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Looks like Fujifilm has no viable flash system – For now

My Nissin i40 is still in transit, but I already know that it will not work with my new camera. That is a very disappointing blow. Fuji has tweaked their ttl code which renders the i40 pretty much useless. It no longer works in TTL mode. Yes, it still works fine in fully manual mode and I’ve been instructed by the lighting “purists” that no “real” photographer shoots in TTL anyway, but I didn’t pay 200$ for a flash with 40$ worth of functionality.

The i40 was the only flash that would work with Fuji. Their EF-42, a rebadged flash was just nor reliable enough to take to a paid job. I hope Fuji didn’t change the code just to get rid of the competition, and I hope that they may fix the compatibility issue with a firmware update, but somehow I don’t think it will happen.

I can use the i40 in manual mode, but I could just as well get a 40$ flash off ebay that will do just that, hell, I could even use my 600ex Canon flash in manual mode without having to spend any money at all. Of course the 600ex would look ridiculous on top of the camera’s tiny body, but it would certainly work in manual mode.

Fujifilm flashI need TTL, not because I am insufficiently trained photographer, but because of what it offers me at an event. A quick and fairly  accurate light supply in fast changing environment. I could shoot the event with a manual flash, making sure I always stay at the same distance to the subjects, but is that even possible at the wedding? Well, I guess I find out in a couple of weeks.

I liked the idea of a small flash on top of X-T2 for the reception. And I am kind of used to TTL with my current Canon setup. I may be a bit of a challenge to rely on manual mode. I’m not scared of it, It’s just that there is another thing I need to remember while shooting. One of the wedding photographers who’s work I like, Cliff Mautner from Philadelphia only uses his flashes in manual mode to very good effect, but he always works with an assistant who keeps the flash on a stick and makes sure the distance between the flash and the subject remains constant.

The inverse square law which applies to the flash can ruin images if the power is not adjusted or the distance to subjects is not maintained. If the subject moves away from me and the distance doubles, it will only receive a quarter of the light. That’s 2 stops that will be very hard to recover in post. And the is a big concern. Using too little light at Iso 3200 will make the images too grainy to be used for anything.

On the other hand, if I make sure to maintain the distance, I will have a much greater accuracy in manual mode. TTL measures the light every time I point my camera at a subject. At a wedding we are dealing with a lot of men wearing black and a lot of women, most importantly the bride wearing white. This screws up TTL immensely. The pictures with mostly men in them may look way over-exposed, while those with the bride at the center, could be under-exposed. In manual mode the only thing that may screw up the light is if the distance to subject changes. If I stay at about 2m from them, I should have a much more accurate lighting in manual mode.

I’m taking my Canon 5D with 600ex on top to make sure I get the shots, but I will keep it in the bag and only take it out if my Fuji fails. It will be interesting to see. Also, I’m on the lookout for a permanent TTL solution for X-T2. The new EF-X500 is not shipping yet, plus I’m not sold on putting that huge thing on my camera. I want something smaller, discreet.

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