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Thread: Guidance required regarding Speedlite

  1. #1
    Soozie B's Avatar
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    Guidance required regarding Speedlite

    Hi there everyone,

    Please bear with me as I garble my way through my question as I don't have it straight in my head yet. (The technical stuff is confusing and as I am a newbie it is like trying to teach a migrant child a new language here).

    Facts
    I own a Canon EOS 550D. I have purchased a Yongnuo Speedlite YN560 as an external flash - I think it is called a slave flash?

    Question
    Can I use this external flash off the camera - is this called an OCF? and if so how?

    An answer that is very simply written without all the technical blurb, or if said blurb required, an explanation as to what it all means please.

    I have googled the question till the cows came home and am now more confused than ever

    Regards

    A disenchanted Soozie
    Last edited by Soozie B; 8th September 2012 at 09:40 AM.

  2. #2
    Melkus's Avatar
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    Re: Guidance required regarding Speedlite

    The 550D doesn't have the built-in wireless control. In that case, if you're looking for full TTL remote flash capability. You'll need a remote flash controller - either a 580EX II or an ST-E2 remote flash controller. You can get an ST-E2 quite inexpensively off of eBay - especially the Yongnuo ones. The Yongnuo 565EX you have will then work just fine.
    There are also a few non-optical full TTL wireless solutions. There's the Pixel King; Pocket Wizard has one, and Phottix has one also. None of these solutions are cheap though.

  3. #3
    Soozie B's Avatar
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    Re: Guidance required regarding Speedlite

    Thanks Paul for answering me. If I may indulge for a little longer, as I'm new I struggle a bit with the language.
    1. What is TTL?
    2. What is a non optical full TTL?

  4. #4
    Moderator GrumpyDiver's Avatar
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    Re: Guidance required regarding Speedlite

    First of all, I'm not a Canon shooter, so I don't know all the intricacies of the camera and your flash.

    First of all, let's get to some definitions. An external flash is one that is not built into the camera, so your Yongnuo YN560 meets that description. So far as I understand it, your camera does have one of those tiny built-in units that pretty well guarantees the "red-eye" when you take pictures of people, The flash you bought, from my quick read on it, is a 100% manual flash, i.e. you have to set everything on it manually (unlike the built-in flash, that is totally integrated into you camera. Canon Speedlites do this as well). If you are a newbie, you might find this flash challenging to use, as you will have to figure out the power level and set it manually. You can fire it from your camera, but you are going to have to estimate distance so that you can set the appropriate power levels, and will have to read your image's histograms to tweak the lighting. When I first got into photography, this is how many flashes worked, and studio lights still work this way. If you get the hang of it, you will understand flash exposure a lot better than people that rely on their camera to do all the heavy lifting when it comes to flash photography.

    As for "slave", this is a term used for when you use the flash off-camera. A slave fires, in response to a command sent from another flash connected to your camera (i.e. one that is built in or mounted on the hot shoe) and adds a second light source to your shot. There are a number of ways of controlling this, the most traditional is that it picks up the light from another flash and fires in response. This is referred to as an "optical trigger" or an "optically controlled slave". More modern technology allows you to use a radio trigger, but as Paul says this is getting into more hardware, and I suspect you are not there yet. I have the PocketWizard units and they are quite expensive.

    The TTL that Paul refers to stands for "through the lens". When the flash has the capability to communicate with the camera, it can use the built in camera sensor read the light from the flashes which allows it to control the slave flash units. Your flash does not have those capabilities. More sophisticated flashes allow you to control the amount of light each of your slave flashes emits right from your camera menu. With the Yongnuo Speedlite YN560, this is not an option.

    I hope that this helps,

  5. #5

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    Re: Guidance required regarding Speedlite

    Soozie, this forum is a great place to learn the intricacies of photography however I don't think it's the best route to go for the very elementary concepts. Distance education is fine in a formalized course with a known agenda but dealing with individual questions from the learner is disjointed and ineffective. Answers to some of your questions may be hard hard for you to understand through a description on your monitor.

    The best way to gain the foundation knowledge is through hands-on instruction and trying out the concepts under a variety of conditions. I think it would help you immensely if you find and take a basic photography course through a continuing education program or other such community based course. They are a great venue to get you on the right track to understanding all the processes and interactions of photography. I don't know if you have after-hours courses available in your area but it would be a great help in getting you up to speed. It's certainly worth a look.

    PS. Your local photography clubs offer courses and support. They are also a great place to learn and meet people with similar interests. Youtube is also jammed full of video demos. Search "basic photography" and you'll find hours and hours of valuable instruction.

    http://www.melbournephoto.org.au/
    http://www.fotoholics.org/membership.html
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xnn5n...feature=relmfu
    Last edited by Andrew1; 8th September 2012 at 04:43 PM.

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    Re: Guidance required regarding Speedlite

    Specific to the YN560 which you have. You will find that it has various modes and is is desirable if not essential that you set it to S2. In this mode it will ignore any flashes the camera makes prior to the exposure flash**. You should point the body* of the YN at the camera and then turn the head in the direction of the subject you want to light. The head moves 180 degree one way and 90 degrees in the other. The camera flash will then trigger the YN 'slave' in synchronization. If you do not want the subject illuminated from the camera position you can mask off the camera flash so that just a lesser proportion escapes the mask [ a piece of cardboard taped around the flash head ] enough to trigger the YN flash. As a quick and simple way to reduce the camera flash relative to the YN I have successfully held my finger half across the camera flash so that it became a weaker 'Fill' light and the YN was my 'key' light.

