budbon wrote in post #5346904
Martinsmith, I am in much the same postioin as PAFC2004. Is there a way to run a sync cord to both my 550EX and my 380EX? You mentioned an optical slave. Which of my strobes would be master and wich slave. Arn't the optical slaves rather expensive? I would not (at this time) have a problem with cords running to both but would like the auto metering. I'm a newbie to this flash/strobe stuff.
I will share with you what I have learned over the last few days from this site and strobist.com on this issue. I am by no means an expert and others may correct/clarify what I say, but here goes...
550EX will only work in auto ETTL mode off camera with specific ETTL compatible hot-shoe cords - problem is they are short and expensive. There are people I have seen on the web who will make modifications to your ETTL cord to make it longer - or instructions to do it yourself if you are adventurous.
You could take the 550EX off-camera with a pc sync cord, however, the flash will only work in manual mode - and the 550 does not have a pc sync port. You have to use an adapter on the foot of the flash to add a pc sync port. Problem is, most of these devices, including most wireless optical triggers, do not work properly with the 550 - they fire the first shot but then the flash has to be turned off and back on to fire it again. You must use an adapter designed specifically to work with the 550 to use an optical trigger or pc sync cord.
380EX will not work as a slave to the 550EX. As a result, I think you could probably use it off camera in ETTL mode with an ETTL cord similar to the 550 - but they can't work together as a two-unit ETTL set-up. Also, since the 380EX has no manual capability - it will only fire at full power if you get the right adapter and use it with a pc sync cord.
flashzebra.com is often referenced on this site and sells the necesary adapters and sync cords to work with the 550. This is the route I am going to get my 550 off camera to create a flexible 3-unit light system, along with 2 Vivitar 283's on optical slaves. I would just use all 383's - but I do appreciate the 550's ETTL when I need it on camera.
Bottom line, Canon makes this all a big PITA, but there are options available.