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Home mini-studio/gear

Hey all... again...

I'm looking at getting a few bits and bobs to expand my home shooting capabilities. Just wondering if anyone has got any tips on what would be worth getting hold of?

I'm looking at a cheap neewer TT560 flash and also a cheap pop-up studio, there's a few on amazon for under £100. Also wondering if I need a light meter (like this one https://www.amazon.co.uk/Tacklife-LM01-Photography-Photometer-Backlight/dp/B01N351CDU/ref=sr_1_6?s=electronics&ie=UTF8&qid=1522234366&sr=1-6&keywords=PHOTOGRAPHY+LIGHT+METER); and also wanted to ask about how you go about linking your shutter to external lighting (again on a budget).

Thanks guys/gals.

Comments

  • edited March 28
    I think for linking to external lighting in the sense of having the camera's meter respond to the flash, you need a compatible TTL flash unit. Just to make remote lights respond to the shutter, you need either an external flash or strobe that responds to the camera's built-in flash, or an electronic trigger that is powered by the camera's hot shoe, or a hard wire from the hot shoe to the flash. This camera does not have a "command mode" built in which can fire a remote electronically without an added accessory, so I don't think you can use a TTL-compatible flash remotely, and I suspect that a remote that does this correctly would also be pretty expensive. Remote firing is considerably cheaper if you settle for manual operation.

    I am not familiar with all the latest flashes, but if you can find one that responds to another flash, then you can likely use your built in flash as a trigger. A radio control has the advantage that you don't need line of sight to the flash's sensor, and you don't need to account for the camera's flash in the lighting scheme. It also makes it possible to fire multiple flashes at a time. I think there are some fairly inexpensive electronic controls made by outfits like Neewer and Yongnuo, but don't know the details.

    If you don't mind the nuisance of wires, you can get a remote cord, which basically just plugs into the camera's hot shoe, and duplicates the hot shoe at the other end. That makes it possible to set up your flash anywhere within a few feet of the camera. I have one of these which I use with an older manual flash for macros, and it works OK, but would likely be difficult for many studio applications because the wires get in the way. You can daisy chain flashes with PC cords too, but again that ends up with a mess of cables. The advantage is that if you're willing to go all manual, you can use any old flashes and not worry about triggering.

    That light meter looks like fun, but I'm not sure it would end up being easier to figure out than just experimenting with post-shot histograms.

    Note that the meter referenced reads out only in Lux, and you then have to do the conversion yourself to camera settings. That may be more complicated than you want. There are some charts around by which you can convert lux to foot candles or EV and thence to camera settings. But ultimately I think you're better off skipping that meter.

    Unfortunately what you probably would want most is an incident light exposure meter, which is unlikely to be found cheaply.

    In case you're unfamiliar with how different metering works, herewith a short (I hope) explanation:

    A camera meters using reflected light, and many hand held meters do too. That works nicely, basically showing what the camera gets, but it can be tricked by unusually shaded objects in the picture, since it presumes that the camera wants a certain balance of black and white that averages to gray. Imagine, for example, that you have a consistent light source, and under it you put first a black object, and then a white one. The camera's reflected light meter will give you two different exposures, trying in each case to render the object as gray.

    An incident light meter instead reads the light hitting the subject. If you set your camera to what it recommends, it will expose for the ambient light without regard for what is in it. This is the metering most often used in studios.

    You can, of course, get pretty much there by experimenting with exposures and manually adjusting or compensating until it's right.
  • Thanks Bruto! Once again you've given some great advice.

    I'll steer clear of the light meter and perhaps wont worry so much about external flashes for now. I think I might just opt for the Neewer one for on camera and maybe go for a cheap studio setup with constant light rather than worrying about getting the lights to flash etc. That way my camera will be able to meter the light and I can tweak from there.
  • I suspect that's the best solution for now. If you do some googling and rummaging, you may find some pretty ingenious ideas for making and modifying lights, reflectors, diffusers and the like for budget studio lighting. In addition, there is still the option of using a remote cord for the on-camera flash. With the various bouncing and swiveling options most flashes have these days, as well as various automatic settings, you can do quite a bit.

    For reference, the cord I have is the now-discontinued SC-17, which may still be found cheaply used. The newer one, the SC-28, is a bit longer and has a better lock on it, but both will transmit all TTL functions to the end of the cord. If all you want to do is point your flash from a different place, this can be a pretty handy device to have, and useful to have in your arsenal.
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