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on Apr 14, 2012 in Camera Tech

Lovin D4 iTTL Flash!

Whenever I get a new piece of gear, I pound it to learn it. With lenses, this tends to be a little easier, takes less time. But not is such the case with a camera body and especially one with so many evolutionary changes as the D4. Every time I pick up the iPad Sharon asks, “Back in class” because I’m going back and forth between the D4 IB and the D4 learning all it offers. Flash and in particular flash fill is such an important part of wildlife photography so mastering the D4’s flash ability fast is important to me. The main think is to learn how it’s new and then make that information stick in the ol gray matter so when in the field, dialing in the right numbers is second nature. So, I shoot and shoot!

The metering in the D4 is not like any other Nikon before it, that’s what I’m finding at least. In a nutshell, I think it has a greater dynamic range and is more neutral. At first I felt a bit lost as I retrained thirty years of Aperture Priority / Exp comp mentality to work with this new system. I’m here to tell you, I like it and I like what it does. With learning that comes learning how the meter works with flash and especially Custom Setting e4. I had a marvelous day today in the storm playing with settings and light and seeing the results. The top images of a Cassin’s Finch, the top image is no flash (depressing the Fn button) and the bottom image is flash fill. Body is at 0 Exp Comp and flash is at -2/3. I like not only the gesture in the flash fill image of the Cassin’s but also the light. The bottom image of the Evening Grosbeak, I changed things up by dialing in -2/3 into the camera body. It darkened the background too much for my taste but exactly what I thought it would do with e4. But the flash light exposure wasn’t lowered but remained constant so now you can tell flash was used just like it should be with those settings in the D4. So the D4 did what it was supposed to do, I like that. Do I like the overall light I created with my settings? Not at all but that wasn’t the point!

The interesting thing to me in all of this was the SB-900 was shot zoomed to 200mm. That means no light modifier was used. The light should have been harder but it really isn’t. Is that because of the metering, bounced off the snow or shooting through the falling snow? I don’t have that answer so more testing is required.

Here’s the deal at least in my head. If I just spent $6k to buy a really hot, fast, new computer (after all that’s what the D4 is), turning it all off and shooting in Manual is pretty much like throwing away $6k. I can’t afford to do that. So with a new, revolutionary 91k pixel RGB metering system, I want it to not only work (which is does) but I need to be able to work with it and make it work for my photography. I need to shoot in Aperture Priority so I’m in control of the DOF and the rest of the system do its job so the only thing I concentrate on is the subject. I shot just shy of 1200 captures this week testing and just getting to know the D4 metering and flash in different scenarios so next week I can be all business. I hope this gives you some ideas and direction to take your own photography no matter what camera brand or model you’re shooting with to learn and master it better.