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Old Sep 22, 2003, 8:34 PM   #1
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Default What am I doing wrong?

See if someone out there can help me out. It should be stated that I am very flash ignorant.

Equipment: Canon 10D, 100-400L, Canon 1.4xTC, 550EX (full batteries.)

Situation:
I was out hobbling around on one crutch seeing a bit of the fall bird migration and taking pictures. I was told there was a green heron in full plumage really close to the trail the day before. So I went to the same spot and was lucky. There he was, about 6-10 feet away. The camera wanted me to shot the picture (without flash) at about 1/90th f8 ISO 400 at 560mm (remember the TC.) This was not surprising because there were serious trees between the sun and me. I canít hand hold at that low a shutter speed, but this is exactly the situation I got the flash for!

So I turned on the flash, put it into high-speed sync and it still said the same settings. I thought, "maybe it's thinking I want fill flash." So I switch to manual mode, bumped up the shutter to around 1/350, and took several pictures. I was hoping that E-TTL would do its job (at least what I think/though its job was) and it would flash enough to make the shot properly exposed. Needless to say, it didnít. The shots are so dark I canít reasonably recover them in PhotoShop. Ya, I can get something decentÖ but this was (probably) a once in a life time event, and the shots are not very good.

Iím fairly sure that Iím doing something wrong, but I donít know how. Did I have to use flash compensation? Was there a setting on the flash that was wrong? Maybe the camera was in an incompatible mode? (Like continuous shot as opposed to single shot?)

Iíll take any and all ideas. Iím rereading the flash manual (I must admit I read about 2/3 of it the first timeÖ and Iím sure I didnít understand all of what I read.)

I could post a copy of the picture or a copy of the EXIF data if that helps. Heck, why donít I just give the EXIF any ways?

Eric

(From IrfanView)

Make - Canon
Model - Canon EOS 10D
Orientation - 1 (top left)
XResolution - 180
YResolution - 180
ResolutionUnit - 2 (inch)
DateTime - 2003:09:21 16:13:45
YCbCrPositioning - 1 (center of pixel array)
ExifOffset - 196
ExposureTime - 1/350 seconds
FNumber - 5.6000
ISOSpeedRatings - 400
ExifVersion - 220
DateTimeOriginal - 2003:09:21 16:13:45
DateTimeDigitized - 2003:09:21 16:13:45
ComponentsConfiguration - 1 2 3 (YCbCr)
CompressedBitsPerPixel - 3 (average)
ShutterSpeedValue - 1/250 seconds
ApertureValue - F 5.60
ExposureBiasValue - 0.0000
MaxApertureValue - F 5.60
MeteringMode - 5 (multi-segment)
Flash - 9
FocalLength - 400 mm
UserComment -
FlashPixVersion - 100
ColorSpace - 1 (sRGB)
ExifImageWidth - 3072
ExifImageHeight - 2048
InteroperabilityOffset - 2330
FocalPlaneXResolution - 3443.9462
FocalPlaneYResolution - 3442.0168
FocalPlaneResolutionUnit - 2
SensingMethod - 2 (other)
FileSource - 3 (digital still camera)

Maker Note (Vendor): -
Macro mode - Off
Self timer - Off
Quality - Fine
Flash mode - On
Sequence mode - Continous
Focus mode - MF
Image size - Large
Easy shooting mode - Manual
Digital zoom - None
Contrast - Normal
Saturation - Normal
Sharpness - Normal
Metering mode - Evaluative
Focus type - Auto
AF point selected -
Exposure mode - Manual
White Balance - Auto
Image Type - IMG:EOS 10D JPEG
Firmware Version - Firmware Version 1.0.0
Camera Serial Number - 420208697
Image Number - 1444467
Owner Name - Eric Smith
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Old Sep 22, 2003, 9:18 PM   #2
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A couple things come to mind after reading up a bit on the 10D's specs. The x-sync speed limit is 1/200s and you shot at 1/350s. I believe the high speed sync only works on the higher end bodies like the EOS 1 derived cameras. The shutter probably couldn't get out of the way of the incoming light fast enough, producing a partial frame (part of the frame is lit by the flash, the other only by ambient light). Another idea is that maybe there was an obstruction in the flash's path, preventing the light from getting to the green heron. You were close enough, so I don't think there was a problem of not enough light hitting the subject. I don't know what else could have gone wrong.
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Old Sep 22, 2003, 10:22 PM   #3
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Not having high speed sync is a good question. I thought it had it, but I'll check the manual again to be sure.

Yes, based on page 104 of the manual it does support high speed sync. It is interesting that they have 3 notes below the description of what high speed sync is. 1 of them says "When you want to use fill flash to eliminate shadows." This is, in fact, exactly not what I wanted to do.

There was nothing between me and the heron, so that is out. I don't remember if the high-speed sync symbol was displayed in the camera view finder or not... Interesting.... Might have to mess around and make sure high speed sync works in manual. I thought it did.

Eric
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Old Sep 24, 2003, 6:53 AM   #4
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Eric

You have to enable the high-speed sync mode on the 550EX flash 1st (Press both + and - button on the rear panel simultaneously). An H flash will appear on both the flash and in the camera's viewfinder!

