Discussion Forum Leica S System S2 S2 and mulitple SF 58 flashes?
  • #3201
    erlingmm

    Is there a way, with the S2, to use multiple SF 58 flashes? Or is this not possible with TTL-HSS (which the S2 seems to require), and antother SF 58 as slave?
    – ErlingMM

  • #3204
    erlingmm

    erlingmm;3779 wrote: Is there a way, with the S2, to use multiple SF 58 flashes? Or is this not possible with TTL-HSS (which the S2 seems to require), and antother SF 58 as slave?
    – ErlingMM

    Seems I have to answer myself: I have done some experimenting with 2 SF 58's, and the short answer is: Manual mode on the camera flash + M-slave mode on the other flash(es).

    Again: The SF58 will not fire in TTL mode, in TTL-HSS + M-slave, the slave will fire on the pre-flash, which means it does not add to the actual shot.

    The challenge then becomes metering. Both flashes give max output in manual mode unless they are set otherwise. I am sure there is some advanced meter that can measure the flash output from multiple flashes as they are fired, I just experiment in Manual mode on the S2 with a couple of shots until it looks right on the histogram.

  • #3205
    stephan

    I've seen allready your thread in the LFI, I'm almost sure that there should be a way to use multple SF58 in TTL – mode (TTL HSS is almost the same just for different purposes/shutter speeds) when you set one as master and the other as slave.

    As I just have one SF58 i cannot test it myself but there should be a way to do that.

    As far as I understood, Leica has a special sales-person for the S-System. I suggest to contact the person for your country/region and ask for more detailled informations about this topic

  • #3206
    erlingmm

    stephan;3792 wrote: I've seen allready your thread in the LFI, I'm almost sure that there should be a way to use multple SF58 in TTL – mode (TTL HSS is almost the same just for different purposes/shutter speeds) when you set one as master and the other as slave.

    As I just have one SF58 i cannot test it myself but there should be a way to do that.

    As far as I understood, Leica has a special sales-person for the S-System. I suggest to contact the person for your country/region and ask for more detailled informations about this topic

    I contacted Leica Norway, and they advised me to try M, but could not give a detailed answer. But if you have one SF58 you can test if it fires in TTL mode? Mine does not.

  • #3207
    David Farkas

    erlingmm;3796 wrote: I contacted Leica Norway, and they advised me to try M, but could not give a detailed answer. But if you have one SF58 you can test if it fires in TTL mode? Mine does not.

    This is correct. The SF 58 won't fire in TTL on the S2, only TTL-HSS.

    Have you tried A mode yet? I'm not sure if each flash will self-meter, but it might be worth a shot.

    In the past, when I've triggered the flash off-camera using a PocketWizard Flex I used the flash in M mode.

  • #3212
    fotografz

    If I may offer a few suggestions:

    Forget about using the SF58 in slave mode. It is an inferred trigger and quite unreliable like most line-of-sight flash trigger systems (which is why Canon has finally brought out a self-contained radio based speed-light system).

    Not to mention what a huge trial-and-error PITA it is to balance out speed-lights set on manual.

    A simple solution is to get a Phottix Stratos-II Transmitter/Receiver set for Nikon. The Stratos-II transmitter mounts in the camera's hot shoe,and the on-camera flash goes in the hot shoe on top of the transmitter … no sync cords. Same for the receiver, the second off-camera SF58 goes in the top hot-shoe, and the base of the receiver can mount on the SF58 accessory stand, or it has a standard 1/4″ receptacle for mounting on a light-stand or spigot with 1/4″ thread.

    You set both SF58 speed-lights to A and it works. Set both flashes to the ISO you are working with, adjust your f/stop for proper exposure, or adjust +/- compensation. Alternatively, you can just set the ratio you want by setting the ISO on the flashes for an effective 1/1, 1/2, 1/3, and so on.

    Being a radio based system, the Phottix is super reliable and will fire a great distance, or if the off-camera flash(es) are behind the subject, or even in another room! I also use the Sony mount Phottix Stratos-II to shoot weddings … which even allows pass-through TTL for the Sony HVL58 on-camera Speed-Light. They are tough as nails, and not once have they failed to fire.

