Wedding Flash Setup For N65/N80 and Coolpix 5700

Discussion in '35mm Cameras' started by Larry R Harrison Jr, Jul 9, 2004.

  1. My brother-in-law is getting married in September. I couldn't afford to
    travel to where he is at, but he agreed to pay our way if I photographed his
    wedding. I know, they always say--DON'T DO IT--but honestly enough things
    have happened in my life that the fear of blowing someone's wedding doesn't
    make me shake in my boots all THAT badly (though I do want to do a good job
    of course).

    Thing is, for my N80--and I may tag along an N65 as a backup (although I'll
    also have a Coolpix 5700)--I need a shoe-mounted flash. For all those
    cameras I mentioned all I have is the built-in flash--not what you want for
    an occasion like this. So I've been looking into flashes.

    I want to do more than just have the flash on the camera, though--for better
    results, I want it mounted off to the side or whatever.

    With the N65/N80--which are the cameras (along with the N75 I'd say) that
    the SB-50DX is meant to interface with--you can use them in conjunction with
    the built-in unit to boost its GN from 72 to 82. I am considering doing that
    with the SB-50DX mounted off to the left. I know direct flash is harsh, but
    I figure the SB-50DX will provide the bulk of the lighting, and the pop-up
    will be more of a "fill" unit. In the past, I've noticed a tendency for
    there to be shadows with off-camera flash to the left, and I'm thinking that
    the pop-up can help fill them in, but again hopefully won't be overpowering
    and make it look like total direct flash since the SB-50DX will provide much
    more lighting.

    Does this sound feasible to you? Does it make sense or am I off-base?

    Will this work with the Coolpix 5700 as well, using the internal & external

    Note: I don't have much money to spend, so these other options I'm mulling
    over may sound crazy. Hear me out.

    If that isn't the way to go, I'm thinking maybe buying two older SB-15s and
    having 2 flashes--one to the left and one to the right. In that case don't
    use the internal at all. I also assume that in that case the N65/N80 won't
    give "Matrix" or "3D Matrix" TTL flash, but rather just conventional TTL
    flash. I don't know how the Coolpix 5700 would handle that either, as it's
    more "quasi-TTL" (meaning it uses a sensor in the external flash to measure
    lighting rather than actually going through-the-lens).

    So I guess my questions are:

    (1) How does the setup vis-a-vis a single left-mounted SB-50DX--how does
    that setup sound for the N65/N80 and the Coolpix 5700? Should I use the
    pop-up to fill in shadows, or would that override the superiority of a
    bracket-mounted flash altogether?

    (2) If not that, how does the two SB-15s setup sound for all 3 cameras?

    (3) If not that, what do you recommend?

    (4) Also, how important is having matrix TTL flash as opposed to regular TTL
    flash? Would I be better off, say, pairing up two Sunpak PZ4000AFs and using
    regular TTL? (You can get a PZ4000AF for much of nothing.)


    Larry R Harrison Jr, Jul 9, 2004
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  2. Larry R Harrison Jr

    Bouser Guest

    Not enough flash power. You'll more than likely run into situations where
    the subjects are too far away (large groups) or where the unit's ability to
    do fill flash is inadequate. See if you can borrow a more powerful unit.
    SB25/SB26/SB28, Metz 54MZ-3, or something head and handle that's matrix
    metering compatible.
    Matrix balanced flash is far superior to TTL, especially when it comes to
    fill flash, which TTL simply can't do easily. Beg, borrow, or steal a more
    powerful flash that works with the matrix metering, set the camera to P, and
    fire at will.
    The hot setup would be the N80, a 35-70 2.8D, and a Metz 54MZ-3. If you can
    do it. Portra 160NC processed by a professional lab!
    Bouser, Jul 9, 2004
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  3. Larry R Harrison Jr

