Canon 5D / 580EX question

rneugebauerrneugebauer Beginner grinnerRegistered Users Posts: 5 Beginner grinner
edited June 11, 2006 in Cameras
** Please let me know if this is not the right place for this kind of a question **


I have a Canon 5D and a 580EX flash unit, and I must admit I haven't fully figured out the flash ...

Here are my problems:

1) The flash seems to always put the camera onto 1/60 shutter speed, although it is capable of much higher speeds ... what setting is reponsible for that?

2) When I try to increase depth of field by increasing the f-stop, the shutter speed gets very low ... I was expecting the flash to switch to higher intensity, but it doesn't seem to want to do that. (This also happens at small distances, where the power of the flash is vastly higher than required for a high f-stop).

3) With the 24-105L lens that came with the camera, I am getting portraists with extremely small depth of field - often, a persons nose tip would be perfectly sharp, while their eyes are already too blurred for the photo to be usable. (Probably a variation of my problem 2).

4) I often get low contrast images, especially when taking photos of mostly white objects (a page of text, a refrigerator, a plate with food). All those scenes tend to be greyish instead of snappy, a perfectly white page with black (laser) print on it taken full frame is totally grey, and all pthose photos require tweaking of contrast, brighness and gamma to become somewhat usable. (I suspect other shots may also be affected, but e.g. photos of people (portraits) look okay for contrast and color).

Comments

  • pathfinderpathfinder Drive By Digital Shooter western IndianaSuper Moderators Posts: 14,620 moderator
    edited April 17, 2006
    ** Please let me know if this is not the right place for this kind of a question **


    I have a Canon 5D and a 580EX flash unit, and I must admit I haven't fully figured out the flash ...

    Here are my problems:

    1) The flash seems to always put the camera onto 1/60 shutter speed, although it is capable of much higher speeds ... what setting is responsible for that?
    I suspect you are shooting in P mode - you don't say what mode the camera is in, but it DOES matter. It is described in the manuals that come with the camera.:):
    2) When I try to increase depth of field by increasing the f-stop, the shutter speed gets very low ... I was expecting the flash to switch to higher intensity, but it doesn't seem to want to do that. (This also happens at small distances, where the power of the flash is vastly higher than required for a high f-stop).
    Again what is the camera mode set to - Av perhaps?? - and is the flash set for ETTL or manual, or what??

    3) With the 24-105L lens that came with the camera, I am getting portraists with extremely small depth of field - often, a persons nose tip would be perfectly sharp, while their eyes are already too blurred for the photo to be usable. (Probably a variation of my problem 2).
    What aperture are you setting your camera for?? Or are you shooting in the Auto modes where the camera chooses the aperture? The camera fundtions best in Av or Tv or P if you know what each of these do. Some folks will say Manual mode is best, but to use manual mode requires a precise understanding of exposure, flash, focus, etc.

    The depth of field with a full frame DSLR can be very shallow - that is one of its assetts - Depth of Field depends on the f stop and the distance to the lens from the subject.
    4) I often get low contrast images, especially when taking photos of mostly white objects (a page of text, a refrigerator, a plate with food). All those scenes tend to be greyish instead of snappy, a perfectly white page with black (laser) print on it taken full frame is totally grey, and all pthose photos require tweaking of contrast, brighness and gamma to become somewhat usable. (I suspect other shots may also be affected, but e.g. photos of people (portraits) look okay for contrast and color).

    The normal appearance of a white page with black text shot in auto modes WILL be a neutral grey. ( This is not the 5D, but any pro DSLR ) That is what a reflected light meter, used in automatic mode, sets that camera to do - The reflected meters ASSUME an overall neutral grey tone - not white or black. If the images should appear white, you will need to dial in + Exposure Compensation, and vice versa for a black cat in a coal mine.

    The images from 5D can be superb, but they come out of the camera as low contrast, low saturation images unless you set the parameters of the camera different in the Set Up menu.

    The 5D is a very sophisticated camera, that assumes a sophisticated. knowledgeable user. It is definitely not a point and shot style of camera.

    Try to answer my questions and that may help us answer you better.

    I suspect the answers are in the manuals to the camera and the flash.

    Trying to use a 5D and a 580ex without reading the manual, is like trying to fly a jet fighter without taking flying lessons.

