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Old Feb 7, 2007, 3:23 PM   #41
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Erin-

I want to follow-up on our previous discussion about flash, and softening the light froma flash unit such as the Nikon SB-400. Becuse the rain is coming down in buckets today, and because I received the SB-400 flash this morning, I had the perfect opportunity to try some photos with the SB-400.

These photos were taken with my D-50 rather than the D-40 because my brother borrowed the D-40 last night. Keep in mind that the photos would be very similar if I had used the D-40.

All I did was to turn on the D-50 in the Program Mode with the very small, compact SB-400 in place. I turned on the SB-400, tilted the flash to the bounce position,and that was it. Once I had pushed down half way on the shutter release, the camera reported the distance to the flash and the rest was fully automatic.

The photo was taken with the D-50 equipped with the Nikkor 18-70mm lens, which was the kit lens I received with my D-70. I was about 12 feet away from my husband (who Thank Goodness always willingly poses for me!).

By using Bounce Flash we got rid of the flash's harshness, which had been one of our objectives and would work well when you will be taking photos of your children. So take a look, Erin. What do you think?

MT/Sarah
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Old Feb 7, 2007, 5:33 PM   #42
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Erin-

Here is a photo showing the D-50 and SB-400 Flash setup that I used for the photo posted above. Note that the flash portion of the SB-400 is turned upward to get the bounce flash lighting thatI used.

MT/Sarah
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Old Feb 7, 2007, 9:57 PM   #43
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Hi Sarah, That is definitely the kind of effect I'm going for. He doesn't look washed out and the skin tones look natural. Thanks for showing me a sample photo. If I am considerably closer than 12 feet to my toddler, can I still get a soft effect? She gets interested in the camera and comes closer to me unless I'm able to sneak up on her. I like the compactness of the flash. I saw a Pentax with a flash (made by Pentax I think) and it was quite large.

I was actually looking at a Nikon d40 and kit lens that came with the SB-400 flash, a 2gb high speed SD memory card, a memory card reader, a Nikon camera case, and some other items for $730. It was from Cameta on ebay. I'm still trying to make my final decision. It's between d40 and d50 now.

I was looking back at kenbalbari's post on this thread regarding the d40's compatibilty with the SB-400 as manual only. It sounds like you have firsthand experience using them together. Can you comment? Any thoughts on the oversaturated images he mentions? I guess to some extent it is personal preference but if you find the images oversaturated for your taste, how easy is that to adjust?

Thanks, Erin
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Old Feb 7, 2007, 10:27 PM   #44
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Erin-

Remember the camera (be it a D-40 or a D-50) is "talking" to the D-40 or D-50 tell, the SB-400 the distance between the camera and the subject. Therefore if you are closer than the 12 feet I was at today, the SB-400 will automatically reduce its output to compensate for for the closer subject. So a child moving toward you should not be a problem.

As soon as I get the D-40 back from my brother I will try the SB-400 on it. However, it should not be a problem at all, as I have a couple of students using the SB-400 with their D-40'swith no problems at all.

It is just my opinion, but I personally do not believe the D-40 images are over saturated. They do have a bit more saturation (are a bit more colorful)than my old D-70, but I like the look of them. how do you feel? The D-50 would tone down the saturation a bit if that is more pleasing to you.it has a bit less saturation right out of the camera.Personally, I am very pleased with the D-40's performance and color rendition. You also can adjust the saturation both in the camera and in your software.

The attached photo was taken with my D-50 (by husband) using the Nikkor 55-200mm lens. That will show you the out of the camera colors from the D-50. And yes, that's me.


MT/Sarah


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Old Feb 7, 2007, 11:39 PM   #45
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mtclimber wrote:
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Erin-

Remember the camera (be it a D-40 or a D-50) is "talking" to the D-40 or D-50 tell, the SB-400 the distance between the camera and the subject. Therefore if you are closer than the 12 feet I was at today, the SB-400 will automatically reduce its output to compensate for for the closer subject. So a child moving toward you should not be a problem.

Isn't this the case with any "matched pair" of camera and flash? My Pentax K100D and Pentax flash automatically moderate the flash depending on distance, and I'm sure Canon, Olympus and Sony do the same.



Russ
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Old Feb 8, 2007, 12:06 AM   #46
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Russ-

You are of course exactly correct. However, I was not sure thatErin, understood that or not. That is no "put down" to Erin. I just added that in so she clearly understood the camera and the flash were working together co-operatively to answer her question about a child moving toward her.

