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Henry Low
30th of December 2004 (Thu), 14:48
Hi guys, I am planning to buy multiple flash units and have decided to go the Sigma Route instead of useing speedlites.

I am planning to buy 3 Sigma 500 DG supers for my Canon 20D. I was wondering, Can I use the 500 DG Supers as teh transmitter? or Do i have to get a Speedlite 550EX as the main transmitter on the hotshoe to communicate with other flashes through wireless?

And also, I understand that the wireless transmittion is through IR, does that mean that the Flashes have to face eachother inorder to communicate? If so, wouldnt that make it hard to make good light composition, for example, when doing studio shots of people.

Thanks in advance,
Henry

timmyquest
30th of December 2004 (Thu), 14:51
They do not have to be facing eachother, but if they are any distance apart the 550 has to at least be pointed at the other flash.

PacAce
30th of December 2004 (Thu), 15:35
Hi guys, I am planning to buy multiple flash units and have decided to go the Sigma Route instead of useing speedlites.

I am planning to buy 3 Sigma 500 DG supers for my Canon 20D. I was wondering, Can I use the 500 DG Supers as teh transmitter? or Do i have to get a Speedlite 550EX as the main transmitter on the hotshoe to communicate with other flashes through wireless?

And also, I understand that the wireless transmittion is through IR, does that mean that the Flashes have to face eachother inorder to communicate? If so, wouldnt that make it hard to make good light composition, for example, when doing studio shots of people.

Thanks in advance,
Henry

If you are shooting indoors, you don't have to point the slave flashes at the master flash since the control signals can bounce off the walls in the studio. And even if you did have to point the slaves at the master, the flash heads can be moved to point at the subject.

Cadwell
30th of December 2004 (Thu), 15:42
The Sigma flash works just fine as a wireless transmitter. It can trigger other Sigma units or the Canon ones (I've tested this with 420EX and 580EX).

Henry Low
30th of December 2004 (Thu), 15:44
Thanks for the replies guys, so if I am shooting indoors, most of the time it will just bounce and it will work? Awesome.

Bruce Watson
30th of December 2004 (Thu), 17:25
Hi Henry,

You may need to experiment. I use two Sigmas and find that in a relatively small room (i.e. normal living/rec room) with normal ceilings, they do not need to "face" each other to work.

CyberDyneSystems
30th of December 2004 (Thu), 19:51
I've been using a 550 and a 420 and it seems amzing how well they function with little to no consideration on my part to get the IR beam in the correct direction :)

Henry Low
31st of December 2004 (Fri), 13:24
Ahh icic, nice.

Another question, where would be the best place to purchase these Super DG flashes? I live in Vancouver Canada, where we supposedly all live in igloos :D

Bruce Watson
31st of December 2004 (Fri), 14:14
In Ottawa, our igloos are melting today.............

By far the best prices for these (in my experience and opinion) is by mail order from B&H Photo or the equivalent US store.

With currency conversion and shipping, gst/pst and handling fee, still a great deal cheaper than Cdn $ retail.

DaveG
31st of December 2004 (Fri), 15:13
Hi guys, I am planning to buy multiple flash units and have decided to go the Sigma Route instead of useing speedlites.

I am planning to buy 3 Sigma 500 DG supers for my Canon 20D. I was wondering, Can I use the 500 DG Supers as teh transmitter? or Do i have to get a Speedlite 550EX as the main transmitter on the hotshoe to communicate with other flashes through wireless?

And also, I understand that the wireless transmittion is through IR, does that mean that the Flashes have to face eachother inorder to communicate? If so, wouldnt that make it hard to make good light composition, for example, when doing studio shots of people.

Thanks in advance,
Henry

I just had a look at the B&H site and you could buy a 550EX and two 420EX
flashes for $630 US. Three DG Supers will cost $600. Now deciding to go Canon or Brand X would now take me about a nano-second, and it wouldn't be Brand X.

A 550 and two 420's are exactly what I'm using right now so I may well be
biased. But they work the way they should and are more than powerful enough. And along with their relative simplicity compared to the 550 is a lighter and smaller package. That means that they get packed with the 550 in my camera bag so I have them with me all of the time.

As for flash placement, I live by the rule that the Slaved flash MUST be able to "see" the Master, no matter what kind of room I'm using. In a small room you probably will get enough reflections to have them fire but I accept that as a happy accident. These will not give you the response of a radio slaved flash and if you are thinking that they might stretch that far then you'll be disappointed.

The 420'S have a red pulse that emits from the front of the flash when it is in the Slave setting. Although I can't speak about the DG Supers, I just assume that they too have this pulse. It doesn't seem to do much but it does tell me that the slaved flash is on and ready to go.

The 420's have a go-to-sleep mode that will be indicated if that red light goes off, and that's nice to know. But in order to see this red pulse I have to turn the body of the flash towards the Master flash and me. If I didn't turn the body of the flash this red light would be aimed at the subject and without doubt would be visible on them.

The subject would also find it very disconcerting having this bright red light (or
two) flashing in their eyes, while they were trying to make a speech or
something. I don't know if Canon designed it this way to force the photographer
to square the Slave to the Master, but it does assure the best possible reception.

PacAce
17th of February 2005 (Thu), 22:33
The Sigma flash works just fine as a wireless transmitter. It can trigger other Sigma units or the Canon ones (I've tested this with 420EX and 580EX).

