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FORUMS General Gear Talk Flash and Studio Lighting 
Thread started 24 Jun 2011 (Friday) 09:18
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Built-in Wireless Flash: Limitations, short comings and work arounds

 
Dustin ­ Mustangs
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Jun 24, 2011 09:18 |  #1

I am about to pull the trigger on some off camera flash gear. The pocket wizard offerings seem to get the highest regard but for that price I can sell my xsi and upgrade to a 60d with built-in ettl ii wireless flash (among other major upgrades). Searching the board however turns up a lot of hate for this system.

Is it really that bad? Are the claimed ranges (23' outside, 33' inside, 80 degree spread) not accurate? Will it work with modifiers (like a shoot through umbrella)? Seems like they could block the line of sight. What other shortcomings am I overlooking? Any work arounds to make it more flexible? Like maybe being able to bounce the signal to get more than an 80 degree spread or to speedlites behind the camera or subject?

Lets try to limit input on this to real world experiences and not just hearsay.

Thanks in advance for any help...


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60D | 15-85 3.5-5.6 IS | 70-200 4L | 50 1.8 | 100 2.8 macro | 1.4x II | 580EX | 430EX II


  
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apersson850
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Jun 24, 2011 10:37 |  #2

There is of course a difference between if you use the built-in wireless or use an external 580 EX II on the camera as a master. The latter is more powerful, can be turned to point in a more appropriate angle if needed and doesn't take a rest to cool down just after a few shots.


Anders

  
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KaBlookie
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Jun 24, 2011 11:05 |  #3

This is a good point and makes me want to test out the limitations on the system. I haven't really taken this setup to any extremes as I haven't used it much. Using a 580 is of course more powerful but costs a LOT of money (for some people), while using a built-in feature of the camera is free.


7D - XTi - Tamron 17-50mm f/2.8 - Canon 50mm f/1.8II - SMC Takumar 50mm f/1.4 - Canon 70-200mm f/2.8L - Lensbaby 2.0 - Canon 430EX-II - CBS flash trigger

  
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Seamus69
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Jun 24, 2011 20:57 as a reply to  @ KaBlookie's post |  #4

I'm using the wireless function on a 60d w/ a 580 and 430 both as slaves using shoot thru umbrellas and it works 95% of the time. It works well enough I'm not ready to drop $75-$100 on triggers. You can set power ratios and FEC from the camera. I tried the 580 as the master on the camera, but prefer the advantages of two off camera flashes. You can look here for an example of how it turned out with a friend's dog:

http://www.flickr.com …4/sets/72157626​945319992/ (external link)


Canon 60D, 5Diii, 24-105, 24-70ii, 70-200 f2.8 ii is, 580ex, (2)430ex

  
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Dustin ­ Mustangs
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Jun 30, 2011 10:09 |  #5

Any more feedback on this? I am ready to pull the trigger but am having cold feet about this on board system.


60D | 15-85 3.5-5.6 IS | 70-200 4L | 50 1.8 | 100 2.8 macro | 1.4x II | 580EX | 430EX II


  
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Snydremark
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Jun 30, 2011 10:17 |  #6

You can use index cards or other objects to bounce the light pulse to reach the sensors on your slaves, too; it doesn't need much. I've found it working well enough in the house, but using the onboard wireless to trigger my 580 EXII in a brightly lit room (direct sunlight through a window) cut my working distance to the slave to about 10ft.

Most of my use, though, has been hand-held OCF flash for macro shots.


- Eric S.: My Birds/Wildlife (external link) (7D MkII/5D IV, Canon 10-22 f/3.5-4.5, Canon 24-105L f/4 IS, Canon 70-200L f/2.8 IS MkII, Canon 100-400L f/4.5-5.6 IS I/II)
"The easiest way to improve your photos is to adjust the loose nut between the shutter release and the ground."

