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FORUMS General Gear Talk Flash and Studio Lighting 
Thread started 08 Jan 2010 (Friday) 09:40
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7D IR Wireless Flash - what went WRONG?!?!

 
Pearlallica
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Jan 08, 2010 09:40 |  #1

So it was my niece's birthday party, and my gift was to go over and take some portraits. I brought over my backdrop system as it's been rather convenient in the past.

As my luck always seems go on any assignment that I invest, heavily, my resources, disaster struck. Despite packing my equipment thoroughly, my kids got a hold of my elinchrom skyport wireless case since I left my bag open when I left to answer the phone. This fact dawned on me after I had set up my entire portable studio in their home. So there I was with everything setup, but no way to trigger my lights remotely. It's then that it hit me that the 7D had a built in wireless trigger. So I dove into my manuals as fast as I could and learned as best as I could how to enable this feature. With my niece waiting patiently, I scrambled through a few test shots, tweaking along the way, trying to get the best exposure this system gave me.

I know that the pop-up is supposed to generate a dim flash to initially trigger the speedlite. It seemed like now matter how I tweaked my settings, the pop-up was overpowering my speedlite.

Here was my setup which ultimately spoiled these pictures.

(1) 7D - manual mode, manual focus, custom white balance, 1/160 sec, f/4, ISO 400, wireless flash enabled with pop-up.
(2) 580EXii - manual output (full power) and set as slave.

The speedlite was firing but despite being full power it never seemed to produce full power in the resulting photo. It's as if it wasn't syncing with my shutter setting. This is evident by the picture I've provided below.

Picture 1: 139 pictures that I shot produced this underexposed image with a lot of red-eye.
Picture 2: corrected exposure in Lightroom by +1.5
Picture 3: two of the 141 pictures actually absorbed the full power from speedlite. The shutter speed was the same 1/160th that I used for all of them. Why it went off properly for these two random pictures and not the other 139 I just don't know...

IMAGE NOT FOUND
IMAGE IS A REDIRECT OR MISSING!
Byte size: ZERO | Content warning: NOT AN IMAGE


I really didn't expect to learn the infra-red wireless option under such strict timing the way I did last night. Not to mention, I wasn't very thrilled at the prospect of shooting with a single strobe. Now I've got a pile of photoshop work to correct these photos and I'm not too keen on having to un-mangle this whole mess. Just so that I can avoid this in the future, would someone be able to to shed some light on what may have happened?

(by the way, on the in-camera settings in the wireless flash option, I chose the top icon with the [pop-up + flash] opion.)

jonathan @ tlcphoto.com (external link) - pro wedding and portrait photog
5d2 5d3 50L 16-35 70-200 ElinchromRX600 580EX 600EX VIV285

  
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egordon99
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Jan 08, 2010 09:46 |  #2

Pearlallica wrote in post #9351277 (external link)
(by the way, on the in-camera settings in the wireless flash option, I chose the top icon with the [pop-up + flash] topion)

I think you wanted the other icon to specify that the triggering light (pop-up in the case of the 7D) NOT contribute to the exposure. If it was set like you said, you'd see the pop-up flash (harshness and redeye) in the photo. Since you had the 580EXII at Full Power, perhaps it wasn't recycling fast enough, so it hadn't recharged in time? So you'd only see the pop-up flash, and NOT the off-camera 580.




  
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Sikor7
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Jan 08, 2010 09:55 |  #3

Curious... why full power on the 580 and not ETTL metering? I have been experimenting quite a bit lately with 2 580's and a ST-E2 on a 40D - both strobes in ETTL, camera in manual @ 1/60 4.0 and every exposure is spot on no matter how I set the ratio on the trigger or change the aperature or shutter speed.


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Pearlallica
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Jan 08, 2010 10:29 |  #4

egordon99 wrote in post #9351314 (external link)
I think you wanted the other icon to specify that the triggering light (pop-up in the case of the 7D) NOT contribute to the exposure.

