Page 1 of 3 123 LastLast
Results 1 to 20 of 46

Thread: Starting out on the learning curve - Flash

  1. #1
    Moderator Donald's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Location
    Glenfarg, Scotland
    Posts
    19,982
    Real Name
    Just add 'MacKenzie'

    Starting out on the learning curve - Flash

    Okay, the new toys arrived today:
    Canon 580 EX II Flash
    Gary Fong Lightsphere
    Rogue Flashbender (sounds like a 1950s Hollywood idol)

    Have watched every video and read every article over the last week in preparation. Got Syl Arena's new book on order (N/A in the UK at the moment). Am way at the bottom of a learning curve, but enjoying it.

    So, I'm ready to roll. However .....................

    It looks like the 580 is not considering my 40D to be a compatible camera and I'm asking for your help to sort that problem. How do I know it's not?

    1. The autozoom is not working on the unit (this kicks in when hooked up to a compatible camera)
    2. When I go to the Flash Control options on the camera's menu, I get told that "This menu cannot be displayed. Incompatible flash or the flash's power is turned off" (which it's not).


    So ... HELP!

    Apart from that, things seem to be working fine.
    Last edited by Donald; 13th January 2011 at 06:29 PM.

  2. #2
    Jim B.'s Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    West Virginia
    Posts
    1,219
    Real Name
    Jim

    Re: Starting out on the learning curve - Flash

    Hi Donald,

    Clean the contacts on the flash and the hotshoe on the camera.The flash is compatible with your 40D.

    I just recieved my copy of Syl's book.Looks like a winner.

  3. #3
    Moderator Donald's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Location
    Glenfarg, Scotland
    Posts
    19,982
    Real Name
    Just add 'MacKenzie'

    Re: Starting out on the learning curve - Flash

    Jim

    What's the most effective way of cleaning. Just a cloth?

  4. #4
    Moderator Donald's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Location
    Glenfarg, Scotland
    Posts
    19,982
    Real Name
    Just add 'MacKenzie'

    Re: Starting out on the learning curve - Flash

    Jim

    Forget that last post. You are wonderful. Sainthood awaits!

    Thank you.

    Now all I've got to do is learn how to make good pictures with it!!

  5. #5
    Jim B.'s Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    West Virginia
    Posts
    1,219
    Real Name
    Jim

    Re: Starting out on the learning curve - Flash

    Donald,

    I'm happy to have been some help.
    I'm just getting serious with flash myself.Here's a nice set of tutorials that will help you with Canon flash guns (until the book comes).
    Last edited by Donald; 16th January 2011 at 07:37 PM.

  6. #6
    wilgk's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    Location
    Victoria Australia
    Posts
    2,409
    Real Name
    Kay

    Re: Starting out on the learning curve - Flash

    You've got a buddy Donald - Santa gave me a place on a 1 day Creative Flash Photography workshop on the 22nd of Jan.
    So I will let you know how it goes - I haven't been to these tutors before but they are highly recommended so I am hoping the day will add to where I'm at with reading and practicing from Colin's lessons.

  7. #7
    Moderator Donald's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Location
    Glenfarg, Scotland
    Posts
    19,982
    Real Name
    Just add 'MacKenzie'

    Re: Starting out on the learning curve - Flash

    Quote Originally Posted by wilgk View Post
    You've got a buddy Donald - Santa gave me a place on a 1 day Creative Flash Photography workshop on the 22nd of Jan.
    So I will let you know how it goes
    Please do. I'll be interested to hear what sort of topics/areas are covered.

    I've had a super evening to myself. Fired off a couple of hundred frames. Starting to make sense how this thing works and what I can do with it. Exploring what the effects can be with the Lightsphere and the Flashbender. Great fun.

  8. #8
    wilgk's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    Location
    Victoria Australia
    Posts
    2,409
    Real Name
    Kay

    Re: Starting out on the learning curve - Flash

    it's funny - I relate my current state with the flash to the kids learning to drive.
    Without the flash I feel in control - sure lots of shots don't work - but I feel confident that it's due to my 'driving' of the equipment - I know what the stuff does, I just haven't used it properly or it's composition etc....
    But put on the flash and ok I might get a good shot - but I have this 'carried along' feeling - it's produced it in spite of me, I'm not the one in control....
    as I say in the car - do you get the feeling we were carried around that bend - the car was in control - OR do you feel you were telling the car how you wanted it to behave to get us safely around that bend...
    does that make any sense?

