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FLASH PHOTOGRAPHY with Nikon F4 Series Bodies

Basically, the main feature of the entire generation of Nikon F4's flash photography is its ability to integrate traditional TTL flash exposure with various metering systems. You can regard this implementation as a significant breakthrough because this has in turns become the mainstream technology for the last one and a half decade in camera design. Naturally, the technology deployed in SLR cameras also affect how the respective Nikon flash units in performance and features to supplement those new function employs in cameras. So, with the backbone of the flash system designed around the F4, subsequent Nikon SLR such as the Nikon F5 and F100, Digital D1 series etc. are only refining a technology spearheaded by the Nikon F4. The biggest advantage of Nikon system in this respect is compatibility. All system flash models can work with virtually any Nikon AF (or even MF) SLRs, the difference is only confined to what features that it cannot take advantages from with newer Nikon bodies.

Here are the list of Nikon Speedlights compiled under the resource section in PIM website:

Nikon AF-TTL Speedlights | SB-20 (1986) | SB-22 (1987) | SB-23 | SB-24 (1988) | SB-25 (1991/2) | SB-26 (1994) | SB-27(1997) | SB-28 (1997) | Nikon SB-29(s) (2000) | Nikon SB-30 (2003) | Nikon SB-600 (2004) | Nikon SB-800 (2003)
Nikon AF-TTL Speedlight DX-Series:
Nikon SB-28DX (1999) | SB-50DX (2001) | SB-80DX (2002) (updated)

Nikon MF- Speedlights | BC-Series | SB-1~SB-21 (except SB-20) |
Nikon MF- Macro-ringlight | SM1/SR1 | SM2/SR2 | SB-21 |

Useful accessory:- Nikon original Flash couplers for various flash models foot incompatibility

Nikon SB-24 Speedlights The SB-24 was a raw Nikon AF-TTL Speedlight introduced during the Nikon F4 era and you can almost referred it as a dedicated companion flash for the Nikon F4. It has a standard ISO-standard type of hotshoe design and it can be used with any Nikon cameras that carry similar accessory shoe configurations. Designed to supplement the early F801 and also offers maximum flexibility and performance with the subsequent Nikon F4, including built-in autofocus illuminator and a choice of various fill-flash functions, such as Matrix Balanced Fill-Flash and Center-Weighted Fill-Flash. In Programmed Auto (P, PH) modes, the sync speed of 1/250 sec. has priority, but when the aperture reaches its largest limit (variable according to ISO film speed), the program line fixes the shutter speed at 1/60 second. Aperture is controlled between f/4 (at ISO 100) and the lens' smallest aperture. In Shutter-Priority Auto (S) mode, you can choose sync speeds from 1/250 to 30 sec., enabling you to shoot, for example, a cityscape of night lights, with automatic flash exposure for foreground subjects. Aperture is controlled between f/2.8 (at any ISO film speed) and the lens' smallest aperture. In Aperture-Priority Auto (A) mode, you select aperture and the camera selects a suitable sync speed, within a range of 1/60 to 1/250 sec. (at any ISO film speed). With Manual (M), you control both aperture and shutter speed while the flash exposure is determined by scene brightness and contrast, with Matrix Balanced Fill-Flash control throughout. In S and M modes, when you select a shutter speed faster than 1/250 sec. and then turn the flash unit ON, the F-801 automatically shifts to 1/250 sec. Some of the technical highlights of the flash are listed below:

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  • Cybernetic Sync* automatically adjusts the camera's shutter and lens aperture to exposure requirements.
  • Matrix Balanced Fill-Flash enables balanced, correct exposure for both foreground subject and background without any manual compensation.
  • Matrix Balanced Fill-Flash with Cybernetic Sync works with all exposure modes.
  • Center-Weighted Fill-Flash automatically compensates the TTL flash exposure level within a controlled shutter speed/aperture range.
  • TTL flash exposure level can be manually compensated with the Nikon SB-24 Speedlight.