I've tried it with 1/500s+ with no problem whatsoever. BTW without the high-speed sync mode enabled: the camera can't be adjusted to anything higher than 1/200s... The shutter speed can only be dialed higher if the camera is on manual or the flash is not ready. Was that how you get to 1/350s? (ie not in E-TTL mode anymore) :?

With the above H mode enabled you can dial just about any speed faster than 1/200s that you'd like and still be in E-TTL mode, without having to go to manual! This works the same as the Minolta 5600HS(D) flash
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Old Sep 24, 2003, 8:48 AM   #5
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I had gone to manual on the camera only. I didn't do manual on the flash (in case that wasn't clear.) I had enabled high speed sync. I know the symbol was in on the flash. I don't remember if it was appearing in the camera at that specific time. But I've run tests sync and the H does appear in the display part of the view finder.

Actually, your description is slightly wrong. At least for me, the H in the view finder doesn't appear until the shutter speed goes over 1/200. This leads me to assume that even if the flash is in high speed sync, it won't use that functionality (flash in multiple very quick flashes) unless the shutter speed is faster than 1/200. This is a good thing.

So the problem is not that I couldn't get high speed sync working. I was able to do that... it would certainly cause the problem, though.

I was in manual mode, and the flash is reported as being fired in the EXIF data. But you'd never know it if you looked at the picture(except for the eye catch light.) If it wasn't for the catch light, I'd question if it flashed at all.

Ahh, intresting suggestion. That by going into manual, I was no longer in E-TTL mode. That would certainly explain what happened. Since my camera is right behind me....

On the surface, this isn't the problem. In program mode, and in manual, the picture of my wall is lit a little too much and the shutter speed was very fast (by sound and info.) And in both cases the high-speed "H" is in the viewfinder.

Ok, I took some exciting pictures under my bed. Nice and dark there. Took 4 pictures, f4.5 1/500 and 1/1000 in M & TV. All reasonable exposed..

Quote:
Originally Posted by NHL
With the above H mode enabled you can dial just about any speed faster than 1/200s that you'd like and still be in E-TTL mode, without having to go to manual! This works the same as the Minolta 5600HS(D) flash
In what mode do you do this?

Eric
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Old Sep 24, 2003, 8:57 AM   #6
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Quote:
In what mode do you do this?
Tv - Time value (Shutter Priority)

If the H was not ON, there's no way you can dial past 1/200s (the camera would have prevented you from doing this with the 550EX ON & Ready). Only when the H was enabled can you crank the camera to faster speed...
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Old Sep 24, 2003, 7:00 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NHL
If the H was not ON, there's no way you can dial past 1/200s (the camera would have prevented you from doing this with the 550EX ON & Ready). Only when the H was enabled can you crank the camera to faster speed...
If you are saying that the "h" will be in the view finder all the time when in high sync mode (no matter what the shutter speed) you are wrong. The h will next to the flash lightning bolt only when the flash will actually use high-speed sync (i.e. when the shutter is over 1/200.)

If you are talking about the display on the 550EX, the yes, the H will be there all the time in high-speed sync.

I switched between both Av and Tv when I went out today. I ended up mostly with Tv and not using high-speed sync. Seemed to help. I'm downloading the pictures now.

Eric
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Old Sep 25, 2003, 1:42 PM   #8
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Eric

I was doing it from memory when I posted the above, but the key point I tried to get across to you and this I'm very certain... (regardless of the H in the viewfinder is on or not). You can not select any shutter speed faster than 1/200s in any of the automatic mode including Av and Tv if the 550EX's high-speed H is not ON! Try it...

With the high-speed H is enabled, even the camera can go past 1/200s on it's own in Av if you open the aperture wide enough. If the high-speed H is disabled the shutter will just blink 1/200s indicating an out of range (but will not exceed it) in Av...
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Old Sep 26, 2003, 8:32 PM   #9
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Yes, that is certainly correct. You can not go higher than 1/200 with the 550EX in a normal flash mode (non High-Speed sync.)

I actually use that to my advantage. In the right mode, the camera picked 1/250 without the flash, but once it was properly charged, it changed down to 200. That and the lightning bolt made it clear that the flash was charged and read for another go.

Eric
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Old Oct 2, 2003, 2:44 PM   #10
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Default Flash GN?

Quote:
Originally Posted by eric s
So I turned on the flash, put it into high-speed sync and it still said the same settings. I thought, "maybe it's thinking I want fill flash." So I switch to manual mode, bumped up the shutter to around 1/350, and took several pictures. I was hoping that E-TTL would do its job (at least what I think/though its job was) and it would flash enough to make the shot properly exposed. Needless to say, it didnít. The shots are so dark I canít reasonably recover them in PhotoShop.
Have you checked the Guide Number of your flash? I bet it's much, much lower in the high speed sync mode than normally. For example, the GN of the 5600 flash is normally 44 m (50 mm coverage), but in high speed sync mode it drops dramatically: 17 m @ 1/250 s, 12 m @ 1/500 s etc.
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