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Nikon SB-800 "monitor preflash"

preflash

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5 replies to this topic

#1
colinml

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Is there a way to turn off/disable monitor pre-flash in an SB-800 while remaining in TTL mode?  I'm assuming there is not (presumably because TTL needs to "see" what's going on), but I want to make sure I'm not missing something.

 

I am puzzled because I found something in the manual that says the monitor preflash will not flash if the camera is in rear curtain sync.  I have found this not to be the case.  I also found something else in the manual that says monitor preflash will not flash if the flash head is in any position but 45 or 7 degrees.  I have not found this to be true either.

 

 

If you are curious, here is why I ask:  I am using a Godox XPro controller to wirelessly trigger a Godex X1 receiver mounted on the flash.  As far as I can tell, the flash itself has to be in TTL mode for the Godex to communicate with the trigger to change any settings.  If the flash is in manual mode, the Godex controller will fire the flash, just not allow me to change settings.  

 

The specific reason this is an issue is I am taking 2 second long exposure shots combining continuous and light with rear curtain sync flash to freeze my subject at the end of the exposure, and the monitor preflash is detectable earliernin the exposure (because it slightly freezes the motion, creating a "break" in the smooth light trails).

 

Obviously, I can set the flashes to manual, but this requires a lot of jogging back and forth between camera an flash, and I'm lazy.



#2
Merco_61

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I think the speedlight will work different from what the manual says with a mirrorless body. What camera do you use?

 

FV lock might be the solution, depending on what camera you have. On most of the more advanced bodies, you can assign FV lock to an fn button so you can activate it to lock the flash exposure. This won’t change until you press the fn button again to deactivate the lock. 



#3
colinml

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Ah.  Thanks. I’ll give that a try tomorrow. I should have mentioned that I’m using a Nikon z7ii. 



#4
colinml

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Sadly, that was not the fix in my particular situation.  It's something to do with how the Godox communicates because your suggestion of using FV lock works if the flash is mounted in the camera hot shoe.  Then I can turn off the monitor preflash using FV lock.  But if I try to use the Godox to trigger the flash wirelessly, I get the preflash unless the flash itself is in manual mode.  

 

If flash is in manual mode, there is no preflash, but the Godox requires the flash to be in TTL in order to communicate everything.  If the flash is in manual, the Godox can still send ISO, and F stop, but not power level.  



#5
colinml

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Just adding some more info, for future visitors.  May or may not be useful.  I bought these SB-800 speed lights (used, fairly inexpensive) thinking that, since I already had one in the back of a drawer (I've primarily done ambient stuff, landscape over the years), it would be an inexpensive way to get short duration flash for the particular thing I'm trying to do (combine continuous light with flash to get motion trails and a frozen dancer in the same shot).  My thinking was that if I had multiple flashes, I could get enough power, and still get a short enough duration.

 

If I had it to do over again?  I would just purchase a single studio flash capable of this, which I think can be had for about 650 bucks.  Even three speed lights are just barely enough power to freeze my subject only a few feet from the flash (reflected in an umbrella).  If I wanted to capture a dancer mid leap with the speed lights 10 feet away, there wouldn't be anywhere near the power I would need to get a short enough duration to freeze the dancer (as far as I can tell).

 

Moreover, as Merco_61 pointed out, the speed lights don't behave as expected with the newer camera I have.  I did more experiments today and discovered that, despite the Nikon site saying that the z7ii is fully compatible with the SB-800, several things simply don't work the same, and it's caused me a ton of frustration over the last week because I'm pretty new to using flash at all, and when things don't behave as expected that makes it difficult to learn.  Turning off pre flashes is one example.  I've discovered a couple others.

 

Anyway, I've dialed back my expectations for this shot.  No mid air leaps, movement landing a few feet from the flashes. I can fire them in manual, and it works.  I'll save my pennies for a more powerful studio flash with a short duration as I imagine capturing mid air leaps.



#6
Merco_61

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My favourite setup for what you want to do is a fair bit more expensive, but it is the perfect rig for dancers, figure skaters etc. 

 

I use a Broncolor Scoro 3200S with two Pulso G 1600 Joule heads. Definitely overkill, but the low output compared to the maximum will give a much shorter pulse than something like a 400 Joule monolight. 

 

One head in a Para Reflektor and the other in a softbox will usually produce both a soft falloff to the dark background and the subject-freezing harder light. If you price this out, don't get sticker shock! It is a pro-level system made to take abuse for more than 10 years in daily use with only the need for new bulbs now and then.

 

If you are prepared to raise the ISO a bit, a good 400-500 Joule strobe can probably do what you want it to, even if a 600 Joule or greater unit will make it easier.