Monday, August 9, 2010

TTL multi segment is great (sometimes)

First of all I have to explain that the loong silence is mainly weather related. It is really hot and humid in Dubai these days and I need to be outside to continue with experimental shoot outs. I really could not gather enough enthusiasm to face the weather conditions for an evening outside on top of Wolfis walk.

I had recently the good fortune that a good friend was involved as partner in the production of a beauty pageant "Miss Chinese Cosmos 2010 Middle East" and he gave me full permission of photography. Not an assignement, just for fun.

This is on the fly shooting where stage light is ever changing and you have no time to make elaborate changes of your set-up as "the show goes on".

My choice of equipment have been my trusted D300s, the 70-200 2.8 VRII. The 1.4 converter a SB 900 and the Battery Pack SD-9. The set up looked like this:



Also in the bag was the 17-35 2,8 and a set of new batteries for the flash + Li-Ion for the Camera

I was really blown away by the quality of lens, lens +converter and the flash. I used the flash in 99% of the pictures in direct mode as shown above, no diffuser, no indirect just straight. I only dialed in -1/3 stop for the flash. The shooting distance for me was between 10 -15m. The flash was set to TTL BL FP. Camera to Matrix Metering. The results straight out of the box where much better than I anticipated. Stage light and flash were always nicely balanced. Below some shots before the post processing:


This is the application for which the flash electronics and camera computers are actually made for. One can indeed forget everything and just shoot.

The SB900 Handbook stated that TTL would work fine up to 20m. I also wanted to find out what happens beyond that. Some shots were taken outdoors and much beyond that distance. The shot below for example at 26.6m. (That was the longest I could find with exact distance in the EXIF as all longer ones seem to show infinity.)

I am OK with the fill flash. SO the 20 m seem to be conservative.


The second big surprise for me was the SD-9 Battery Pack. My apperture was between 2.8 and 5.6 for most shots the distance as stated above 10m-15m. I never had delay in recycling or when shooting a burst any blanks in between. All in all I took about 600 shots and did not have to change the batteries. Respect!


If you want to shoot fast and/or many shots this thing is well worth its price!

There were very few exceptions, where a direct shot looked rather crappy, like this one of the audience, where the front people are OK but then there is a dramatic light fall off. I also liked how the automatic kept at least the front row in good exposure. Canon tended in this kind of situation to slightly overexpose the foreground in my experience.


Turned the flash to the ceiling and I got the following shot:

There is still fall off in the far corner, but I was impressed by the overall light output of the SB-900. (shots taken with the 17-35 2.8)

Finally one of my favorite shots post processed: The overall winner of 2009


What an interesting evening.

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