Credit: Image of SB-24 courtesy of Mr. James Lee® <jleehome@optonline.net>. Image copyright © 2003. All rights reserved. Please respect the visual property of the contributing photographer.

| Other information | relating to Nikon AF-TTL SB-24 Speedlight

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Although the subsequent Nikon AF-TTL Speedlight SB-25 that introduced in 1992 was more for the Nikon F90 series body(ies), but you can also regard it as a Nikon F4 dedicated flash unit as it offers virtually everything a Nikon SB-24 provides plus a little more in features ..

Other features:

In a typical Nikon F4/F801(s) and SB-24 Speedlight combination, the following illustrated its functions with various exposure modes set on camera:

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(1) Maximum usable aperture varies according to film speed in use; minimum aperture is the smallest aperture of the lens in use.
(2) Maximum usable aperture is f/2.8; minimum aperture is the smallest aperture of the lens in use.
(3) When set from 1/250 to 1/8800 sec., the shutter is automatically set to 1/250 sec.
(4) Recommended background exposure is displayed. Extra flash level compensation not possible.
(5) Recommended background exposure is displayed. Normal flash control.

NOTE: Usable film speed for TTL flash photography is ISO 25-1000; for non-TTL flash photography, it is 6-6400. Use Nikon Speedlights. Other units may damage the camera's electronic circuit due to incompatible voltage requirements, electric contact alignment or switch phase. When using a special Speedlight with a time-lag provision or when using a speedlight with a long flash duration (i.e., Nikon Repeating Flash SB-6 at 112 or full output or Medical-Nikkor 120mm f/4), adjust shutter speed down to 1/125 sec. or slower. When using a speedlight that does not allow automatic sync speed setting, set the camera's exposure mode to Manual.


Nikon TTL Multiple flash System
The many Nikon Speedlights of SB-28, SB-27, SB-26, SB-25, SB-24, SB-23, SB-22, SB-20 or even combining older MF Nikon TTL flash such as SB-16B or SB-15 can be used for TTL Multiple-flash photography, each linked (up to five units) to a Nikon F5, F100, Nikon F4 series, F90(x) , F80 series, , F70, F60 series, F50, PRONEA 600i or even a Nikon MF F3 body via Nikon TTL remote or TTL multi-flash sync cord. To ensure optimum results, a combination of the same Speedlights is recommended. The camera body's built-in sensor automatically measures and controls the light from all units. In the case of Nikon SB-26, SB-27 which has built-in wireless slave flash capability, these flash units add another layer of versatility in a Nikon multi-flash photographic setup.

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Warning: For multiple flash photography using Nikon Speedlights, if the electric current in the sync circuit exceeds a certain level. you may not be able to take a second picture after taking the first. Take care that the combined total of the coefficients (numbers shown in parentheses below) for all of the Speedlights used at any one time does not exceed 20 at 20'C/68*F (13 at 40 C/104 F).

SB26, SB-25, SB-24 (1) SB-23 (4) SB-22 (6) SB-21 (4) SB-20 (9) SB-19 (2) SB-18 (16) SB-17 (4) SB-16 (4) SB-15 (4) SB-14 (1) SB-12 (1) SB-11 (1)

If you are unable to take a second picture, disconnect master Speedlight from the K or turn each of the Speedlights off and on once.
Applicable accessories for TTL Multi-Flash - Sync Cords and Remote Cords

SC-13 Enables Non-TTL automatic flash with virtually ALL Nikon SLR cameras with standard ISO-type hotshoes.
TTL Remote Cord SC-17
Use this cord to connect the TTL flash units with Nikon SLRs with standard ISO accessory shoe. Up to two units can be connected to the SC-17's terminals through the TTL Multi-Flash Sync Cord SC- 18 or SC- 19 for TTL multi-flash photography.
TTL Multi-Flash Sync Cords SC-18, SC-19 Use these cords to connect TTL flash units to each other through the T'TL Multi-Flash Adapter AS-10 or TTL Remote Cord SC-17 for multi-flash operation.

