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FORUMS General Gear Talk Flash and Studio Lighting 
Thread started 18 Jul 2009 (Saturday) 09:56
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Just got 430EX II, questions..

 
Guts311
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Jul 18, 2009 09:56 |  #1

I've been reading up on E-TTL and E-TTL II, with only little understanding. After reading about it here a little http://en.wikipedia.or​g …EOS_flash_syste​m#E-TTL_II (external link) and here http://www.usa.canon.c​om …ArticleAct&arti​cleID=2930 (external link) and on other sites....

I am trying to recognize this E-TTL "preflash" but I cannot.
I know about the obvious FEL preflash if that's used, but when I just shoot normally with the EX flash on Automatic and E-TTL (it's E-TTL II I assume), I don't see the preflash that supposedly "occurs immediately before the main flash"...all I see is the single, main illuminating flash. Am I missing something? When the flash is on manual, does this E-TTL metering or whatever not happen because you are controlling the settings yourself??

Also, I've read the flash basics in the booklet, looked up a few tips online, but still don't get it. With SLR cameras themselves, it was easier to eventually pick up on the more advanced workings and functions of exposure/settings/etc. But so far, with this flash, I do not understand one bit what I am doing with it other than a few bouncing techniques and always using the Speedlite in Auto mode.
When I attempt to look at the other settings/manual settings of the flash, I feel like it is the most confusing thing ever that is difficult to properly use in combination with the camera settings to get the right flash exposure.

AKA For some reason I just am not grasping all the settings and workings of the cam in conjunction with the flash and vice versa. I just do not understand how to use the camera's manual aperture/shutter speed/ISO settings in conjunction with the flash. It's odd to me because it seems like I choose almost any combo of those settings, and the pic comes out similar every time (flash being on auto).

Basically, when using the flash, what do you do with all these camera and flash settings?!?! (Keep in mind I am fine when I typically shoot an SLR with manual cam mode with no flash..I just keep my eye on the light meter and keep the settings proper to keep it as a good exposure. But I don't really grasp what to do with the flash on.
Also, do most ppl keep the flash on Auto, or is it necessary to learn the manual flash settings? When should I use the FEL preflash? Lots of questions!

HELP! :oops:

EDIT: I will read these links too, but I assume I'll read a lot of the same things I've already been reading.. https://photography-on-the.net/forum/showthre​ad.php?t=138907




  
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colormaniac
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Jul 18, 2009 10:45 |  #2

Guts311 wrote in post #8301387 (external link)
I am trying to recognize this E-TTL "preflash" but I cannot.
I know about the obvious FEL preflash if that's used, but when I just shoot normally with the EX flash on Automatic and E-TTL (it's E-TTL II I assume), I don't see the preflash that supposedly "occurs immediately before the main flash"...all I see is the single, main illuminating flash. Am I missing something? When the flash is on manual, does this E-TTL metering or whatever not happen because you are controlling the settings yourself??

I have this question before. https://photography-on-the.net/forum/showthre​ad.php?t=714124
Let me see if I can answer correctly. The preflash occurs so quickly that actually your naked eyes cannot notice. So, don't worry. It's there, but you just don't see it.

Guts311 wrote in post #8301387 (external link)
When I attempt to look at the other settings/manual settings of the flash, I feel like it is the most confusing thing ever that is difficult to properly use in combination with the camera settings to get the right flash exposure.

AKA For some reason I just am not grasping all the settings and workings of the cam in conjunction with the flash and vice versa. I just do not understand how to use the camera's manual aperture/shutter speed/ISO settings in conjunction with the flash. It's odd to me because it seems like I choose almost any combo of those settings, and the pic comes out similar every time (flash being on auto).

Basically, when using the flash, what do you do with all these camera and flash settings?!?! (Keep in mind I am fine when I typically shoot an SLR with manual cam mode with no flash..I just keep my eye on the light meter and keep the settings proper to keep it as a good exposure. But I don't really grasp what to do with the flash on.

If your flash is set to ETTL, all you need to do is to set the "Zoom xx mm" on the flash and choose any aperture and shutter speed you need. The camera will do the math automatically to adjust the power of the flash according to the exposure you set in the body. That's why no matter how to change it, you got similar result.

To avoid making similar result, the best way is to adjust your exposure compensation. Or you can use the flash in manual mode, which does not have the automatic calculation of power of the flash. Then you have to do it by trial and error. It's certainly not easy to go by trial and error. But usually only when you try that you can appreciate the advantage of ETTL.