    FYI, you do not need a SF58 … in the hot-shoe, or off-camera. Any speed-light with an A setting will work. I use a much better Sunpak 120J bare-bulb speed-light for my S2 off-camera light … which takes any Quantium light modifier … and there are a number of excellent light mods for the bare bulb configuration used by the Sunpak, Quantum, Hassey D40, etc.

    BUT WAIT … there are even better solutions for off-camera lighting!

    I'll be back in an hour or so to discuss them.

    -Marc

  • #3214
    fotografz

    I'm back!

    Okay, here is a demo of using the Phottix Stratos-II Nikon Transmitter in the S2 hot-shoe with a SF-58 set to A then mounted on top of the Stratos-II. Plus another SF-58 off-camera set to A mounted on a Stratos-II Nikon Receiver that's in the SF-58 supplied stand-foot.

    Top image shows the on-camera SF-58 shut off to evaluate the off-camera light … then the bottom shot shows the on-camera SF-58 turned on to provide the over-all lighting … I've found this to be much faster than having everything set to manual.

    The second photo shows use of different brands of flash … the captions explain it.

    In fact, if you use another brand of camera, like Nikon, Canon or Sony … that is the Phottix Stratos-II configuration to get. The bonus is that when used with the other camera, you CAN set the on-camera speed-light to TTL and the Stratos-II will pass through the TTL data, and keep the on-camera flash TTL … very helpful for fill when using a strong off-camera directional light.

    But wait … there's more … even better solutions involving the S2 and SF-58!

    I'll be back : -)

    -Marc

    Attached files

  • #3217
    fotografz

    Below is how I most frequently use an off-camera KEY light, and a speed-light for fill:

    The SF58 can be used directly in the hot-shoe and kept in HSS-TTL mode if you connect a radio sender via a sync cord to the S2's PC outlet on the side of the camera.

    To accommodate this I place the S2 on a Kirk grip that has a 1/4″ tread on top of the handle and then mount the radio sender there.

    Then it doesn't matter what off-camera light you use … a speed-light or strobe.

    However, for the S2 I highly recommend a more powerful strobe. The S2 loves light, the more the better. This allows you to use a lower ISO and retain the quality of the lush large sensor. BTW, do not be mis-lead by the so called “Strobist” movement for 35mm DSLRs. These cameras frequently have much higher ISOs to work with compared to the S2 or any other Medium Format camera.

    The above will become even more important if you move to any of the Leaf Shutter lenses from Leica or Hasselblad … and access all of the lighting options and advantages the S2 provides.

    A Speed-light like the SF58 produces about 80W/s of lighting and are much harder to modify effectively. A strobe is far more powerful, produces a much better quality of light, and modifiers for almost any application are available. Keep in mind that the bigger the modifier the better the quality of light, but that comes at a cost in diminished light reaching the subject … sometimes to the point that even a full power speed-light is wimpy and ineffective.

    I use two different battery powered strobe kits, depending on application. A 400W/s Elinchrom Quadra Lithium kit, and a Profoto Acute B 600W/s AIR. (I also have a 1200W/s Hensel Porty, but that's a bigger kit for use with assistants to help).

    The Quadra is extremely small with strobe heads smaller than a speed-light … yet is able to put out 4 to 5 times the light of an SF-58 that is set to full power manual. 4 or 5 SF58s cost more than one Quadra kit, and putting all those speed-lights in one modifier is ridiculous.

    The other nice thing is you can control the levels of the Quadra light from the camera using their Skyport radio transmitter.

    Here are a few examples of off-camera lighting:

    The Kiss shot shows my assistant's image using just on camera flash, and my shot using on-camera for fill and a second radio triggered speed-light behind the couple. Big difference.

    The Sculpture shot was done in dead-dark conditions … the only ambient was from the windows behind them. I used the S2 with SF58 in the hot-shoe set to HSS-TTL for fill, and the off-camera light was the Profoto 600B AIR/Profoto gold Octa-box, triggered by the on-grip AIR radio transmitter to provide directional KEY light from camera right position … which had to be back behind me quite a bit to light the tall sculpture … distance requires more lighting power.