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TTL Remote Cord SC-23 Enables off-camera TTL automatic flash control, usable with Nikon F5, F100, F80 series, F90(x), F70, F601 and F50 and others. SC-12 specifically for Nikon F3 series only.
TTL Remote Cord SC-24 For TTL flash control when using Nikon F5 and DW-6X Magnification Finder DW-30 or for TTL flash control when using the Nikon F4-series with DW-20 or DW-21.
TTL Multi-Flash Adapter AS-10 Attach the AS-1 0 to the SB-28, SB-27, SB-26, SB-27, SB-22, SB-16B or even a Macro Ringlight SB-21B. Connect additional TTL Speedlight units with the SC- 18 or SC- 19. The AS-10 controls up to three TTL Speedlight units.

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Credit: Image courtesy of Mr. Jochem Wijnands ®. Jochem is a professional photographer and has an excellent online portfolio on his own and you may also contact via his e-mail. Image copyright © 2003. All rights reserved. Please respect the visual property of the contributing photographer.

* Cybernetic Sync Flash Nikon dedicated electronic Speedlights, including SB-24, SB-23, SB-22, SB-20, SB-18, SB-16B and SB-15 or other later equivalent models (SB-25, SB-26 etc.), you can take full advantage or the Nikon F4's fine-tuned cybernetic controls, which automatically synchronize the camera's shutter speed and lens aperture to provide precisely controlled exposures, This means you can perform Cybernetic Sync Flash in TTL mode in every flash shooting situation, for beautiful, naturally balanced exposure for foregrounds and backgrounds. Using Cybernetic control, the Nikon F4 together with a Nikon Speedlight allows the photographer a choice of different flash techniques, such as Matrix Balanced Fill-Flash and Center-Weighted Fill-Flash.

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In Matrix TTL Flash, Centre-Weighted TTL Flash or Spot TTL Flash, standard TTL flash is selected. In this flash mode,although exposure for the background is metered by each metering system. flash output level is not determined automatically, However, you ran manually select flash output compensation (on the SB-24) at levels from +1 to -3 EV for greater personal creativity.

** Matrix Balanced Fill-Flash With the system set to Matrix. Matrix Balanced Fill-Flash is available. Based on a combination of general scene brightness and contrast, the exposure value for the background is determined by one of five computation methods: Low-Brightness Weighted, Center-Segment, Average, High-Brightness Weighted, or Very-High-Brightness Weighted.

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Together with the background exposure metering, the Nikon F4's microcomputer automatically chooses from five flash output levels determined by a combination of brightness and degree of contrast. The result is a balanced combination of ambient light and flash illumination that produces a natural-looking and pleasing effect.

Matrix Balanced Fill-Flash in Each Exposure Mode

A) In Programmed Auto (P
H, P) modes, the sync speed of 1/250 sec. has priority, but when the aperture reaches its largest limit (variable according to ISO film speed), the program line fixes the shutter speed at 1/60 second. Aperture is controlled between f/4.0 (at ISO 100) and the smallest available lens aperture.

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B) In Shutter-Priority Auto (S) mode. you can choose sync speeds from 1/250 to 4 sec., enabling you to shoot, for example, a cityscape of night lights, with automatic flash exposure for foreground subjects. Aperture is controlled between the largest and smallest apertures of the lens.

CLICK on respective thumbnails to SEE
an enlarged View of the three charts

C) In Aperture-Priority Auto (A) mode, you select aperture and the camera selects a suitable sync speed, within a range of 1/60 to 1/250 sec. (at any ISO film speed).
Matrix Balanced Fill Flash in P (Program AE ) Mode Matrix Balanced Fill Flash in S (Shutter Priority AE) Mode Matrix Balanced Fill Flash in A (Aperture Priority AE) Mode

D) With Manual (M), you control both aperture and shutter speed while the flash exposure is determined by scene brightness and contrast, with Matrix Balanced Fill-Flash control throughout.