Oh, if you want a shutter speed that is very high, say 800, you need to set your flash to HSS.



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Guts311
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Jul 18, 2009 10:47 |  #3

colormaniac wrote in post #8301532 (external link)
I have this question before. https://photography-on-the.net/forum/showthre​ad.php?t=714124
Let me see if I can answer correctly. The preflash occurs so quickly that actually your naked eyes cannot notice. So, don't worry. It's there, but you just don't see it.

If your flash is set to ETTL, all you need to do is to set the "Zoom xx mm" on the flash and choose any aperture and shutter speed you like. The camera will do the math automatically to adjust the power of the flash. If you want a shutter speed that is very high, say 500, you need to set your flash to HSS.

Using the flash in manual mode loses this automatic calculation of power of the flash. You have to do it by trial and error.

Hm so when you say set the Zoom xx mm, doesn't it do that automatically too when you leave it at Zoom -- mm? I noticed it matches my lense's zoom mms when it is in the straight forward position, but when it is in the tilted/swiveled positions, it just stays on --.
Can you explain the zoom mm thing more?

Also, I still don't understand the 430EX II's wide panel? Why it blinks when you swivel the head with it out? Why you can't leave it sticking straight out and use it as a bounce card?




  
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colormaniac
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Jul 18, 2009 10:51 |  #4

Guts311 wrote in post #8301540 (external link)
Hm so when you say set the Zoom xx mm, doesn't it do that automatically too when you leave it at Zoom -- mm? Can you explain the zoom mm thing more?

As far as my novice knowledge goes, that Zoom -- mm is to be set to match the focal length of your lens. If you are using 50mm f1.4, then it should be Zoom 50mm. That's all I know. It's time for experts to say something. :oops:

(Sorry I just edited my previous post, though it doesn't change much.)



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Guts311
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Jul 18, 2009 10:55 |  #5

Guts311 wrote in post #8301540 (external link)
Also, I still don't understand the 430EX II's wide panel? Why it blinks when you swivel the head with it out? Why you can't leave it sticking straight out and use it as a bounce card?

^That

Also, you say to set the SS/Aperture/ISO how you need to and let the E-TTL do the rest, but in low light, if I tried to set those settings to get the exposure meter in the middle (manual mode), it makes the shutter speed to slow when I know it's unnecessary due to the flash. So in that case (and really in any case), how do you know what to REALLY put those settings at??? Do you just really keep the SS at 1/60 or faster (up to the max 1/250) and just really worry about the ISO (how much ambient light will show) and aperture (as usual for DOF)?
On another note, when bouncing, should I use my homemade catchlight index card stuffed into the top slot or my Sto-Fen white omni-bounce??

SO CONFUSED!!!!!




  
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yanr
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Jul 18, 2009 10:58 |  #6

Guts311 wrote:
="Guts311"]Also, I still don't understand the 430EX II's wide panel? Why it blinks when you swivel the head with it out? Why you can't leave it sticking straight out and use it as a bounce card?

Answer to that is in the manual:

If you use bounce flash with the wide panel in place, the entire display on the LCD panel will blink as a warning. Since the subject will be illuminated by both the bounce flash and direct flash, it will look unnatural.


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Guts311
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Jul 18, 2009 11:05 |  #7

Thanks for the replies guys,
but really my biggest issue is with the exposure settings when using a flash.
Like how do I know what to set the SS/Aperture/ISO to when using the flash? Obviously I don't need to set them do that the camera's light meter is in the center, because the flash is going to light it up too...why doesn't the camera's meter compensate for that and show you what you really need to set them to w/ the flash on via the light meter? How do I know what to set these all to??

P.S. What in God's name is the modeling flash C.Fn for??
And back to the zoom, how do you use it when the head it tilted or swiveled to bounce? In those cases, the zoom mm don't even apply anymore.

Omg this is nuts how many things I don't get.




  
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colormaniac
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Jul 18, 2009 11:17 |  #8

Guts311 wrote in post #8301559 (external link)
^That

Also, you say to set the SS/Aperture/ISO how you need to and let the E-TTL do the rest, but in low light, if I tried to set those settings to get the exposure meter in the middle (manual mode), it makes the shutter speed to slow when I know it's unnecessary due to the flash. So in that case (and really in any case), how do you know what to REALLY put those settings at??? Do you just really keep the SS at 1/60 or faster (up to the max 1/250) and just really worry about the ISO (how much ambient light will show) and aperture (as usual for DOF)?
On another note, when bouncing, should I use my homemade catchlight index card stuffed into the top slot or my Sto-Fen white omni-bounce??