    Welcome to dgrinthumb.gif1drink
    Pathfinder - www.pathfinder.smugmug.com

    Moderator of the Technique Forum and Finishing School on Dgrin
  • MarkM6MarkM6 Big grins Registered Users Posts: 97 Big grins
    edited April 18, 2006
    Hmmmm... I am even afraid to ask.
    pathfinder wrote:
    The normal appearance of a white page with black text shot in auto modes WILL be a neutral grey. ( This is not the 5D, but any pro DSLR ) That is what a reflected light meter, used in automatic mode, sets that camera to do - The reflected meters ASSUME an overall neutral grey tone - not white or black.

    :confused
  • rneugebauerrneugebauer Beginner grinner Registered Users Posts: 5 Beginner grinner
    edited April 18, 2006
    Thank you for your comments. Let me give you some background information on myself, my experience with cameras and my approach to taking photos with them.

    I have been using SLRs since about 40 years ago, and I do think that I have a pretty good understanding of exposure, f-stops, flash etc. in manual mode. (Imagine: I had a Lunasix exposure meter when I was about 16 ...)

    I've been taking digital photographs since digital cameras have become available, and I think I've had all Canon digital SLRs of the 'prosumer' line (D30, D60, 10D, 20D, 5D if I remember the model numbers correctly).

    I like the amount of control those cameras give me, the excellent resolution and the optical quality of the lenses. Yet, I shoot 95% of my photos in P mode, with exceptions only when the situation needs it (f ~7 with long lenses for wildlife, ISO set so that the resulting shutter speed is short enough in the prevailing light, or f 22 for high depth of field.) The control I use most is the ISO setting, and I tend to underexpose most shots by 1/2 or 2/3 f-stop to avoid underexposure.

    I might call my approach 'educated point-and-shoot' because I make my money in other areas, photography is not my biggest passion, But when I do take pictures, I want the best possible quality, and I'm prepared to lug the heavy equipment around for that.

    I was hoping for help with the flash / camera combination because the manual did not give me answers, at least not directly.

    Answers to your questions:

    1) P mode, flash shows ETTL

    2) Av mode, then reduce the aperture

    3) I should have said that this, also, is in conjunction with the flash. I have good control over depth-of-field without flash.

    4) I get low contrast images when shooting predominantly white objects WITH FLASH (again!). That effect does not happen when taking the same object in natrual light. My flash photos of white objects are FLAT.

    I was hoping to get a rely that explains what to do, and why my settings are wrong.

    1) I do think that measuring flash exposure through the lens (ETTL) should be a good idea, and that the camera itself should have the best control over the situation in P ... but why is it stuck on 1/60s?

    2) 3) ... and why is it stuck on small f-stops, in P?

    2) What setting of flash and camera is needed to choose the f-stop manually? As the flash is able to control the amount of light it emits, it should be able (at least at short distances) to react to a higher f-stop setting by increasing flash intensity for a balanced exposure (at constand shutter speed).

    3) In ambient light, the samera is smart enough to focus on the eyes of a person (or I can make it do that). Why does it tend to focus on noses with the flash on, and how do I change that? And again, what setting to increase the f-stop preferred by the camera?

    4) Are you saying I must shange the camera presets for contrast etc. if I take a photo of my refrigerator?

    No, I think there is something wrong if one gets extremely flat pictures of white objects.

    Thanks in advance for your help, don't hesitate to ask more details if you need them!

    Rainer
  • ziggy53ziggy53 Still learnin'still lovin Super Moderators Posts: 22,399 moderator
    edited April 18, 2006
    Rainer,

    Pathfinder is giving you good advice. All digital cameras, or reflective exposure meters, can do is what they are designed to do, and that is to measure the exposure and interpret that measure into a middle gray. You can insist that the camera should give automatically accurate exposure when shooting a white subject, but it probably won't. It is not how the camera's metering system is designed.

    I have not found the Canon "P" (Program) mode to work at all well with external electronic flash. The reasons are varied and many. If you wish to use that mode for electronic flash, you will get inconsistant results, IMHO. I use Av (Aperture Priority) mode for most consistant results with flash. I also program the camera to adjust the shutter to fire at 1/200 sec when it detects e-flash, because I don't trust the camera's decision regarding automatic selection of anything slower.

