), 300mm f2.8. Sigma 15mm fisheye. Voigtlander R2 (olive) & R2a, Voigt 35mm 2.5, Zeiss 50mm f/2, Leica 90mm f/4. I know I missed something...
  • GarethGareth Posts: 159Member
    Hold "SEL"

    Choose the icon with the squiggly arrows and flashes.

    Make sure it is set to off (hit SEL again scroll to off, hit SEL).

    Hold SEL to exit menu.

    It sounds like you're in MASTER (RPT).
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