    If you want to go for TTL you need the YN468 [canon] model. YN make two versions ... Canon and Nikon.
    *The dark area on the 'front' of the flash unit
    **These pre-flashes if not ignored by the YN will trigger it prior to the exposure and it will not have full power or enough for the actual exposure when the camera opens the shutter.

    A final warning about your camera ... it has a 'focal plane shutter' which means you have a 'sync speed', probably about 1/200 second. If you use a shutter speed higher than this the flash will only expose part of the frame ....it is quite possible that the camera will reduce the shutter speed to its 'sync speed' automatically even if you set it higher to protect you.
    If you visit my website www.photos-jcuknz.com you will find explanations about this under flash ... before you go there check the tutorials on this site.

  7. #7
    Soozie B's Avatar
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    Re: Guidance required regarding Speedlite

    Thanks everyone for your assistance. I am working this out and after reading your comments it is less not more confusing, so that's a good thing. I intend to book into a course as soon as I'm able but didn't want to sit idle till that time hence the questions. I am so busy reading as much information as I can on this site as well as YouTube tutes that my head is spinning.

    Isn't photography the best!

  8. #8
    Melkus's Avatar
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    Re: Guidance required regarding Speedlite

    You never stop learning

  9. #9

    Re: Guidance required regarding Speedlite

    My main problem with flash was that the manuals were far too basic and just stated that the switches did x, without explaining why you might want to do x. I agree that a course would be a good idea; alternatively buy a book. I got "The Speedliter's Handbook". It clearly explains the various types of flash, how to set up off camera flash and also why you should do it.

    Lastly, in addition to the various method described above, you can also get your flash off camera through the simple expedient of a long cable. It isn't quite as elegant as the various wireless options but it is a hell of a lot cheaper.

  10. #10
    Scott Stephen's Avatar
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    Re: Guidance required regarding Speedlite

    Yougnuo makes some basic (cheap) but well-regarded radio triggers (Yougnuo 603). You buy them in pairs for about $28.00 a pair. You put one on your camera (in the shoe mount for a flash) and you put the other on the flash unit. When you shoot the camera, the trigger on the camera broadcasts a fire order to the other trigger on the flash, and there you go. It has a very long range, and it will operate without a direct line of sight, and in bright sunlight, etc., whereas the optical triggers can't do that.
    They will not transmit the E-TTL data, though. You have to set flash power manually.
    I ordered 2 pairs.

  11. #11
    Melkus's Avatar
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    Re: Guidance required regarding Speedlite

    About as cheap as you can go if you want wireless.

    http://www.gadgetinfinity.com/cactus...r-set-v2s.html

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    Re: Guidance required regarding Speedlite

    Hi Soozie B ,you might look at Hahnel combi TF remote cotrol and flash trigger they make one for cannon 550d and the are not to dear.regards pat

  13. #13
    Soozie B's Avatar
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    Re: Guidance required regarding Speedlite

    Thank you so much everyone for the information. I will sift my way through it and decide what's best to do.

    I just love the positive and friendly interaction to this site. It is like being adopted into a large family.

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    Re: Guidance required regarding Speedlite

    gadget infinity has a good transceiver for your flash, the cactus v5 duo, although a little more expensive than the v2, the v5 is more reliable; I have a few and they haven't failed on me yet, even dropped one in a pot of paint and it's still working.

  15. #15
    Moderator GrumpyDiver's Avatar
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    Re: Guidance required regarding Speedlite

    I would have thought that Soozie (a self declared newbie) might want to learn how to use her new (single) external flash before getting into the complexities of RF triggering with off camera flash, using a slave, stc. As it is a totally manual unit with no camera synch, this is likely be a longer learning curve than with a fully integrated Speedlite.

    I quite agree with Andrew - if you can get yourself into a small flash workshop, under the guidance of an experience photographer, things would start making sense a lot faster. I was a fairly competent flash user when I took one of these several years ago and was amazed at some of the things I picked up, I don't know what the facilities are like down your way, but the local community college where I live puts on a weekend workshop, just on small flash, three or four times a year. Something like this would certainly be a quick way to figure out your interests and needs. I ended up picking up a second flash after I went, as well as a basic umbrella / stand setup and a reflector. It is absolutely amazing what one can do with relatively simple equipment.

  16. #16
    Soozie B's Avatar
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    Re: Guidance required regarding Speedlite

    thanks Manfred, your feedback is well received. "It is absolutely amazing what one can do with relatively simple equipment" particularly when someone so simple as myself is using it

  17. #17
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    Re: Guidance required regarding Speedlite

    Soozie,

    I am about to hold a speedlite course/workshop for the Camera Club I belong to. For this course I have pulled some notes together which can be downloaded from this link..

    http://www.stortfordcameraclub.org.u...shop-Notes.pdf

    They may be of use to you in area of photography. Any questions just PM me.

    Regards

    David


    Regards

  18. #18
    Soozie B's Avatar
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    Re: Guidance required regarding Speedlite

    Thanks so much David. As I will keep saying, I am overwhelmed by the assistance offered and openness of the people on this site. I am finding myself rushing to do the dishes and send everyone to bed so I can get online and learn all about my new love/obsession.

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