Center Weighted Fill-Flash For regular TTL flash photography, or to emphasize detailed background areas, use Center-Weighted Fill-Flash. In this mode, when the value measured by the center segment is within the controlled shutter speed/aperture range, flash output compensation is automatically set, for natural-looking fill-flash photography. (if the value is less than that of the controlled range, standard TTL flash without compensation is selected.)

# Rear-Curtain Sync When using the Nikon SB-24 and/or other Nikon equivalent Speedlights e.g. SB-25, SB-26 etc.(Note: SB-28 does not provide an external REAR swithc) you can synchronize the flash to the instant just before the rear (second) curtain starts moving, Set the SB-24s flash sync mode selector to "REAR." This lets you turn available light into a stream of light that follow the flash illuminated subject. Rear-curtain sync flash photography is especially effective at slower shutter speeds. In PH, P or A mode, the shutter will operate as slowly as 30 seconds, depending on background brightness.

Ready-Light Warnings When using Nikon dedicated Speedlights, the F-801(s)/F90(x)/Nikon F4's viewfinder ready-light LED lights up when the flash is recycled. The following ready-light indications are used for warnings.

Before shooting
Possible explanation
flashicon.gif Disappears
Recharging
flashicon.gif blinks
Poor connection between camera and speedlight. (Keep speedlight and camera electrical connections clean.)
After shooting flashicon.gif blinks
Light may be insufficient for correct exposure; confirm shooting distance range.

## Repeating Flash for Stroboscopic Effect

However, one of the featured MF flash offers the level of convenience presents in a modern AF Speedlights such as the SB-24 (and or others equivalent such as SB-25, SB-26 and SB-28 etc.) yet ensuring so much more satisfying results (in terms of exposures). The repeating flash technique with applicable AF Nikon Speedlights is also available with the Nikon SB-24 Speedlight (and others). In this case the SB-24 emits a certain level of flash output consecutively. The user then picks the desired length of interval between flashes, number of flashes (up to 8) per second and flash output amount.

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Previously, Nikon does offered a specialized Repeating Flash called Nikon SB-6, subsequent handle/bracket-mount flash such as SB-11 and SB-14 also offer similar feature. Repeating flash requires the core flash to have enough raw power to enable it to function effectively, the normal way is used via auto flash. Subsequent Nikon flash such as the TTL-capable MF SB-15 (too weak to use unless the flash working distance is close enough) while the more powerful MF SB-16 does offers reasonably good working distance in TTL mode. The SB-6 is a different beast. It can provide strobe operation can emitting up to 40 flashes per second, and you have the ideal high-powered unit for cine 18 or 24 fps or extra-rapidly moving subject, stop-action photography.

Note1: Although the slowest possible shutter speed for front-curtain sync flash photography in TTL mode (with camera at PH, P or A modes) is only 1/60 second, with rear-curtain sync flash photography, the shutter will operate as slow as 30 seconds, depending on the background brightness. Note2: In the S and M modes, when you select a shutter speed faster than 1/250 sec. and then turn the flash unit to "ON" - the Nikon F4 automatically will shift to 1/250 sec.

Things to note: Usable film speed for TTL flash is ISO25-1000; for Non-TTL flash photography, it may be used with a range from 6-6400 (Each Nikon flash manual should have detail instructions relating to this). Some third party flash may use different or incompatible voltage requirements (or even electrical contact allignment and switch phase etc.) try to invest into a Nikon flash for better system compatibility.

Using a special speedlight with time-lag provision or when using speedlight with a long flash duration (e.g. Medical-Nikkor 120mm f/4.0s IF), adjust the shutter speed down to 1/125 sec. or slower. Further, when you are using a speedlight that does not allow automatic sync speed setting, set te camera's exposure mode to "MANUAL".

