Nikon’s Creative Lighting System
Nikon has designed a highly sophisticated off-camera flash system for its Speedlight flashguns
The Creative Lighting System (CLS) uses infrared so the units need to be arranged in line of sight in order to ‘see’ each other. This can restrict your lighting setup
The maximum range is ten metres and the angle of coverage is 30 degrees, though this is wider if the distance is reduced. Radio-based flash systems offer a longer range.
Low-level pre-flashes are used to transmit output levels and exposure information ahead of the main flash. These are used to set the exposure and flash levels.
The master unit may be the camera itself or a suitable Nikon Speedlight unit (see below). The master flash can be disabled if you don’t want it as part of the lighting.
How ‘Groups’ work
The Creative Lighting System’s flexibility lies in the way you can combine multiple Speedlights to create your lighting effects • You can create up to three ‘groups’ (A, B and C), each of which can contain any number of Nikon Speedlights. • Each group functions as a single unit, but the greater the number of Speedlights in that group, the more power it will produce. • You can adjust the settings and the power output for each group individually from the ‘master’ unit. This could be your camera, if it has a built-in Commander mode (see below) or an external Speedlight (with Commander capability) attached to your camera. The Creative Lighting System does have disadvantages. To light big areas you’ll need a lot of Speedlights, for example.