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D100 setup


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#1 Ron Boyes

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Posted 07 May 2003 - 05:27 PM

Hi All,

Well I have taken the plunge and will get my Subal D10 housing tomorrow - as I am goining on a dive trip in 2 weeks I would like to get this system up and running, unfortunately I am not able to do any test dives prior to leaving.

I shall be using the following setup.
D100
Subal D10 Housing
70-180 Lens
SB80DX in a Subal SN80D housing.

I am totally new to the D100 and would like your advice and recommendations on the following.

Mode - P,A or S
Metering ?

Anything else that you feel will help me get up to speed quickly.

thanks
ron
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Nikon D2X - Subal Housing
Lens:70-180mm, 12-24mm, 17-55mm & 10.5mm
Strobes: SB800 Inon Z220 x 2

#2 james

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Posted 07 May 2003 - 05:39 PM

Hi Ron,

Good to hear that you've "taken the plunge." Have you used a housed SLR before? This question worries me: "Mode - P,A or S?"

With the 70-180 Macro lens, you should be shooting in manual mode with your shutter speed set to 60, 90, 125, or 180. I would start with 1/125h. Start with F22 and your strobe on TTL and take some test shots to see if your strobe is powerful enough. If it's putting out a full dump and your shots are still underexposed, then switch to f16 or f11. You should experiment with varying your Fstop and strobe power (take the strobe off TTL if you can) to get good exposures. You will be able to get some good shots using TTL on the SB80DX so I'd start there and experiment as you get the hang of it.

Metering - your camera won't use the meter when you are shooting in M. If you shoot in A then I'd set it to center weighted for macro.

Good luck!

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#3 davephdv

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Posted 07 May 2003 - 06:21 PM

I have a D100 in a Subal housing. James is right. Go manual with a shutter speed of 125th/sec. I like using manual exposure for the strobe rather than TTL. If you use TTL be shure to brakett all good shots. If you don't have a 1 GB card get one. Shoot raw and adjust in Photo Shop or Photo shop elements. I have never use the 70 to 180. I would like to know how it works.
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#4 donauw

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Posted 07 May 2003 - 07:10 PM

Ditto the above.

In addition, check your LCD to immediately review your shots using the histogram and TRUST the histogram. My experience is that the LCD tends to be too bright and you will consistently underexpose unless you use the histogram.

Also, if you must either under or overexpose...go for slight under exposure. The D100 is great at holding shadow detail, not so great with highlight detail.

Have fun.

Oh, yeah, one other question. Did you have your dealer resolder the internal bulkhead wiring for TTL? The D10 housing ships with only the two pins soldered and will not shoot TTL without having all 5 pins done.

Regards,

#5 Ron Boyes

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Posted 07 May 2003 - 10:21 PM

Ditto the above.  

In addition, check your LCD to immediately review your shots using the histogram and TRUST the histogram.  My experience is that the LCD tends to be too bright and you will consistently underexpose unless you use the histogram.

Also, if you must either under or overexpose...go for slight under exposure.  The D100 is great at holding shadow detail, not so great with highlight detail.

Have fun.  

Oh, yeah, one other question.  Did you have your dealer resolder the internal bulkhead wiring for TTL?  The D10 housing ships with only the two pins soldered and will not shoot TTL without having all 5 pins done.

Regards,

Thanks for the suggestions - will have a play and let you know the results.

I have a F90 which I use in A mode and a Coolpix 5000 which I have used in P mode, I was generally happy with the results using the 5000 in P mode and thoughts the the D100 may "like" P mode as well.

The strobe sockets have been wired for one using DTTL (5 wires) and the other 2 wires.
This way I shold be able to use a single DTTL and if necessary slave my YS 90DX for macro work or use the other socket for my twin YS120s using a twin strobe cord.

I think this setup should work OK

regards
ron
Ron Boyes
http://www.imagesdownunder.com.au
Nikon D2X - Subal Housing
Lens:70-180mm, 12-24mm, 17-55mm & 10.5mm
Strobes: SB800 Inon Z220 x 2

#6 Alex_Mustard

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Posted 08 May 2003 - 03:15 AM

You seem to have most bases covered, Ron. That's a good solution with the strobe sockets. Respect to your supplier!

With the SB80DX you will find that you can keep shutting the lens aperture down - most of my macro is done on equivalent apertures of f32-f45. One SB80DX and exposures are spot on. I know it is obvious, but I didn't realise how much less light ISO 200 digital needs compared with Velvia until I used it underwater.

I don't bother with bracketting, but I do check just about shot i take. My experiences with DTTL are that it gets it right most of the time and occasional gets it completely wrong.

Like the others, I shoot in M with macro lenses - using a 1/180th always - unless I want to slow the exposure to let ambient light in for balanced light macro.

