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v Notes on continuous fl ash photography • To prevent the SB-700 from overheating, allow it to cool down for at least 10 minutes after 15 times of continuous firing. • When continuous flash firing is repeated in quick succession, the internal safety function adjusts the recycling time by up to 15 seconds. If flash firing continues, the thermal cut-out indicator appears on the LCD and all operations are suspended. (0E-31) Allow it to cool down for several minutes to disable this function. • The conditions under which the internal safety function is activated differ depending on the temperature and the SB-700 flash output level. Operation B B-8 Slide the battery chamber cover open while pressing the battery chamber cover lock release. Insert the batteries following the [+] and [-] marks. Close the battery chamber cover. STEP 1 Inserting the batteries Operation B B-9 1.5 V alkaline AA battery 1.5 V lithium AA battery Rechargeable 1.2 V NiMH AA battery Suitable batteries When replacing batteries, use four fresh AA-type batteries of the same brand from any of the following types: • For minimum recycling time and number of flashes for each battery type, refer to "Specifications." (0H-27) • Alkaline battery performance may vary greatly depending on the manufacturer. • 1.5 V carbon-zinc AA batteries are not recommended. v Additional precautions regarding batteries • Read and follow battery warnings and cautions (0A-19 - A-22). • Be sure to read and follow the warnings for the battery on the section, "Notes on Batteries" (0H-9), before using the battery. • The recycling time can be longer when lithium AA batteries are used because they incorporate a function that suppresses the output current when heat is generated in the batteries.
Two main reasons flash is used over continuous lighting.
Power. Lighting a scene for minutes uses much more power than lighting it for a fraction of a second. You may have noticed that most continuous lights need to be plugged in to a power supply, while most flash units work with small batteries. It may not make much difference if you're shooting indoors in a studio, but if you're out in the field and have to move around, it can get difficult lugging all that gear around.
Duration. A flash unit provides a very brief flash of light while a continuous unit is, well, continuous. A flash can freeze action much better than just using the camera's shutter. Try it yourself sometime: turn on the lights in the bathroom (and/or bring in your continuous light units) and take some pictures of a dripping faucet. Now turn off the lights and take some flash pictures of the same thing. See the difference?
You were trying to fire the flash to fast between bursts and not allowing it to recharge itself. As a rule the flash when first turned on will come up to power and the ready lamp come on is about 3 to 5 seconds, fire it the first time at full power and it will take about 8 seconds fire it again and it's going to take about 10 seconds. If you fire it before it's had a chance to regain full power you just doubled the cycle time to 20 seconds. So by you saying the batteries were getting hot I'd say you were flogging the heck out of that flash firing it every maybe 10 seconds.
Great flash you have there but, you gotta let it charge.
A work around would be to increase the ISO on the camera to three times what you were using, switch your metering mode from "Matrix" to Partial and it will triple the flash battery life before changing and reduce the cycle time significantly.
I'm going to say the lighting was horrible at this event and you had your camera ISO at 100 where you should have cranked it up to at least ISO 800 anything beyond that and you'll have digital noise issues (grain)
Your camera was most likely set on matrix metering mode where the flash is attempting to light the whole room. I'm suggesting you use partial metering where the flash in concentrating on the center part of the frame and focal point for the exposure, the background will go dark.
Not sure about your color but you should have set your "white balance" on the flash icon (lightning bolt) otherwise everything may look a little yellow.
If you are firing the flash manually it's giving full burst each time and the battery needs to pick up the charge from the bottom. So just numbers her for an example with a full set of batteries you manually flash, first burst takes 5 seconds to charge flash again it'll take 10 seconds, if you flash it again before that 10 seconds it'll now take 20 seconds and if you push that button again it might misfire because it just can't get the power up high enough to fire it. The flash isn't a studio strobe which is plugged into an outlet, you are working with battery power and each time you flash those batteries are under a huge load and each time you fire you kill them a little more I'm surprised you are getting 30 flashes from those batteries. My guess at full power you are going to start having problems after about 12 to 15 flash bursts and it's a rapid down hill drop in performance from then on. If you took those batteries out of the flash after that series of 30 flashes I'll bet they are hot. What you can do to help is set the system up with Nikon's wireless transmitter and utilize the new i-TTL system then you are taking performance.
It maybe because it overheated he flash tube, nikon flash guns use a thermal cutout, to prevent overheating, usually after approximately 30 / 40 shots, in quick succession. It should start working again after it cools down.
If not you may need to get it checked at Nikon Service Centre.
Do this test: Fresh 4 batteries Turn on and wait until flashing Green Light. With insulated wire, both ends stripped to 1/4" of bare wire, short one end to Center of flash shoe and the other to metal outside contact. Make sure flash is not facing at eyes. Shorting it should fire the flash. Or connect the PC Cord to flash and short Center Pin to outside.