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Old 24th of November 2009 (Tue)   #1
int2str
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Lightbulb 7D + Nikon SG-3IR = Flash control bliss / HOWTO

I've been using my 7D's built-in pop-up flash to control external Speedlites more and more. One problem with that setup is that the built-in flash is aimed directly at the subject. So even if it's not contributing to the exposure, it still get's in the way. The built-in flash will either inadvertently contribute some light to the exposure after all, or it will "blind" the model enough to cause some squinting or blinking.

The solution (for now) comes from Nikon in form of the Nikon SG-3IR. It's a shield for the internal flash that only lets non-visible IR light through the shield and thus doesn't blind the model.

Here's what it looks like:



The panel mount slides onto your hot-shoe and the panel flips down in front of the built-in flash to block the visible light. The front panel looks solid in this picture, but the fron of the unit has some slots to let IR light through that appear black, but are not.

Unfortunately, this panel will not work "straight out of the box". When the panel is in place in the hot-shoe, the camera thinks that an external flash is mounted and will not allow the built-in flash to be popped up. The solution is to grind away or cut out the right part of the panel holder that slides into the hot-shoe on the camera. If you look closely at the picture above, you can see where I cut-away part of the plastic. Doing this will prevent a micro-switch inside the camera hot-shoe from being depressed thus preventing the camera from recognizing the insert.

The result?

Here's a picture of yours truly in front of a mirror. There is a Canon EX 580 II on a light stand next to me bounced off the ceiling. The on-board flash is only used to trigger the external flash. But without the shield (or flipped up in this case), you can see that the on-board flash still contributes to the exposure:



Now here's the same shot again with the shield flipped down. The 580 EX is still being triggered without problems, but the on-board flash does not blind the model anymore or contribute to the exposure:



The SG-3IR is available online for around $12.

See, something good came out of Nikon after all
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Old 24th of November 2009 (Tue)   #2
Rai33
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Default Re: 7D + Nikon SG-3IR = Flash control bliss / HOWTO

Nifty
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Old 24th of November 2009 (Tue)   #3
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Default Re: 7D + Nikon SG-3IR = Flash control bliss / HOWTO

Awesome solution there
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Old 24th of November 2009 (Tue)   #4
NaKiD EyE
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Default Re: 7D + Nikon SG-3IR = Flash control bliss / HOWTO

nice. still prefer my cybersyncs though.
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Old 24th of November 2009 (Tue)   #5
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Default Re: 7D + Nikon SG-3IR = Flash control bliss / HOWTO

Ha! That's awesome.
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Old 24th of November 2009 (Tue)   #6
DCMP
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Default Re: 7D + Nikon SG-3IR = Flash control bliss / HOWTO

Great! Ive been looking at that Nikon piece, and hoping someone would test it out. Does it still feel secure and stable after the shaving?
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Old 24th of November 2009 (Tue)   #7
int2str
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Default Re: 7D + Nikon SG-3IR = Flash control bliss / HOWTO

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Originally Posted by DCMP View Post
Does it still feel secure and stable after the shaving?
Not 100%... But I've shaken and wiggled the camera quite a bit (to test) and it certainly doesn't come off by itself. But it's not as solid anymore as with the shave.

If you look at how I cut the plastic, you'll see I left a bit of plastic towards the back. That hooks it under the show a little bit which gives it some additional strength.
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Old 26th of November 2009 (Thu)   #8
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Default Re: 7D + Nikon SG-3IR = Flash control bliss / HOWTO

The switch in the hotshoe is so sensitive, that you can only allow the plastic part to enter into the hotshoe for about 2 mm. Any more on the right side, and you are lost. But the spring is sloping, so it ought to be possible to grind it off in a wedge-shaped way and keep it for up to 4 mm or so, at the upper part.
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Old 26th of November 2009 (Thu)   #9
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Default Re: 7D + Nikon SG-3IR = Flash control bliss / HOWTO

Quote:
Originally Posted by apersson850 View Post
The switch in the hotshoe is so sensitive, that you can only allow the plastic part to enter into the hotshoe for about 2 mm. Any more on the right side, and you are lost. But the spring is sloping, so it ought to be possible to grind it off in a wedge-shaped way and keep it for up to 4 mm or so, at the upper part.
I need to look at one of those GF puffers to see how they do it. I was thinking of hollowing out the lower part of the edge of the foot so just the front and rear of that edge touch the camera shoe.

