Tom Reichner wrote in post #18732281
When I got the flash I took it out of the box it came in and inserted it into the hotshoe of my camera. For whatever reason, when I went to take a picture, the flash didn't go off. I couldn't understand why, and when I asked somebody about it they said it might be because I was trying to take a picture at a speed that was faster than the synch speed, and that if that was the case I would have to enable HSS (high speed synch).
I can actually think of a bunch of other reasons: batteries in the wrong way, dead or bad battery, flash mounted backwards on the camera hotshoe, dirt on the flash foot pins or camera hotshoe contacts preventing contact, flash turned off, camera set to disable flash, hotshoe micro-switch jammed so the camera thinks you're using the pop-up flash, etc. etc. Not doing HSS usually just means you get black/dark bars at the top and/or bottom of the frame, not that the flash doesn't fire. If you're shooting a mirrorless camera, then silent/electronic shutter's another common culprit.
My experience is the exact opposite of yours. I screwed that 580EX onto my little XT, and bam, I was off and running to the races. But I did a lot of reading up about using flash first.
So I went into the camera menu and looked for High Speed Synch, but didn't see anything like that. All my menus seem to have are "simple, basic" options such white balance, sleep timer, battery info, sensor cleaning, etc. I didn't see any menu pages that were about flash or flash settings. And God forbid, I'm certainly not going to dig deep into menus like the custom functions or anything like that - if a guy like me messes with that complex stuff, there's no telling what he will screw up!
Which camera and flash are we talking about? Pre-Digic 4 Canon bodies don't actually have a flash camera menu. And you can set HSS on the flash.
Anyway, the fact remains that I got a new flash, put it on the hotshoe, and it didn't go off. Which makes me fear that just to get it to fire I would have to find flash settings and make some kind of adjustments to them. Sheesh - I just want it to fire off when I press the shutter button!
Well, that is the way it's supposed to work if you use eTTL (automated power setting of the flash mode).
Things to check:
- That all your batteries in everything are good.
- That all the pins on the foot of the flash are making contacts with the pads on the hotshoe (i.e., is seated full forward into the shoe, isn't backwards, doesn't have dirt/tape/whatever stopping the contact on either the pins or the pads, etc.)
- That your flash isn't set to an optical or radio slave mode which tells it to stop listening to the pins on the foot and listen to the radio receiver or optical sensor instead.
I would say, first, with the flash in your hand, and off the camera, that you test the flash with the TEST button to see if it's the flash or the camera that's the problem. If the TEST button doesn't work, then check the batteries.
This shouldn't be rocket science.
It isn't. I can do it. I'm not a rocket scientist.
I am frustrated and confused.
Well, we're willing to help out with advice and to break it all down. Granted, this is free advice on an internet messageboard. But we're really pretty good at this. And you can also go find folks like Neil van Niekerk and David Hobby who are great at explaining how to use a flash. But you are going to have to put in some effort. We can't fix things by telepathy.
With continuous light I wouldn't have to worry about ANY of this crap. . And that, I believe, is the real beauty of continuous light - it keeps the photographer from having to figure anything new out.
OTOH, learning something new keeps your brain active (I'm getting older. This is important as my brain gets more and more teflon-coated and nothing sticks.) And you simply can't do things with continuous lights you can do with flash. Also, it's way fun to haul a battery-powered light out onto location. My BIL once said, "Hey, let's go to the beach for the sunset!" and I threw a speedlight one-light Strobist setup into a bag, and we were doing a lit shoot with my nephew at the beach 20 minutes later. Not seeing the continuous AC-powered CLF cheapie setup working for that. Batteries can be far more convenient than power cords.
Flash also gives you a ton more light and power to work with than continuous lights do, for a lot less money. And how much light you have to work with on your lighting gear is very similar to how much maximum aperture you have to work with on your lenses: the more you have, the more you can do, but the bigger and more expensive the gear gets. And the effects you can get with light often depend on lighting different areas of your scene (say, subject vs. background) at different levels. And the more levels you have, the more effects you can do, all the way from a black silhouetted subject against a background to a lit subject with a black background. Continuous typically won't let you get a whole lot brighter than the ambient light without a lot of heat or a lot of money. Flash lets you do it very easily. Even with an el-cheapo $65 no-name Chinese bit of gear.