1

In the Nikon D5600 , there is the usual flash compensation setting where you can set it from -3.0 to +1.0 But there is also a setting called flash control in the menu , where you can set the flash to 1/32, 1/16 ... all the way upto full.

Do both of these achieve the same thing, or is there any difference between these 2 ?

I tried both on the same composition . For flash compensation, image was brighter as it changed it from -3 to 1. And for flash control also image was brighter as i changed it from 1/32 to FULL. So, is there any difference between the two. ?

For those asking in the comments, i am not using any external / remote flash or commander mode etc. It is just the normal default flash unit built into the camera

3
  • What flash are you using and how many of them? Flash Control is only available in Commander Mode, which only really makes sense if you're using remote flashes as well as something like an SB-500 onboard. It doesn't work with my 3rd party flashes, for which I have a dedicated controller - so I can't test. – Tetsujin Jun 17 at 6:49
  • @Tetsujin No, I am not using external flash, i am using the standard default flash of the camera. And the flash control setting does work, the flash output at 1/32 is visibly lower than when i set it at 1/2 – silverrahul Jun 17 at 7:41
  • @Tetsujin It is not just for the wireless option. I took few test photos and both flash control and flash compensation work , both increase or decrease the amount of flash. Check inkista's answer. That seems the most sensible and helpful to me. Manuals can be misleading if not interpreted correctly. Taking test shots , makes it clear what's what. If you have a 5500 , just try taking some test shots and fiddle with both the controls. I would be surprised if 5500 worked differently. – silverrahul Jun 17 at 8:01
2

In the Nikon D5600 , there is the usual flash compensation setting where you can set it from -3.0 to +1.0 But there is also a setting called flash control in the menu , where you can set the flash to 1/32, 1/16 ... all the way up to full.

Do both of these achieve the same thing, or is there any difference between these 2 ?

Both flash exposure compensation (FEC) and flash power control do the same thing: adjust the power (really the length) of the flash burst to adjust how much light the flash puts out during the exposure. The main difference is that FEC is relative to the current power setting (usually made by TTL), while M power ratios are absolute on the scale of the flash's full output.

TTL (or through-the-lens flash metering) is where a digital camera sets the power output on the flash automatically by having the camera tell the flash to send out a metering "preburst" of a known power level, meters it, and then adjusts the flash power based on the results. M (full manual) flash, you have to explicitly set the power level as a ratio of its full power. Think of this as being analogous to using automated exposure modes on the camera (where settings are adjusted based on metering) and using relative exposure compensation (EC) and M (full manual) on the camera where whatever you set is what goes and you have to explicitly set the ISO, aperture, and shutter speed to specific settings.

Both types of adjustments (FEC and ratios) are given in stops. A stop is a doubling/halving of the light, and is also called an exposure value (EV). So +1EV is the same as going from, say, 1/8 power to 1/4 power.

FEC uses EV as its unit of adjustment. But M power levels that are partial stops can also use 1/3 EV increments, so EV aren't exclusively used for TTL and FEC. But TTL and FEC never use the power ratio settings.

...For flash compensation, image was brighter as it changed it from -3 to 1. And for flash control also image was brighter as i changed it from 1/32 to FULL.

  • -3EV to +1EV, is a four-stop increase in light output.

  • 1/32 M power to full (1) M power is a five-stop increase in light output. (1/32 → 1/16 (+1EV) → 1/8 (+2EV) → 1/4 (+3EV) → 1/2 (+4EV) → 1 (+5EV)).

That's why using the manual control was brighter than the FEC control. But you were essentially doing the same thing both times. You just did it one stop more with the ratios. Had you set it to 1/2 power, it would have been the same amount of exposure change. But would only have been identical between the two methods if TTL had set your flash to 1/32 power.

The main advantage to using Manual ratio settings is that you know where you are in the flash's output power range. FEC, you may already be at, say, 1/4 +1/3EV power, and while you can ask for +3EV, the most the flash can give you at that point is +1 2/3 EV.

Because FEC is relative to where TTL set the flash's power, you may not be sure where you are in the range, unless your flash has a TTL-locking feature that can translate the TTL setting to an M power ratio (e.g., the TCM function on a Godox V1).

2
  • 1
    Thanks, that comparison to full manual modes vs PSA modes really helped . So, if i am getting this right, then the flash control is like fully manual mode. And FEC is more of a semi automatic kind of thing, where the camera decides something and i can add or subtract ( -3 to 1 ) from the camera's recommendations . Is that right ? – silverrahul Jun 17 at 7:54
  • 1
    @silverrahul Yes, that's it in a nutshell. – Michael C Jun 17 at 8:19
2

The Flash Control menu includes TTL and Manual flash mode.

TTL is automatic flash exposure, but which is affected by Flash Compensation if you prefer a a different automatic exposure result.

Manual is Manual, you specify the flash power to be used, from Full power to 1/2 power to 1/4 power, etc. This is purely manual flash exposure (set by you), and Flash Compensation does not affect Manual flash levels. Instead of Compensation, you would simply select a different Manual level.

