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Curves&Flash wD70

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graciegirl

Although I have used the pop-up & practiced a lot w/natural lighting getting familiar w/my D70, I have not tried any curves nor have I shot w/my SB-80DX Speedlight since I got my D70 recently. I have an event I was invited to shoot over 4 days in a huge auditorium w/ugly fluorescent lighting mixed w/incandescent & low lighting during presentations.

My tools are D70 w/SB-80dx Speedlight, 18-70dx lens & 80-200 lens and I will be able to get within 50 feet of the subjects...the added pressure is getting "the shots" for my client & w/my client on stage w/the VIPs that include political figures like Colin Powell, a couple of actors and executives.

Like any other occasion, the pressure IS resident for me to get "the shot" as it is for all of us however, I think THIS time, being still relatively new to the D70 (& most confident w/my F-100), the limitations of the SB-80dx w/the D70 & the subjects themselves are a bit intimidating & overwhelming.

Does anyone have any useful tips or suggestions they wouldn't mind passing along regarding things like...

1) Curves they have used in this lighting condition?
2) Settings for the SB-80DX given the lighting, distance, lens used?
3) Settings for WB, Exposure Comp., etc.

Appreciate it...
 
A

algo_rithm

Sharon,
Put yourself in the mind set of a news photographer in this situation. No time for artsy fartsy shots. You need to get the shot. I purchased a SB-800 and it came with a small, two filter set to compensate for FL and TN lighting. Did the SB80? If not, go buy them. The Nikon filters are TN-A1 & FL-G1, that are in a set called SJ-800. I'd imagine that there is a similar set for the SB-80 (SJ-80?). Just bear in mind that the SB-80 is NOT an overly powerful flash, so if you want any sort of depth of field, your [flash] shooting distance is drastically reduced. If you use the filter set, you can match the flash to the PREDOMINANT lighting (if there is a mixture of light), and slow the shutter down enough to fill in the dark areas that the flash could not illuminate. (Slow sync shutter setting. matrix or center weighted meter) That's tricky without a tripod in a news type situation. (VR lens helps in this situation greatly) PRACTICE!! I say take every last available minute you have to learn the in's and out of the camera/flash combination and forget about ambient light for the moment.

Unless you have time to experiment with custom curves, just use the normal curve and shoot RAW (NEF), that will give you the highest quality possible and you can change and fix many parameters, after the fact.

WB, etc> Use the wb setting that matches the light. That is the correct procedure for using the filters on the flash and using slow sync. So if you are in tungsten light, put the tungsten filter on the flash, put the WB to tungsten (or use a grey card to wb) and snap away to your bosses delight.

Remember...if there is a strong mixture of light types, try to use the WB for the more prevalent light source, that's the best you can do in a situation like that.

Good luck and let us know how it went, good or bad.

Bo
 
G

graciegirl

Thanks for the direction...clear and concise...I really appreciate your time.

I have never used curves so I have no idea what the "normal" curve is, is that a default?

I am not familiar w/filters either and will look online to purchase.
 
A

algo_rithm

Lol, clear and concise, I was 1/3 asleep when I wrote that. If you look in your manual under "Tone" it will tell you how to navigate to the different tone curves that are pre-loaded in the camera. Usually the normal curve is the default, if memory serves me.

The flash filters are very small, colored cellophane type plastic that easily attaches to the front of the flash head so that the light is balanced to a desired color temperature.

If you look in your SB80 manual, it will tell you what accessories are available for the SB80.

Glad to help and let us know, like I said, good or bad how it went. By you sharing, you are sharing with others and helping them learn.

Cheerz,
b
 
A

algo_rithm

In the Nikon Full Line Product Guide on page 57, you will find the Color Filter set SJ-1 that is compatable with the SB-800, SB-80DX, SB-50DX. It includes 20 color balancing filters.

And it comes in under $5,000 dollars, WOW. ;~)

b
 
G

graciegirl

Excellent...this is only getting better...no complaints, this opp doesn't come along too often.

So the client called late this afternoon and is flying me out tomorrow instead of Thursday because of schedule changes w/the VIPs...I'm "on" Wednesday at 8am sharp...no time to order anything, I've the tools that I do (unfortunately) and HAVE to perform...if you (or anyone) can think of anything else in this 11th hour lemme know...Say, I have a pack of s&le gels from one of the workshops I took...can you describe which gel for whihc condition, maybe I can just tape it for the moment when I need it? Whta I have seen so far in ambient light shooting is NO detail in the midtones especially (?!), lack of color and blown out highlights.

thanks again...
 
A

algo_rithm

EDITED>>>>> Again, sorry

The Nikon filters are TN-A1 (AMBER) & FL-G1 (LIGHT GREEN-ISH). TN stands for tungsten and FL stands for fluorescent.

I have one suggestion. If this event is as important as I suspect it is, I'd carefully consider possibly just using your F100 and shooting Fuji chromes. I mean, if you have not worked with digital before now and this thing is a national event, then perhaps it would be best to go with what you know, just so you don't hose yourself. To just begin to understand and be comfortable with a DSLR, it takes about 5000 exposures (even for pros) if you are making the transition from film.

All of the conditions you describe above, sounds to me like you are on one of the lower contrast settings ~or~ Adobe rgb color mode ( if the D70 has those modes someone else that has one, please chime in here)(I have a D100, same beast pretty much)and possibly have some exposure compensation dialed in. Until you pick up the manual and go through the camera settings in the menus and put them to your taste, you'll never know why you are getting those results.

