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Old 14th of April 2007 (Sat)   #1
mrbplus
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Question Bad Timing - Flash Sync Problems.

I was shooting a friend's party tonight and my camera started to doing some weird stuff... a case of bad time for bad timing issues.

My 30D had a 580Ex attached with a Lightsphere II (Fong Dong) in use.

After taking 15 or so shots, my chimping picked up that the shutter was not opening at the same time as the flash was firing... meaning that the shots were pretty much black in the dark venue we were in.

I powered everything down, took the batteries out, cleaned the flash connectors, made sure that the flash was clicked into the upward position... no luck. I tried shooting with the flash in manual mode, but that was hit and miss too. This was the camera set up:

30D Camera: 400 ISO 1/60 F4
580Ex Flash: ETTL +1/3 pointed up with the Fong Dong attached.

Does anybody know what would cause this to happen? Does the 580Ex eventually die or need some sort of repair as a result of these symptoms?

Advice much appreciated!
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Old 14th of April 2007 (Sat)   #2
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Default Re: Bad Timing - Flash Sync Problems.

could just be that the flash didn't meter properly.. try using M on the flash and see if it still underexposes
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Old 14th of April 2007 (Sat)   #3
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Default Re: Bad Timing - Flash Sync Problems.

yeah... I tried using M, but the flash was acting weird... sometimes the shot would be exposed, sometimes the flash didn't fire and sometimes it fired, but not at the same time as the shutter was open... although it must have fractionally out of sync because it fired when I pressed the shutter button.
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Old 14th of April 2007 (Sat)   #4
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Default Re: Bad Timing - Flash Sync Problems.

What exposure mode (dial setting) were you using?

What shutter speed(s) were you using? I see the 1/60 listed, but are all the shots with that shutter speed?

How rapidly are you trying to shoot with the flash? Are you providing enough time for the flash unit to fully recycle between flashes?

What's the camera-to-subject distance?

What is the venue like? Is it like a home with walls and ceilings nearby to reflect the light back toward the subject? Is it a huge room with no reflective surfaces near the camera (or even an outdoor venue)? All "tupperware" diffusers MUST have those reflective surfaces nearby if there's any distance between the camera and subject. The reason is that the diffuser otherwise wastes a very significant portion of the light from the flash by sending it in all directions - many of which would never have the light reaching the subject.
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Old 14th of April 2007 (Sat)   #5
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Default Re: Bad Timing - Flash Sync Problems.

Quote:
Originally Posted by mrbplus View Post
I was shooting a friend's party tonight and my camera started to doing some weird stuff... a case of bad time for bad timing issues.

My 30D had a 580Ex attached with a Lightsphere II (Fong Dong) in use.

After taking 15 or so shots, my chimping picked up that the shutter was not opening at the same time as the flash was firing... meaning that the shots were pretty much black in the dark venue we were in.

I powered everything down, took the batteries out, cleaned the flash connectors, made sure that the flash was clicked into the upward position... no luck. I tried shooting with the flash in manual mode, but that was hit and miss too. This was the camera set up:

30D Camera: 400 ISO 1/60 F4
580Ex Flash: ETTL +1/3 pointed up with the Fong Dong attached.

Does anybody know what would cause this to happen? Does the 580Ex eventually die or need some sort of repair as a result of these symptoms?

Advice much appreciated!
Try this...it works great with my 30D and 580EX:

(M)anual mode
f/5.6
1/200th
ISO 400
Bounce flash from ceiling
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Old 14th of April 2007 (Sat)   #6
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Default Re: Bad Timing - Flash Sync Problems.

Just an idea. Try reinstalling the firmware on your camera. Good luck with fixing it!

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Old 15th of April 2007 (Sun)   #7
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Default Re: Bad Timing - Flash Sync Problems.

Make sure that you are allowing sufficient time for the flash to recharge. That is what the issue sounds like to me. I used to have that happen all the time until I got my Black Box.
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Old 15th of April 2007 (Sun)   #8
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Default Re: Bad Timing - Flash Sync Problems.

Thanks for all the feedback.

Just wanting to confirm that the flash was working fine at 400ISO, 1/60, F4 for about 15 shots... then things went bad and I could not get the flash to sync at all with the shutter weather in Manual flash mode or ETTL.

New batteries were in the flash and I had two freshly charged batteries in my battery grip.

I have the moset recent 30D firmware installed.

So I guess something must be broken =S
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Old 15th of April 2007 (Sun)   #9
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Default Re: Bad Timing - Flash Sync Problems.

Do you still have the problem?

One thing that might be the source of the problem is the flash unit moving away from being fully seated in the hot shoe. That could disconnect one or more of the smaller pins that carry the communication between the camera and the flash. Just remove and completely re-seat the flash unit. Then, use the locking ring properly to avoid any movement in the hot shoe and try a series again.
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Old 15th of April 2007 (Sun)   #10
mrbplus
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Default Re: Bad Timing - Flash Sync Problems.

Yeah... I thought of that... took off the flash, cleaned the connectors on the shoe and flash and then made double sure that it was securley locked into place.
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Old 15th of April 2007 (Sun)   #11
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Default Re: Bad Timing - Flash Sync Problems.

Quote:
Originally Posted by mrbplus View Post
Yeah... I thought of that... took off the flash, cleaned the connectors on the shoe and flash and then made double sure that it was securley locked into place.
Any change? You didn't say....
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Old 15th of April 2007 (Sun)   #12
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Default Re: Bad Timing - Flash Sync Problems.

mrbplus,
Sounds similar to what happened with my 420ex. The flash would fire every time but not in sync with the shutter (after 3 years of good use). Tried it on two DSLR's and you would see the flash fire but the photos were severely under exposed or black. I then gave up and got a 580ex and everything was fine. I never did find out what caused it but your problem sounds the same. Is it still under warranty? How long have you had it?
Good Luck with it
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Old 15th of April 2007 (Sun)   #13
mrbplus
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Default Re: Bad Timing - Flash Sync Problems.

Quote:
Originally Posted by SkipD View Post
Any change? You didn't say....
No change... same problem.

Thanks for that story John_B, what you described is exactly what happened to me. I think the flash is still under warranty, so I will have to send it to Canon this week =(.
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Old 15th of April 2007 (Sun)   #14
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Default Re: Bad Timing - Flash Sync Problems.

Bummer... I just realised that the flash is actually out of warranty.
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Old 15th of April 2007 (Sun)   #15
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Default Re: Bad Timing - Flash Sync Problems.

Your shutter is "tired" and needs replacing, I had same symptoms with my old D30, shutter was replaced and all was peachy again!
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