Sunday, February 23, 2014

Day 42, Learning 42: Modeling Light

I've said it before:  I'm a Nikon shooter.  So this one is specific to Nikons (though maybe Canon, Sony, and others do it as well).  Nikon flash systems from SB600 and above have built in modeling lights. They're close to useless, emitting a very week strobe light for about 2 seconds.  But in the right sort of pinch you may want to use it to help with your setup (I would never use it working with a person, but for product or still life, yes). 

Go to E5: in your camera's menu and switch it to on.  Make sure your Preview Button (Depth of Field), which is located on the front face of the camera below the shutter button is set to Preview.  Now, when you pop up your on-camera flash and press Preview it will trigger your modeling light; it was also trigger the modeling light on any Nikon flashes in your CLS system.

Personally, I prefer to have my Preview button assigned to lock my focus.  This helps in low light situations when the camera is hunting, and I know my subject isn't moving.  More adventuresome people set it to AF-ON.  This transfers the focusing to the Preview button.  The drawback is that the camera will never focus from the Shutter Button in this mode.  It's either one or the other so you have to commit to a new way of shooting.

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