4
  • Yes, this is true. My question is that if this is the case, then is it just something redundant i.e. what is the point of choosing TTL i.e. letting camera make the choice and THEN using flash compensation ? If you are not happy with camera's decision, then why not just use the manual flash control ? I am just wondering if there is some useful distinction between the two that i might be ignoring / unaware of – silverrahul Jun 17 at 7:49
  • @silverrahul TTL is more useful in rapidly changing conditions where the subject distance or scene brightness varies from shot to shot. FEC is used a lot by those who want to use a flash as fill rather than as the primary lighting when they are shooting in rapidly changing lighting conditions, or shooting subjects in "run and gun" situations where the camera/flash to subject distance varies significantly from shot to shot. – Michael C Jun 17 at 8:22
  • 1
    This is a great answer. Simple and accurate without confusing extra information. – Mike Sowsun Jun 17 at 12:36
  • @silverrahul Yes, you can use Manual, but it requires knowing a correct power level to set, which might be somewhat possible with extensive experience remembering similar situations. Flash power necessarily of course depends on subject distance. Whereas TTL is metered and relatively accurate, at least TTL is typically a pretty close first try, and then a small flash compensation might be your slight adjustment preference. That is greatly easier than knowing the exact exposure necessary. – WayneF Jun 19 at 3:16
1

The flash control is used to set absolute value of light intensity, FULL 1/1 give you the full power, 1/128 give you ~1% from FULL. Think about this like manual mode.

Flash compensation give you the option to provide relative correction of calculated value of light. The measures are in stops. You set flash to auto, make test shot and see it seems overexposed for your taste so you set flash compensation to -1 (for example)

15
  • So, do you mean that both these controls stack on top of each other and combine to give the final level of flash output ? – silverrahul Jun 16 at 15:54
  • @silverrahul, if you ask if they are independent, I do not know. In camera I see only flash compensation, where you see this flash control? – Romeo Ninov Jun 16 at 16:02
  • 1
    Might be helpful to explain 1/128 is -7 stops, 1/4 is-2 stops, etc. in the answer. Of course it might be better if that information was directly on the camera settings. Good answer though. – Bob Macaroni McStevens Jun 16 at 16:59
  • 1
    tbh, I just read the manual & I still don't get it. – Tetsujin Jun 16 at 17:28
  • @RomeoNinov Flash control is inside one of the menus . You have the option to set the flash to TTL, or to manual. If you set to manual ( then you can choose from 1/32 to 1/1 ) – silverrahul Jun 16 at 18:10
1

I'm parking this here as an intermediate answer, so I don't forget. We need to know from the OP what flashes are in use

Commander mode is only available if you use a Nikon external flash & only useful if you have other flashes at a remote.

Flash compensation appears to only be available in 'Scene' mode [one I never use]. In all other modes, from full auto right up to full manual, it is disabled.
Strangely, it is only possible to even open the built-in flash when it is not in scene mode. I always assumed the flash po-up was aphysical/manual release - it isn't, it's controlled by the camera & in scene mode it becomes a 'flash of' momentary switch.

If you pop up the flash first, then then switch to scene mode you get both exposure comp and flash comp. I'm beginning to think it's an edge-case/bug. When available it does work in ⅓ stops.

Since doing this & faffing with the options some more, I can now get access to both flash control in all modes. I have no idea what I changed to enable that.
You then seem to be able to dial in Manual Mode, which then gives you both exposure & flash compensation in the main interface.
Honestly, I can't see the point of compensating for a manual mode, other than it's faster to get to from the rear screen directly rather than having to dive into the menus.

7
  • i am not using any external / remote flash or commander mode etc. It is just the normal default flash unit built into the camera. And flash compensation is not available in ONLY scene mode. It is available in P,S,A , M modes as well – silverrahul Jun 17 at 7:46
  • hmm.. yeah - there's some kind of interplay depending on whether you have flash set to TTL or Manual. After having messed with it a while, I can now get flash compensation in most modes if set to TTL, not when set to manual. – Tetsujin Jun 17 at 7:59
  • @Tetsujin FEC is like EC. It's not really applicable to manual modes, where EC only changes meter calibration without affecting ISO, Tv, or Av in Manual Exposure Mode. (If you're using Auto ISO with manual Tv and Av, that's not really true Manual mode because the camera is still changing the ISO based on metering.) – Michael C Jun 17 at 8:26
  • @MichaelC - I'll have to defer to the experts on this; thanks for the heads-up. Having played with all the myriad options I usually never touch, & probably just confused myself still further this morning. I tend to work in either full manual or Aperture preferred & never enable auto ISO, so a lot of the 'clever' auto stuff is outside my experience. I'm now going back through … switching it all off again;) – Tetsujin Jun 17 at 10:39
  • @MichaelC I agree with most of what you said except this part " FEC is like EC. It's not really applicable to manual modes " I tried the flash compensation in manual mode. It works . setting it to -3 reduces the flash and setting it to 1 increases the flash – silverrahul Jun 18 at 10:11

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.