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Thread: Flash issues

  1. #1
    DH59's Avatar
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    Flash issues

    Hi, I am struggling with flashguns and exposure and wonder if anyone can shed any light (pun) on the subject. It's quite a complicated issue, so I'll take it step-by-step. I am not new to photography, but I am very new to flash photography.

    Being short of cash due to redundancy, and wishing to try and start a photography business, I bought a cheap flashgun from eBay, Yongnuo Speedlite YN467, and a wireless trigger, Yongnuo RF-602. The trigger can be bought separately and is compatible with Canon equipment. I haven't used either very much, except to try them out, but both have worked very well.

    Then, a couple of months ago, my husband became due some pension money from a previous employment, and bought me a new lens and a Canon 580EX II flashgun. So, I figured I would be able to use the wireless trigger with the Canon flash. But there is a weird issue that I am having trouble figuring out.

    With the Yongnuo flash, whether I use the flash on-camera, or off-camera using the trigger, the result is the same (not changing any of the settings of either camera or flash, in TTL mode).

    With the 580EX, I get a good exposure with the flash on-camera, but when I try it off-camera with the trigger (not changing the settings as above, ETTL mode) it is a white-out - nothing recognisable in the image, just pure white. To get anything like an acceptable exposure with the off-camera trigger, I have to switch the flash to M mode and turn down the compensation to 1/128 power.

    Where am I going wrong? Or is this what should happen?

  2. #2

    Re: Flash issues

    Diane

    I think you need to make sure the channels are set the same on both camera trigger and flash unit. I have a Canon STE2 transmitter, which tends to talk to Canon flash units without any problem. But yours should work. Check the settings.

    Also, with the 580 you should be able to use a synch cord to fire the flash remotely - but that can be a hassle in certain situations.

    I have a special (thick) folder with flash instructions in!

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    Re: Flash issues

    I use a 550ex with an rf-602 system.

    The rf-602 does not transmit e-ttl data so with the flash set to e-ttl the flash just fires on full power all the time (I think) resulting in the blow out. So yes that's what's supposed to happen. My process for setting up is to have the flash on the camera in M mode, set the camera to the required f-stop and then adjust the manual power to suit matching the distance scale on the screen to the distance to subject. Then I shove the flash on the receiver and leave it on the stand and wonder off to take the photo.

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    Re: Flash issues

    Rob, I made sure the channels set on the trigger and receiver were set the same. It's strange that the Yongnuo flash works on and off, but not the Canon. The YN trigger did also come with a cable, and I've tried that, without the trigger unit on the camera hot-shoe, and the images are a little strange in colour, as if it was just taken in normal room lighting. I'll have to process some images and upload them to illustrate what's happening.

    Richard, your explanation makes sense, and I now understand that this is normal. I will have to use the Canon in M mode when using the trigger, it seems. Although I am not using a flash on-camera - just trying to trigger one flash off-camera.

    It's all very baffling!

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    Re: Flash issues

    Hi Diane,

    Canon EOS Flash photography is somewhat of a specialty of mine. I agree with what the others have said above - however - it's not just the camera you'll need to use in manual mode, you'll also need to use the flash in manual mode too.

    At the end of the day, that's a LOT of hard work. If you can stretch the budget, I'd suggest getting a PocketWizard Mini TT1, Flex TT5, and AC3 zone controller; together they'll transmit ETTL II information, and give you complete control over your exposures.

    I do most of my outdoor portrature with exactly this setup -- you might like to take a look through my outdoor portraits gallery, and if you see any lighting you like, I'd be happy to talk to you more about it.

  6. #6
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    Re: Flash issues

    Hi Colin,

    Thanks for your information.

    I think my previous post may have confused - I was talking about using the flash in manual, not the camera. Using the Canon flash in M mode is the only way I could get a normal flash exposure. But my quandary was the fact that the Yongnuo flash (TTL capable) gives the same exposure, whether used on the camera or off-camera with the Yongnuo wireless trigger (and without changing any settings at all), whereas the Canon 580EX works fine on-camera (as would be expected), but severely over-exposes when used off-camera with the YN triggers. I read that the YN trigger was a good, cheap alternative to the other brands of triggers, but it seems they are perhaps not capable of TTL operation with anything other than the YN flashguns. I'm afraid the budget cannot be stretched at all at the moment.

