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by Tim Zurowski on Thu Jul 13, 2017 6:14 pm
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I posted this question here quite awhile back, but I forget the answer now. When shooting with the SB-900 in iTTL mode, I can only get it down to -3.0 EV. I believe that cameras with a built-in flash can get that to go below -3.0, but I am now using the D500. Is there any way to get the SB-900 to go below -3.0 in ITTL mode?
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by E.J. Peiker on Thu Jul 13, 2017 8:06 pm
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In the Nikon system, unlike other manufacturer's, the compensation for flash that you set in camera and on the flash are additive.  So set the flash to -3 and then set it even farther negative in the camera body.  On a camera with a built in flash you simply hit the little flash symbol on the side of the pentaprism and then turn the dial to the desired compensation level.  On cameras without a built in flash, this button does not exist.  The way you do it is to shoot in manual exposure mode and then you can compensate the flash using the standard exposure compensation method by hitting the +/- button on the top right near the shutter button and turning the dial.  Function e3 has to be set to Entire Frame for this to work.  Since there is no such thing as ambient exposure compensation in manual exposure mode, it only adjust the flash power.  On a D500 the in body compensation is +/-5.  So the combination of the flash head compensation setting and the in body compensation gives you a total range of +/- 8.  In order to verify that what I wrote above is accurate I just tested this and found it to work exactly as I described.

Note that this will not work in an automated exposure mode since the exposure compensation button will also affect the ambient exposure setting in addition to the flash exposure setting.  You must have the camera in M mode for it to work.
 

by Tim Zurowski on Thu Jul 13, 2017 10:03 pm
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Thanks EJ . . . .  I will give that a try.  What about using the flash button on the left back side (right above the OK button) in conjunction with the front dial. Will that do the same thing? I tried it, but had no idea if it was working since the SB-900 didn't display any change.
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by E.J. Peiker on Thu Jul 13, 2017 10:28 pm
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ROFLOL - yup that will work - I never even noticed that due to Nikon's constant "who moved my cheese" button assignments that change on every camera from the previous one. You are limited to -3 stops on that one so along with the flash head you can go to -6 with that - wonder what happens if youa dd my work around to that :)
 

by Tim Zurowski on Thu Jul 13, 2017 10:39 pm
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Thanks EJ . . . . . . I'll give it a try tomorrow. Would be nice if that button synced up with the flash and the flash showed up to -6.0. When I set the D500 to -3 and the flash to -3, it still shows -3 on the flash. Most of the time I use manual flash, but today I was in a situation where iTTL would have been a preferred option, but -3 was still too much - so I stuck with manual.
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Tim Zurowski
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by Greg Basco on Sat Jul 15, 2017 9:03 am
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Tim, another option for when -3 is still too much is to set the flash in BL mode. That usually will effectively tone down the flash by altering the calculations made between camera and flash as the idea is to balance the flash even more with the ambient light.

If it were the case that you are shooting at pretty close distances with a Better Beamer or similar, removing the Beamer may also help.

If none of those applies, as EJ mentioned, often dialing in FEC through both body and flash is also a great way to tone down the flash beyond -3, the only benefit (and it's a nice one) to Nikon's additive FEC approach :-)

Cheers,
Greg
 

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