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Thread: Camera modes for Flash Photography: Do I have the basics right ?

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    Camera modes for Flash Photography: Do I have the basics right ?

    So Im looking over the Speedlite 430 Manual and another source and discover that P, Av, Tv, Night and Auto modes do different things.

    In P mode, if the ambient light is fairly bright (above 13 EV), it assumes you want to fill flash the foreground and the flash fills in the foreground; if the ambient light is not bright (below 10EV), it assumes you want to illuminate a subject in the foreground and in both cases you end up with an undexposed, dark background. ...Out with P, Auto and A-DEP modes then unless you dont mind a horrid background, as a rule, unless the background dosent matter because its a white or plain background like in a studio setting.

    In Tv mode, unlike P mode, the flash tries to illuminate the background adequately, but will often underexpose the background on A body cameras with the E-TTL flash unit engaged. The solution offered is to compare the Apeture settings in M mode, revert back to Tv mode and apply the apeture setting M offered and use Flash Exposure Compensation.

    Im thinking that you wouldnt want to worry about using Tv mode unless you wanted to deliberately slow down the shutter to get a milky water effect on sea or waterfalls shots and the SS impact of Speedlites makes is sooo much faster than normal SS without a flash so out with Tv Mode unless you want to slowww down movement (ocean, waterfall, nightflares on cars).

    In Av mode, you get much better control of the depth of feild, so macro shots and landscape shots and shooting in places with awful backgrounds you want to blur would be suited to the Av mode. The Flash takes care of the SS concerns (especially if mounted on a tripod) in dark conditions, but again the flash acts a a fill flash in order to expose the background correctly. Im thinking this is a good mode to use because the Apeture and consequently DOF and limitations of the lens focal length sweetspot range are controlled for.

    SO I AM WONDERING IF MOST PEOPLE USING FLASH OPT FOR MANUAL MODE as a RULE ?

    Why would I say that ?

    Im thinking that in manual mode you get alot more control over the shot. You use the cameras Apeture/Shutter speed combination manually adjusted to account correctly for the overall AMBIENT light conditions of the BACKGROUND as you would do without a Speedlite attached, and you can use the Speedlite flash to illuminate the SUBJECT.

    You direct the flash to meter off the main SUBJECT (eg a person) by using the Flash Exposure Lock to find the subject and lock it in so it calculates the correct flash output level for the shot.. If you dont like the outcome you use the Flash Exposure Compensation to adjust the flash output level up or down a third or half stop, and bang, shoot the image again.

    Seems to me that M mode gives you all the benefits of Tv (movement control) and Av (Depth of Feild) for flash photography, avoids the background horrors of P mode and offers much more flexibility and range in controlling the light for the image.

    Hope someone can confirm the above understanding of the impact of camera Mode selection in Flash Photography is right and confirm that M mode, as a rule, is best for flash photography.
    Last edited by David; 02-08-2009 at 12:35am.
    Comments and CC welcome..

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    *bump*

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    don't konw what most people opt for, but manual mode offers the most control over the flash, so therefore it is the best mode. if you are mucking about with the flash at home, then it is a good idea to put the flash in manual mode rather than ttl. this will teach you more about how the flash works in relation to distance and shutter. you may want to stick with ttl when out and about to start with though. if you are shooting digital, manual flash and camera mode is just so easy as you can chimp your results, and these results will be consistant.

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    I have no idea because I shoot in M and the flash is off camera in M mode as well.

    If I was to shoot TTL with flash on camera I think I'd go Ap. priority.

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    M on the camera and flash on E-TTL all the way. There's no need whatsoever to put the flash on manual too (unless you're gonna go for special effects).
    Ciao, Joost

    All feedback is highly appreciated!

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    Quote Originally Posted by jev View Post
    M on the camera and flash on E-TTL all the way. There's no need whatsoever to put the flash on manual too (unless you're gonna go for special effects).
    Thanks for the feedback people. Much appreciated.

    Based on the feedback Im going to stick with M mode on the camera and E_TTTL (auto) of the flash unless Im not happy with the flash ratio and need to tone it down abit or beef it up and that (I think) can be done in E-TTL mode anyway via flash compensation adjustments without the need to switch to M on the flash.

    I think I will eventually want to explore the world of Manual Flash but for now the auto mode on the flash working with a M mode on Camera should be good enough for my introduction into flash photography.

    THANKS AGAIN.

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