    E-TTL is, by far, the best mode for automated flash exposure on Canon cameras. I suggest continuing to use that, but with the Av mode on the camera.

    I generally also use the center-weighted metering mode, because it seems to work best for the event photography I am doing more and more of.

    I also have been shooting with SLRs for around 40 years, but I used an older GE meter because I couldn't afford anything better. (I now have 2 Luna Pros for manual metering, but hardly ever use them.)

    f22 is going to yield great DOF (for many lenses it is the smallest opening), but most lenses are exhibiting diffraction artifacts at that aperture, so reserve it for those instances which really require it, (which you may already be doing, so this may be more reminder than advice.)


    If you must continue to use the "P" mode, I strongly suggest using RAW format files, which allows more software correction of exposure error, as well as much greater exposure latitude.

    You mention that you, "... think that I have a pretty good understanding of exposure, f-stops, flash etc. in manual mode. (Imagine: I had a Lunasix exposure meter when I was about 16 ...)", but your use of 95% in "P" mode does not demonstrate this capability. Try a little harder, explore and experiment, and the camera will reward you with wonderful images.

    By all means, share some of those moments with us.

    Thanks,

    ziggy53
    ziggy53
    Moderator of the Cameras and Accessories forums
  • ridetwistyroadsridetwistyroads Shoot, Ride, Repeat. Registered Users Posts: 526 Major grins
    edited April 18, 2006
    pathfinder wrote:
    Trying to use a 5D and a 580ex without reading the manual, is like trying to fly a jet fighter without taking flying lessons.

    Yes. Well said. Them camera's be much smarter then we is. :cry
    "There is a place for me somewhere, where I can write and speak much as I think, and make it pay for my living and some besides. Just where this place is I have small idea now, but I am going to find it" Carl Sandburg
  • pathfinderpathfinder Drive By Digital Shooter western IndianaSuper Moderators Posts: 14,620 moderator
    edited April 18, 2006
    Thank you for your comments. Let me give you some background information on myself, my experience with cameras and my approach to taking photos with them.

    I have been using SLRs since about 40 years ago, and I do think that I have a pretty good understanding of exposure, f-stops, flash etc. in manual mode. (Imagine: I had a Lunasix exposure meter when I was about 16 ...)

    I've been taking digital photographs since digital cameras have become available, and I think I've had all Canon digital SLRs of the 'prosumer' line (D30, D60, 10D, 20D, 5D if I remember the model numbers correctly).

    I like the amount of control those cameras give me, the excellent resolution and the optical quality of the lenses. Yet, I shoot 95% of my photos in P mode, with exceptions only when the situation needs it (f ~7 with long lenses for wildlife, ISO set so that the resulting shutter speed is short enough in the prevailing light, or f 22 for high depth of field.) The control I use most is the ISO setting, and I tend to underexpose most shots by 1/2 or 2/3 f-stop to avoid underexposure.

    I might call my approach 'educated point-and-shoot' because I make my money in other areas, photography is not my biggest passion, But when I do take pictures, I want the best possible quality, and I'm prepared to lug the heavy equipment around for that.

    I was hoping for help with the flash / camera combination because the manual did not give me answers, at least not directly.

    Answers to your questions:

    1) P mode, flash shows ETTL

    2) Av mode, then reduce the aperture

    3) I should have said that this, also, is in conjunction with the flash. I have good control over depth-of-field without flash.

    4) I get low contrast images when shooting predominantly white objects WITH FLASH (again!). That effect does not happen when taking the same object in natrual light. My flash photos of white objects are FLAT.

    I was hoping to get a rely that explains what to do, and why my settings are wrong.

    1) I do think that measuring flash exposure through the lens (ETTL) should be a good idea, and that the camera itself should have the best control over the situation in P ... but why is it stuck on 1/60s?

    2) 3) ... and why is it stuck on small f-stops, in P?

    2) What setting of flash and camera is needed to choose the f-stop manually? As the flash is able to control the amount of light it emits, it should be able (at least at short distances) to react to a higher f-stop setting by increasing flash intensity for a balanced exposure (at constand shutter speed).

    3) In ambient light, the samera is smart enough to focus on the eyes of a person (or I can make it do that). Why does it tend to focus on noses with the flash on, and how do I change that? And again, what setting to increase the f-stop preferred by the camera?