    I had another play a couple of days ago, and I've discovered that I can set my 580EX as a Master (set to either flash or not to emit any flash), and the Yongnuo as a Slave, and this will also work OK. I have not tested it fully with any subjects yet, but at least I know I have that option.

    The images in your outdoor portrait gallery are lovely, and very much what I would be hoping to achieve. I'll get back to you on specific images. Thank you.

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    Re: Flash issues

    Hi Colin,

    I am new to this forum and also in flash photography. I just bought a 580 EX II flash and I'm having trouble with underexposure. I read your suggestions in the "Speedlite EX580-flash underexposure problem" and did the test with the camera in manual mode (1 / 250, ISO 400, ETTL mode) and the picture result completely dark. I tried several configurations but the problem always occurs. In fact, with the flash in ETTL mode and the camera in manual mode (or Av and Tv modes) the pictures are always dark. The exposure only becomes correct in the automatic mode of the camera(green box). I also noticed that the light exposure confirmation also never lights. It seems that the flash should be defective, what do you think?
    Thanks, Borda.
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    Last edited by borda; 24th July 2011 at 02:51 AM. Reason: missing photos

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    Re: Flash issues

    Hi Borda (is that your first name?),

    Welcome to CiC - great to have you with us.

    Unfortunately, the EXIF data has been removed from the photos you posted, so I can't tell anything with regards to what the camera thought, but a couple of thoughts did come to mind ...

    First up, I'm wondering if the flash has been set to "master mode", but told not to fire. Attach it to the camera - turn it on - put the camera in Av mode - and look at the back of the flash; Do you see the words "Master" or "Slave" anywhere (usually around the middle, and slightly to the right)?

    Second up, with the flash attached and camera in Av mode, does the camera always say 1/250th when you press the shutter release 1/2 way down?

    If my first hunch is correct, when you take a shot in Av mode the flash will fire, but it'll be a fairly weak burst of light.

    Let me know the answer to the above questions, and we can go from there. By the way, what type of camera do you have?

    Also - if it possible for you to take a photo of the LED panel of the flash and post it here?

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    Re: Flash issues

    Hi Collins.
    First, thanks for the welcome to CiC and your attention.
    I do not remember if the Master was on in the pictures above, but with it turned on, in configuration of photo 6, the photo 7 was taken (too dark). Analysing this photo, it seems that the problem was connected to the Master, as you suggested. The remaining pictures were taken with the Master off.
    With the configuration of the photo 1, with 1/30 as measured by the camera, the picture 2 was taken.
    Just for comparison, the photo 3 was taken with the flash on and the camera in fully automatic mode. I do not understand why the camera's metering decreased to 1 / 60 ?
    The photo 4 was taken with the flash off, Av 4.0, 1 / 25 as measured by the camera. The exposure was similar to the picture 3, obviously with differences in white balance.
    The problem of exposure seems to be solved. What you think?
    Still remains one question: why light exposure confirmation below the red light, no lights? Is this normal?
    Again, very very thank you.
    Ricardo.
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    Re: Flash issues

    Hi Colin. Sory by the mistake in your name. The photo 4 missed....
    Ricardo
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    Re: Flash issues

    Hi Ricardo,

    No worries about spelling my name wrong - but just keep in mind that if you want to edit a post to correct mistakes or to add things, just click the "Edit Post" button at the bottom of the post.

    I'm struggling with the language difference a little, but am I correct in thinking that it's all sorted for you now? Basically, the 580EX II is capable of controlling some other flashes - and to do that it's put in master mode - but - there is another option that says "just control the other slaves, but don't fire yourself" (apart from a weak control flash), and it sounds to me like that was the problem (I don't thing master mode is used when the camera is in automatic mode).

    Sometimes the camera will decrease the ambient exposure so that the flash can have more of an effect (it's called "NEVEC").

    The confirmation light normally only comes on briefly - are you sure you're not missing it?


    Hope this helps!

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    Re: Flash issues

    Hi Colin,
    Now I think that's all right. Regarding the light exposure confirmation , it only lights up after the photo was taken. I was waiting for confirmation of exposure together with confirmation of exposure and camera focus. Well, not everything is perfect.
    Now it's just a matter of practice!
    Thank you and sorry for my English. Soon I'll post some pictures from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
    Ricardo.

  13. #13
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    Re: Flash issues

    Quote Originally Posted by borda View Post
    ... In fact, with the flash in ETTL mode and the camera in manual mode (or Av and Tv modes) the pictures are always dark. The exposure only becomes correct in the automatic mode of the camera(green box). ...
    You need to read this:
    Canon EOS flash photography confusion

    In short, Av and Tv modes assume you want fill flash. P/green box assume you want flash as the main source of illumination.