| previous | NEXT | 2/3 Various flash couplers, system flash accessories and third party products

| Part I | Part II | Part III |

Nikon AF-TTL Speedlights | SB-20 (1986) | SB-22 (1987) | SB-23 | SB-24 (1988) | SB-25 (1991/2) | SB-26 (1994) | SB-27(1997) | SB-28 (1997) | Nikon SB-29(s) (2000) | Nikon SB-30 (2003) | Nikon SB-600 (2004) | Nikon SB-800 (2003)
Nikon AF-TTL Speedlight DX-Series:
Nikon SB-28DX (1999) | SB-50DX (2001) | SB-80DX (2002) (updated)

Nikon BC-flash Series | Original Nikon Speedlight
SB-2 | SB-3 | SB-4 | SB-5 | SB-6 | SB-7E | SB-8E | SB-9 | SB-E | SB-10
SB-11
| SB-12 | SB-14 | SB-140 UV-IR| SB-15 | SB16A | SB-17 | SB-18, SB-19 | SB-21A (SB-29) Macro flash | Flash Accesories | SF-1 Pilot Lamp

The Camera Body - Features | Reliability | Focusing | Metering | Exposure Control | Lense Compatibility | Interchangeable Prisms | Data Film Backs | Various Power Sources | Focusing Screens | Flash Photography | Other system accessories | Cases for Nikon F4 Series | Remote Control |

| Specification | Main Reference Map | Nikon F4 Variants
Instruction Manual: PDF (4.5M) - External Link

| BACK | to Main Index Page Nikon F4 Series SLR camera Models

| Message Board | for Nikon F4 Series SLR model(s)
| Message Board | for your Nikon Optics in a shared environment
| Message Board | Specifically for Dispose or Looking for Nikon/Nikkor Photographic Equipment

| Back | to Pictorial History of Nikon SLR / rangefinders / Nikonos / digital cameras.

weblibrary.gif   Nikon F | Nikon F2 | Nikon F3 | Nikon F4 | Nikon F5 | Nikon F6 | Nikkormat / Nikomat | Nikon FM | Nikon FE/ FA | Nikon EM/FG/FG20 | Nikon Digital SLRs | Nikon - Other models

Nikon Auto Focus Nikkor lenses:- Main Index Page
Nikon
Manual Focus Nikkor lenses:- Fisheye-Nikkor Lenses - Circular | Full Frame | Ultrawides Lenses - 13mm15mm18mm20mm | Wideangle Lenses - 24mm28mm35mm | Standard Lenses - 45mm 50mm 58mm | Telephoto Lenses - 85mm105mm135mm180mm & 200mm | Super-Telephoto Lenses - 300mm 400mm 500mm 600mm 800mm 1200mm |

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Index Page
  Special Application lenses:
Micro-Nikkor Lenses - 50mm~55mm -60mm 85mm -105mm 200mm Micro-Zoom 70-180mm
Perspective Control (PC) - 28mm 35mm PC-Micro 85mm
Dedicated Lenses for Nikon F3AF: AF 80mm f/2.8 | AF 200mm f/3.5 EDIF
Depth of Field Control (DC): 105mm 135mm
Medical Nikkor: 120mm 200mm
Reflex-Nikkor Lenses - 500mm 1000mm 2000mm
Others: Noct Nikkor | OP-Nikkor | UV Nikkor 55mm 105mm | Focusing Units | Bellows-Nikkor 105mm 135mm
Nikon Series E Lenses: 28mm35mm50mm100mm135mm | E-Series Zoom lenses: 36~72mm75~150mm70~210mm


MF Zoom-Nikkor Lenses: 25~50mm | 28~45mm | 28~50mm | 28~85mm | 35~70mm | 36~72mm E | 35~85mm | 35~105mm | 35~135mm | 35~200mm | 43~86mm | 50~135mm | 50~300mm | 70~210mm E | 75~150mm E | 80~200mm | 85~250mm | 100~300mm | 180~600mm | 200~400mm | 200~600mm | 360~1200mm | 1200~1700mm

Tele-Converters: TC-1 | TC-2 | TC-200 | TC-201 | TC-300 | TC-301 | TC-14 | TC-14A | TC-14B | TC-14C | TC-14E | TC-16 | TC-16A | TC-20E