Best of luck with the camera. With the SB80DX on you will find the Subal housing is almost completely neutral making it a joy to use (see image below with my D100 + 28-70mm floating out in front of me).

Alex

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#7 scorpio_fish

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Posted 08 May 2003 - 04:38 AM

One more opinion to add.

Set camera to manual. Aperture priority works fine, but unless you switch your camera to slow sync, the camera will default the shutter speed to 1/60.

There are two flash situations.

One is where the flash provides light for the entire scene (most macro and primarily what you are doing with the 70-180mm. Set camera to 1/125 or thereabouts, aperture to f/22. Any aperture above this and you start losing resolution to diffraction. Below this and you start losing depth of field. Set flash to DTTL, NOT MATRIX DTTL If your SB-80dx can't provide enough light, then you can bump the shutter speed as far as 1/180 before getting the ERR message. Too much exposure, you can reduce your shutter speed as far down as 1/60 without getting motion blur. You can call this bracketing, but it is more of an adjustment than bracketing. The results will be better than bracketing your f/stop. You can set your camera exposure to either spot or matrix, it won't matter, the strobe is providing the light and it using a different metering technique anyway. Just leave it on spot (see below). Don't worry about ambient light metering anyway.

The second situation is fill flash, where part of your scene is lit by ambient light only. Not as likely with the 70-180mm, but possible on some fish portraits in blue water. Spot meter in manual mode. Point camera to ambient lit part of scene and meter. You won't get f/22 for sure. This sets your ambient exposure. Again, with SB80dx set to standard TTL, dial in -1.0 to -1.7 flash compensation (if you can). The meter for TTL will look at your entire scene, including that which will not be lit by the strobe, causing the lit scene to be overexposed.

In addition, check your LCD to immediately review your shots using the histogram and TRUST the histogram. My experience is that the LCD tends to be too bright and you will consistently underexpose unless you use the histogram.



Dead nuts on. Learn how to interpret your histogram. LCD displays vary from camera to camera. They are meaningless for most evaluation. In my OPIONION, you want your distribution between the 1st quartile to midpoint, i.e. slightly underexposed to "perfectly" even. A good RAW editor does a great job of adjusting the exposure +/- less than 1 stop. It's easier to bring up the exposure than reduce. Just like slide film, burned out overexposed areas have no information. The histogram display on the D100 is one of its strengths.

Metering - your camera won't use the meter when you are shooting in M. If you shoot in A then I'd set it to center weighted for macro.


It does use the meter in M mode. The flash uses its own meter. Never use center weighted. Center weighted is flawed on the D100 and S2. It's a long story.
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#8 Craig Ruaux

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Posted 08 May 2003 - 05:18 AM

If your SB-80dx can't provide enough light, then you can bump the shutter speed as far as 1/180 before getting the ERR message.  Too much exposure, you can reduce your shutter speed as far down as 1/60 without getting motion blur.  You can call this bracketing, but it is more of an adjustment than bracketing.

Have the laws of physics changed while I was not watching, has George not had enough coffee, or is it me that is caffeine deficient.

I'm trying to get my head around why increasing exposure time from, say, 1/180 to 1/60 assists in an situation where you have "too much exposure".

Given that the strobe duration is somewhere between 1/1000 and 1/4000 of a second with the SB80DX, changing the shutter speed down is not going to change the strobe light impinging on the sensor. Only the aperture or strobe-subject distance could help if you intend to maintain f22 for optimum sharpness.

If someone can explain this for me, it would be great :P
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#9 james

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Posted 08 May 2003 - 05:20 AM

George:

It does use the meter in M mode. The flash uses its own meter. Never use center weighted. Center weighted is flawed on the D100 and S2. It's a long story.


Not so. Center weighted may not be "right" on the D100 but it IS right on the S2 - see Thom Hogan's books/posts for confirmation. Dunno why Nikon didn't re-tune the N80/D100's meters for the crop but they didn't...

Cheers
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#10 scorpio_fish

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Posted 08 May 2003 - 05:45 AM

Have the laws of physics changed while I was not watching, has George not had enough coffee, or is it me that is caffeine deficient.



Yes, in the pool til midnight and no coffee, but I am always trying to change/defy the laws of physics, to no avail. :P Boy, did I screw that one up.

Let me try again after some freshly ground java with a hint of irish creme.

Where flash is the primary source of light and strobe on TTL, adjusting anything won't change a thing unless the strobe can't provided enough light, since the exposure is controlled by the flash. Brain fart, too much manual flash of late. It is also highly unlikely that TTL will create overexposure. If you can't get enough juice from the strobe, slow down the shutter, duh!

Upon further review, what may be critical is getting enough light from the SB-80DX with such a long lens and potentially greater working distance. It will help if you can reposition the strobe as far forward as possible.

Again, remembering the length of the lens, fill flash may require a greater minimum shutter speed, say in the 1/125 range or faster rather than 1/60 I stated as a minimum. I would expect to adjust aperture only to get the ambient exposure correct.

