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Thread: Wireless flash

  1. #1
    Alis's Avatar
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    Wireless flash

    I was reading Scott Kelby's Digital Photography Book 2 and it says if you have a recent model of Canon (anything above Canon 20D) or Nikon, the camera has a feature that allows you to use it off camera without a cable. Does anyone know about this? Is this real? I can not find anything in my camera manual about this.

    Thanks,

    Alis

  2. #2

    Re: Wireless flash

    It's easy to do. I use the Canon STE-2 transmitter. It sits on your hot-shoe and sends out a wireless signal to your flash units. I have two 430 EXII units. I think it fires between 1 and 5 units. It works really well, and creates some very creative effects. You can either hand-hold the flash with the camera on a tripod and self-timer, use the small flash unit stand that comes with the flash, or put the flash onto a standard light stand using a small adaptor you can buy on-line then hand-hold the camera. Good for portraits and still-life shots. Mine was 130, but they seem to have gone up recently.

    This link will tell you everything you need for Canon. Not sure about Nikon. http://www.eosdoc.com/manuals/?q=ETTLRx

    And you can buy the STE2 here, but shop around. You can get alternatives but I don't know how well they work. I'd always go for the actual Canon/Nikon unit. http://www.amazon.co.uk/exec/obidos/...A3P5ROKL5A1OLE

    Have a look at The Stobist site as well http://strobist.blogspot.com/2006/03/lighting-101.html

    The main benefit of off-camera flash is that YOU control the light direction. If you need side-light for example,you can't do it on-camera. Be careful though. All of this may depend on where and what you are shooting. If most of your flash shots are indoors at home then a cheapish studio flash kit with two heads may be a cheaper option. You could get a kit for about 300. If you want to be mobile and light-weight though then off-camera flash is better.
    Last edited by carregwen; 29th August 2009 at 08:48 AM.

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    Re: Wireless flash

    Quote Originally Posted by carregwen View Post
    I use the Canon STE-2 transmitter. It sits on your hot-shoe and sends out a wireless signal to your flash units. I have two 430 EXII units. I think it fires between 1 and 5 units.
    The ST-E2 allows for the control of up to 3 flash groups, but there can be an unlimited number of flash units in each group. Interestingly, many believe that the ST-E2 communicates with the slaves via infra-red, but that's not the case - both the ST-E2 and a 550EX / 580EX / 580EX II as master controllers actually communicate commands to slaves via the main flash (the ST-E2 contains a small flash tube ... the LEDs down lower are only used for AF assist).

    Indoors they work pretty well as the control flashes bounce off walls, but outside, triggering is much less reliable; if the slave flash is behind the camera or is obscured from the master by an umbrella or the likes then usually they won't work.

    The absolutely FOOLPROOF method of triggering is to use a Pocket Wizard (I've even heard of them working between aircraft in flight!) ... traditionally that meant having to use manual flash power settings, but of recent, they've released a couple of new models that also pass ETTL info (along with other data) (as well as offer other advantages such as higher X-Sync speeds). (or put politely, the new Pocket Wizards are finally what Canon should have built in to cameras and flashes in the first place!).

    Hope this helps!

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    Re: Wireless flash

    I thought that the ST-E2 is infra-red - there's a filter that cuts out the visible light from the flash tube but lets the IR through (it also has a separate AF-assist emitter). Also, I read that the ST-E2 only controls groups A and B, but not the third group (C), that it doesn't support second-curtain sync (which would be more of an issue for me), and that doesn't take the usual AA batteries. On the other hand it probably does the job in most cases. Please let me know if all this is correct though because I don't have one and I'm interested in wireless flash. At the moment I either bounce a flashgun from the hotshoe or use an off-camera cable if I want flash indoors. I would have thought that a low-power RF transmitter built into the camera body and receivers in the flashguns would be the way to go these days, but maybe there are regulatory issues, or just inertia. A nice compact and non-distracting AF-assist would be handy too, even if it only covered a few points.

    Will

  5. #5

    Re: Wireless flash

    Quote Originally Posted by will_c View Post
    ... I read that the ST-E2 only controls groups A and B, but not the third group (C), that it doesn't support second-curtain sync
    True.

    Quote Originally Posted by will_c View Post
    and that doesn't take the usual AA batteries.
    True. It uses a 2CR5 6v battery. They are expensive, but last 1,500 fires.

    The 550 and 580 flash guns will act as masters, but they are bulky to have on the camera, and you still have one of the light sources 'on-camera' in the traditional position, which you may not want. I know there are quite a few new radio gadgets now, but I don't know much about them. I might be wrong but I think the higher-end Nikons have much of this stuff built into the camera. Can't understand why Canon don't do so. The STE2 weighs a few ounces, and that includes the case. It would hardly add to the overall weight of the camera.

    This may be useful http://www.the-digital-picture.com/R...E2-Review.aspx

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    Re: Wireless flash

    Thanks, everyone. I thought however, that the camera itself has something like the STE built in but could not find it on my camera.