Now I've looked at the puffer, I can see that all you need to do is file a small step out of the bottom edge of the foot (both sides) so it misses the stainless steel spring of the shoe. This is the part that operates the switch.
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Last edited by Perfect_10 : 27th of November 2009 (Fri) at 17:02. Reason: update
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Old 6th of December 2009 (Sun)   #10
Perfect_10
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Default Re: 7D + Nikon SG-3IR = Flash control bliss / HOWTO

OK .. I've now modified my Nikon SG-3IR deflector. Shaved about 1/2 the thickness off along the edge of the foot so it would miss the contact in the shoe. I also rounded the sharp tip off the locating pin so it wouldn't gouge the plastic or the centre contact in the shoe (that was a pointed little sucker, that's for sure).
I have to say it's very stable in the shoe.

Thanks to int2str for giving me this idea. I had been thinking about modifying the wife's GF puffer, but this is a way better mod.




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Old 9th of December 2009 (Wed)   #11
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Default Re: 7D + Nikon SG-3IR = Flash control bliss / HOWTO

Got mine. Works great, big difference!
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Old 10th of December 2009 (Thu)   #12
Apollo.11
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Default Re: 7D + Nikon SG-3IR = Flash control bliss / HOWTO

Thanks for posting. I keep eyeballing the used ST-E2's, but not anymore. Now I have more money to put into my 7d savings fund!
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Old 18th of June 2010 (Fri)   #13
Bob_A
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Default Re: 7D + Nikon SG-3IR = Flash control bliss / HOWTO

I know this is an old thread but I thought this may be of interest for anyone with a 7D or a Nikon camera that uses CLS.

While the Nikon SG-3IR IR panel works perfectly for getting rid of the extra catchlight from the preflash it's a bit more hit and miss if you're using it to set up multiple off camera flashes with the on-board as a commander and use a light meter for setting your flash output (manual flash).

I was playing around with my Nikon SG-3IR IR panel today with my Sekonic L558R and D700. If the on-board flash is pretty close to the Sekonic there is still enough preflash light being emitted through the IR panel that the meter will give the result based on the preflash (in other words the resulting f-stop will be wrong). To cure this I cut a small piece of white paper bigger than the "grill" area and taped it on the flash side of the Nikon SG-3IR IR panel. It works perfectly ... I get the correct reading on the meter and both of my off-camera flashes are triggered.

If I'm 6 to 8 feet away from the light meter the preflash that leaks through the panel isn't strong enough to be detected by the Sekonic meter so I don't need to do the trick with the piece of paper.
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Old 20th of November 2010 (Sat)   #14
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Default Re: 7D + Nikon SG-3IR = Flash control bliss / HOWTO

Yup, pretty old thread but still usefull.

2 basic questions, if you guys don't mind answering.

Will is actually cut working range of 7D's wireless capabilities, and if so by much? I presume that for indoors, the bouncing around still happens and will probably not affect it too much. But I guess it get's worst when talking about outdoors range?

Does the SG-3IR actually touch the flash?


Thanks for your help!
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Old 20th of November 2010 (Sat)   #15
int2str
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Default Re: 7D + Nikon SG-3IR = Flash control bliss / HOWTO

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Originally Posted by chireau1 View Post
Will is actually cut working range of 7D's wireless capabilities, and if so by much? I presume that for indoors, the bouncing around still happens and will probably not affect it too much.
I'm sure it does cut the range some, but I can't say I ever really noticed. Indoors it either works or it doesn't it seems pretty straight forward depending on your lighting setup.

Quote:
But I guess it get's worst when talking about outdoors range?
Outdoors the 7D flash controller already struggles. I've personally never used it outdoors. But if it's bright outside, you won't need the SG-3IR anyway since your models won't notice the flash so much compared to the ambient light.

Quote:
Does the SG-3IR actually touch the flash?
No.
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