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Continuous shooting with flash

edited October 2014 Posted in » Nikon D3200 Forum
I notice that I only get the first shot with the mounted flash. Should I not use the mounted flash for continuous shooting ? If I use the in camera flash, will it get every shot with a flash ? I'm shooting cheerleaders and they're always moving. Some shot just shows first flash then others no flash. What settings do I use to freeze the shot? I get other parts out of focus? Thank you.


  • edited October 2014
    It's hard to know without more detail on the flash used, but most external flashes will require some time to recharge between shots, especially when used at full power. Some flashes have a lower power setting for continuous shooting, but may still not be able to fire continuously many times before recharging. You need to read up on your individual flash to see what it is capable of. If your flash does have a continuous mode, it's likely range will be limited.

    The D3200 built in flash can fire at least a few shots continuously, but when it needs to recharge it will disable the shutter until it's ready again. If they're close enough for the built in flash to work, you might try it, but it's not very strong. If you shoot in shutter priority mode, the built in flash will act as fill flash, not at full power but opening up detail. You might try that, if you can find a shutter speed fast enough to stop motion. Remember too that the flash uses battery power, so don't leave home without a full charge, and preferably a spare battery.

    A flash can freeze motion but does not correct focus errors or change depth of field, so you still have to get your subject in focus.

    If you're shooting sports, and especially if the light is not good, you may never get really good results without a faster lens. If you're depending on flash, you may have to slow down and look for individual shots.
  • edited October 2014
    As @bruto explained, flashes need time to recharge before they can be fired off again. While the D3200 isn’t exactly a speed demon at 4fps when in continuous mode, your flash won’t be able to keep up.

    Because of this, I would suggest that you do your cheerleader shoot without a flash. Use a faster lens and bump up your ISO.

    Another reason you may not want to use the flash has to do with freezing the action. Your max flash sync speed is 1/200. In general, for fast moving subjects, you would want to use a shutter speed at around 1/500 or 1/1000.
    Now, it is possible to freeze your subject with your flash, but your flash needs to be very powerful and/or you need to be very close to your subject. Your on-camera flash is simply not powerful enough and you likely won’t be right up to your subject. So that’s just another reason to perhaps not use the flash.

    To freeze the action of your subject and then blur the rest, you need a combination of things:
    Freezing the action requires a fast shutter speed. How fast depends on how fast your subject is moving in relation to your camera. Like I said before, stick with 1/500 or 1/1000.
    To get the other parts of your photo out of focus is to minimize the depth of field. You do this by:
    1. shooting at a long focal length (i.e. telephoto 200mm rather than 18mm)
    2. shooting at a large aperture (i.e. small f-stop f/2.8 rather than f/5.6)
    3. shooting close to the subject

    Suggested settings:
    Auto-ISO on with max ISO at 3200
    Shutter priority mode and set shutter at 1/500 (or 1/1000)
    Use the longest lens you have.
    Dynamic-area AF with AF-C focus mode
  • edited October 2014
    In case the question of flash freezing motion is not entirely clear:

    An electronic flash will generally do its job in a...well, in a flash. The duration of a powerful flash is much shorter than even a fast shutter speed, so it will freeze motion - the bigger the faster.

    This is only true if the flash is providing essentially all the light for the exposure. If ambient light is part of the exposure, then the shutter speed is determining that. The less ambient light there is in a shot, the less relevant the camera's shutter speed will be. If it is bright outside, the ambient light will be harder to exclude from the shot, and the job can only be done with a very powerful flash that allows you to stop the lens down very far. It's easier to stop motion in the dark. In the dark you can put a camera on time exposure and fire the flash manually and still stop motion.

    The kind of flashing that will freeze motion is very hard to make happen continuously and very hard in daylight. You're best off, as ohyeahar suggests, finding the best way to get you shot with no flash at all.
  • edited November 2014
    Thanks for the advice and info .
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