    And I think what he says can be easily interpreted as what I just said:

    "If you've got a recent Nikon or Canon digital SLR (anything from a Nikon D70 on up, or a Canon D20 or later), it has a feature that lets you avoid having to use a sync cable at all-you can get off-camera wirelessly instead. Once you turn this feature on, it acts just like there's a sync cable in place-when you press the shutter button on your camera, it fires the flash wirelessly." ( Scott Kelby, Digital Photography Book, Volume 2, Peachpit Press, 2008.


    What is this mysterious feature?!

  7. #7

    Re: Wireless flash

    Quote Originally Posted by Alis View Post
    Thanks, everyone. I thought however, that the camera itself has something like the STE built in but could not find it on my camera.

    And I think what he says can be easily interpreted as what I just said:

    "If you've got a recent Nikon or Canon digital SLR (anything from a Nikon D70 on up, or a Canon D20 or later), it has a feature that lets you avoid having to use a sync cable at all-you can get off-camera wirelessly instead. Once you turn this feature on, it acts just like there's a sync cable in place-when you press the shutter button on your camera, it fires the flash wirelessly." ( Scott Kelby, Digital Photography Book, Volume 2, Peachpit Press, 2008.


    What is this mysterious feature?!
    I'm not sure. He may be referring to the fact that the 580 flash can function as a master unit for other units acting as slave. This is what the STE2 does (but not as well) As far as I know Canon cameras don't have a built-in facility. But I may be wrong. http://www.scottkelby.com/blog/2009/archives/4280

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    Re: Wireless flash

    Quote Originally Posted by carregwen View Post
    I'm not sure. He may be referring to the fact that the 580 flash can function as a master unit for other units acting as slave. This is what the STE2 does (but not as well) As far as I know Canon cameras don't have a built-in facility. But I may be wrong. http://www.scottkelby.com/blog/2009/archives/4280
    The Nikon D90 and better (not sure about the early D50 & D70) can trigger and control up to 3 banks of flash sets (multiple flash units in each bank) using the built in flash as a commander. The built in flash does not even have to be part of the lighting, it can be just used as the commander. Full TTL control can be managed.

    This system is why some Canon users envy us Nikon users.

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    Re: Wireless flash

    Can Bill or anyone tell me how to activate the slave flash feature on the Nikon D90?

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    Re: Wireless flash

    Quote Originally Posted by mackb View Post
    Can Bill or anyone tell me how to activate the slave flash feature on the Nikon D90?
    The CLS pop up flash commander mode is available on Nikon D70/70s bodies on up. The only exception is the D3 and up which requires the SU 800 commander transmitter. Activating the CLS within your D90 is in your operations manual, and it's quite easy. Make sure that the sensor dot on strobe is facing the camera, but the CLS can shoot thru material that transfer light like a linen or a frosted shower curtain.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=th7P90DdFg8
    http://video.google.com/videoplay?do...9494677569728#

    Depending on the flash unit you own (Nikon speedlites or other), please read the operations menus so you know how to navigate around. I don't know which strobe you have but if it's Nikon, here you go: (you can also mix different nikon speedlites as well, they don't have to all the same models).

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S0VB2...eature=channel
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xMqTe...eature=channel

    And sadly no, Canons do not have built in commander mode like the Nikons. Scott Kelby refers to using the actually 580EX II as the commander (master), and set the 430EX/II and 580EX as slaves. Or the use of ST-E2 as master.
    Last edited by Amberglass; 15th November 2009 at 04:06 AM.

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    Re: Wireless flash

    Quote Originally Posted by mackb View Post
    Can Bill or anyone tell me how to activate the slave flash feature on the Nikon D90?
    Have replied to your PM with reference to the pages in the D90 manual and the SB-600 manual, saves me a lot of typing. I learned from reading the manual so anyone else should be able to if I can.

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    Re: Wireless flash

    Quote Originally Posted by Amberglass View Post
    And sadly no, Canons do not have built in commander mode like the Nikons.
    They've added it to the new 7D, but as it's based on the pop-up flash, we're unlikely to see it on any of the 1D series cameras.

    Personally, I think it would be great if Canon would jump into bed with Pocketwizard and simply incorporate the technology into the bodies & flash via radio signals rather than visible light.

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    Re: Wireless flash

    Thank you all, for responding so quickly. I really needed the help. Between you all and a site I found online ( http://www.momentcorp.com/review/nik...nder_mode.html ) , I have my answer now. Thanks again.

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    Re: Wireless flash

    Quote Originally Posted by Colin Southern View Post
    They've added it to the new 7D, but as it's based on the pop-up flash, we're unlikely to see it on any of the 1D series cameras.

    Personally, I think it would be great if Canon would jump into bed with Pocketwizard and simply incorporate the technology into the bodies & flash via radio signals rather than visible light.
    Pop up flashes produces the most harshest and most unflattering form of light. Even Scott Kelby himself says "The only thing it's good for is to ward off annoying people from you." The best way to use flash creatively is off camera/shoe with wireless or cabled triggers (if you can't afford IR or radio). This is the reason why you will never find a pop up flash on a flag ship level body. Many commercial level photographers (like interior design and architectural) will sometimes use more than 5 creative lighting groups.

    It would be cool if radio transmitters and transceivers was a available option built into camera and flash. But then again this would be a very pricey camera and flash for many who are starting into creative lighting.

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