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Strobe w/digital help...
Old 01-31-2005, 07:15 PM   #1 (permalink)
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I have a question about using studio flash equipment with a digital camera. Every time I meter my strobes, set my digital camera to the setting given by my meter, and take a shot, the image looks completely overexposed. When I shoot with my film cameras, it looks fine every time. The only way to compensate for this that I've found is to stop way down, but when I do that the entire scene is sharp, and I don't necessarily want that every time.

Are digital cameras extra sensitive to studio flash equipment, or am I just doing something wrong?

Thanks,

Sam
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Re: Strobe w/digital help...
Old 01-31-2005, 07:28 PM   #2 (permalink)
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I have found that flash meters can read all over the place. When shooting with digital it is sort of like shooting with slide film. You need to have exposures that are right on.

Here is how to be sure you're getting a good exposure. Meter with the flash meter and set the camera fstop according to the meter and the shutter speed at your normal sync speed (often 1/125th).

Now, shoot a photo of a gray card and be sure to fill the whole frame with the card. Now look at the histogram. If you see a spike in the middle, then the exposure is dead on. But if the spike is not close to the center, then your meter is off in relation to the Digital camera. Repeat the test (in this paragraph) after, adjusting the fstop up or down and keep repeating till you find an fstop that puts the spike about in the middle.

You have now calibrated your camera for the current light setup. Now start shooting glamour shots. Don't worry if they don't look perfect on the LCD. You can't really judge a photo very well on the LCD. When you get them into Photoshop, you'll be able to see that you have good exposure.

Now that you know what to expect from your meter, you can change the fstop appropriately in the future.

If you want to shoot wider open for a narrower DOF, then reduce the power of the lights, or move them further back, or use ND filters on the camera.

Cheers,
rfs
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Re: Strobe w/digital help...
Old 01-31-2005, 07:37 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Cool, thanks, I'll give that a try.

Sam
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Don\'t forget
Old 01-31-2005, 08:15 PM   #4 (permalink)
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to check your ISO and that what the meter is set at is what the camera is set at...Or...Vice-versa...Or something...

That they match. Yah, that's it.

Cheers
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If I could I\'d kick myself!
Old 01-31-2005, 09:08 PM   #5 (permalink)
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After you posted to check the ISO, I double-checked my settings, and lo and behold, the freakin' camera was set on Automatic ISO!!! Aargh!! Not only that, but the ISO chosen by the camera every time was 1600!!! No wonder the images were not only way overexposed, but way grainy, too. Double aargh!!

Blast these new-fangled digital contraptions... [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/tongue.gif[/img]

Now that I know that what I have the ISO set on is what it's actually gonna be, maybe now I can calibrate my meter to my camera like Frederick said above so that I can actually look like I know what I'm doing. [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/smirk.gif[/img]

Thanks for reminding me to check the simple stuff,

Sam
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Re: If I could I\'d kick myself!
Old 01-31-2005, 09:26 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Heh...No need to kick yourself...

When you said it's right every time with film, that led me to suppose that you might be using the same ISO/ASA film with the strobes...And hence, not changing that setting (on one end or the other).

I'll bet that I'm not going too far out on a limb to say that extra camera adjustment has gotten everyone, at one time or another.

(Auto-ISO? What are you shooting, just curious, never heard of that)
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Re: If I could I\'d kick myself!
Old 01-31-2005, 09:59 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Yeah, I've forgotten to change ISO settings on my meter several times in the past. You'd think I'd remember by now. [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/smile.gif[/img]

The camera is a Nikon D100. It's got this auto ISO setting for choosing the "best" sensitivity for the light available, or something like that. I guess it figured that since the ambient light levels were so low, it chose the camera's fastest ISO (1600), but of course it also fired the strobes, which blew the shots out completely. Oh well, that'll teach me to not fully read a manual. [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/tongue.gif[/img]
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Re: If I could I\'d kick myself!
Old 01-31-2005, 10:19 PM   #8 (permalink)
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I know with my nikon d it seems like you need a check list to not forget to switch the settings on something! Now i sit down and scroll through the screen every time before i shot to double check everthing
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Re: If I could I\'d kick myself!
Old 02-01-2005, 12:50 PM   #9 (permalink)
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man, i've done similar too many freakin times. and then i'm standing there blaming the meter, blaming the camera... i've learned to blame myself first.
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Re: If I could I\'d kick myself!
Old 02-01-2005, 01:25 PM   #10 (permalink)
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I guess I need to start doing that too...
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