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09-21-2010, 06:53 PM   #1
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Wireless TTL with Nikon Flashes!

Well, I posted this in the DSLR section, but it seems no one there is interested...

Anyway, this can be really useful with our old film bodies, so I'll start this again here (mods, feel free to remove the other thread!).

Well, I don't know if you're aware of this neat trick, but for all of you still using those wonderful old film bodies or the *istD, DS or DS2 (in short, any TTL body, not those fancy P-TTL ones ), you can use some Nikon film flashes as wireless TTL slaves!

Some pre-DSLRs Nikon SB flashes indeed offer an (AFAIK) unique slave mode called SU-4 (named after the little separate unit that can also transform non-SU-4 flashes into TTL wireless slaves).

In this mode, the slave flash not only detects when the main flash is fired, but also when it is cut off by the camera, and so reacts accordingly and shut off its own burst.

Yeah, that's right : Nikon really made an universal TTL wireless slave flash, back in the film days...

Best part is that the last crop of Nikon film flashes featuring this are simply useless on Nikon's DSLRs, so they can be found for next to nothing, and are in really good shape...
The SB-50dx, for instance, has this ability and can be easily found for 50€... So has the SB26 (IIRC), the SB-80dx, and some others...

So, if you can try this, shoot and post some sample!!!

09-22-2010, 02:59 AM   #2
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Hi dlacouture,

Thanks for the information, I was not aware of that at all...

I think I am going to have a look at this local "used gear" shop close to where I live...

François

Last edited by LeFanch; 11-04-2010 at 11:05 PM. Reason: Spelling
11-04-2010, 04:32 PM   #3
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Okay, so I've borrowed a SB-800 from a friend, dusted my ZX-L (still doing 6 rolls/years), and made some tests...

Here are the results:




Pretty neat, no?

So, there is only three steps (and one is quite optional!) to set up your slave flash:
1 - power on your nikon flash, select SU-4 mode
2 - open your internal flash
3 - Optional : use a Nikon SG-3IR infrared screen in front of your internal flash so it doesn't register in the picture.

Any change in your settings (aperture, sensitivity, flash/subject distance) is automatically compensated by the SU-4 mode, as it syncs with your internal TTL flash (which cuts off its power when proper exposure is reached).

This trick can also be used with a *istD, DS or DS2, but you have to force the TTL mode by using the lens out of its A position...

Personally, I find the results very good, but a little bit too bright, so next time I'll try with a -1EV flash comp...
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