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FORUMS General Gear Talk Flash and Studio Lighting 
Thread started 26 Jul 2013 (Friday) 15:50
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580EX II Flash sync problem ?

 
paul33
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Jul 26, 2013 15:50 |  #1

I have just returned from shooting a "first dance" at a wedding where there was very little light on the dance floor.

I set my 1D Mk3 to "P" mode and fired away only to find that 50% of the shots were showing as dark and as though the flash hadn't fired. I held the camera away from me and noted that the flash was definitely firing fully but the result suggested that it maybe wasn't in sync with the shutter.

I then quickly shifted to my trusty 1D Mk2 with same 580EX II flash gun in ETTL mode and got exactly the same random result so it seems its not a camera problem but a flash gun problem.

Never seen this before so any thoughts ?

PS: I changed to a new set of flash gun batteries and it made no difference.


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Bearmann
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Jul 26, 2013 17:16 |  #2

Did you give the flash enough time to recycle between shots?


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paul33
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Jul 27, 2013 00:25 as a reply to  @ Bearmann's post |  #3

Yes I did and I actually saw it flash. I was also using a well powered Canon battery pack in support.


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paul33
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Feb 25, 2014 06:46 as a reply to  @ paul33's post |  #4

Okay, an update ..... and still struggling big time !

I've just taken a sequence of six images. All taken with a good five seconds gap between shots and with flash and camera both signaling good to go before each shot. All shot in "P" mode, RAW, and converted in Lightroom with no adjustments.

Flash appeared to visibly fire in ALL shots even though I thought it looked fainter in some firings but that could be just my eyes but it definitely fired.

Two shots appear to be correctly lit - the other four look like zero or very little flash.

I've attached a couple of examples. EXIF data is identical between the well lit shot xxx3509.jpg and the dark shot xxx3508.jpg.

EXIF states .........

Flash Fired
No strobe return detected
Compulsory flash firing
Flash function present
No red-eye reduction

Anybody have any idea what is going on ?


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paul33
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Feb 25, 2014 06:53 |  #5

Some more info following a further - and more obvious - test !!!

I have just fired ten flash shots at a vase of flowers in front of a mirror. I watched the flash fire FULL ON in every shot - every firing looked spot on.

When I reviewed the images on-camera, four of them show the flash gun NOT firing in the image itself so this has to be some sort of sync issue as the flash definitely fired in all of them.

What does that all add up to ?!!!!

Any help appreciated !


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digital ­ paradise
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Feb 25, 2014 09:06 |  #6

I was reading about something similar at Canon Forums. Are you using Alkaline batteries? Even if they are new it can make a difference. Barry made a good point.

If it is random I don't think it is not syncing. Here is test you can try to verify it is in sync with the shutter. Set the shutter speed to 3 seconds. The flash should fire just after as the first curtain opens and then after 3 seconds you should hear the second one close. Try that 10 times in a row.

You said the flash was definitely firing. I guess you are probably in ETTL. It is hard to tell the difference between the pre flash and the actual flash itself. Set the shutter to a normal speed and look through the viewfinder. Take the shot and if you see a pre flash through the viewfinder. You won't see the actual flash because the mirror is up during that part of the cycle. Try that 10 times in a row and see it you get a flash in the viewfinder each time and compare to the image results. You could even try this with a 3 second shutter speed to verify sequence.

Unless it is an actual problem with the flash and needs to go the shop I'm going to go out on a limb. Achems razor. All things being equal the simplest explanation is usually the correct one. I'm going with batteries and recycle time.


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digital ­ paradise
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Feb 25, 2014 09:50 |  #7

There is also an indicator light telling you the flash is ready. Try 10 in a row but wait until that light tells you the flash is charged between shots.


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paul33
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Feb 25, 2014 11:30 |  #8

digital paradise wrote in post #16716141 (external link)
There is also an indicator light telling you the flash is ready. Try 10 in a row but wait until that light tells you the flash is charged between shots.

I did that !


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paul33
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Feb 25, 2014 11:33 |  #9

digital paradise wrote in post #16716007 (external link)
I was reading about something similar at Canon Forums. Are you using Alkaline batteries? Even if they are new it can make a difference. Barry made a good point.

I'm using ENELOOP re-chargeable batteries. The same issue occurs even with the Canon 8-battery power pack hooked up so I can't see it can be a power issue. I've also had it happen on the first shot of a sequence where recharging can not be an issue.


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gonzogolf
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Feb 25, 2014 11:39 |  #10

Do you have any sort of bracketing enabled?




  
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CAPhotog
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Feb 25, 2014 11:56 |  #11

Might be obvious... Is the speedlite locked down in the shoe?




  
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paul33
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Feb 25, 2014 11:59 |  #12

digital paradise wrote in post #16716007 (external link)
If it is random I don't think it is not syncing. Here is test you can try to verify it is in sync with the shutter. Set the shutter speed to 3 seconds. The flash should fire just after as the first curtain opens and then after 3 seconds you should hear the second one close. Try that 10 times in a row.

Not sure what I'm looking for here but the results were the same with a small number of correctly exposed shots and most just dark. I could see the flash through the viewfinder for most shots but not all (presumably that's the pre-flash ?). I could see the flash through the viewfinder even on shots that came out very dark and seemingly without flash.


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paul33
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Feb 25, 2014 12:00 |  #13

gonzogolf wrote in post #16716460 (external link)
Do you have any sort of bracketing enabled?

No ..... and if it helps, the problem occurs on both my 1D Mk2 and 1D Mk3 !


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paul33
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Feb 25, 2014 12:01 |  #14

CAPhotog wrote in post #16716516 (external link)
Might be obvious... Is the speedlite locked down in the shoe?

Yes it is and I've checked for play in the connection and there is none. I've also cleaned the connections the best I can too but I guess one of the pins on the 580EX could be playing up ..... not sure I'd know how to detect that.


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Feb 25, 2014 12:17 |  #15

During ETTL shots, there are TWO emissions of light from the flash

  • commanded pre-flash
  • triggered main flash fire after flash gets command for how much light output


You could be seeing A, but B is not happening!

Now some testing

  1. Put your flash in Manual, then fire it from camera...if the flash emits, you now know the trigger circuit is good; you ought to see result of firing in the photo.
  2. Put your flash in ETTL, then fire it from camera...you should see the preflash, but if you do not see result of firing in the photo, now you know the ETTL power command processing by the flash is bad...after all test A proved the firing circuit was working

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580EX II Flash sync problem ?
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