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FORUMS General Gear Talk Flash and Studio Lighting 
Thread started 24 Jun 2012 (Sunday) 19:56
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Canon 580 Speedlite Output Seems Low When Used Wirelessly

 
uneek78
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Jun 24, 2012 19:56 |  #1

I have recently started using my Canon 580 speedlite on a stand with umbrellas. I use a canon speedlite transmitter ST-E2. For some reason the light output doesn't seem as bright using the transmitter as when I have the speedlite on the camera and adjust the output. I turn up the transmitter as high as possible and I see the difference in the output, but it appears limited. Any ideas what I'm doing wrong?

Was wondering if the umbrella is unnecessary and if I just need to turn the speedlites directly at the subject.


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PhotoMatte
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Jun 24, 2012 20:34 |  #2

A few questions:
Is your 580EXII set to High Speed Sync (HSS)? That can cause a lower flash output.
Have you done a test with both flashes (flash on-camera versus flash off-camera) the same distance from your subject? Try this, shooting everything in Manual mode (both your camera and your 580) both times and see if you experience any light dropoff. Also, you will indeed see a reduction in flash output when it's positioned behind an umbrella.
Finally, when you say you may need to 'just turn the speedlites directly at the subject' does this mean you were using bounce flash before or are you bouncing the remote flash on the stand? When shooting through an umbrella it's advisable to have it aimed at your subjects (how much of an angle is up to you, but you definitely don't want to be bouncing a remote flash through an umbrella; that will indeed give you very little light). Bouncing your flash, on-camera, is intended to give the same look as if you shot the image with a remote flash that was aimed at the subject and shot through some kind of diffuser (softbox, umbrella, etc). If you don't have the ability to shoot with off-camera flashes, bounce by all means. If you are shooting with off-camera flashes, aim them at your subject (preferably through an umbrella or softbox).


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uneek78
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Jun 25, 2012 07:19 |  #3

PhotoMatte wrote in post #14626698 (external link)
A few questions:
Is your 580EXII set to High Speed Sync (HSS)? That can cause a lower flash output.
Have you done a test with both flashes (flash on-camera versus flash off-camera) the same distance from your subject? Try this, shooting everything in Manual mode (both your camera and your 580) both times and see if you experience any light dropoff. Also, you will indeed see a reduction in flash output when it's positioned behind an umbrella.
Finally, when you say you may need to 'just turn the speedlites directly at the subject' does this mean you were using bounce flash before or are you bouncing the remote flash on the stand? When shooting through an umbrella it's advisable to have it aimed at your subjects (how much of an angle is up to you, but you definitely don't want to be bouncing a remote flash through an umbrella; that will indeed give you very little light). Bouncing your flash, on-camera, is intended to give the same look as if you shot the image with a remote flash that was aimed at the subject and shot through some kind of diffuser (softbox, umbrella, etc). If you don't have the ability to shoot with off-camera flashes, bounce by all means. If you are shooting with off-camera flashes, aim them at your subject (preferably through an umbrella or softbox).

I have always used my speedlites on camera, with the camera on manual, & and the flash on ETTL. I'm only familiar as far as the flash is concerned how to increase and decrease the light output. This was my first time using stand and umbrellas. I had the flash bouncing off the inside of the umbrella and bouncing back to hit the subject. This is a link to the umbrellas I'm using (http://www.amazon.com …eywords=westcot​t+umbrella (external link)). I'm gonna have to figure out how to adjust HSS when I get home today. After frustation I finally put the speedlite back on the camera and was able to get the results I needed. I had not idea what was hindering the flash, but I hope it's simple as a setting.

I wondered about the umbrella deal, but I thought that was suppose to enhance the light. I'm a newbie when it comes to using off camera flash, but on camera flash is up my alley.


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Madwrench
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Jun 25, 2012 10:03 as a reply to  @ uneek78's post |  #4

Don't give up! Off-camera gives you far more control over the light, but it definitely can be confusing.

I suggest you start out using manual control of the flash rather than E-TTL as you explore OCF, particularly for a non-dynamic situation, where the distance between flash/camera/subject do not greatly change. In manual, YOU make the decisions, and just as with using manual exposure settings on your camera, you will learn much more quickly that way. Canon's E-TTL system generally gives good results, but can be inconsistent, and won't help you learn much.