SO CONFUSED!!!!!

Let me put it this way: I have 50D and 430EX II, same things that you have (but I use Sigma 50mm). I just tried to take some pictures with different shutter speeds in the dark bathroom, manual mode. No matter what shutter speed I set, the exposure meter is still on the far left. It doesn't matter. What matters is that the exposures of the resulting pictures are the same. That's why I said the camera will calculate the power of the flash for you.

This makes your sentence "in low light, if I tried to set those settings to get the exposure meter in the middle (manual mode), it makes the shutter speed to slow when I know it's unnecessary due to the flash" kind of weird. Because no matter what shutter speed I set, the indicator in the exposure meter is still on the far left. And I am a bit lost in what you said afterwards.

I don't know what to REALLY put those setting at because I don't need to know. If I would like to shoot an object with shallow DOF, I just set the aperture to its largest. I may also want to set the shutter speed to a number high enough that would not let me handshake affect the picture quality. Then I'll let ETTL do the rest by finding out the right power from the flash. And the exposure will be just right. You can make the picture darker or brighter by adjusting exposure compensation. (Or you can do so by using manual mode with a lot of trial and error.)

On bouncing, what different modifier does is to change the harshness and direction of the light. It doesn't affect the exposure if you are using ETTL.

(I hadn't seen the previous post when writing this one.)



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Curtis ­ N
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Jul 18, 2009 11:22 |  #9

Guts311 wrote in post #8301387 (external link)
it seems like I choose almost any combo of those settings, and the pic comes out similar every time (flash being on auto).

Well that means the flash is doing what it's supposed to do - Automatically account for the camera's aperture and ISO to provide enough light for proper subject illumination.

Welcome to the wonderful world of flash photography. There are some concepts that will help. Flash Photography 101 (link in my sig) should help with these concepts.

Meanwhile, keep in mind these things:
1) Use aperture to manage your depth of field, shutter speed to manage motion blur from ambient light, and ISO help you get the other two factors into a reasonable range with proper exposure.
2) With lower ISO and smaller apertures (higher f/ number) it takes more light to get proper exposure. So your flash has to work harder, has less range, will recycle slower and eat batteries faster.
3) Keep your shutter speed at your camera's X-sync speed or slower (1/200 or 1/250). High speed sync is another option, but that's a lesson for another day.

Every flash photograph is two exposures in one. With your camera in manual mode, adjust to get the ambient exposure you want. Then with your flash in E-TTL mode, adjust your FEC to manage the flash exposure.

Keep at it. The learning curve can be tough at first, but it's worth the effort.


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yanr
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Jul 18, 2009 11:24 |  #10

Take a look at this site if you haven't already, it was really helpful for me when I first started. http://www.planetneil.​com/tangents/ (external link)

The camera's meter shows the ambient exposure, so just set your settings for the effect that you want, i.e. proper depth of field, or for the amount of ambient light you want, and let the flash take care of the rest.

The modelling flash just fires off your flash when you hit the button that you have set in the C.Fn.


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Jul 18, 2009 11:27 |  #11

yanr wrote in post #8301676 (external link)
The camera's meter shows the ambient exposure, so just set your settings for the effect that you want, i.e. proper depth of field, or for the amount of ambient light you want, and let the flash take care of the rest.

I see. I missed this part. Well, maybe it's time for me to shut up and learn. :)



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Guts311
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Jul 18, 2009 11:43 |  #12

yanr wrote in post #8301676 (external link)
The modelling flash just fires off your flash when you hit the button that you have set in the C.Fn.

Well I know the modeling flash is a sort of test flash that's a little longer than the actual test flash, but what's the point of the modeling flash?

Curtis N wrote in post #8301667 (external link)
Meanwhile, keep in mind these things:
1) Use aperture to manage your depth of field, shutter speed to manage motion blur from ambient light, and ISO help you get the other two factors into a reasonable range with proper exposure.

Now this confuses me again because you refer to those settings as if I am just shooting manual with NO flash. It goes against what the post(s) above you say because they had said that worrying about making the camera's meter show a proper exposure is UNnecessary when using flash. But you say that you should worry about using ISO for instance to help get the other settings into range for a proper exposure.
How can you do this when the cam's meter isn't regarding the flash but just the ambient light?