    4) Are you saying I must shange the camera presets for contrast etc. if I take a photo of my refrigerator?

    No, I think there is something wrong if one gets extremely flat pictures of white objects.

    Thanks in advance for your help, don't hesitate to ask more details if you need them!

    Rainer

    I understand a little more about your experience and understanding of photographic technology. But knowledge of film SLRs does not help understand all the specific features of modern digital SLRs. Shooting in Auto or P can be convenient, but removes many features that a knowledgeable shooter like yourself can put to good use. You would never leave the type of film choice to an engineer at Canon, but would choose your own preferred type of film.

    Shooting with the 580ex in the P mode, the camera will choose the aperture and the shutter speed, and use the amount of flash to properly expose the subject area based on the distance to the subject. This is a good choice for shooting indoors after dark, but will look the most like full on frontal flash without much subtlety. I find the shutter speeed is always set to 1/60th also, but I do not see a statement to this fact in the 580ex manual or the 5D manual. I forgot where I learned more information about EOS flashes, until this evening, and I dug out this link which explains things a lot better than I can -

    http://photonotes.org/articles/eos-flash/index2.html#programflash

    The primary concern in the P mode is allowing handholding of the camera - no tripod requirement. That is why the shutter speed will not drop below 1/60th, but can be raised in bright light up to the X-synch speed of 1/250th on a 5d if memory serves me well.. If it is dark, the camera assumes the foreground is the subject. If it is bright out, it tries to use the flash as fill flash to balance with the background.

    In Av mode, the program is to balance the foreground with flash, with the ambient light in the backround, so both are properly exposed. This means that in Av mode you CAN set the aperture, but the camera may adjust the shutter speed to as long as 30 seconds ( yes 30 seconds, NOT 1/30th) or as short as the x-synch speed ( 1/250th on a 5D) SO you need to pay attention to the shutter speed set by the camera and be prepared to use a tripod as needed. Remember, in Av mode with flash, the exposure by the aperture, shutter speed is set for the background illumination WITHOUT flash, and the flash is used to expose the forground subject properly. I love using flash in Av mode with about 1/3 or 2/3 -FEC dialed in - no one can tell flash was used, but the forground gets nice soft warmth and brightness.

    Small f stops in P mode probably relate to high ISOs set for the camera. Dial the ISO back to 100 and see if that doesn't open up the aperture.



    If you want complete control of the camera, switch the setting to Manual mode. I found that Canon's naming of Manual mode was confusing me. I was used to thinking that manual mode meant the flash output was fixed, but that is not what Manual mode on the 5D, 20D, 30D et al means. Setting the 5D to manual mode means that you the shooter get to choose aperture and shutter speed. The flash will set the proper exposure for the forground subject. The background will be underexposed or overexposed depending on your aperture and shutter speeds.

    If you shoot in AUTO mode, the camera chooses the closest point as the focus point - Point and Shoot simplicity, but not necessarily focusing accuracy. In P mode, or Av, Tv you can choose the precise focus point to to focus on - the eye rather than the nearer nose. But AF can be tricky, and you, the shooter, have to ride herd on it if you want it to work flawlessly. AF likes to focus on things with straight lines and high contrast. like lashes with mascara, rather than soft contours like noses. Use a smaller aperture to capture both in focus is even better of course.
    But that means shooting in Manual mode verses P or Auto.

    There are several pages in the manual for the 5D devoted to explaining how to set the camera up for color saturation, contrast, sharpness etc. You need to play with those controls to take command of your 5d, rather than being a passive partner. The manual for the 5d in pdf format can be found here

    http://alpha02u.c-wss.com/inc/ApplServlet?SV=WWUCA900


    As for flat images of white paper, a cameras meter will expose for a neutral grey tone - just like it will for shooting a sunlit scene of a snow covered mountain side. If you do not dial in + Exposure Compensation, the snow will look grey also. Use the search tool in Dgrin or Google for snow scene exposures and you will find several threads here about that subject. Rutt and I have had several threads devoted to photographing snow scenes.

    http://www.dgrin.com/showthread.php?t=26319&highlight=shooting+snow

    http://www.dgrin.com/showthread.php?t=30232&highlight=shooting+snow

    http://www.dgrin.com/showthread.php?t=6366

    http://www.dgrin.com/showpost.php?p=30696&postcount=1

    To really get the best images from a 5D, you will need to shoot in Av, or Tv or Manual modes and for RAW captures. You cn get excellent images from Auto or P - it is a great camera - but a knowledgeable shooter will get better images from RAW and Av or Tv or Manual modes.