I also strongly recommend Neil van Niekerk's writing. You can find his blog HERE (external link). There are a lot of very helpful articles in his "Tangents" section, for both on- and off-camera flash application. He also has written books about on- and -ff camera flash (he achieves some amazing results with on-camera strobes).

Edits: Regarding the umbrella use: Nothing wrong with the brolly. You can use that umbrella to bounce or shoot-through. Install the black cover for bounce. Keep using it. Turning a bare speedlite at the subject will give you very hard (harsh) light. When you use an umbrella (or any other diffuser), the light gets softer (more dispersed) the closer the umbrella is to the subject.




  
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uneek78
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Jun 28, 2012 07:26 |  #5

PhotoMatte wrote in post #14626698 (external link)
A few questions:
Is your 580EXII set to High Speed Sync (HSS)? That can cause a lower flash output.
Have you done a test with both flashes (flash on-camera versus flash off-camera) the same distance from your subject? Try this, shooting everything in Manual mode (both your camera and your 580) both times and see if you experience any light dropoff. Also, you will indeed see a reduction in flash output when it's positioned behind an umbrella.
Finally, when you say you may need to 'just turn the speedlites directly at the subject' does this mean you were using bounce flash before or are you bouncing the remote flash on the stand? When shooting through an umbrella it's advisable to have it aimed at your subjects (how much of an angle is up to you, but you definitely don't want to be bouncing a remote flash through an umbrella; that will indeed give you very little light). Bouncing your flash, on-camera, is intended to give the same look as if you shot the image with a remote flash that was aimed at the subject and shot through some kind of diffuser (softbox, umbrella, etc). If you don't have the ability to shoot with off-camera flashes, bounce by all means. If you are shooting with off-camera flashes, aim them at your subject (preferably through an umbrella or softbox).

Do you know a specific way to turn on high speed sync? The settings on this little thing are tough to figure out. I guess I did at least figure out how to control them remotely, but this output change has really thrown me for a loop.


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msowsun
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Jun 28, 2012 17:12 |  #6

uneek78 wrote in post #14628162 (external link)
I wondered about the umbrella deal, but I thought that was suppose to enhance the light. I'm a newbie when it comes to using off camera flash, but on camera flash is up my alley.

Maybe you are expecting too much from your flash. Umbrellas don't enhance the light. They absorb the light, spread it around, and actually reduce the amount of light reaching your subject. What you end up with is LESS light, not more, if you fire a flash into an umbrella.


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DanThoman
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Jun 28, 2012 20:27 |  #7

There is a button marked hss on the 580, top row second from right (I think) which turns the hss on and off. The umbrella makes the light source much larger, and therefore softer. I found that I sometimes need to increase the amount of light from the flash when using an umbrella (even when I'm using ETTL). It's easily done using the FEC on the camera.


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adamsheehy
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Jun 28, 2012 20:55 |  #8

uneek78 wrote in post #14626526 (external link)
I have recently started using my Canon 580 speedlite on a stand with umbrellas. I use a canon speedlite transmitter ST-E2. For some reason the light output doesn't seem as bright using the transmitter as when I have the speedlite on the camera and adjust the output. I turn up the transmitter as high as possible and I see the difference in the output, but it appears limited. Any ideas what I'm doing wrong?

Was wondering if the umbrella is unnecessary and if I just need to turn the speedlites directly at the subject.

Are you aware that you're not able to control the output with the ST-E2 when flash is in manual mode? Ie, you could have the ST-E2 at 1:1 (those numbers on the ST-E2 do not equate to the power of the flash that it's triggering), but the flash might not be actually firing at full power? Just a thought.


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uneek78
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Jun 29, 2012 11:42 |  #9

In fact you are all correct. This is extremely embarassing and I'm sorry for wasting your time, but you have taught me some things in my quest to figure out off-camera lighting. First, I never knew about a lot of things you guys have told me especially HSS. I now what it is and have found it and can turn it on. Thank you all! Without much further ado I will tell you why I have wasted you alls brain cells:

I was pressing the button on the canon wireless trigger left assuming that was the correct way to increase the output instead of going right to increase the output.

_______________

My bad.... I feel silly enough right now, but I have a hard time letting you guys wrack your brains in here while I realized it was something stupid on my part.

I had my sister come over lastnight and stand in as a model and set-up my little mobile studio that I have not yet used and realized this immediately.


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Canon 580 Speedlite Output Seems Low When Used Wirelessly
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