TTL Flash into Manual Flash: Take and Make Great Photography with Gavin Hoey

iIn this video I’ll show you how you can use the TCM function to get perfect exposure with flash without needing a separate meter. Hello I’m Gavin Hoey and you’re watching AdoramatTV, brought to you by Adorama, the camera store that’s got everything for us photographers. Now when it comes to choosing the flashes you might use in your small home studio, there is a world of choice out there, and by and large they are all absolutely brilliant, however sometimes the flash is less important than the transmitter, because this is the thing that you actually interact with through your shoot, so I’m using the flashpoint R2 Pro Transmitter, and in this video, I’m gonna have a look at one of the features called TCM, that’s short for TTL flash converted into manual flash, and the idea with that is simply that you can get easy metering and consistent results without the need of a flash meter. Now before you go and use it, you have to set it up once, so I’m gonna press the menu button go right down to the bottom, and set this up for the 200 J, because I’m using the eVolve 200 flashes in this shoot. So that’s the transmitter ready, let’s get a light set, lets get a model in, let’s see how TCM works. So to help me out today, I’ve got the amazing Charlotte. Charlotte’s gonna be the model for this shoot, and the first setup I’m gonna do, well it’s kind of the essential TCM skill, so I’ve got my eVolve 200 up in a softbox, but it’s the transmitter that I’m really interested in, I’m gonna put it into it’s TTL mode, and that’s it, now I’m shooting in manual mode on my camera, which means I can choose all of the settings and I can pretty much dial in anything I want. So I’ll go with my flash sync speed, two hundred and fiftieth of a second, my native ISO 200 ISO on my Olympus, your mileage may vary, and for an aperture let’s go with f/2.8, let’s try this okay. Charlotte let’s just take a test shot, and what I’m looking at is the exposure on Charlotte, and not surprisingly TTL flash absolutely nailed it, it looks perfect once you’re happy with the TTL exposure, all you do – press and hold the TCM button, and that will convert the TTL settings into manual settings, and they’re locked in so let’s take another test shot see if this actually worked, here we go, and sure enough the exposure looks exactly the same, and that means that from now on the exposure is locked. I can do shot after shot after shot, all with exactly the same lighting, but to really see the power of this we need to change something, so I’m gonna change the background, so what I’ve done is I’ve temporarily swapped to a black background, because nothing challenges TTL quite like a really dark background. So I’ve still got the manual settings in the transmitter, let’s just take a test shot and see whether Charlotte remains the same exposure, I mean she should, this is manual mode after all, here we go Charlotte, there and these may not be the most exciting background shots, but as we can see, every picture has exactly the same exposure, even if i zoom all the way out, or all the way in, compare that to the TTL shots, where with TTL some of them are okay, some of them are a bit brighter, some of them darker, there’s no consistency, shot after shot and that’s exactly what I would expect TTL
to do. So what happens if you want to run this with multiple lights, well in effect is exactly the same. now remember you’ve already set a type of light right at the beginning, so both of the flashes here are eVolve 200’s, I’ve got this as Group A, I’ve got that as Group B, and turned off, so group A is on TTL, let’s take a metering shot, work out the exposure, here we go, if you turn and face the light brilliant. Thank You Charlotte, and my test shot, it looks just a little bit overexposed for my personal taste, so I’m gonna take the TTL down one stop, take another test shot and this time that looks absolutely lovely, I like that, that looks great let’s lock that in, press and hold the TCM button, and that converts TTL to manual okay? Then we got the hair light or separation light on Group B, I’ll turn that on to TTL, I’ll take a test shot on that one see how it looks. Remember the key light isn’t going to change, that’s now on manual, but that looks far too bright as the background light, so let’s take it all the way down to its lowest TTL exposure compensation, and that looks great again, when you’re happy press and hold the TCM button to lock Group B into manua,l and that’s it, both of these lights are now set to manual, let’s take a few shots like this, Charlotte are you ready, okay let’s give you a prop and here we go have a look. So effectively one of the functions of TCM could be to replace my flash meter, but the thing is I really like using my flash meter for a whole bunch of reasons, so why would I want to use TCM, well there is one scenario where it is really helpful, because I can’t do high-speed sync flash with my flash meter, it doesn’t work, but if I switch to TTL, then switch on high-speed sync, I can dial in a 1/1,000th of a second as my shutter speed, and let the TTL do the metering, let’s take a test shot, here we go, absolutely perfect, so once again we’ve nailed the exposure thanks to TTL, no trial and error it just works, press and hold the TCM button that locks that exposure into manual, just go shooting… are you ready, okay let’s take a few pictures. If you change the distance between your model and your flash, then your exposures gonna change too. So in this case I redid the TCM process got a new exposure, locked in and I’m good to go. I really like the TCM function, and of course it’s not exclusive to Flashpoint, other manufacturers have their own interpretation – for example Profoto, do something called Auto Exposure Lock which basically does exactly the same thing, now whether you use TCM exclusively or you combine it with a flash meter, it really doesn’t matter, because these things are just a tool for a job, and that job is to get your exposure exactly how you want it. Now if you’ve got any questions, or you’ve enjoyed this video leave me a comment below, click on the bell icon for regular notifications of all the brand new videos right here on Adorama TV, and of course click on that Subscribe button. I’m Gavin Hoey thanks for watching.

5 Replies to “TTL Flash into Manual Flash: Take and Make Great Photography with Gavin Hoey”

  1. Thanks for the explanation on tcm function. I've always used my flash meter for this..makes it pretty straight forward. I wonder how it would work outside?

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