I attempted this option only one time which produced very little resulting flash output from the speedlite. I quickly went back to assisted flash from the pop-up since I was soooo desperate for light and was getting nervous at the idea that I might have to rely on ambient tungsten from the overhead lightbulbs :/

egordon99 wrote in post #9351314 (external link)
Since you had the 580EXII at Full Power, perhaps it wasn't recycling fast enough.

that was a theory of mine as well. I checked the times between the photos and in the case of the underexposed pictures, there were moments where the flash had as much as 4 minutes to recharge. In the case of the photo where the full-power is evident, there was 4 seconds of recycle time from the shot that was taken before.

Sikor7 wrote in post #9351360 (external link)
Curious... why full power on the 580 and not ETTL metering? I have been experimenting quite a bit lately with 2 580's and a ST-E2 on a 40D - both strobes in ETTL, camera in manual @ 1/60 4.0 and every exposure is spot on no matter how I set the ratio on the trigger or change the aperature or shutter speed.

You mentioned ETTL and a little bell went off in my head. Thinking about it now, I know that the in-camera setting for my flash is set for ETTL-2 metering. My on-flash setting was set for manual.... hmm.. but that wouldn't explain the shot that I have demonstrated above where the full power blew out the image almost completely.

BTW, I had the flash cranked to full power because I just wanted power. Like when you crank your stereo up the first time when you're trying to determine why you don't hear music playing even though you should.


jonathan @ tlcphoto.com (external link) - pro wedding and portrait photog
5d2 5d3 50L 16-35 70-200 ElinchromRX600 580EX 600EX VIV285

  
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egordon99
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Jan 08, 2010 10:32 as a reply to  @ Pearlallica's post |  #5

Sounds like you might have a problem with your 580EXII. Can you stick it ON camera and try firing off 1/1 shots?




  
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egordon99
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Jan 08, 2010 10:34 as a reply to  @ Pearlallica's post |  #6

https://photography-on-the.net/forum/showthre​ad.php?t=761807

I'm FINALLY sending it off to Canon to get fixed. My 430EXII exhibits none of the symptons I'm experiencing with my 580EXII (glad I have a backup!)

How does your 580EXII work on-camera in E-TTL?




  
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Pearlallica
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Jan 08, 2010 10:55 |  #7

egordon99 wrote in post #9351564 (external link)
https://photography-on-the.net/forum/showthre​ad.php?t=761807

I'm FINALLY sending it off to Canon to get fixed. My 430EXII exhibits none of the symptons I'm experiencing with my 580EXII (glad I have a backup!)

How does your 580EXII work on-camera in E-TTL?

Hmm, don't think it's the flash itself. I used it all the time in ETTL mode without any issues. I just went through my catalogue at the past 13 photos that I shot the day before, and the exif all show "Flash - did fire".

Sorry to hear about your 580 - at one point in time I thought I was having 580 problems, but it was user error. (a week after the warranty expired) I was quoted at some insane prices. It sounds like yours is covered.

I'll be getting another 580 very shortly now that I have two cameras. Once, or if, I master this infra-red system is seems very convenient not to have to fidget with 3rd party wireless systems :P


jonathan @ tlcphoto.com (external link) - pro wedding and portrait photog
5d2 5d3 50L 16-35 70-200 ElinchromRX600 580EX 600EX VIV285

  
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apersson850
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Jan 08, 2010 11:28 as a reply to  @ Pearlallica's post |  #8

Did you try to force the slave into manual mode by itself, or were you setting it up in manual mode by sending that command through the light-pulses (they aren't infra-red) from the master flash?

I've yet to find a 7D that can properly expose slave flashes when they are bounced, and you use FEL on the camera, but that's E-TTL II mode, not manual flash mode.
Assuming you haven't set your flash too far away, and that really over-exposed image says something else, this should work. But the 7D's wireless flash system is Canon's most complicated so far...


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Pearlallica
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Jan 08, 2010 11:47 |  #9

apersson850,

Complicated, yes. Trying to wing it the way I did clearly was beyond my skill level.

In-camera, the flash was set to ETTL2. (not by intention, I was just rushed)
In-flash, I was set at manual power. Since it was slave, I'm assuming the ETTL2 simply over-rode the flash's manual since the flash was merely a slave?

In those 2 instances where the full-power shots occurred, perhaps the data about the ETTL did not communicate itself properly to the flash, allowing the flash to default to its manual full power setting...

seems like the most plausible theory...


