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FORUMS General Gear Talk Flash and Studio Lighting 
Thread started 22 Apr 2012 (Sunday) 10:22
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OFC flash, bright sun, 430ex won't fire

 
4Bucks
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Apr 22, 2012 10:22 |  #1

After some advice from here I tried to use my OFC flash as fill when shooting in harsh sun (6pm) for some pre-prom shots. The location was a building background the kids liked. The sun was camera R so I set up my flash camera L. I was hoping to balance the dark shadow on the L side of the shot. The flash is being fired from the on camera flash. The sun was directly hitting the flash sensor. The flash would not fire with every shot. Some times it fire and sometimes it didn't. Being new at OCF I couldn't get my settings right due to the inconsistancy of the flash firing and my inexperience. I even planned ahead and took the wife to the desired location to do some test shots. That helped me to quickly come up with a plan B and moving the location to something that worked better.

Will the sun effect the function of the flash being fired by the on camera flash? Are there settings I am missing on the camera/flash?

This picture is from last week (not the pre-prom shoot). Last week I asked how to deal with the harsh light and dark shadows. It was suggested to use fill from the flash. That is why I tried it this week. During this shoot I did use the OCF inside a church and it worked great. That is why I was perplexed with lack of firing yesterday.

Thanks POTN.

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The ­ Fox
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Apr 22, 2012 10:50 |  #2

What were you using to trigger the flash? The canon wireless(IR system) is massively affected but sunlight and looses a lot of range.

The only solution to that is either wired or a cheap set of triggers and go manually. IR is great but really needs line of site and the IR radiation from the sun will overpower the signal from the flash.

Nick


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Tiberius
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Apr 22, 2012 11:40 |  #3

Yes, the sunlight shining on the sensor of the slave flash is preventing it from seeing the control flash from your camera.

You need to make sure that your slave's sensor is shaded from direct sunlight. Try adjusting the angle of the flash body if you can, or you might be able to make a little sunshade from a bit of cardboard. Just make sure you don't do anything that will block the light from the on camera flash.


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RPCrowe
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Apr 22, 2012 12:09 as a reply to  @ Tiberius's post |  #4

I was very disappointed when I realized that the touted "wireless" flash on my 7D was actually an optical slave system. IMO, it is really no better (ond sometimes worse) than using a Master flash unit and a slave. The "wireless" works O.K. indoors but, outdoors it can be problematical depending on the following:

1. Angle between the on-camera flash and the sensor of the slave
2. Distance between the on-camera flash and the subject
3. Intensity of the sunlight
4. Direction/angle of the sun in comparison to the flashes

Note: Turning the flash-head 180 degrees (or however much needed to face the sensor towards your camera flash) so the red covered sensor faces the camera will sometimes help the slave unit "see" the firing flash from the camera. This is true both indoors and outdoors. However, I would guess that the surest and least expensive way to trigger the off camera flash, outdoors, would be to use a long off-camera sync cord.

The standard Canon Off Camera Sync Cord is about 2.5 m (about 8.2 feet). However, it is only that length if stretched so that all the coils are removed. This is not a good idea since it may damage the cord or cause the light stand to fall over.

There are longer cords available such as this 10 m (about 32.8 feet) unit listed on eBay USA

http://www.ebay.com …ories&hash=item​3a697e0d20 (external link)

This cord should be long enough to work with even without being stretched out to its fullest extention. I don't believe that you could get a radio sync unit at the price of this cord.

I usually want to shoot in High Speed Sync mode when using flash for fill light outdoors since I often desire a relatively wide f/stop for portraiture. The wired sync cord will, of course, work for HSS and there are some radio based sync devices which will facilitate HSS. However, I don't believe that the "wireless" sync capability of the 7D/60D/T3i etc. will allow the use of HSS, However, I could be wrong in that belief.

B&H Photo in New York City has quite a few YouTube tutorial videos on Canon Flash Systems.

http://www.youtube.com ….7.7.2.0.0.0.88​.398.5.5.0 (external link).