Curtis N wrote in post #8301667 (external link)
3) Keep your shutter speed at your camera's X-sync speed or slower (1/200 or 1/250). High speed sync is another option, but that's a lesson for another day.

I get that people usually keep the shutter speed between 1/50 and 1/250 (max) but I do see a small difference in the two just mentioned, which is why it does seem to matter a little of what SS you choose inside that range.
I also still do not understand "X-sync speed"..

colormaniac wrote in post #8301643 (external link)
This makes your sentence "in low light, if I tried to set those settings to get the exposure meter in the middle (manual mode), it makes the shutter speed to slow when I know it's unnecessary due to the flash" kind of weird. Because no matter what shutter speed I set, the indicator in the exposure meter is still on the far left. And I am a bit lost in what you said afterwards.

That's not true...when I am aiming at a darker subject and the light meter is way to the left (flash on and ready), the meter will still go in the middle as I raise the ISO/slow down the shutter speed..just like any normal manual shooting. Why would the meter act any differently just because a flash is attached?




  
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40Dude6aedyk
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Jul 18, 2009 11:44 as a reply to  @ colormaniac's post |  #13

Wow Guts311, you are really trying to make this more complicated than it is.

First, realize that the camera is not smart and the flash is not smart.
The camera can only do 3 things really: Set the f/stop, set the shutter speed, and set the ISO. That is pretty much it. It doesn't matter whether you are in auto mode or manual mode: You only have those 3 things to change the exposure. Period. You can affect composition by zoom and where you point the lens, but all the camera can do is f/stop, SS, and ISO.

Second, you have to realize that the camera sensor is detecting light. You've got ambient light and perhaps light from a flash. That's it. Period. Let's assume the ambient light is not changing much, so you have only control over the flash. Or you give the camera control over the flash. The flash is not smart: All it can is flash 2 different ways: normal flash and HSS flash. The amount of light produced with normal flash is controlled by the duration of the flash. The flash cannot output more photons (light) than full flash (100% flash, 1/1 output). It can output less photons with 1/2, 1/4, 1/128 ... by truncating the flash duration. Even in ETTL mode, the camera tells the flash when to truncate its flash duration. You can modify the light coming from the speedlite by changing the lens position in the speedlite (the zoom) or putting something between the speedlite and the subject (the diffuser, tissue paper, tupperware, etc). That's it.

All the other settings are just fluff. If you are in auto-mode, the camera body makes the decisions (not the flash!). If you are in semi-auto mode (say manual on camera body, ETTL on flash), the camera body still tells the flash what to do. If you are in full manual mode (manual on camera body, manual on flash), then you have made all the decisions.

I'm not sure what would have if you had flash on manual mode and camera on auto-mode.

Anyways, cameras are simple. So are speedlites.


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Guts311
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Jul 18, 2009 11:50 |  #14

I get the concepts of most of your post, but it's still a little confusing and not as simple as you make it sound. I mean look at all the posts/sites/questions from others on this stuff.
Like one thing is the zoom, I still haven't gotten that answered. When the flash is facing forward, the zoom on the flash LCD seems to calculate automatically, but when you tilt or swivel the head, it is manual..where it stays at Zoom --mm until you press the button and choose a mm number. Should I be leaving it at -- when I tilt/swivel or be setting it manually every time to the closest mm to my lens' current zoom distance?

And again, what is the modeling flash for??

And also, my post above (https://photography-on-the.net …hp?p=8301766&po​stcount=12) shows a contradiction between what Curtis said relating to exposure settings and what others said above. Can someone please read that one and try to answer my questions in it?




  
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40Dude6aedyk
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Jul 18, 2009 11:59 |  #15

One can consider the Zoom on the flash head somewhat unrelated to the zoom of the lens.
Do this experiment: Stand 5 m from an interior wall. Set your flash to manual mode, say 1/32 output. Set your flash zoom to 5 different settings while taking photos. What is the effect? The zoom on the flash head is a simple lens that will focus the light in a narrow wedge or a wide wedge. You might call the wedge: field of view. If you point the flash head up to bounce off the ceiling or to the side to bounce off a wall, you may wish to change the zoom on the flash head to do the narrow wedge or wide wedge depending on where you expect the bounced light to go. Experiment! It is not hard and costs you nothing since you have a digital camera and can look instantly at your results.

Modelling flash is to output a strong constant light from the speedlite so that you can see where the shadows will go. Maybe it will help you focus in dim light. Try it. It is NOT used when the camera body actually takes a picture.


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