Recommended links to understand more technical details related to the Nikkor F-mount and production Serial Number:
http://rick_oleson.tripod.com/index-153.html by: my friend, Rick Oleson
http://www.zi.ku.dk/personal/lhhansen/photo/fmount.htm by: Hansen, Lars Holst
http://www.mir.com.my/rb/photography/hardwares/nikonfmount/lens2.htm
http://www.photosynthesis.co.nz/nikon/serialno.html

W A R N I N G: The New G-SERIES Nikkor lenses have no aperture ring on the lense, they cannot adjust aperture(s)when operating in manual exposure control even with certain earlier AF Nikon SLR camera models. Similarly, not ALL features provide in a modern AF-S series AF-Nikkor lenses can be utilized fully with a Nikon F4. Please refer to your local distributor for compatibility issue(s).

PLEASE NOTE: Complimentary links are appreciative but it is not necessary, I have limited bandwidth here in this server... So, PLEASE don't distribute this URL to any bulk mailing list or unrelated user-groups, just be a little considerate, thank you. (The more you distribute, the slower this server will response to your requests...). I am NOT a Nikon nor Nikkor expert, so don't send me any mails, use the Message Board Instead. While the content prepared herein should be adequate for anyone to understand and evaluate whether you should invest into a used Nikon F4 pro-camera system for your kind of photography. Well, IF you like what you have seen so far, please help to perfect this site by reporting any broken links or any errors made.

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About this photographic site.

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Credit: Chuck Hester, US for his patience, encouragement and help to setup the various content in this site; Robert Johnson for some of his original images on the F2H-MD appeared in this site; my ex-staff, KiaSu for his superb 3-D logo appeared in this Nikon F2 site; Marc Vorgers from Holland who generously provide me with some of his images of F2AS; MCLau®, who has so much time with me to re-edit the content in this site and not to mention buying a Nikon Coolpix 990 just for this site; Paul Armstrong (pkared@ameritech.net) for his explantion of the FF2 Slidemagic and Nikon F2 Pin Camera Keat Photo, Kuala Lumpur for providing their Nikon F2A to take some images for this site; Mr Edward Ngoh the great camera collector who provides us his collection of F2AS with MD-2; hawkeye.photographic.com for their images on the Speed Magny film backs; Sean Cranor for his image on Nikon F2 25th Anniversary Model; Ted Wengelaar®, Holland for his continuous flow of input on some of the early Nikon bodies; Genesis-Camera for granting permission to use an image of the SS-F2 camera; Mr Sover Wong, Australia for those great images of his rare F2 Gold;CYLeow ®, photo editor of the Star newspaper, Malaysia for some of his images used in this site. Ms Rissa Chan, Sales manager from Shriro Malaysia who has helped to provide some of the very useful input. HiuraShinsaku®, Nikomat ML, Japan for some of his images on various F2 models; my staff, Wati, Maisa, Mai and my nephew, EEWyn®, who volunteered and helping me did so many of the film scanning works; Hong-sien Kwee of Singapore for all the Nikon F2 Pin camera images appeared in this site; Luigi Crescenzi for many of his images on the Nikon F2 Titan; John for two of his images of the Nikon F2/T used in this site; Contributing photographers or resellers: Jen Siow, Foo KokKin, Arthur Teng, Mark Fallander, John Ishii, Ed Hassel, YoonKi Kim, Jean-Louis, M.Dugentas (Dell Corner.com.), Mr "Arsenall", Yang Zi Xiong and a few images mailed in from surfers with no appropriate reference to their origin. Note:certain content and images appeared in this site were either scanned from official marketing leaflets, brochures published by Nikon and/or contribution from surfers who claimed originality of their own work to publish in this site based on educational merits. The creator of this site will not be responsible for any discrepancies that may arise from such possible dispute except rectifying them after verification."Nikon", "Nikkormat", "Nippon Kokagu KK" & "Nikkor" are registered tradename of Nikon Corporation Inc., Japan. A site made with an Apple IMac.

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