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I use a Nikon D3300 for nightclubs with a 35mm 1.8 lens and a Yongnuo YN-460 speedlight. Most of the shots I take are out of focus or the shutter doesn't work, saying the subject is too dark. I've used the in camera AF assist light but I still don't get good results. Should I buy a new Yongnuo speedlight with an AF assist? or any other suggestions?

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Depending on the size of the nightclub and how you're using the speedlight, one of the main issues you've got is that you're using a YN-460, which is a manual-only speedlight that does not automatically adjust the power level to match the scene being metered (i.e., doesn't do iTTL), and that you're probably shooting in an automated mode which is stopping the shutter from releasing when the shot is too dark/out of focus.

I'd suggest learning to shoot in M mode, so that you can tell the camera you're fine with most of the frame being dark. A flash with an AF assist lamp might come in useful, but may also be far more annoying to the folks around you. A good flash, if your subjects or bounce surfaces are nearby could, however, allow you to use a smaller aperture setting, like f/4, that wouldn't be nearly as hard to autofocus accurately as using f/1.8 would, and in a pinch might let you zone focus by using the focus scale and manual focus ring.

Just my opinion, but the YN-460 is the wrong tool for shooting events/social. It's much easier with a TTL-capable flash, and that's only if you're shooting nearby subjects and don't mind the background being mostly dark. If you're trying to light up the entire club with a hotshoe flash, that's not gonna happen. Speedlights are still only powered by 4xAA batteries.

A good (low) budget for a TTL flash is around US$200. Going cheaper than $100 is inevitably going to involve compromises. Yongnuo gear is good for off-camera manual shooting. Not so great for on-camera run'n'gun bouncing. I'd recommend considering a used SB-800 or similar flash if you can find one. Or, if you're really strapped, maybe looking for an old used SB-24 or SB-26, which at least have an autothyristor mode.

  • I've been fairly happy with the results from Yongnuo YN568EX II and YN685 flashes used in TTL mode on-camera or just off-camera (bracket mounted or held in my left hand). You do need to always have a spare with you, though... – Michael C Dec 25 '16 at 1:41
  • How is the AF assist performance of it – Thilanka De Silva Dec 26 '16 at 11:08
  • i do not shoot Auto, i use manual only – Thilanka De Silva Dec 26 '16 at 11:14
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I'd suggest using manual focus. If that isn't working well for you, take more shots or use a smaller aperture(I.e. f/4 instead of f/2.8) and a higher ISO.

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    in night club cannot use f4 because 1600 ISO D3300 shows a lot of noise. Can you recommend a good 3rd party speed light because im on a budget. Also manual focus not perfect with 1.8F in a small view finder – Thilanka De Silva Dec 24 '16 at 11:57
  • Check out some manual focusing topics like - photo.stackexchange.com/q/2297/4892. Or try a full frame camera, or get better at post noise reduction. I don't think a speed light is going to be the answer here unless you setup house lights or something. – dpollitt Dec 24 '16 at 13:20
  • @thilanka-de-silva Photography is about compromise. You can't refuse to use ISO 1600 when you have to. If we could do these things every shot would be easy and perfect. The physics of this situation force your choices. Use noise reduction software if that helps, but you must accept some limitations are unavoidable. – StephenG Dec 24 '16 at 23:08
  • @ThilankaDeSilva I shot in a nightclub last night with an f/1.4 and an f/2 prime mostly set to f/2.2 to f/2.8. I was having to shoot at between ISO 3200 and ISO 5000 to properly expose the stage that had some basic LED theatrical style lighting. It's very difficult to use flash in a club for more than a few shots because folks start getting annoyed fairly quickly and it's even quicker the more they drink. For more, please see: photo.stackexchange.com/questions/69474/… – Michael C Dec 25 '16 at 1:37

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