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Flash afternoon – how to use

How to photograph with a flash in the afternoon and why in general a flash in the afternoon?

The question seems meaningless, but when it comes to practice, it turns out that a flash, even on the most sunny day, can be an indispensable tool in the hands of the photographer.

In general, it is considered that a flash helps when there is little light, that is, it serves as an additional source of light in poor light conditions – in the evening, at night, in a house, in the shade of trees, in cloudy weather. But when there is a lot of light, it too can and should be used. As they say – a good light does not happen much.

So in the afternoon a flash is needed as a softening of the shadows from the sun or other strong and hard light sources. Basically, the flash day is used for photographing portraits. The hard light of the sun can make very strong shadows on the faces of people. A flash can soften these shadows.

True, there are limitations on working with a flash in the afternoon. For photographing portraits, it is recommended to use high-aperture fixed lenses. For example, a lens with an aperture of F2.8 and an ISO 200 setpoint will require an exposure of 1 / 2000s-1 / 4000s on a sunny day. But there is the concept of flash synchronization with the camera shutter, and often this synchronization comes up against a certain limit. Basically, the built-in flash can work with shutter speeds no shorter than 1/200, 1 / 250s, or 1 / 320s, of course there are exceptions – these are Nikon D40, D70, D70s, D1h, etc. who can use shutter speeds up to 1 / 500s, but still, these are too long exposures to take photos in daylight. But even if you have an external flash, you can take pictures at shorter exposures only if your camera allows.

Attention: no built-in flash on any CCD can work normally with shutter speeds shorter than 1 \ 500s. The built-in flash doesn’t have any fast sync mode.
Attention: high-speed sync mode is available on many cameras only in P, A, S, M mode.
In order to be able to use the flash with very short exposures, a quick sync mode was created, which is called differently for different cameras from different manufacturers. For Nikon this is FP (fast pulse, fast sync), it allows you to use flashes and synchronize them with exposures up to 1 / 8000s.

In order to be able to use this mode – you need:

For the camera to support fast sync mode
For the flash to support fast sync mode
Not all cameras can use this mode – mainly they include advanced amateur cameras and all full-frame digital mirror.

Here is an accurate list of Nikon CCPs that support FP mode:

D2h, D2x, D2hs, D2xs, D3, D3s, D3x, D4, D5, D200, D300, D300s, D500, D700, D800, D800E, D810, D850, D750, D80, D90, D7000, D7100, D7200, D7500, D600, D610, Df

As you can see, the choice among Nikon cameras is small. Younger cameras in this mode do not have, which will not allow taking photos with flash and a short shutter speed. But this is not a problem, since neutral filters can be used to reduce exposure. Polarizing filters also reduce shutter speed. Usually the need for a flash in the afternoon is very small.

Not all flashes support this mode – the SB-300 small external flashes, the SB-400 do not know how to work in this mode. Nikon’s FP mode works without problems with the SB-500, SB-600, SB-700, SB-800, SB-900, SB-910, SB-5000. These flashes can handle shutter speeds down to 1/8000. Many third-party flashes also support the FP mode, but often it is called differently, for example, the Metz Mecablitz 48 AF-1 for Nikon flash has the HSS mode, which is completely similar to the FP mode.

When photographing during the day with a flash, you need to remember that short exposures and bright lighting require a large flash of energy. It’s funny, but the flash in high-speed sync mode recharges faster than in normal mode, this is due to the unusual impulse system in FP mode.

If you have an advanced camera with fast sync mode, then most likely there is a command mode for the built-in flash. This will allow you to use your external flash in remote control mode using the Nikon CLS protocol.

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