    Gordon Moat Guest

    Nothing wrong with low budget. If nothing else, it would beat the hell out of
    the wedding guests all taking shots with disposable cameras, though you might
    recommend that they do that anyone . . . just for some fun.
    Ideally, you need two flash units, and you should concentrate on using two
    cameras at a time.
    Actually, if you get a StoFen Omni Bounce that fits over the flash, that should
    soften the light up enough to give good results. It cuts up to three stops of
    light from the power at average people photographing distances. If you are
    getting two flashes, then get two of these. They also provide a small amount of
    protection to the flash head, since they are rugged plastic.
    Okay, the pop-up flash on the cameras should work okay as a fill-in, though you
    may want to mix the usage a bit. The pop-up flash is somewhat weak, so it is
    not going to add much in comparison to a good Speedlight. Also, you actually
    might find that you don't like the fill-in results in some of the photos. Just
    mix it up, and take plenty of shots.
    The SB-50DX is really not strong enough for most group images. Also, an easy
    way to get rid of some of the harsh shadows is to use a lower sync speed, thus
    allowing more ambient room lighting to also expose the film. This can give a
    warmer feeling to the background, though it takes some experience doing this to
    get good even results. My suggestion is that you practice a bit on a roll of
    film (or two) and write down some notes. Also, a light blue filter can
    sometimes help give a more natural and even look, so that might be something
    else you add to your kit.
    One issue with the way Nikon publishes Speedlight data is that they rarely list
    which older units work with which newer cameras. The big thing to watch out for
    is voltage ratings, though with most of the Speedlights since the SB-24, this
    is more of a concern with multiple lights off one camera body. Read the manual
    for the Speedlight carefully about that.
    Not much money I think your choices would be better with used gear. You need to
    budget for two flash units to really cover a wedding without driving yourself
    (and the guests) crazy.
    Unless you have used a bracket, or handle mount flash previously, I don't
    recommend getting a set-up like that. This greatly unbalances the camera. Some
    of the more expensive units can be okay on balance, but the money could have
    bought another used Speedlight. Skip the brackets, and spend the money on a
    couple StoFen Omni Bounces.
    Slightly weak, and a bit limited on settings. I recommend the SB-25, which you
    should be able to find used around $100 each. The slightly older SB-24 is
    similar, though a few less settings choices. The SB-26 is nearly the same as an
    SB-25 in use and power rating, though it is newer and costs a bit more.
    Two SB-25 with StoFen on each. No bracket mount. Use pop-up on camera flash
    only occasionally for fill in light. Use a 1/30 sync (you will need some
    practice to steady shoot at that setting) to allow ambient light to knock down
    the harsh shadows a bit. Get an 82A or 82B (light blue) filter, or both of
    these, to slightly improve the ambient light colour to a more normal
    Regular TTL is quite alright. With either TTL flavour, there can still be a bit
    too much light. If you have time to get use to the Speedlight, then find some
    settings adjustments that give more balanced results. Also, the auto setting is
    not a bad choice, and often the results can be very good.

    Nikon Speedlights are very good units. Many of the later ones are easy to
    adjust, and the displays are very accurate for adjusting results prior to
    shooting. Always practice first, and take notes.
    Take extra batteries for the Speedlights. Go to the rehearsal, and figure out
    where you will need to stand to make your shots. Use your digital Coolpix 5700
    like a Polaroid test when doing set-up or tripod shots. Make sure your lights
    are working well and then switch the Speedlight to your film camera. Take many
    photos. If you have some time, and are not too tired, try to shoot at least one
    roll of B/W film (recommend AGFA APX100 for nice skin tones). Don't drink too

    Options include getting a used SB-27. This is somewhat lightweight, and still
    powerful. The SB-27 is also great for vertical shots, since the head rotates to
    allow for better positioning than with regular Speedlights. There is also an
    SU-4 unit from Nikon that allows remote TTL flash control, and could work as a
    fill light for group or set-up shots. The SU-4 is not cheap, and only
    occasionally found used. Wein make some small slave flash adapters that cost
    less, though these require some practice for good results. If you have trouble
    finding a StoFen unit, then get one of the Lastolite bounces. The Lastolite and
    StoFen costs are similar, though the StoFen is small when mounted on the flash.

    <> Coming Soon!
    Gordon Moat, Jul 9, 2004
  4. Larry R Harrison Jr

    TP Guest

    Well, I was going to say "Don't do it!" but I guess I will
    just have to limit myself to "May God Help You".

    (no smiley)
    TP, Jul 9, 2004
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