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4Bucks
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Apr 22, 2012 15:23 |  #5

Wow! great stuff. Thanks all.

"Note: Turning the flash-head 180 degrees (or however much needed to face the sensor towards your camera flash) so the red covered sensor faces the camera will sometimes help the slave unit "see" the firing flash from the camera. This is true both indoors and outdoors. However, I would guess that the surest and least expensive way to trigger the off camera flash, outdoors, would be to use a long off-camera sync cord."

I am IDIOT! That is such a simple solution and it never crossed my mind. I guess I was in a bit of a panic as the kids were to be there soon. I will get the cord too.


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Curtis ­ N
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Apr 22, 2012 15:30 |  #6

1) The way to add fill light is to put it as close as possible to the camera axis. If you put it opposite the main light (the sun, in this case), you may fill some shadows but also create new ones. With that in mind, hotshoe flash generally works pretty well for fill flash in the sun. You may want to check out the link in my signature on How to Use Flash Outdoors.

2) Since the Canon Wireless Flash System has some serious limitations outdoors, for those situations where off-camera flash is preferred, consider
a) an extra-long off camera shoe cord like this:
http://flashzebra.com/​products/0125/index.sh​tml (external link)
or
b) one of the many affordable RF-based flash triggering systems.


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4Bucks
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Apr 22, 2012 16:12 |  #7

Curtis: great stuff. thanks, Rob


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tim
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Apr 22, 2012 20:19 |  #8

I have up on the Canon system, it's not reliable in bright sun. I use radio.


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4Bucks
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Apr 22, 2012 21:27 |  #9

I hope to get a second flash soon. Is there a way to have two on chords? Or are poppers the way to go? What poppers would you recommend for a hobby guy on a budget (but I am not broke).


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Curtis ­ N
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Apr 22, 2012 22:46 |  #10

Cords are a royal pain. I suppose you could connect one via PC socket and the other via hotshoe adapter, but that just doubles the pain. As far as I know, there's no way to connect two flashes via cord and retain E-TTL control of both.

I use the Cybersync (external link) CST and CSRB products from Paul C. Buff. Reasonably priced and rock-solid reliable for manual control only. There are plenty of other choices that others might recommend.

Some may suggest products that allow E-TTL control of your flash units. That's ok, but it limits you to proprietary technology. If you really want to use off-camera flash, I suggest climbing the manual flash learning curve and buying a flash meter. Both the knowledge and the meter will serve you well for many years, and allow you to use any kind of flash (including studio strobes).


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Tiberius
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Apr 23, 2012 12:34 |  #11

Curtis N wrote in post #14311058 (external link)
Cords are a royal pain. I suppose you could connect one via PC socket and the other via hotshoe adapter, but that just doubles the pain. As far as I know, there's no way to connect two flashes via cord and retain E-TTL control of both.

I suppose you could by two of them and then find a friendly electrician to splice them together for you, so you have two cables coming out of the one hotshoe attachment...


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drvnbysound
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Apr 23, 2012 13:38 |  #12

RPCrowe wrote in post #14308476 (external link)
Note: Turning the flash-head 180 degrees (or however much needed to face the sensor towards your camera flash) so the red covered sensor faces the camera will sometimes help the slave unit "see" the firing flash from the camera. This is true both indoors and outdoors. However, I would guess that the surest and least expensive way to trigger the off camera flash, outdoors, would be to use a long off-camera sync cord.

This is definitely the suggested method, but realize the light sensor is not behind the red plastic... it's above that. Wireless sensor location, simply for reference (external link).

Also using a master, such as the 580EXII, where you can directly point the master at the slave will help... particularly when compared to using the pop-up flash of the 60D, 7D, etc. In addition, anything you can do to alter the setup so the sun isn't pointed directly into the slave's optical sensor would also be helpful.


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OFC flash, bright sun, 430ex won't fire
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