    M, you have to know what you're doing.

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    Re: Flash issues

    Quote Originally Posted by inkista View Post
    You need to read this:
    Canon EOS flash photography confusion

    In short, Av and Tv modes assume you want fill flash. P/green box assume you want flash as the main source of illumination.
    Hi Kathy,

    Unless the CF was set to force the camera to x-sync in Av mode, then in Av mode he'd still get a normal exposure, albeit probably a very blurry one if hand-held. The problem appears to be that somehow Master mode had been turned on, but the local flash firing turned off - so all he would be seeing would be the pre-flash / commands.

  15. #15
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    Re: Flash issues

    Ah. See what you mean. My bad. I'm coming off five days of sleep deprivation, having attended Comic-Con.

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    Re: Flash issues

    Quote Originally Posted by inkista View Post
    Ah. See what you mean. My bad. I'm coming off five days of sleep deprivation, having attended Comic-Con.
    Hi Kathy,

    I have a colleague heading off to a major comic get-together in the states in just under a couple of weeks - hope it wasn't the same one!

    Get some sleep poor girl - I'm afraid that the older I get, the worse I feel if I don't get enough sleep.

  17. #17
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    Re: Flash issues

    Yeah, tell me. Comic-Con is seriously insane. I had a great time and I've been going for 30+ years, but I probably won't be able to get in next year: they changed the pre-registration process this year, and you had to pretty much be in line by 5:30am or 6am in the morning, (to get into the pre-reg line which opened up at 8am) in order to get a membership for next year. The hunger to get on that floor has grown to be something seriously insane ever since Hollywood began to take it seriously and brought their wares to the show. The show gets less fun as it gets more crowded every year.

    I had to wait four hours to get into the Game of Thrones panel, and I sat so far in the back that I couldn't get one decent shot of anything but the jumbotrons (that hall holds 4000 people. It's not the big one. The big one holds 6500). Ah, well. But I did manage to get some decent shots of the Cartoon Voices II panel (they do two separate cartoon voices panels every year), and I'm pretty sure I got a decent shot of Laraine Newman. Haven't had time to dump the cards yet. I had to drive to a bookstore afterwards and take part in a George R.R. Martin signing for A Dance With Dragons, which was 300+ people (small. The Slovenia signing was 2,000, Boston was about 1600 and NYC was 1800 by all accounts).

    Sometimes, I miss the days when being a fan meant you were a geeky outsider and nobody else thought what you were doing was cool.

    BTW, this year, for the first time, I was brave enough to bring a flash, a tiny little 23cm softbox, radio triggers, and try to do a little bit of Strobist lighting on the hallway. I'd never directed anybody to model for me before, and had to work about 10x faster than I'm used to, and just grab whatever was available at hand. I was forcibly recruiting passing strangers to hold my little light. But I'm reasonably happy. I just need to practice more and get my speed up (as well as notice all those things I'm getting wrong ). All this lighting stuff is relatively new to me.

    Flash issues

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    Re: Flash issues

    Quote Originally Posted by inkista View Post
    You need to read this:
    Canon EOS flash photography confusion

    In short, Av and Tv modes assume you want fill flash. P/green box assume you want flash as the main source of illumination. M, you have to know what you're doing.
    Hello Kathy

    Two points for clarification - but IMO both are important

    Program mode is not synonymous with the Green Rectangle - their programs and functionality are miles apart.

    Program Mode with Flash acts in two distinct ways: depending upon the level of Ambient Light.

    The way you described P Mode working with Flash - is when the Ambient Light Level is Low Level.


    WW

    (Noted that the link supplied seems to be to the "EOS DOCUMENTATION PROJECT", and that document will supply more detail and the OP should read it.
    But there will be those other readers who do not open the link and read the tome.
    P Mode, its functionality and usefulness, are often misunderstood and undervalued.)

    [End Soap Box in support of P Mode]

    Nice pic, Kathy.
    Last edited by William W; 28th July 2011 at 04:37 AM.

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    Re: Flash issues

    So what you're really saying here Bill is that the "P" in P-Mode stands for "Professional"

  20. #20
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    Re: Flash issues

    . . . that's an oldie, but a goodie,
    best to you,

    Bill

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