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John Leonard ADMIN November 13, 2011
This group is quality over quantity. Accept that, understand that. If you have knowledge pertaining to this group you have an obligation to openly share it with new comers and veterans alike. We are one of the best groups for technical info on Flickr.

John Groseclose wrote: Looking for information about the no-cls-info tag? Click here.

Group Description

This group is for any and everyone who uses the Nikon Creative Lighting System and its Advanced Wireless Lighting. All are welcome from beginners to seasoned veterans. This group is intended to be an open discussion on lighting techniques using only the Nikon CLS and available light.

Please be courteous to others:

1) No foul or abusive language.

2) Constructive comments only.

3) Images posted should be "safe for work," as many users occasionally browse this group from their workplace.

There are no requirements to comment on photos. If you like something leave a nice comment. If you want more specific comments/critiques then please post a thread in the group asking for them.

Photos posted to the group pool must:

1) Be photographed using the Nikon Creative Lighting System.

2) At a minimum, contain the make/model of the flashes used and their relative positions within the image, as well as the mode in which they were fired (i.e., SB-800 on-camera, SB-600 off-camera at TTL -1.0, SB-900 off-camera in Manual via CLS, etc.) This information must be contained in the image description. Not in tags, not in comments, but the image description field.

3) Images submitted should be suitable for lighting discussion, and not simply "snapshots" or "vacation photos." This group is dedicated to the discussion of the Creative Lighting System and the subset of Advanced Wireless Lighting, and should not be used as a "dumping ground" for random images.

Failure to comply will result in images being removed from the pool. Repeated failures to include lighting information will result in being banned entirely from the group.

Please feel free to invite anyone you like as long as they use the Nikon CLS.

CLS Sensor Clarification

"I've noted the three things that people seem to mistake for one another on a regular basis.

The "CLS Sensor" needs to be able to "see" your Master or Commander fire (even via bounce) to function as a Remote.

The "Light Sensor for Non-TTL Flash" is only relevant in AA mode when used as a Remote.

The AF Illuminator is completely irrelevant to a Remote.

One SB-800 in a mini-softbox to high camera right, CLS/AWL-controlled from the pop-up on the D80. "


CLS Basics:

CLS = Nikon's Creative Lighting System, encompassing all of Nikon's proprietary lighting controls like i-TTL.


AWL = Advanced Wireless Lighting. Comprised of a Commander or Master unit which controls all other remote flashes via IR light, AWL is the mechanism by which Nikon's cameras can control the flashes remotely. The remote flash units can be the SB-600, SB-800, SB-900, and the small SB-R200 for macro work. Some Master units can control multiple groups of flashes. Each group can have different power and mode settings.

You have several options for using CLS:

1) If you have a camera which acts as a Commander such as the D70 (controls 1 group), D80 (controls 2 groups), D200 (controls 2 groups), D300 ( controls 2 groups), D700 (controls 2 groups) then you have a head start. The pop-up flash is used to send preflashes before the shutter opens to communicate with the remote flashes. the pop-up flash can be set to contribute to the exposure or not. In this mode, the pop-up flash will light to send command signals to the remote flashes, even if configured to "--" to not contribute significantly to the image.

2) If you have a camera which does not act as a Commander then you have 2 options for commanding the remote flashes. First a SU-800 unit which is an IR unit only (No visible light at all) mounts in your camera's hot shoe and controls 3 groups. Second a SB-800. It mounts in the hot shoe and controls 3 groups. It can contribute to the exposure or be set to not contribute to the exposure same as the pop-up. At this time the SB-900 is Nikon's flagship speedlight. It also controls three groups, but has greatly improved controls for CLS, giving discrete control to as many as four separate groups of flashes (Master, Group A, Group B, and Group C.)

3) To use CLS you will need to use a SB-600, SB-800, SB-900, R1 flash units, or any of the third-party flashes that are compatible with CLS/AWL such as the Quantum QFlash using the QNexus module, various Sigma flashes, Metz, and others. You can use those flashes mixed together as they all work the same way.

In general it is a bad idea to try and mix a CLS setup with non-CLS flashes. The reason why is the system uses preflashes to communicate. This means it will fire any other strobe which is being triggered by an optical slave, thus making that flash fire before the shutter opens.

The general advantages of CLS are:

1) It is a TTL system. This means the camera will figure your flash exposure for you across all flashes. This is very nice for dynamic environments, and for those times you don't have time to figure out flash power.

2) It allows you to set each flash group from the controlling unit. you can have the flashes set to TTL or set the power manually for each group. It saves having to walk or move a flash stand down to reach the flash., very convenient.

3) If you have camera which supports CLS via the pop-up all you need is a compatible flash to get started in off camera lighting. Most photographers have at least one flash which is TTL compatible with their camera. The reason why is as much as we all love off camera flash it is not always practical. A flash in the hot shoe does have it's place, and TTL is great for those fast moving moments. If you had a non-TTL flash in your hot shoe every time you changed your distance to the subject you would have to manually dial in the flash on the flash.

The disadvantage is the system is optically-based, not radio like Pocket Wizards. It performs well, but if the sensor on the flash unit is obscured via a wall or other obstacle it will not fire.

Group Rules

Photos posted to the group pool must:

1) Be photographed using the Nikon Creative Lighting System.

2) At a minimum, contain the make/model of the flashes used and their relative positions within the image, as well as the mode in which they were fired (i.e., on-camera, off-camera at TTL -1.0, off-camera in Manual via CLS, etc.) This information must be contained in the image description. Not in tags, not in comments, but the image description field.

3) Images submitted should be suitable for lighting discussion, and not simply "snapshots" or "vacation photos." This group is dedicated to the discussion of the Creative Lighting System and the subset of Advanced Wireless Lighting, and should not be used as a "dumping ground" for random images.

Failure to comply will result in images being removed from the pool. Repeated failures to include lighting information will result in being banned entirely from the group.

1) Bitte nur Photographien verwenden, die mit Hilfe des Nikon Creative Lighting Systems aufgenommen wurden.

2) In der Beschreibung muss mindestens die Information ueber das Modell der Blitzgeräte und deren Positionen enthalten sein. Auch die Betriebsart des Blitzgerätes muss in der Beschreibung sein (z. B. Blitzgerät auf der Kamera, Blitzgerät in manueller Betriebsart ueber CLS ausgelöst, Blitz in TTL mit CLS ferngesteuert etc...). Diese Information muss in der Bildbeschreibung der Photographie vorhanden sein aber es muss nicht in den Tags oder
Kommentaren sein.

3) Bilder fuer diese Gruppe sollten für die Nikon CLS Gruppe relevant sein, also bitte keine üblichen Schnappschüsse oder Urlaubsphotos verwenden. Diese Gruppe widmet sich fuer das Nikon Creative Lighting System und fortgeschrittener ferngesteuerter Blitzbeleuchtung. Also bitte schickt keine Bilder, die nichts mit der Materie dieser Gruppe zu tun hat.

Additional Info

  • Members can post 2 things to the pool each day.
  • Accepted content types: Photos, Videos, Images, Art, Screenshots
  • Accepted safety levels: Safe
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