Here are what might be considered "default settings":

JPEG Fine
normal tone curve
matrix metering
P Exposure Mode
DTTL Flash Mode
Auto White Balance

There aren't many [if any] working pros that would use these settings, simply because too much is left to chance and/or automation.
A DSLR is not exactly the kind of camera that someone can "just tell you" what to do. Really. It's a beast that takes a certain amount of time and experience to get exactly what you want, BUT, if you use the settings described above, from what I know about the D70, you'll have a better than average chance of pulling this off.

Good luck.....

Boris
 

lnbolch

Well-Known Member
Boris speaks with wisdom. NEVER go into a shoot with unfamiliar equipment or be required to use techniques you have not perfected in testing. A great photographer seems to be always pushing the edge. However it is in testing that the photographer LEARNS where the edge IS.

A shoot is not the place to learn. Go with equipment and techniques you can trust even if it is with less than leading edge equipment. The client wants results and does not care how they come about. The process is simply not part of a client's concern for the most part.

Film can be turned into digital images quickly. At the state of the art, directly to digital has its advantages as long as you are fluent in doing so.

Never risk a mission-critical shoot to either equipment or techniques where you are not totally fluent. If you do go D70, review each situation IMMEDIATELY after shooting, so you can make adjustments - but know the camera well enough that you can see at a glance what adjustments must be made.

The client is alway concerned with content. If the content is great, the client does not care how it was achieved.

larry!
ICQ 76620504
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G

graciegirl

Okay my new friends...sincerely, thank you for your help.

Yes, I agree and have considered my F100 however have you worked with RAW? All of my (a bit over 1000) frames shot have been in JPEG Fine, settings remarkably close onto suggested settings except for the "tone".

Shall I shoot RAW (or JPEG)? I have PhotoShop CS in which I took a workshop on recently, never tested the RAW workflow though. I have heard more than a few times if I shoot w/the D70 and it is this critical then shoot RAW.

What do I need to know about tone/curves even if I stick w/the manual and default settings I can change w/in the camera and not entertaining the custom curves a few are sharing out there?
 
A

algo_rithm

Raw gives you as much and more control than the camera itself offers. You just need to have the WB in the ballpark, and use good metering technique. EVERYTHING else can be fixed after the fact in NIKON Capture Editor. CS and photoshop are great but the Nikon software is designed to work with the camera.

Raw uses 2/3 more space on your cards. If you don't have big cards and have no way of off loading and storing while shooting, then you just may have no choice but to shoot JPEG.

The curves can be set to what ever your heart desires in Capture, after exposure. But, it's important that you understand that in low contrast scenes you don't use the low contrast settings in the camera. You will have very flat photos. But even that will be fixable in Capture, but it's best to start with the best possible settings from the beginning. I'd use the normal curve. You can switch between the different curves in the camera, once again, you NEED to read the manual. If you have a good basic understanding of how light and film work, it won't be beyond you.

I'll personally be glad when you are done with this and have time to throttle your camera and get to know it and read the manual and then back to the throttle on the camera. That's the only way to really know your DSLR. Larry pointed out that along the way you can preview your shots and make adjustments...yup. Bring both of your cameras and make the F100 the primary and use the D70 here and there.... can't go wrong that way.

Don't stress about it, just do it.

Bo
 
G

graciegirl

Lastly, given the direction this has taken and all of your suggestions...any add on comments on acheiving skin tones? LOTS of people this shoot.
 
A

algo_rithm

The book says color mode 1 is for skin, I use mode 3 which has just about the same skin tone, but is a richer more saturated color, I have yet to really use the other modes. I have, but for special purpose.
 
A

algo_rithm

Here is mode III on the D100 shot in nef. EDITED TO SAY: I used the exact technique that Larry describes below.

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lnbolch

Well-Known Member
If you do a white balance with a grey card at the subject postion, skin tones will fall into place. At most you may have to saturate or de-saturate slightly in Photoshop. That is simply routine with any shoot. If there is a slight colour cast, that too can be removed in processing. Try to come as close as possible at the time of exposure. Photoshop is for fine-tuning - not majorly correcting - in a pro shoot.

Remember that the monitor is your closest friend, and there has never been a better light meter - ever - than the histogram. Do a test shot if the conditions change in any way, check the histogram and the monitor image and adjust.

Don't wait to get home to see the results. This is the huge advantage that digital has over film. Test and make adjustments on the shoot while you can.

Don't panic.

larry!
ICQ 76620504
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hienchen

New Member
I just bought the Nikon D70, can I use my F 100 SB-80 Speedlight? OR I need to buy a SB-80DX Speedlight?
Thanks
Hien Chen
 

charlie

Active Member
Hien, to get all the features working, you will need to get the SB600 or SB800 to take advantage of iTTL (newer version and more accurate TTL). However, you can use your existing flash but it will not work in TTL mode. In fact, you wont be able to press the shutter. The D70 will lock it up. You will be able to use your flash in the Auto, Manual mode with options for rear curtain flash and repeating flash.

I have not tried the SB80 or the DX, but I do own a SB28 (non DX) and am able to use it on the D70, but the Flash exposure and the pictures are much, much , much more accurate with the SB800.

At least you can use it until you are ready to invest in the SB800. Should you wish to use multiple flashes, I suggest you get the SB800 first, as that is the Flash model that can remotely control other SB600s' and SB800s'.

Paul
 

tom_rains

Active Member
> You will be soooooo much happier with the SB800 flash. The older flash models do not "talk" to the D70 and you have to shoot everything on manual. There is no auto aperture available with the SB80 when used with the D70. You have to take many shots to set the output to work and it just is not worth the effort to reshoot, plus sometimes you cannot reshoot candids. >
 

hienchen

New Member
Hello Paul, Thank you very much for the reply on the D-70 flash questions. I will try SB28 (non DX)with D-70 and will post on the forum. I did try the SB-80, it is not work at all. Thanks again Paul Hien >
 
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