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503CW TTL flash with studio flashstrobes

simonpg

New Member
Pardon my ignorance here, but I have an opportunity coming up soon to shoot (as in photograph) some models in a studio. It will be set up with a range of strobe/flash heads and other mods and cons.

So I am wondering if I can shoot in this environment using the TTL flash feature of my 503CW - if I can, is it worth doing of not?

Currently I have a Metz 45CL-4 with the full SCA TTL connectors for my 503CW; I also have the D40. I do not plan to use either unit in this shoot because of the studio lighting set up.

So, my question is: can I achieve TTL flash with some other connector (like a cable with a big jack type plug that connects to the main flash head (slaves on the others); a sync plug to the lens sync port; a din multi pin plug to the camera body) if such a beast exists? Is it worth doing - I am suspecting not?!

Is it feasible for me to connect say the D40 and have slaves on the studio flash heads to trigger them (and only aim the D40 at a slave unit and not the subject area) - will the 503CW TTL successfully work out the lighting?

I once remember being told that with my EOS 1vHS and its ETTL flash control in a studio multi- flash/strobe setting, manual camera settings based on one light-meter reading is better as the camera will be confused by all the flashes going off together - fact or fiction? The EOS ETTL is a multi-flash capable system so I am not convinced it would be so confused. Would the 503CW TTL flash control be so confused (there will be 3-4 units)?

Am I just better to use the 503 in a fully manual mode based on good flash light readings from my Sekonic and simply only plug the lens sync port alone to the flash/strobe system?

Apologies for the big story, but I am not studio flash experienced and I'm keen to take this opportunity to give it a try and learn. Thanks.
 

semmelblad

New Member
Simon,
studio flash is not construced to be controlled (effectively switched off) by a camera with TTL-flash sensor. You have to use the flash light readings from your Sekonic.

Sidenote: In case you do not have technical data about the flash lights in the studio I would not set the shutter at 1/500s because some studio flashes have a longer duration flash at full power.

Ulrik
 

jotloob

MFF-Patron
Simon

Check , if the mainflash units can be operated by slave devices . If so , you can use a little servoflash unit , which attaches to your 503CW (on top of the PME for ex&le) . In this case , you only need a short sync cable from the lens to the servoflash and you are very free to walk around in the studio without stumbling over a long sync cord . But make shure , the servoflash has a good battery . That happened once to me and I had to delay the shooting .

Use your camera as a purely mechanical device . Set up your mainlights and use a flashmeter to measure the different intensities and then the overall intensity . You should check all devices well and do some testshots before the shooting .

Good luck .

Jurgen
 

fotografz

Active Member
"Is it feasible for me to connect say the D40 and have slaves on the studio flash heads to trigger them"

YES. Just set the camera's ISO dial on it's highest setting, set the reflector on the D-40 to the tele position ( not the "W" position) and aim it at one of the studio strobes if they are mono heads, or the generator box if using that kind of strobe set up,... so the light from it will have little to no effect on the subject but will trigger the studio strobes... ( be sure all the strobes have the slave turned on ). This is an elaborate and cumbersome alternative to using a Pocket Wizard, but it works. I'd be surprised if the studio you are shooting at doesn't have some sort of radio trigger like a Pocket Wizard.

"I am wondering if I can shoot in this environment using the TTL flash feature of my 503CW - if I can, is it worth doing of not?"

No ... and no. Direct connect or a radio sender is the way to go. If you direct connect using the long sync cord, you can also use the waist level finder for a different perspective and lower shots.

What is needed to use a Pocket Wizard is a prism finder with a cold shoe and a sync cord from the lens to the Wizard's sync port ... requiring a typical sync connector at the lens end and a phone jack type connector at the other end. The Studio may also already have that.

"Am I just better to use the 503 in a fully manual mode based on good flash light readings from my Sekonic and simply only plug the lens sync port alone to the flash/strobe system?"

Yes. Since you are NOT using a digital back, the standard sync cord from one of the strobes to the lens sync port is the cleanest, most direct connection ... but does tether you a bit. Check that your Sekonic has a flash metering ability. If so, it'll have a setting that preps it to measure flash when triggered by the test button on a Pocket Wizard, or by firing one of the strobe head test buttons. Unless you have the Sekonic model with a built-in Pocket Wizard sender, you will need an assistant to trip the strobes test function while you meter.

Simon, a good beginning lighting set up is a 1 to 1 ratio ... meaning the main and fill light are providing equal meter readings ... then began dialing down the fill for effect. To isolate these meter readings retract the incident dome and/or turn off all strobes except the one you are measuring.

Hope this helps and didn't confuse.

Here's a simple and typical lighting scenario shooting the artist Bruce Timms: main light on the right, fill ( or bounce card ) on the left.


 

qnu

Banned
The only studio strobe unit that could be controlled using TTL-metering was a unit Bron once advertised. It was only adapted to Hasselblad's system, so if you can find one...


None of the studio units have (apart from the power setting) any control at all: they just blast off whatever you set them too.
No during-flash-metering. And no way to cut their flash short when something like that would tell them to.

A camera that can autonomically meter the flash and cut the exposure short, not by controlling the flash, but the shutter, would have to be extremely fast. And i mean fast.
 

simonpg

New Member
Many thanks for the answers gents - I have been out of action until the past couple of days and have only just seen your posts. I'll read them tonight with great interest. Thanks again for helping. Stay tuned!
 

simonpg

New Member
I read everyone's responses and it all makes sense - I'll stick to the good old Sekonic L558 flash metering and manually set the camera.

But I must confess that my first "experience" was with a sad result - poor focus technique. The compositions etc worked out nicely, but who cares when critical eye-ball focusing was lousy!

Thanks again to you all for the great information.
 
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