    The dance sequence of the Bride, was on camera TTL using with the Profoto AIR radio triggering the off-camera directional light behind and to the right of the subjects. What is good about using TTL on-camera is that all you need to do is get the KEY light exposure correct, and the TTL will do the rest for fill.

    The last shot of the Bride and flower girls was the S2 using a Hasselblad 100mm leaf-shutter lens @ 1/750 shutter to control the brightly lit background and pool, while the SF58 in the hot shoe provided fill to nicely balance it out. My assistant's shot of the same thing using her Canon all featured a completely blown background when the subjects were exposed properly … all of which I deleted.

    Hope this helps a bit,

    -Marc

    Attached files

  • #3218
    Al Tanabe

    Marc,
    Great instructional posts with fantastic examples! You really show what is possible with the small strobes that most users buy and what can be done with the pro level strobes.

    -Al

  • #3220
    Mark Gowin

    Marc, thank you so much for the detailed explanations. Very helpful.

  • #3221
    fotografz

    Thanks guys! I admit to being on a crusade regarding working with lights and the S2. Or, I should say, explore the possibilities with a tool that is more than qualified.

    While is certainly isn't everyone's cup of tea, it can expand usage of this wonderful tool and open up the creative possibilities more fully.

    The trick is using just enough and no more. Sometimes that means just a little puff of fill … and at other times taking total control of the lighting when there is little to no ambient or the quality of the ambient is poor … and in the case of the S2's leaf shutter option, to use lighting when there is waaaaay too much ambient!

    Case in point … this bride wanted her wedding party photos at the same lake park we did her engagement session. I figured out where the sun would be at the time of day we had to shoot, and knew that lighting was the only solution, or I'd be in for a heap of trouble.

    So I brought the S2 and Hasselblad HC-50-II leaf-shutter lens used @ 1/750 shutter sync … the lighting was the Profoto 600B @ full power fitted with an Elinchrom 39″ Rotalux Deep Octa. This silver interior Octa acts like a virtual “Magnum” reflector when all of the diffusers are stripped off … in effect increasing the light delivered over a distance. Even at full power it was barely enough … 1200W/s would have been correct … or the equivalent of 14 SF58s!

    Here is the result … Nicely exposed background with sun-burst sky, back-lit/rim lit subjects with enough fill to make them visible rather than silhouetted. It was printed on an 18″ wide wedding album spread. At full resolution, the detail is stunning with every face clear.

    -Marc

    Attached files

  • #3750
    rootbeer

    fotografz;3818 wrote: I'm back!

    Okay, here is a demo of using the Phottix Stratos-II Nikon Transmitter in the S2 hot-shoe with a SF-58 set to A then mounted on top of the Stratos-II. Plus another SF-58 off-camera set to A mounted on a Stratos-II Nikon Receiver that's in the SF-58 supplied stand-foot.

    Top image shows the on-camera SF-58 shut off to evaluate the off-camera light … then the bottom shot shows the on-camera SF-58 turned on to provide the over-all lighting … I've found this to be much faster than having everything set to manual.

    The second photo shows use of different brands of flash … the captions explain it.

    In fact, if you use another brand of camera, like Nikon, Canon or Sony … that is the Phottix Stratos-II configuration to get. The bonus is that when used with the other camera, you CAN set the on-camera speed-light to TTL and the Stratos-II will pass through the TTL data, and keep the on-camera flash TTL … very helpful for fill when using a strong off-camera directional light.

    But wait … there's more … even better solutions involving the S2 and SF-58!

    I'll be back : -)

    -Marc

    Marc, Excellent explanation that even I understood. Question: If I get the Nikon receivers can I mount a Canon 580 set to A? Can the on camera SF58 remain TTL?
    Thanks a bunch!
    Jim

  • #3755
    fotografz

    rootbeer;4416 wrote: Marc, Excellent explanation that even I understood. Question: If I get the Nikon receivers can I mount a Canon 580 set to A? Can the on camera SF58 remain TTL?
    Thanks a bunch!
    Jim

    Yes Jim, you can use any speed-light that is set to A because only the center universal contact point on the speed-light's hot shoe connection is used to just trigger the flash, and nothing more. The ‘A” Auto eye of the flash then controls the light based on what is reflected back including any cumulative light provided by a secondary flash(s).

