- January 27, 2021 at 8:01 pm #238096Jim DugganParticipant
Hi there. I’ve been using my Nikon 5100D with AF-S Micro NIKKOR 85mm 3.5 lens for 8 years or so. Most photos in daylight come out well with good exposure. Within past year, taking my flash photos with diffuser, in darker conditions outside, (in shade or at night with external light) the exposure remaining the same, some photos were way over exposed, some way under exposed and others totally black. No adjustments being made to settings of same object. No flash compensation used. Mostly on Aperture preferred, WD is ON, ISO 200, max ISO 200, speed is usually 1/200, f-18 (makes little difference if use different settings. Have used Manual setting as well and little difference. I think it must be a setting as it used to work fine. I always try to underexpose a bit and then lighten the photo up.
Any suggestions what I could try would be great.
Attachments:January 27, 2021 at 10:33 pm #238109Nasim MansurovKeymaster
Jim, with flash you always want to shoot full manual, since TTL via Aperture Priority can yield inconsistent results. f/18 is a very dark exposure in the first place – I suspect there isn’t enough flash power for that aperture. What’s the flash power? Try shooting at a wider aperture and take note of flash power.
https://photographylife.comJanuary 27, 2021 at 11:34 pm #238116Jim DugganParticipant
Thank you for your suggestions. I have adjusted my flashpower from full to 1/4 and have increased my ISO to 500. I will try on manual flash and if needed open up to about f14. I just don’t want to comprise my depth of field too much as shooting moths in subdued lighting much of the time. Will advise on my outcome.
JimFebruary 14, 2021 at 8:30 am #238392Matthew CurrieParticipant
I’ve also had poor luck with the built in flash with macro. Whether it’s the TTL flash or the A setting, I find it often is drastically over-exposed, and that going to full manual flash and exposure is preferable. Especially if the subject is quite close, I may end up setting the flash to one of its lowest manual settings.
I get much better results with an off-camera flash. Of course on your camera as well as my D7100 this can be difficult, as there is no connection without an adapter on the hot shoe, but if you want to get more serious about macro I highly recommend this. You can find the SC-17 or later cords fairly inexpensively sometimes, and if you go on full manual mode in the camera, you can use almost any flash. There is no need to find a Nikon flash, or any recent TTL. It takes some experimentation, but a fully manual or old-style thyristor auto flash works very well for this. Much of the time you can just hand hold the flash gun without worrying about any mounting, or lay it on a table or the ground.
Once you have an off camera flash, you have a lot more control of shadows, background light, and so forth, and some of the modulation of light level can be as simple as just changing the distance of the flash gun from the subject.
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