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FORUMS General Gear Talk Flash and Studio Lighting 
Thread started 19 Oct 2006 (Thursday) 12:34
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Outdoor Strobe - Shallow DOF - Bright Sun?

 
taygull
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Oct 19, 2006 12:34 |  #1

OK,

I've not yet taken my new studio stuff outside but just "thinking" through the process I'm curious on the approach you "lighting" pros would take.

Let us assume it is a partly sunny day and you want to take a nice family portrait. You have a portable system such as AB800's with a Vagabond. The goal is to get nice bokeh. For the sake of this discussion let us assume we are shooting with the 70-200mm f/2.8 IS on a tripod with an ISO of 100. The background is somewhat close so the goal is to blur it out.

If I assume correctly the fastest shutter speed I can obtain using the AB's is around 200 how do I get a shallow DOF and not blow out the sky?

ND Filters? Polarizers? Is that the only way?

Make sense?


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Wilt
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Oct 19, 2006 12:40 |  #2

Let's analyze...
Assume lowest ISO on your dSLR is ISO100...so in the sun the Sunny 16 exposure is 1/100 f/16, or f/1600 f/4 (for shallow DOF). With the AB flash there is not HSS support so you are stuck with 1/200 f/11. So the only way to get -3EV to permit opening the lens to f/4 is -3EV neutral density.

Yep, you jumped to the right conclusion!


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taygull
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Oct 19, 2006 14:01 |  #3

Wilt wrote in post #2141667 (external link)
Let's analyze...
Assume lowest ISO on your dSLR is ISO100...so in the sun the Sunny 16 exposure is 1/100 f/16, or f/1600 f/4 (for shallow DOF). With the AB flash there is not HSS support so you are stuck with 1/200 f/11. So the only way to get -3EV to permit opening the lens to f/4 is -3EV neutral density.

Yep, you jumped to the right conclusion!

OK, so now I need to research ND filters huh? What do some of you guys carry in your bag, for this type of situation?


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Wilt
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Oct 19, 2006 14:28 |  #4

taygull wrote in post #2141923 (external link)
OK, so now I need to research ND filters huh? What do some of you guys carry in your bag, for this type of situation?

My own solution is to bring a medium format film camera with a long lens and slow film (inherently reducing the problem by both those things), and to shoot using lenses which have in-lens leaf shutters rather than focal plane shutters which are inherently more limited in synch speed with electronic flash.

Sometimes the classic wedding tool is far superior to the dSLR...this is one of them!


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kenliu2610
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Oct 19, 2006 14:48 |  #5

why not try using a 580EX flash??
you surely can get shallow DOF more easily!!


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taygull
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Oct 19, 2006 16:09 |  #6

kenliu2610 wrote in post #2142110 (external link)
why not try using a 580EX flash??
you surely can get shallow DOF more easily!!

Not enough power if I'm doing a family of 4...


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Curtis ­ N
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Oct 19, 2006 16:23 |  #7

taygull wrote in post #2142396 (external link)
Not enough power if I'm doing a family of 4...

Can you satisfy my curiosity please? Set your camera in M at 1/1600, f/4, ISO 100. Turn your flash on, zoom it to 50mm and enable high speed sync, FEC at 0.

Half-press the shutter button and look at the distance scale on the flash. What is the distance reading?


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Oct 19, 2006 16:45 |  #8

I am not quite getting the thrust of this post.

If the given conditions are as posted "bright sun" and the desired apertures are F/2.8, why is a studio based electronic flash even in the mix (even at ISO 100)?

Seems like a reflector here and there, without flash, or the needed neutral density filters, would be a far more elegant solution (or even a small camera mounted flash).

Why force fit something when the stated contitions are already so accomidating?

Enjoy! Lon


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JMHPhotography
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Oct 19, 2006 16:49 |  #9

A cheaper more practical solution is to go without strobes. Use light panels and reflectors as your primary lightsource. Now you can use whatever shutter speed you like. ;). For the cost of a moderately priced strobe setup, you could buy a couple 77"x77" panel assemblies and a reflector or two for adding some specular highlights (rim lighting and what not).


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Oct 19, 2006 17:02 |  #10

londuck wrote in post #2142570 (external link)
I am not quite getting the thrust of this post.

If the given conditions are as posted "bright sun" and the desired apertures are F/2.8, why is a studio based electronic flash even in the mix (even at ISO 100)?

Seems like a reflector here and there, without flash, or the needed neutral density filters, would be a far more elegant solution (or even a small camera mounted flash).

Why force fit something when the stated contitions are already so accomidating?

Enjoy! Lon

You started fine, Lon, until you mentioned 'a small camera mounted flash'...which cannot be used at 1/1600! But your point is correct. why a studio flash when a reflector would do similar things, and not limit the shutter speed. :)

The disadvantage of reflectors is that in bright sun they too easily cause everyone to squint !


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kenliu2610
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Oct 19, 2006 22:02 |  #11

taygull wrote in post #2142396 (external link)
Not enough power if I'm doing a family of 4...

Not enough?? I do this to take large group of people, just using my 580EX!!
It's 17mm wide. I fire up 580EX at ETTL(+1/3 EV) only at which I set the distance at 14mm.
The camera is about 10 feet away from the people. It was cloudy day on that day!! ;) ;)

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taygull
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Oct 19, 2006 22:51 |  #12

yep, it works well when you are not worried about DOF. I'm looking at more of a portrait shot instead of a snap shot. If you notice in my first post I was speaking of a sunny day so there would potentially be harsh shadows on the fact that would need to be removed.


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kenliu2610
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Oct 19, 2006 23:05 |  #13

taygull wrote in post #2144079 (external link)
yep, it works well when you are not worried about DOF. I'm looking at more of a portrait shot instead of a snap shot. If you notice in my first post I was speaking of a sunny day so there would potentially be harsh shadows on the fact that would need to be removed.

Then maybe using a reflector will help...:oops:


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Oct 20, 2006 00:54 |  #14

Wilt wrote in post #2142653 (external link)
You started fine, Lon, until you mentioned 'a small camera mounted flash'...which cannot be used at 1/1600! But your point is correct. why a studio flash when a reflector would do similar things, and not limit the shutter speed. :)

The disadvantage of reflectors is that in bright sun they too easily cause everyone to squint !

Wilt,

Thanks for catching that mistake.

But, certainly a studio type flash would be shackled with this same shutter speed encumbrance.

So, if you have to have F/2.8 (or F/4), and ISO 100, and a shutter speed of 1/1600 sec (or so), it would have to be a reflector, a near vaporizing intensity continuous light, or a flash with a high-speed sync mode.

The studio flash unit just is not going to cut it if all this conditions must hold (even with neutral density filters).

Enjoy! Lon


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Oct 20, 2006 03:58 |  #15

londuck wrote in post #2144391 (external link)
The studio flash unit just is not going to cut it if all this conditions must hold (even with neutral density filters).

The condition that does not need to hold is the shutter speed. With 3 stops of ND filters you could get the shutter speed down to 1/200.

I don't know whether this would be a better solution than reflectors, but it would at least be possible.


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Outdoor Strobe - Shallow DOF - Bright Sun?
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