  9. #9
    Moderator Donald's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Location
    Glenfarg, Scotland
    Posts
    19,982
    Real Name
    Just add 'MacKenzie'

    Re: Starting out on the learning curve - Flash

    Quote Originally Posted by wilgk View Post
    does that make any sense?
    It does indeed and the small crumb of comfort I'm taking after this evening's activity is that I'm starting to gain some sense of what I need to be conscious of in the workflow when setting up with flash, in order to get the exposure and lighting that I'm after. But that's one small step on the first rung of the learning ladder.

    At this stage, however, it's very much the same as starting with a camera - practicing and practicing so that you can operate the right buttons and dials for the right purpose without even having to think about it. Right at the moment I'm at the 'thinking-about-everything' stage.

  10. #10

    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    New Zealand
    Posts
    17,662
    Real Name
    Have a guess :)

    Re: Starting out on the learning curve - Flash

    Hi Donald,

    Just a couple of initial thoughts ...

    1. The issue you initially mentioned is relatively common, and it's caused by poor communication between camera and flash. Other signs are the flash display showing "TTL" instead of "E-TTL", and the flash "going nuclear" (a full-power output and a grossly over-exposed shot). My personal belief is that it's not the "cleaning of the contacts" that makes the difference so much as it is the mounting and dismounting of the unit. Some have also reported the miscommunication issue with the camera in a portrait orientation (because of the torque the flash puts on the hotshoe).

    Also, try to get in the habit of switching the flash on first, and then the camera - in theory it's not supposed to make any difference, but in practice sometimes it does. If in doubt, recycle the power to both camera and flash.

    2. The flashes have quite a few "gotchas" - things that won't work and you'll tear your hair out trying to figure out why; some of the more popular ones ...

    (a) Flash head won't zoom with focal length changes: Only works with flash pointed straight ahead.

    (b) The display is flashing: Flash head is inadvertantly set for 7 deg tilt down

    (c) Zoom stuck on 14mm: Diffuser panel is not fully recessed (it has a microswitch).

    (d) Flash still fires when unit set at master controller, and told not to fire: It's just the pre-flash, don't worry about it.

    2. The industry standard reference text on Canon EOS Flash photography is Mastering Canon EOS Flash Photography by N K Guy (whom I might add was kind enough to send me a free autographed copy ). He's also the author of the most widely referred to collection of notes on the subject

    Also, I might add that the likes of the roguebender usually don't really do anything useful - in tests that I've seen any straight on flash tends to produce a lot of specularity, regardless of the size of the lightsource.
    Last edited by Donald; 16th January 2011 at 08:13 PM.

  11. #11
    inkista's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Location
    San Diego, California
    Posts
    1,409
    Real Name
    Kathy Li

    Re: Starting out on the learning curve - Flash

    Just me, but when I was starting out learning flash, the best site for me in learning to think my way through everything was Neil van Niekerk's Tangents blog/website. I love the black foamie thing.

  12. #12
    rob marshall

    Re: Starting out on the learning curve - Flash

    Donald

    You may find the 101 series on Strobist very good for learning flash. A lot of it relates to rather complicated lighting set-ups, but some of it covers the basics. http://strobist.blogspot.com/2006/03/lighting-101.html

    And as you have a Canon, you will find the photonotes site very useful. http://photonotes.org/articles/eos-flash/

  13. #13

    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Location
    Provence, France
    Posts
    910
    Real Name
    Remco

    Re: Starting out on the learning curve - Flash

    And I'm also joining the club
    I got me flash for Xmas (and a macro lens: Tamron 90 mm ), and I ran into the same problems as Donald: camera refusing to work with the flash...
    Got it to work after a bit of cleaning and power cycling (even on wireless control )

    So now I also have to learn how to master it

    Remco

  14. #14
    rob marshall

    Re: Starting out on the learning curve - Flash

    I think the key thing to grasp with flash (and it took me a while to get it) is that flash involves split-second bursts of light. So, the shutter speed rarely affects flash exposure, unlike continuous light such as the sun. It gives you a lot of scope for doing creative things. It also give you more scope for tripod-free shots as you don't have to worry so much about camera shake etc. It took me a while to realize that although the camera may be set at 1/125s on flash, the actual time the flash is exposing the sensor is 1/1000s or less. The rest of the time there is no, or very little exposure taking place, unless the ambient light is also very strong.

    One thing I want to try more of is using ambient light in conjunction with flash, which seems to offer the most creative options.

