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Old Jun 20, 2005, 11:08 PM   #1
William Kious's Avatar
Join Date: Jun 2005
Posts: 32

Hello all!

I'm new to the board (I've lurked long enough!)

I recently purchased a Minolta Maxxum 7D and I have a question about the use of studio flash. I tried using the "cheap shop light" method and it was a mess. I also tried using my fancy, new 3600 HS D Minolta flash off camera - with very mixed results (even with the right flash, I still wound up with washed-out highlights.)

Anyway, I'm tired of playing games, so I'm looking at picking up an Alien Bees starter set. Does anyone out there have experience teaming a 7D with an Alien Bees set? Will I be able to use the wireless function on the 7D to trip the studio flash? Will I have to set exposure entirely in manual mode?

Just for reference, I'm going to use the trial-and-error method. I can't afford a flash meter on top of everything else. LOL!

Any and all advice will be greatly appreciated!

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Old Jun 22, 2005, 6:24 AM   #2
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amazingthailand's Avatar
Join Date: Aug 2002
Posts: 851

I don't have the Minolta 7D, but I do have lots of studio lighting experience, including White Lightning, so....

The wireless function of the 7D - No. The Alien Bees do not have a builtin wireless receiver. You would need a compatable wireless receiver that works with the 7D for this to work.

The Alien Bees do have a builtin slave, so I use an on camera flash to trigger my studio lights (don't like the sync cord - it gets in my way).

Exposure mode - Yes, you will have to use full manual (ie: you will have to set both the shutter speed and aperature).

Check your camera manual to see what the maximum shutter speed is for flash sync and start with that.

For exposure, use your histogram. Take a photo, then review the image's histogram on the camera's LCD. You want the histogram to be as far to the right side as possible, WITHOUT going off the right side. Adjust your exposure by changing your aperature, and/or the power level on the Alien Bees.

As a reference, I use the White Lightnings (2 1600's and one 600). I shoot at a shutter speed of 1/125 and an aperature of f13 AND I usually have to reduce the power settings on my flash units.

However, I do recommend you get a flash meter as soon as you can. Polaris makes a good starting unit for around $200.

The nice thing about digital is that you can experiment all day long without wasting any film, plus you can see your results right away.

Have fun.

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