    The only way a SF58 can provide TTL exposure is when it is set to TTL-HSS and mounted directly in the S2/S hot shoe. If you place a Stratos-II in the hot shoe with the SF58 mounted to it, the speed-light has to be set to A. There are no pass through TTL radio senders for Leica's S2 TTL-HSS protocol … and I suspect that there probably never will be.

    Basically, when using speed-lights set to A, all you need is a dumb radio trigger. The advantage of ones like the Phottix Stratos-II is that they have a hot shoe built into the top of a radio transmitter that mounts in the hot shoe of the camera so you can mount the speed-light on top of it … this eliminates finding a place to put the radio sender and connecting it to the camera with a sync cord. The disadvantage is that you lose TTL-HSS exposure control for fill with the SF58.

    The alternative is to use any radio system transmitter with a PC outlet (most have them) and matching receiver set, then mount the transmitter to a grip type camera bracket and connect it to the camera's PC port on the left side of the S2/S. Then the SF58 goes into the camera's hot shoe set to TTL-HSS … thus preserving almost perfect fill to the key off-camera light. This is the configuration I use the most … whether working with off-camera studio strobes or a speed-light. A secondary advantage of using a grip is more stability when using AF … both hands are now firmly gripping the camera when shooting.

    This is the grip I currently use because it has a ARCA type Quick Release camera mount which I use on all of my cameras. The radio transmitter mounts to the top of the handle and is wired to the camera with a short PC cord that usually comes with the radio transmitter.

    http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/859456-REG/Kirk_AG_2L_AG_2L_Left_Handle_Action.html

    You will also need one of these to hold the radio sender if it doesn't have a 1/4″ receptacle in the hot shoe base.

    http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/52772-REG/Stroboframe_300_SHO_Flash_Mount_Adapter.html

    Hope this helps,

    -Marc

  • #3861
    rootbeer

    Ok I'm a novice but with Marc's recommendation I've jumped into the Strobe and SF58 fill light work. This is a barrel cactus in my front yard this morning. The sun is behind it so this side was in shadow so much no detail was present. Using Marc's recommendation on equipment and procedure I produced these photos.


    L1000732-Edit.jpg by rootbeer2004, on Flickr

    100 % crop


    100 % crop of 1000732.jpg by rootbeer2004, on Flickr

    70mm CS lens, Profoto D1 500 with Octi-Rotalux 39″, Iso 160, 1/180 and F16. SF 58 dialed down for fill flash. I probably didn't need the SF58 since I think I had the strobe set too high.
    Feedback welcome!
    thanks Jim

  • #3889
    fotografz

    Very nice start.

    You used 1/160 shutter, but could've used any shutter down to 1/1000 with the CS lens. How fast would depend on the brightness of the background and creatively how you would want the sky to look.

    For example, 1/500 shutter would make the background go a bit darker, more saturated. Then you would adjust the key strobe light on the subject to taste.

    Also, where was the key light? It should be placed to produce directional light … then the on-camera SF58 is just used to fill the deeper shadows the directional light produces.

    Very nice as is … play with different CS shutter speeds and key light levels to expand your knowledge of what is possible.

    -Marc

  • #3895
    albireo_double

    fotografz;4421 wrote: The only way a SF58 can provide TTL exposure is when it is set to TTL-HSS and mounted directly in the S2/S hot shoe.

    You can use the Nikon SC28 or 29 cable to mount the SF58 off camera on the S2 and still retain the TTL-HSS capability (the contacts are in exactly the same positions on the S2 as on Nikon cameras). You can even use up to three of these cables linked to get the SF58 further away from the camera. Not as elegant/sophisticated as Marc's other suggested wireless solutions but can be useful in some applications.
    Regards, Martin

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