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FORUMS General Gear Talk Flash and Studio Lighting 
Thread started 09 Jun 2010 (Wednesday) 23:42
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Retain ETTL when using PC terminal?

 
Grimes
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Jun 09, 2010 23:42 |  #1

Hey all...I'm about to step into the big world of off camera flash. Right now I only have a 430exII, which I want to keep on my 5D. If I hook the PC terminal of the 5D to an Elinchrom Skyport EL universal to trigger remote flashes, will the ETTL still work on the 430exII?

The 5D manual says you can use both the camera hot shoe and the PC terminal, but does not mention if ETTL is retained. (Obviously the off camera flashes will not have ETTL functionality.)


Alex
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Cpt.Vanquisher
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Jun 10, 2010 03:21 |  #2

Why do you want to keep your 430EX on your camera? The nice part of OCF is that you can put the flashes anywhere you want. :)
In theory, the combination should be possible. But I think you will get problems with your lighting. ETTL measures without the other flashes, but when you make the shot the skyport will trigger the other ones, resulting in an overexposed flash from the 430EX. Skyports don't support ETTL. They only trigger the flash, which will have to be set manually. The only way to keep TTL is using special triggers like Radiopoppers of Pocket Wizards, but they're quite expensive. If you want to use TTL somewhere in the system, I think that these triggers will give the best results.

I've been using skyports for about 6 months now, and never missed the lack of ETTL. Even my offshoe cord gets no use anymore.


Bert
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SkipD
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Jun 10, 2010 08:06 |  #3

Grimes wrote in post #10335504 (external link)
Hey all...I'm about to step into the big world of off camera flash. Right now I only have a 430exII, which I want to keep on my 5D. If I hook the PC terminal of the 5D to an Elinchrom Skyport EL universal to trigger remote flashes, will the ETTL still work on the 430exII?

The 5D manual says you can use both the camera hot shoe and the PC terminal, but does not mention if ETTL is retained. (Obviously the off camera flashes will not have ETTL functionality.)

The ONLY way to make that work properly would be to use the Speedlite with manually controlled output (NON-ETTL, that is). Bert's post above outlined why.

An ETTL flash setup emits a pre-flash for the purpose of determining how long to keep the Speedlite's flash lit, providing exposure control for the flash lighting. When you trigger a second flash that is not controlled by the ETTL system, that extra light will overexpose the image (unless the second light is positioned so that it only illuminates relatively distant background elements in the scene and NOT the main subject) because the ETTL system knew nothing about the extra light.

As Bert said above, getting the flash OFF of the camera would be a good idea.


Skip Douglas
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apersson850
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Jun 10, 2010 09:51 |  #4

SkipD wrote in post #10336944 (external link)
...that extra light will overexpose the image (unless the second light is positioned so that it only illuminates relatively distant background elements in the scene and NOT the main subject) because the ETTL system knew nothing about the extra light.

This is the key phrase. I've tried what you are asking for, and it does work, if you keep this in mind. In my case, I was taking photos outdoors, in the dark, and used the flash (580 EX II) on the camera, with E-TTL II, directly towards the subject to illuminate that, then another more powerful flash, with sync cable through PC connector, to illuminate the background a bit. The external flash had its own metering (it was a Metz 45), and with some tweaking of compensation for the two, this setup worked well together. But it was not to make any nice modelling light, but just to be able to illuminate action shots in the dark, without all the background being completely like a coal mine.

Now I have more than one 580 EX II, and use them instead for background fill. In such dark situations, that works better, as I can have some assistant running around, aiming them towards the background. In the dark, where there is no competing sunlight, Canon's wireless system has a range that's good enough.


Anders

  
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Grimes
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Jun 10, 2010 17:07 |  #5

Thank you for the replies everyone. I should have been more specific - I'm interested in more of what Anders has done (background fill light) with the off camera flashes. I'm glad to hear the setup will work. Now time for some experimentation.....:)


Alex
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apersson850
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Jun 11, 2010 03:21 as a reply to  @ Grimes's post |  #6

Excuse the quality, or rather lack of, in this image. It's taken with a rather old cell phone camera. But it does show the setup I used first, when I tried this kind of photography.
It was photos of the kind you see in this image (external link), where the background gets very dark very fast, which made me experiment with more flash power at the same time, outdoors. When using the combo flash in the picture in this post, I set the zoom of the 580 EX II manually to 80 or 105 mm, since what I needed from that flash was illumination of the main subject. The background flash then just provided an overall illumination of the rest of the image, since the illumination angle of the Metz flash is fixed at what corresponds to 35 mm for a full format/film camera.
Using another 580 EX II as a wireless slave gives more freedom in light placement, without having to be concerned about wires. A radio device would also work, but then it would require a more skilled assistant carrying the flash, since that would not allow me to set up the slave flash from the camera. Unless you use one of those that actually transfer the master flash' signals via radio, but I'm not sure they are available here, and still it's an added cost to the built-in interface in the 580 EX II. In conditions like what I link to above, Canon's light based wireless system works pretty well outdoors, as long as you keep line of sight. You have to teach the assistant to turn the flash head so the receiver points towards the camera and the flash reflector towards the subject (mainly the background in this case). That's what you use daughters for!


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Anders

  
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Retain ETTL when using PC terminal?
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