MT/Sarah
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Old Feb 8, 2007, 1:25 AM   #47
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Having checked a couple of other review sites, it looks like imaging-resource, and their slr gear site, are wrong (or at least their wording is unclear) about the flash capability.

http://www.imaging-resource.com/PRODS/ND40/ND40A.HTM

Quote:
No in-camera support for Nikon Creative Lighting system (does work with SB-800 on the camera as a controller though)
That's just a bit confused. I first checked other reviews, then the downloadable manuals from Nikon. The D40 does support "Creative Lighting System" and i-TTL.

It only supports their wireless "Advanced Wireless System" through a controller. The line about manual only on the D40 comes from the SB-400 manual and apparently means that there is also a manual option which only works on the D40. "Manual flash operation is possible with the camera's custom setting" it says. The wording on the SLR gear site was more too ambiguous rather than wrong.

Does this mean you can't use it in manual mode with the D50 (or any ohter camera)? This also seems a bit unusual, but still makes some sense, as the SB-400 was apparently designed specifically for the D40. And apparently it has no on-flash controls, everything is set through the camera.

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Old Feb 8, 2007, 8:01 AM   #48
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Thank you everyone for answering my questions about how to use flash and the compatibility of the SB-400 etc. Thanks for looking into it kenbalbari.

I've never used an external flash so although I thought the communication between the flash and the camera would compensate for the disance from the subject, I was not one hundred percent sure.

Russ, Which flash are you using with your Pentax? Are you happy with its performance?

The camera decision is driving me crazy but I guess I just need to remember that any of these cameras are going to be capable of producing great photos in the right hands!

Thanks again everyone. Erin
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Old Feb 8, 2007, 10:07 AM   #49
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Erin-

With my Pentax K100D DSLR I use the Sigma EF-500 DG ST. It is a very capable flash, though there is a more powerful model available. Itsells for about $150.00. Attached is a photo of the Pentax K-100D equipped with the Sigma flash sitting beside the Nikon D-50 with the SB-400 attached, which sells for about $120.00.

Please keep in mind that the Pentax K100D has the Pentax 18-55mm kit lens mounted on it, and the D-50 has the Nikkor 18-70mm lens which was the kit lens on my old D-70. You will notice that there is a considerable difference in size between the two flashes.

All of the consumer level DSLR cameras will produce excellent photos. Likewise each either has a dedicated flash or a third party flash (like the Sigma model in the attached photo) that are designed to specifically work with that particular camera brand and model. Therefore when using a flash of this type the specificflash and the
camera communicate with each other and essentially work together.

I used the Kodak P-850 to take the attached photo, equipped with the dedicated Kodak P-20 flash. Once again, because the Kodak P-20 is a dedicated flash, it also communicates with the Kodak P-850 camera. In the attached photo, I used BOTH the P-850's built-in flash and the externally mounted Kodak P-20 flash at the same time, as it allowed me to use full bounce flash with the P-850's flash providinga small degree of fill-in flash. if you need a link to Kodak's refurbished cameras, her it is:

http://www.kodak.com/eknec/PageQueri...p;pq-path=4177

So, Erin, you might also keep in mind that the Kodak P or Performance series (the P-850-5mp, the P-880-8mp, and the P-712-7mp)are another option. This particular Kodak P-850 is arefurbished Kodakcamera that I needed for class work. I purchased it directly from Kodak for $225.95 and Kodak provides a full one year guarantee with their refurbished cameras. The Kodak P-20 dedicated flash, which works with all the Kodak Performance cameras, sells for about $110.00. I picked up the Kodak P-20 on e-bay before Christmas for $63.00 delivered.

Please don't be overwhelmed by your camera decision. Take your time and slowly work through all of the details. And I think it is reasonable to offer the guarantee to you thatall of us herewill work with you righthere in the forum and provide any and all of the info that you might need along the way. Personally I will be here until 02/22 and then I will be gone for a month teaching. The most important issue is to help you decide on what camera will work the very best for you.


In the Imaging-Resource review, for which Ken so kindly provided a link in his post above, the accessory flashes listed for the D-40 in the Imaging-Resource revieware: "SB-400, SB-600, and SB-800." I believe that the confusion might be this: Only the D-70, D-80, and D-200 models have the so called "Commander Mode" feature. The D-40 and D-50 do not have the "Commander Mode." The "Commander Mode" allows the D-70, D-80, and D-200 models to comtrol multiple flashes wirelessly. Controlling multilple flashes wirelessly is not an issue we are dealing with in this thread. I hope that clears up any confusion.

MT/Sarah




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Old Feb 8, 2007, 12:30 PM   #50
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Erin-

I went looking for more Nikon D-40 reviews for you this morning and found another one for you at thi link:

http://www.bythom.com/d40review.htm

I also found an excellent size comparison of the D-40, D-50, and D-80 (as seen in the attached photo) You will notice that the D-40 is measurably smaller than either the D-50 or D-80.

MT/Sarah
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