Sorry James, couldn't remember if the center weighted issue included the S2 or not. But, Ron's got a D100.
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#11 donauw

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Posted 08 May 2003 - 09:39 AM

If you can't get enough juice from the strobe, slow down the shutter, duh!

Uh, wait a minute...:P

If you are shooting TTL macro where the ambient light is not a factor, changing your shutter speed shouold have no effect on your exposure. Actually, I do not believe that changing the shutter speed will affect exposure with a manual strobe setting, either. The flash duration is much shorter than any shutter speed you can use.

In order to change your TTL exposure you will need to use either the flash exposure compensation button (available on the Subal D10 - rear of housing) to increase or decrease your flash output or dial in a camerea exposure compensation (top of the housing near the On/Off switch.

Regards,

#12 Alex_Mustard

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Posted 08 May 2003 - 10:47 AM

I am curious that you are all so specific about settings. I just set my flash on matrix DTTL and leave the flash head to zoom if I have a zoom lens fitted. Camera on matrix metering and whether I shot on M or A at pretty much whatever aperture I chose DTTL worked just great. For both fill flash for balanced light or for flash only macro.

I approached it as a dummy, put everything on auto and zapped away and DTTL really was very reliable.

I also find that with DTTL my view screen was always accurate enough for telling me DTTL had done the business. And before I get it in the neck for having dodgy low standards for my hobby: since coming back from my first digital trip at Easter I have managed (while skiving off from work) to get my new digital shots UW accepted into a magazine, a photo library and a book.

Of course the reason I am reading (and reading carefully) everyones posts is to learn from all your thoughts. So keep 'em coming!

Alex

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#13 james

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Posted 08 May 2003 - 12:25 PM

You use TTL? GASP!!!! You must be a terrible photographer then...;-)

Oh wait a sec...you're a great photographer! Hmm...

Cheers
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#14 scorpio_fish

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Posted 08 May 2003 - 01:46 PM

I am curious that you are all so specific about settings.



All recommendations regardless of how specific are starting points. Every scene situation is different.

I just set my flash on matrix DTTL and leave the flash head to zoom if I have a zoom lens fitted.



The issue with the 3D multi-sensor Balanced fill flash DTTL is that it has a brain of its own. It does everything for you. This is fine if it works. The problem is that if it doesn't work and you make your own adjustments, it still doesn't stop thinking. It may actually compensate for your compensation and you have no idea what it has done. It doesn't tell you.

Camera on matrix metering and whether I shot on M or A at pretty much whatever aperture I chose DTTL worked just great. For both fill flash for balanced light or for flash only macro.



If it works, then great. It doesn't matter what the camera's meter is set to if you are using flash as a primary source of light. It's how the flash measures the scene that determines when the flash will be quenched. The spot metering recommendation is a way to peg the exposure of an area outside the flash's range. Example: when shooting a blue water background with camera in manual, point the camera at the area of blue water you want exposed to the equivalent of 18% gray. Set exposure to properly expose this spot. Higher/shallower water will be lighter and lower/deeper water will be darker. Now when you start moving your camera around adjusting the composition, your exposure settings remains the same. If shooting A, you must hit the AE lock or the exposure changes when you point the camera at the subject.

If you are matrix metering, a super secret proprietary passle of locations are being evaluated to determine the best exposure for the entire scene. In 3D multi sensor balanced fill flash, it will figure out everything for you. It will actually take into consideration the distance and figure out all the proper exposures. It may adjust your ambient exposure and compensate the flash. You never know. Like I said, if it works, it works. If it doesn't, you won't know how to adjust it.

In standard D-TTL in either M or aperture with flash set on slow sync (without slow synch the camera defaults to 1/60), you can meter the scene with any technique you want, either spot meter or matrix. In standard D-TTL and doing fill flash, the tendency will be to overexpose the nearest thing to the flash because it is including darker background in its calculation that is outside the range of the strobe. Hence, the recommendation to reduce the flash exposure.

Now, only slightly off subject, there seems to be some undercurrent swirling about that using TTL is some sort of crutch or tool used by the incompetent photographers. Nothing could be further from the truth. I will debunk the "manual is better" myth in my 2nd article as soon as I finish my 1st article.

James, I'm familiar with "TTB" strobe control that you well know about. A common acquaintance of ours repeated the "TTB" theme to me almost in a preachy tone. But with a wry smile, he went out and shot wide angle in TTL with a -1 EV.
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#15 Alex_Mustard

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Posted 08 May 2003 - 11:34 PM

Good tips and thanks for going into detail. Much appreciated, Alex

Does TTB stand for Through The Brain?

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#16 scorpio_fish

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Posted 09 May 2003 - 06:30 AM

Does TTB stand for Through The Brain?


Yup. Another reason I like TTL. :P
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