  
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HughR
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Jun 30, 2011 11:47 |  #7

I've been using my 60D to wirelessly control my 430EX since last October. In my experience, it works perfectly under the conditions specified by Canon. Indoors, you can usually trigger the flash around corners due to reflections from the walls, etc. Outdoors, it does require line of sight, but I tested mine on a sunny day in the snow last February, and it worked every time at a distance of 25 feet. Also, I almost always use mine with a softbox (Cheetah Qbox 16 or Lumiquest softbox III), and simply twisting the flash head relative to the body almost always makes it possible to assure line of sight. In fact, I like the system so much that I have recently purchased a 430EX II so that I can use wireless two light set-ups with A:B ratios. I often add in a little fill from the pop-up, and it works perfectly.

In short, I am delighted with the 60D wireless flash system and see no reason to ever go to radio triggers for my own personal needs. I don't shoot off-camera flash at very long distances or with the flash on the opposite side of a solid wall.

The 60D is a vastly improved camera over the xsi. Go with it, and I think you'll love the wireless flash. You can see a Canon video of wireless 60D flash at:

http://learn.usa.canon​.com …s/eos_60d_tutor​ials.shtml (external link)

The flash video is next to last, so you'll have to scroll through the earlier videos.


Hugh
Canon 60D, Original Digital Rebel (2003)
EFS 15-85mm IS USM, EF 70-300mm IS USM, Tokina 11-16mm
Speedlite 430EX, Speedlite 430EX II,
Qbox 16 pro, Lastolite EZbox 24x24, Lumiquest Softbox III

  
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Eileen
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Jun 30, 2011 12:07 |  #8

I've shot indoors using the wireless system and it's been working great. Had a 420EX with a shoot through umbrella approximately 20' away and it fired consistently. I'm on the lookout for another flash because I like the system so much too.

I also own a cheap wireless sender/receiver (forget the exact brand but I got it off of eBay). I haven't used it since I got my 60D.


Graphic Designer / Photographer
Canon 60D, Canon 450D - Lenses covering 10mm to 300mm, 580 EX II and 420 EX flashes, Lightroom, Photoshop, Illustrator, Dreamweaver

  
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nathancarter
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Jun 30, 2011 14:34 |  #9

[Just posted this in another thread]

I have the 60D and the 430EXII.

Indoors, I've never had issues with it. I haven't tried reflecting the signal pulse around corners, but I HAVE used it for relatively rapid-fire shooting - at a recent company event, I did 41 portraits in 7 minutes, with the 430EXII firing each time. At about shot #35, I had to pause for about thirty seconds to cool down (camera was flashing BUSY).

I've had hit-or-miss experience with the wireless feature outdoors. It seems that bright sunlight or reflected lights can interfere with the IR transmission/reception from the pop-up flash to the Speedlite's receiver.

From my experience, it does require reasonably consistent direct line-of-sight from the pop-up flash to the IR receiver, so you have to be mindful of your flash placement. For instance, if the flash is behind the photographer, the wireless won't be reliable. Or, if you have the flash on a modifier, it may block the IR transmission (my homemade beauty dish is bad about this, I need to redesign the bracket so the receiver faces backwards instead of forwards at the dish).

It's a good feature, but you just have to be mindful of its limitations. It's not foolproof, by any means.

I've picked up a YN-560 and a set of three Cactus V5s to complement the 430EXII, for when I need multiple flashes and don't nee ETTL. It's pretty rare that I use ETTL, actually.


http://www.avidchick.c​om (external link) for business stuff
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Dustin ­ Mustangs
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Jul 01, 2011 11:06 |  #10

I am going to go for it then. If nothing else, it seems like a good stepping block to get into ocf but I have a feeling it will be all I need. Thanks for the input on this.

PS - I will have a gripped xsi body for sale pretty soon if anyone is looking.


60D | 15-85 3.5-5.6 IS | 70-200 4L | 50 1.8 | 100 2.8 macro | 1.4x II | 580EX | 430EX II


  
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Built-in Wireless Flash: Limitations, short comings and work arounds
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