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Dresser100 Jan 24, 2010 10:34 AM

Help understaning T1i and external flash
I bought a Canon T1i that I enjoy using for family photos. However, I'm not impressed with the on camera flash. After reading reviews, I bought a Metz AF-1. If I bounce the flash off the ceiling, the pictures look good if I make some adjustments to the camera settings. This is where I wonder if my camera is "speaking" to the flash correctly.

In full auto or CA with bounce off ceiling, the camera will shoot 1/60 F/4 ISO1600 and looks over-exposed. If I turn the flash directly on subject, the camera will shoot 1/60 F/4 ISO400 and it looks overexposed. I can manually turn down the flash on the flash or through the camera, but it will still shoot either ISO1600 or ISO400 with too slow shutter speed for my little kids. I can change the ISO in P, TV, AV, or M and get it to expose the scene better. If I change the camera exposure compensation in P mode, the camera will change the aperature and not the ISO or shutter speed. I bought this camera and flash hoping that my wife could use it to take good indoor family photos in full auto mode, but now I'm questioning if I choose a good combo.

Does the 430EX do the same as this flash or do I have some setting wrong in the flash or camera?

JimC Jan 24, 2010 10:51 AM

If it's a Metz 48 AF-1 or 58 AF-1, make sure to upgrade the firmware to the latest version for better compatibility with your camera. Here's the download page for the 48 AF-1. You'll see a link to the latest version 2.0 firmware for Canon models on the page.

If you have the 58 AF-1, you'll see a menu choice for it on the left side of that page for it's firmware download links.

As for modes where the camera is recognizing the flash, it's normal for it to use a shutter speed of around 1/60 second indoors in typical tungsten lighting (as the flash can freeze the action as long as it's providing most of the light, due to a very short flash burst duration). It shouldn't be trying to use ISO 1600 in full auto modes though.

Note that you don't want to use modes like Av mode with a flash, as the camera will then try to expose for ambient light versus flash. If you want more control, use Manual Exposure instead and choose your settings.

For example, something like ISO 400, f/5.6 and 1/100 second would insure the the flash provides virtually all of the light in a typical interior at night lit by tungsten lighting (the flash burst is very short at 1/1000 second or faster, so the subject is only exposed properly during the flash, so that a flash can freeze the action using shutter speeds that slow). Or, if you want more ambient light contributing, you can use a higher ISO speed and/or a wider aperture setting and/or a slower shutter speed.

But, with Auto modes (like you mention your wife wants), a camera using something like 1/60 second, ISO 400 and f/5.6 indoors would be normal (and the flash should freeze any action in typical indoor lighting at night with those types of settings using full Auto, since the flash burst length is typically going to be 1/1000 second or faster). If you're having exposure issues using full auto, older flash firmware is likely the culprit (upgrade it to the latest version and see what you get).

Dresser100 Jan 24, 2010 11:36 AM

Thanks for the reply. I upgraded the firmware to version 2.0 two days ago and the camera still chooses ISO 1600 in CA and full auto when the flash is bounced off the ceiling. Does anyone know if the Canon 430EX behaves the same in full auto?

shoturtle Jan 24, 2010 12:10 PM

I have a silly question. Did you put the camera White Balance to Flash when using the manual modes?

JimC Jan 24, 2010 1:50 PM


Originally Posted by Dresser100 (Post 1043780)
Thanks for the reply. I upgraded the firmware to version 2.0 two days ago and the camera still chooses ISO 1600 in CA and full auto when the flash is bounced off the ceiling. Does anyone know if the Canon 430EX behaves the same in full auto?

Probably. I just did a quick google search and found complaints from 7D owners about the same thing with a 430EX II (camera selects ISO 1600 as soon as you bounce it). So, I suspect the same thing is true with the T1i now. Apparently, older Canon models used ISO 400. But, the newer models apparently default to ISO 1600 when using a bounced flash in many conditions (probably to insure adequate flash power when bouncing). I'd just set it to something lower yourself if you want to use something like the Creative Auto mode.

shoturtle Jan 24, 2010 2:04 PM

That is true Jim, it does that with the canon T1i.

If you use P, TV, AV, and M mode you can switch it from auto to 400 iso, and it will stay at 400iso when bouncing. But if you use the creative modes, CA and full auto, you will have to set the EV to compensate when bouncing. You will not be able to change the iso on the camera.

Dresser100 Jan 24, 2010 2:16 PM

ShoTurtle, the other modes work fine for me. I was trying to find an easy way for my wife to use CA or full auto with the flash indoors with good exposure.

I was thinking about buying a diffuser, so the direct light wouldn't be so harsh. Has anyone tried a Sto-Fen diffuser using 48 AF-1? I can get some pretty good light and exposure using the other modes and bouncing the flash, but haven't been satisfied with the camera and flash in full auto and CA. I'm still new to the DSLR, so I'm open to other suggestions as well.

shoturtle Jan 24, 2010 2:49 PM

I would have her use P, it is pretty much full auto but you can change things.

But I have omni bounce defuser and it works nicely with the 48.

R3SP3CT Mar 10, 2010 7:32 AM

hi, all. i just got a metz 48 for my canon 500D.

i am trying to get it fire wirelessly remotely off camera and i cannot seem to get it to.

i've set it to SL (slave mode) on the flash and tried some other settings but no go.

it works fine on camera...

anyone have any insight on this?

any help appreciated...

JimC Mar 10, 2010 7:39 AM

Your 500D doesn't have the ability to control an external flash using it's built in flash.

Basically, you'd need to use a Canon ST-E2 speedlite transmitter as the master to control the slave, or use a 580 EX II as a master instead. Note that the 430EX II cannot be a master (it will only work as a slave).

I don't know if the Metz 48 AF-1 can act as a master or not.

Here's an article on the subject:

Note that the EOS-7D will allow you to wirelessly control an external flash using it's built in flash (so that you wouldn't need a 580EX II or ST-E2 acting as a master). But, most Canon models do not have that ability.

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