    I too have a Lightsphere. They are pretty good. But remember that it may reduce the effect of the light coming from the flash by a stop or two. So you may need to compensate for that. Have you thought about getting a remote trigger for off-camera flash? I find mine very useful.
    Last edited by rob marshall; 14th January 2011 at 07:37 AM.

  15. #15
    Camellia's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Location
    Canberra, Australia
    Posts
    719
    Real Name
    Raylee

    Re: Starting out on the learning curve - Flash

    Please keep us informed of your progress Donald. I have an old flash so I'm interested to learn about the 580 (yet another thing on my shopping list).

    Thanks

    R

  16. #16

    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    New Zealand
    Posts
    17,662
    Real Name
    Have a guess :)

    Re: Starting out on the learning curve - Flash

    Quote Originally Posted by rob marshall View Post

    I too have a Lightsphere. They are pretty good. But remember that it may reduce the effect of the light coming from the flash by a stop or two. So you may need to compensate for that.
    No compensation is needed if one is running E-TTL, as the diffuser also attenuates the pre-flash by the same amount. What often trips people up though is expecting too much from the flash (in terms of light output); outdoors it's easy to add a diffuser and then find that the unit is incapable of putting out enough light for the scene (guide number is 58, so outdoors on a sunny 16 day, assuming 50% flash, 50% ambient, you'd have a max subject to flash distance of about 5m, and that's without any diffusers.
    Last edited by Colin Southern; 14th January 2011 at 07:58 AM.

  17. #17
    rob marshall

    Re: Starting out on the learning curve - Flash

    Quote Originally Posted by Colin Southern View Post
    No compensation is needed if one is running E-TTL, as the diffuser also attenuates the pre-flash by the same amount. What often trips people up though is expecting too much from the flash (in terms of light output); outdoors it's easy to add a diffuser and then find that the unit is incapable of putting out enough light for the scene.
    Yes, sorry, that's right. I normally use manual mode, which is a different situation.

  18. #18
    Moderator Donald's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Location
    Glenfarg, Scotland
    Posts
    19,982
    Real Name
    Just add 'MacKenzie'

    Re: Starting out on the learning curve - Flash

    Thank you one and all, for you very helpful comments.

    After my first evening's activity I, beginning to get a sense of what I'm meant to be doing and, Colin, I was very proud myself when I managed to find the solutions to the questions:

    • Why is the &^$% autozoom not working and,
    • Why the *%"+ is the ^%*"* thing flashing?

    (i.e. points 2a) and 2b) your post #10 above)

    Thanks for 2c). Not sure I would have worked that one out if I'd encountered it. 2d) doesn't plly ... yet!

    Which connects to Rob's point re going off-camera. Yes ... but not yet.

    The outlay on this lot is going to have to be allowed to settle and the commitment, "But honestly, this will be my last big purchase", allowed to fade from the memory a bit before we re-visit the notion of buying to go off-camera.

    But. most encouragingly, the exchanges above about E-TTL; Manual; Diffuser attenuating the pre-flash; Light Output; et al, make sense. They wouldn't have done so a week ago. So, we are learning.

  19. #19
    rob marshall

    Re: Starting out on the learning curve - Flash

    Quote Originally Posted by Donald View Post
    I would have worked that one out if I'd encountered it. 2d) doesn't plly ... yet!

    Which connects to Rob's point re going off-camera. Yes ... but not yet.

    The outlay on this lot is going to have to be allowed to settle and the commitment, "But honestly, this will be my last big purchase", allowed to fade from the memory a bit before we re-visit the notion of buying to go off-camera.
    Donald

    Your flash should have a synch cord port to connect between your camera and the remote flash (I think that's right, Colin can confirm). All you need is a longish cord for a few pounds and you are there. It's not as good as wireless remote, but it should work. Did it come with a cord?

  20. #20
    Moderator Donald's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Location
    Glenfarg, Scotland
    Posts
    19,982
    Real Name
    Just add 'MacKenzie'

    Re: Starting out on the learning curve - Flash

    Quote Originally Posted by rob marshall View Post
    Did it come with a cord?
    No, Rob. Mine didn't come with the cord (I knew it wasn't included).

    I've been looking at the 'standard' cord, at 10m cords, at wireless.

    My ideas about what I want to do are reasonably well developed and I'm just trying to decide what it is that would both best, but also most economically, meet those needs.

    Certainly, for fill flash on my landscape work, I was envisaging holding the flash at the end of a cord with the camera on the tripod.
    Last edited by Donald; 14th January 2011 at 04:42 PM.

Page 1 of 3 123 LastLast

Tags for this Thread

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •