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Alien bee has arrived - silly question time!
Old 01-25-2005, 10:17 AM   #1 (permalink)
Kurt_Gearheart
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Just got my Alien Bee flash unit.

As of yet, no hotshoe adaptor for the sync cord, nor a radio remote unit.

This leaves me with having to use (for a short time) the slave-light-detecting-cell thing that fires the Bee when my on-camera flash goes off.

I can find no real instructions either in the Bees manual or in my D70 manual on how to really get this to work.

I've tested it, and sure enough the Bee goes off when my camera flash goes off.

However, in the image, it seems as if about half the time what's being captured is before or after the Bee flash, no evidence that the image capture and Bee flash occurred at the same time.

However again, sometimes it's obvious the flash and capture DID occur close enough to be considered at the same time.

I've experimented with various shutter speeds etc, and can't figure out a consistent pattern here.

HELP!!!

(Not that desperate since I will be getting first a hot shoe adaptor for the sync cord, then a Pocket Wizard, so I'm not stuck with this forever - it'd just be awfully nice to get it all to work THIS way...)
 
 
Re: Alien bee has arrived - silly question time!
Old 01-25-2005, 10:41 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Make sure the red eye reduction is off and in the cms menu # 19 Flash mode is set to manual. I set mine at Manual ¬Ĺ with a shutter speed of 60 (1/60th sec)


Good luck wiht it and have fun
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Re: Alien bee has arrived - silly question time!
Old 01-25-2005, 10:46 AM   #3 (permalink)
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I shoot Canon, so I don't know if this will be entirely helpful to you.... Canon cameras actually fire 2 flashes as part of the E-TTL metering. The first flash is just a head of shutter opening, and is used to calculate exposure, WB, stuff like that. However, the two flashes are so close together it's hard to recognize that there's really two distinct flashes.

However, the AB unit can tell, and it'll fire on the first flash and won't have time to recycle for the second flash. As a result, your photo is underexposed (as if there had been no flash at all). To defeat this, you have to shut down the E-TTL functions.

Canon has a function where you can manually fire the preflash ahead of pressing the shutter button. I think it's called exposure lock. This is to allow you to meter and set your exposure on one part of a scene, recompose the image, and fire away. You can use this to give the AB unit time to recharge.

I'm assuming that Nikon has similar functions and metering methods. Maybe somebody can help, or just check the manual. Hopefully this is enough to push you in the right direction.

Have fun with it. There's a lot you can do with just one light.

One light setup (if I remember corretly)...
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Re: Alien bee has arrived - silly question time!
Old 01-25-2005, 10:50 AM   #4 (permalink)
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I set mine to the lowest power on the d70 and the slaves in my bowens heads pick up fine the only problem is some times you see the flash in reflectivve serfices. The d70 will sync up to 1:500 sec which is very handy in my oppinion which means i can get those larger apatures (for small Depth of feild) when my heads are already set to minimum in a small room. cant wait to get some pocket wizards.

Lee
 
 
Re: Alien bee has arrived - silly question time!
Old 01-25-2005, 11:02 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Make sure you get a safe sync for you for you trigger cable. Even though the AB's say that they are 5 volt safe, I've seen camera electronics get fryed. 70 bucks is better than the cost of a new d70.
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Re: Alien bee has arrived - silly question time!
Old 01-25-2005, 12:43 PM   #6 (permalink)
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I use the Canon 20D and I sync directly to the Alien Bees without any adapter. They clearly state on their site that the sync/trigger voltage is less than 6 volts.
Cheers,
Roger
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Re: Alien bee has arrived - silly question time!
Old 01-25-2005, 01:06 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Actually one of the new improvements for the 20D is that the safe voltage was raised to 250 volts. I found that out one night when I was researching the 20D.

Chris
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Re: Alien bee has arrived - silly question time!
Old 01-25-2005, 03:10 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Kurt,

If you want to trigger your Alien Bee with the sync cord, you need a Nikon AS-15 adapter. It fit's onto your hotshoe and has a female PC cord jack. About $16.00. The Alien Bee is very low voltage so you don't have to worry about that.

Gregg
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Re: Alien bee has arrived - silly question time!
Old 01-25-2005, 06:25 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Yes, its on page 98 of the manual buried in one of the footnotes. But keep in mind that spec is only for the pc terminal so it may not be true for the hotshoe.

Cheers,
Roger
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Re: Alien bee has arrived - silly question time!
Old 01-25-2005, 08:32 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Funny, I also have bee's and just today I was looking into this problem(i also have had the problem), well as far as I was able to figure out is,as others have stated above, is the TTL sends a small pre-flash that makes the bee's fire early, thus dark image. I have not tried it again yet, but let us know if it worked!
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