Cadwell, my brother just got me a Sigma 500 DG Super today and I can't get it to work right in wireless mode with my 550EX and 420EX, especially when using A:B ratios. It doesn't matter if the Sigma is a master or a slave, all my test shots came out basically overexposed, as if all the flashes were firing at full power.

If I may ask, how did you test your Sigma with the 580EX and teh 420EX? Did you try them at different raios, too? I'm trying to determine if I got a defective unit or if it's just some type of incompatibility with the Sigma flash.

When I use the flash by itself, it works fine. I just can't get it to work in wireless mode. And I've had no trouble working just the 550EX and the 420EX together in wireless mode.

Thanks.

robertwgross
17th of February 2005 (Thu), 23:47
Leo, you might describe the wireless settings you have on your various units. Maybe we can spot something unusual.

---Bob Gross---

PacAce
18th of February 2005 (Fri), 07:58
Leo, you might describe the wireless settings you have on your various units. Maybe we can spot something unusual.

---Bob Gross---

Bob, it's any of the wireless settings in the Sigma flash manual such as master (500 DG) with one slave (550EX) no ratio, master (550EX) with one slave (500 DG) no ratio, master with slave with ratio, master with 2 slaves with raio, etc. With the Sigma in the picture, all the images are overexposed because the Sigma seems to be firing at full power. Take the Sigma out, leaving just the 550 and the 420EX) and everything is fine.

iof
18th of February 2005 (Fri), 08:34
PacAce, do you have the slave id set properly on the Sigma. Canon refers to slave id as A, B, or C. Sigma refers to slave id as 1, 2, or 3. I just bought a 500 DG to go with my 550 EX and ran into the same problems. When I set the slave id on the Sigma to 2, and set the A:B ratios on the Canon, everything worked. So far I have got the 550 EX to work as a master but have not played around enough to make the Sigma work as master. The Sigma documentation leave a lot to be desired when compared to Canon.

PacAce
18th of February 2005 (Fri), 08:49
PacAce, do you have the slave id set properly on the Sigma. Canon refers to slave id as A, B, or C. Sigma refers to slave id as 1, 2, or 3. I just bought a 500 DG to go with my 550 EX and ran into the same problems. When I set the slave id on the Sigma to 2, and set the A:B ratios on the Canon, everything worked. So far I have got the 550 EX to work as a master but have not played around enough to make the Sigma work as master. The Sigma documentation leave a lot to be desired when compared to Canon.
Yup, got that covered, too. I double checked everything. The slave ids, the channel numbers, etc. Except for the actual layout of the controls and how they're set, the 500 DG and the 550EX basically work the same way as far as the setting of the wireless config is concerned and I'm very familiar with how all that works on the Speedlites so I'm pretty sure it's not my setup on the 500 DG that's at fault. I just wanted to verify that the 500 DG is supposed to work like the 550EX and that I have a defective unit in my hand so that I can have it exchanged.

S230
18th of February 2005 (Fri), 09:20
Depends how keen you are with Electronics, you can use a TV remote as a trigger as well. Apparently the flash will detect certain signals and will trigger it off. The difficult is how to harness the remote onto the hotshoe....

btw, does anyone have or can send me a list on the menu of the Sigma 500 DG Super? Unfortuantely I don't have the manual and trying to guess what or how the controls work.

PacAce
18th of February 2005 (Fri), 11:55
OK, I went home this afternoon at lunch to do some more testing of the Sigma 500 DG Super wireless config and this is what I discovered. I had the same overexposure problem I had last night but when I turned off the flash of the 500 DG, the other flash (420EX in this case) worked fine to illuminate the subject. I could adjust the flash ratio and the 420EX output varied accordingly. But whenever the 500 flash was turned on, I got overexposure. Well, at least I can use the 500 DG as a flashless master like the ST-E2. :confused:

Then I tried something else. The 500 DG flash head zoom was set to Manual 28mm. I switched it manually to 50mm which was the lens I was using and, surprise, surprise, the darn thing worked fine, even with the 500 DG flash turned on. I tried the other zoom settings and the flash still worked fine. Then I put it back to 28mm and ...overexposure! :(

Well, at least I know when the problem occurs and how to work around it. I'll see what Sigma has to say about this. Does anybody else experience the same thing when you put the flash head of the 500 DG Super manually (or set automatically when you first turn it on) to 28mm? Just curious.

S230
18th of February 2005 (Fri), 12:12
If only I knew how to setup the Flash (going through the menu), then I can try it also and tell how it is like. :(

PacAce
18th of February 2005 (Fri), 13:10
If only I knew how to setup the Flash (going through the menu), then I can try it also and tell how it is like. :(
I'll see what I can do for you. In the mean time, if you feel like paying with the flash, use the Mode switch to switch to ETTL, Manual, Multi and Wireless Remote Master and WIreless Remote SLave modes. The Wireless modes will show multiple lighting icons. And you'll know you're in Slave mode by the SL that shows on the LCD display.

Once you've set the mode, you can set the different parameters of that mode by pressing the SEL button and cycling through the different parameter options. And, of course, you select the options for the parameters by pressing the + or - button.

Except for the additional Optical Slave Mode that the 500 DG has which the 550EX doesn't, all the other functions are bascially the same as the 550EX (if you're familiar with the 550EX).

If there's a particular setting you'd like to know about, just holler and I'll give you the details on how to do it.