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5d2 5d3 50L 16-35 70-200 ElinchromRX600 580EX 600EX VIV285

  
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CxThree
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Jan 08, 2010 12:05 |  #10

It sounds like you had its setup improperly, which is easy to do with the manual. It does not over it very well. I believe you chose the wrong wireless flash option in the menu. If you did not intend to have the popup flash fire, there is a mode for that . The mode you chose makes the popup work with the off camera flashes. However, it does allow you to use flash compensation for both the on camera and off camera flashes. Did you try dialing back the on camera flash?

Check out the flash video here.(The others are great too).
http://www.usa.canon.c​om …ctID=329&articl​eTypeID=48 (external link)


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CxThree
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Jan 08, 2010 12:06 |  #11

Oh another thing..

WHen using the wireless capabilities of the 7d, leave your speedlights in TTL mode. If you change the camera setup to manual mode, you still leave the flashes in ttl mode and adjust their settings from the camera's menu.


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Pearlallica
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Jan 08, 2010 12:53 |  #12

CxThree wrote in post #9352169 (external link)
Did you try dialing back the on camera flash?

Check out the flash video here.

No, I didn't - I was working so fast that under such limited time that I was only doing fast LCD preview verification. I assumed that the Speedlite was providing my main light source which of course was very dim (accounting for my full power setting) You're right, it turns out I used ratio flash which was another wrong erroneous setting.

I've promise to re-shoot the portraits, this time with my Skyports.

When I buy my second 580EXii (a few weeks from now) I will be learning this built-in feature inside and out before I head out on assignment again.

Thanks for the resources. I'll be watching many more of those vids. :)


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Pearlallica
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Jan 08, 2010 12:55 |  #13

CxThree wrote in post #9352174 (external link)
Oh another thing..

WHen using the wireless capabilities of the 7d, leave your speedlights in TTL mode. If you change the camera setup to manual mode, you still leave the flashes in ttl mode and adjust their settings from the camera's menu.

That's a great point! Never considered that! I'm so used using manual flash with my wireless elinchrom system. That would be incredibly convenient!


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apersson850
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Jan 08, 2010 13:18 as a reply to  @ Pearlallica's post |  #14

It doesn't matter which mode you leave the 580 EX II in, before entering slave mode. Doing that will set the flash to E-TTL anyway. It also returns to E-TTL upon leaving slave mode.

But once the flash is in slave mode, it will use whatever flash mode is imposed by the master. Effectively, you control all the slave's modes from the master, in this case (7D) the camera. If you set the camera to manual mode, so will the slaves. You can now set the three different slave groups to different manual power settings, and all these settings will be transferred over to the slaves from the master. No walking needed.

The exception from this is that you can force a slave 580 EX II into manual mode, regardless of which mode the master is running in. You do so by (in slave mode) keeping the mode button pressed for two seconds. You'll see the flash convert to manual mode, with the M flashing. You can now set each such slave at any power level you like, without being limited by the three slave groups A, B and C. You can have 20 flashes, each with its own power level, if you like. But you have to walk around to all of them to set them up.
You can also mix your setup with some flashes responding to mode commands from the master and some being in the local manual mode. Then you can control some from the master but have to walk to those that are in local manual mode.

Using the main flash together with one slave works, but usually you'll have to allow the slave to increase its proportion of the illumination. You can set anything from 8:1 to 1:1. If you didn't change anything, you were using 1:1, which probably held the slave back. Since it doesn't seem that you set the slave to the forced manual mode, but "normal" manual mode, your manual setting was overridden by the camera's master. The horribly overexposed image could be a result of using FEL, maybe without thinking about it. I'm yet to see a 7D, which can properly handle bounced slaves when using FEL.


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Pearlallica
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Jan 08, 2010 13:36 |  #15

apersson,

extremely insightful. Thanks so much for sharing your knowledge on the subject. It's clear now where things went so seemingly awry. But... I'm not 100% sure why there were 2 instances in which the E-TTL II dropped and my flash managed to fire at full power. Ah well, I suppose with what you've helped me learn it's not important I know all of life's mysteries. :)


jonathan @ tlcphoto.com (external link) - pro wedding and portrait photog
5d2 5d3 50L 16-35 70-200 ElinchromRX600 580EX 600EX VIV285

  
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7D IR Wireless Flash - what went WRONG?!?!
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