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Photography Question 
Cherie Early
BetterPhoto Member Since: 2/1/2005

what type of flash to buy?

Iím getting ready to purchase the Nikon D70s and my question is about the flash, which one to buy? I am slowly starting my home photography studio and this camera will be my first major purchase. I will be doing portraits both inside and out and maybe weddings. Also I was thinking on a light meter. Itís been a long time saving but my time is finally here where I can purchase these items. Thanks for the help.

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12/15/2005 6:46:25 AM

Bob Fately   Congratulations, Cherie, on your upcoming purchase!

You should probably look at the Nikon SB600 and SB800 flashes, and maybe the Sigma 500-something-or-other. These models have the ability to communicate with the camera body to obtain good automatic exposure.

On the other hand, it's not absolutely necessary to use a flash with "camera-smarts" in many occassions. I have found that my Vivitar 283 or Nikon SB28 work well in straight automatic mode. That is, rather than relying on communications with the camera for exposure, these units can be set to utilize thier own built-in sensor.

So, you can set the flash to operate at, say, f4, and then set your lens to f4 as well - and the flash cuts when necessary to get a proper exposure. Understand, this works with most normal lenses - when you have unusually lit subjects or use very long lenses the flashes' internal sensor won't be able to take the different perspective or view into account (same is true with filters on the lens).

As an aside, I would highly recommend that you get a light diffusion unit for the flash, to soften the light - this is especially useful on portraits and in weddings. You can check out Sto-Fen and LumiQuest models, or one made by an LA based wedding photographer named Gary Fong called the Photojournalist II PJ (okay, the guy's a shooter, not a marketer). Having used all three, I find the PJII to be far and away the best unit. But that's just me. (and I have no relation to the company - I'm just a satisfied customer).

As for a hand-held light meter - you'll probably want one that handles both reflective and incident type readings, as well as flash. Sekonik and Gossen both make models that are well respected (I use a Sekonik 385). Incident meters are the type designed to measure the light falling on the subject, rather than what is reflecting off the subject - you normally stand at the subject's spot and point the meter towards the camera to take a reading (with a little white dome on the sensor). The advantage of this approach you don't need to adjust the readings when working with subject matter that falls far from the standard 18% grey target of light meters - like white dresses or black tuxedos.

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12/15/2005 8:14:28 AM

Cherie Early
BetterPhoto Member Since: 2/1/2005
  Thank you so much Bob on the info. It helps me out alot. I have plenty to still to learn I am very excited.
Thanks again

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12/15/2005 11:30:25 AM

Debby A. Tabb
BetterPhoto Member Since: 9/4/2004
Bob has given you so much great info.!
I own the SB 800 and I love it!

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12/15/2005 11:33:34 AM

Michelle Andersson
BetterPhoto Member Since: 6/30/2004

I just purchased the SB-800 for my D-70. I was humming and hawing between it and the Sb-600. After speaking with many local photographers they ALL said go for the SB-800 because it has more power and you can get a faster recycling time too. You can always use less power but can never get more then your unit has.

If you want to read about the two go to Nikon's site and they have all the specs there...but you prolly already know that. ;)

As for a light meter...If you ever plan on using studio strobe lights I would reccomend getting a meter that can measure flash lighting as well as incident. I purchased the Sekonic L-358 and LOVE it!! It has this niffty chip you can put into it that controls that radio slaves on your studio lights. Now I just need to save for the radio slaves. :)

Anyways I digress. I second Bob on his reccomendations for Sekonic and I have also heard that Gossen is great.

Have fun making your purchases!!

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12/15/2005 2:18:54 PM

Cherie Early
BetterPhoto Member Since: 2/1/2005
  Thank you Debby and Michelle your information helped me out a lot.

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12/15/2005 7:20:48 PM

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