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Old Dec 27, 2004, 3:43 PM   #1
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Hi all,

I bought a Canon PowerShot G6 a couple of months ago, and the daytime pictures are really great. However, when I'm indoors and forced to use the flash, I notice that the G6 seems to actually flash twice in a row when I take a picture. But the shutter opens on the second flash. So when taking photos of people, I tend to get photos of them with their eyes half-closed because of the double-flash. In particular, almost every picture I take of my young daughter has her eyes closed.

Is there any way to turn this off, and use a single flash? I know that using an external flash would improve the situation, but would really rather not go that route.

On a side note, does anyone know the purpose of this double-flash? I know some cameras use two flashes for red-eye reduction. But the G6 uses some kind of white lamp for this purpose. So I see no reason why it should flash twice for one picture.

Thanks in advance for your help.

MattMan
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Old Dec 28, 2004, 8:48 AM   #2
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I think it's like a pre-flash that senses information to get exposure information or whatever. On my g6.... in low light conditions, I get this white light from the AF-assist function that is continually ON when the shutter button is depressed half-way. Then when I depress the shutter button fully, a pre-flash from the flash unit will fire very quickly, followed by the main flash where the photo is taken. So now I'm wondering if the white lamp being continually on does the job of a pre-flash, while the flash just before the main flash is for the red-eye and exposure information. I suspect that the AF-assist beam that is continually on can't do the job of the pre-flash. But then again, our irises in our eyes can't react that fast to the preflash so close to the main flash right? That is, yes...I'd say it can cause us to blink, but at the same time, I would have thought that a red-eye flash being so close in time to the main flash isn't enough time to get our irises to close right? I'm not even sure of iris reaction times anyhow.

I got to check the manual to see if there's information about all these things.
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Old Dec 28, 2004, 10:06 AM   #3
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That double flash is the ETTL system. On digital and film SLR's the two flashes are so close you can hardly tell. On the G series digicams there are two definite flashes that do make it hard for some subjects to keep their eyes open. I had the same problem with a G5 I owned at one time

One way to avoid it that's painful to have to do all the time is to do the preflash with the "*" button, then take your picture. The other is to use a non-TTL auto flash with 3 or 4 auto f-stops like a Vivitar 283 or, better, a smaller flash like the Metz 34cs-2 model. The Metz model is really compact and nice, powerful, and would look good with the G6 since it has a nice silver & black finish. At around $120 or so it's very economical too.

Just a side question regarding the G6 flash. On the G5 the flash always created a dark spot in the bottom right-hand corner (as you look through the viewfinder) when the camera was zoomed to the maximum wide angle setting due to the flash being too close to the lens barrel- bad design, Canon. Is that still the case with the G6? At any rate you would be suprised how much better quality light you'd get with a separate shoe mounted unit.
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Old Dec 28, 2004, 8:25 PM   #4
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Greg Chappell wrote:
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That double flash is the ETTL system. On digital and film SLR's the two flashes are so close you can hardly tell. On the G series digicams there are two definite flashes that do make it hard for some subjects to keep their eyes open. I had the same problem with a G5 I owned at one time
Exactly. The two flashes are quite distinct. For adults, it's usually not a problem once I make them aware of it. But for my kids (my usual subjects), there's no hope. My two-year old just can't keep her eyes open after that first flash.

Quote:
One way to avoid it that's painful to have to do all the time is to do the preflash with the "*" button, then take your picture.
Aha! This does work, in some of the manual modes. Thanks very much for this tip!!! I'll do some experimentation to see if this is workable for me. But what is this pre-flash supposed to accomplish. I'm guessing that "wasting" the pre-flash in this manner might have some impact on picture/light quality?

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The other is to use a non-TTL auto flash with 3 or 4 auto f-stops like a Vivitar 283 or, better, a smaller flash like the Metz 34cs-2 model. The Metz model is really compact and nice, powerful, and would look good with the G6 since it has a nice silver & black finish. At around $120 or so it's very economical too.
I must admit I'm definitely an amateur in this area. Is it important to have a Canon external flash? The manual only lists Canon flashes in the compatibility chart. It wouldn't surprise me if they did this just to try and trick people into staying in the Canon family of products. If I buy a different brand, such as the ones you've listed, does it still work? And are there specifica advantages to using a Canon flash on a Canon camera. The reason I ask is I'm in Canada, and the Canon Speedlite 440EX would run me $350 here. But there are non-Canon flashes for much more reasonable prices.

Quote:
Just a side question regarding the G6 flash. On the G5 the flash always created a dark spot in the bottom right-hand corner (as you look through the viewfinder) when the camera was zoomed to the maximum wide angle setting due to the flash being too close to the lens barrel- bad design, Canon. Is that still the case with the G6? At any rate you would be suprised how much better quality light you'd get with a separate shoe mounted unit.
Indeed, they've fixed this problem. I read about that back when I was researching the camera. Funny though, I didn't read anything about this double flash...

Thanks for the help, Greg!

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Old Dec 29, 2004, 12:52 AM   #5
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The first flash is used by the camera to determine the amount of light to be used, so it's a basic part of the metering process- without it the system does not work. There's no getting around it if you want to utilize the ETTL system.

Other ETTL compatible flashes will work with the G6 just as they do with the Digital SLR's. Sigma's top model in particular is very nice- it gives you Canon's 550EX features at the price of a 420EX unit- less than $200 US. None of the third-party options will get you away from that two flash process though.

The non-TTL auto units like the Metz I mentioned are really easy to use and do NOT have the dual flash effect. They come with usually 3 or 4 auto settings. You pick your ISO, say ISO 50 and you have 3 or 4 settings of f2, f2.8, f4 or f5.6. Set your camera to MANUAL exposure and pick your shutter speed- around 1/60 or 1/125. Set the f stop to match the auto setting on the flash and you're set. The flash unit has an electric eye that measures the light and cuts off the flash when the exposure is correct. If you pick f4, do a few tests to see if you like the exposure. If too much light is being admitted and overexposing change your camera setting to f4.5 or f5.6 and leave the auto setting on the flash at f4. You've just dialed in -.6 or -1 flash exposure compensation manually! The adjustments are infinite and give you the power to determine how much light is being used.

I found Canon's use of it's own speedlight technology in the G series a bit frustrating. The extended double flash was bad enough, but there were some other more involved processes that I was used to being able to do with both Canon's film and digital SLR's that they disable on the G series.
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Old Jan 3, 2005, 4:12 PM   #6
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If you use the camera in full manual mode you only get 1 flash.
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Old Jan 3, 2005, 5:24 PM   #7
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Correct, because ETTL is disabled. That's one of my bigger complaints about Canon's use of their flashunits on these digicams like the G5, G6, Pro 1, etc. When you use the 420EX or 550EX with either a digital SLR or film SLR, if you switch to manual mode on the camera you can still get TTL metering with the ETTL system, but with the G series or Pro 1 you have to manually calculate the flash part of the exposure- you lose al TTL ability.
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Old Jan 3, 2005, 7:18 PM   #8
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You can prevent the E-TTL metering on the 550EX or the Sigma 500DG Super by putting the flash itself on manual (ie no-preflash) - One just can't do it with the 420EX because it's an automatic mode only unit

My bet is they work the same on the G5/G6...
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