How to Adjust the Flash Output on the Nikon D3300

By Julie Adair King

Flash Compensation settings on the Nikon D3300 are stated in terms of exposure value (EV) numbers. A setting of EV 0.0 indicates no flash adjustment; you can increase the flash power to EV +1.0 or decrease it to EV –3.0.

In the P, S, A, or M exposure modes, you have some control over flash power, even if you stick with the default, TTL (through the lens) automatic flash metering. If you want a little more or less flash light than the camera thinks is appropriate, you can adjust the flash output by using Flash Compensation.

As an example of the benefit of this feature, look at the carousel images in the figure. The first image shows a flash-free shot. Clearly, a flash was needed to compensate for the fact that the horses were shadowed by the roof of the carousel.

But at normal flash power, as shown in the middle image, the flash was too strong, creating glare in some spots and blowing out the highlights in the white mane. By dialing the flash power down to EV –1.0, a softer flash was achieved that straddled the line perfectly between no flash and too much flash.

When normal flash output is too strong, dial in a lower Flash Compensation setting.
When normal flash output is too strong, dial in a lower Flash Compensation setting.

As for boosting the flash output, you may find it necessary on some occasions, but don’t expect the built-in flash to work miracles even at a Flash Compensation of +1.0. The built-in flash simply isn’t capable of illuminating faraway objects.

Flash range varies depending on your ISO and aperture setting; the camera manual has a chart showing the exact range at various combinations of the two settings. But generally speaking, try to stay within at least 12 feet of my subject.

The current Flash Compensation setting appears in the Information display, as shown on the left in this figure. In the Live View display, you see only a symbol indicating that the feature is enabled, as shown on the right side of the figure. Note that if the feature is turned off (set to EV 0.0), the symbol doesn’t appear in the Live View display.

image1.jpg

To adjust the amount of Flash Compensation, use either of these tricks:

  • Use the two-button-plus-Command-dial maneuver. First, press the Flash button to pop up the built-in flash. Then press and hold the Flash button and the Exposure Compensation button simultaneously.

    When you press the buttons, the Flash Compensation value becomes highlighted in the Information and Live View displays, as shown in this figure. In the viewfinder, the current setting takes the place of the usual Frames Remaining value.

    While keeping both buttons pressed, rotate the Command dial to adjust the setting. You might find that any technique that involves coordinating this many fingers a little complex.

    Rotate the Command dial while pressing the Flash and Exposure Compensation buttons to adjust the fl
    Rotate the Command dial while pressing the Flash and Exposure Compensation buttons to adjust the flash power.
  • Use the control strip. Just press the i button to activate the control strip, and highlight the Flash Compensation setting, as shown on the left in the figure. Press OK to display a screen where you can set the compensation amount, as shown on the second screen of the figure.

    You also can adjust the setting by using the normal control-strip method.
    You also can adjust the setting by using the normal control-strip method.

Any flash-power adjustment remains in force until you reset the value, even if you turn off the camera. So be sure to check the setting before you next use the flash.