    I hope the information here and the links I have posted will help answer your questions further. If you still have more questions, pop on back and ask us again. I always learn more when I reread the manuals for the 5D and the 580ex as will as look at the EOS flash systems links I gave you.

    Oh, you should also post some of your images from your 5D here on dgrin in an appropriate thread too.

    I use the 24-105 IS L as the standard lens on my 5D too:):
    Pathfinder - www.pathfinder.smugmug.com

    Moderator of the Technique Forum and Finishing School on Dgrin
  • rneugebauerrneugebauer Beginner grinner Registered Users Posts: 5 Beginner grinner
    edited April 19, 2006
    Pathfinder, thank you. Your comments really help, along with the link to the Canon Flash photography details.

    Unfortunately, the link to the 5D manual didn't work ... if you can please post one that does.

    I will change to Manual mode which, like yourself, I mistook to be manual regarding the flash exposure, too.

    I found one difference to the documented behaviour: In P mode, even with very low ambient light and close subjects, my camera doesn't seem to want to go to higher speeds than 1/60s although by the logic your post and the articles imply it should.

    One little misunderstanding: Again in P mode with the 24-105 lens, the camera seems to insist on f-stops like 4 (for very little dpeth of field) even at short distances, and throttles the flash. I don't understand why it should want to do that, but at least I can change that now in M.

    My biggest misunderstanding is now cleared up: Av mode makes the camera want to expose the ambient light right, which explains the long exposure times I got. With M, I'll regain control of the shutter speed.

    Again, thank you, everybody.

    Rainer
  • MarkM6MarkM6 Big grins Registered Users Posts: 97 Big grins
    edited April 19, 2006
    The Link to the 5D Manual
    Unfortunately, the link to the 5D manual didn't work ... if you can please post one that does.

    Click on the "Product / Software Manuals" at the following link;
    http://consumer.usa.canon.com/ir/controller?act=DownloadDetailAct&fcategoryid=314&modelid=11933

    A new window will pop open. Scroll down to the DOWNLOAD section and you will see the manual in PDF format.

    By the way, I believe that it is the same as the small book that comes with the camera.

    Path is one patient dude!1drink.gif
  • problemchildproblemchild Big grins Registered Users Posts: 44 Big grins
    edited April 19, 2006
    Canons flash system sucks!

    I can take canons flagship camera (1ds2) and their flagship flash (580) and have it over and under expose by 2 stops in 2 shots.

    Do this.........

    Point the cam/flash at an all black leather chair. Take the pic. Exposure = -1stop when ettl/AV,TV,P camera settings are used.

    Point the cam/flash at a white refridgerator. Take the pic. DOH exposure = -2 stops under!

    So now dial in +2 in the FE.

    Shoot the refrig. Exposure = OK
    Now turn and shoot the black chair. DOH overexposed by +1stops.

    This is a real world bride and groom shot. So are you telling me that you have to constantly set the flash exposure/power.

    My qflash gets this perfect every time. I NEVER have to adjust it.

    If you set the cam to AV the shutter goes to 1 second with the 580.
    If you set the cam to TV the fstop goes to f1.4 and blinks.

    Its as if the camera does NOT know the flash is there and going to assist.

    Its the most useless system Ive ever seen.
  • pathfinderpathfinder Drive By Digital Shooter western IndianaSuper Moderators Posts: 14,620 moderator
    edited April 19, 2006
    Canons flash system sucks!

    Problemchild, I take it, this is your opinion, as the facts do not justify it.

    The EOS flash system is not perfect, but comes very close, in the hands of users who know what they are doing, and how the system is designed. It does seem funky to folks who do not know how the system works in the various camera modes..

    I assure you that there are a lot of shooters who use the Canon flash system and would disagree heartily with your statement. Myself for example.

    Or is this just a childish attempt to bait posters on this thread, and your name, a metaphor, for your approach to life in general?

    If you are interested in learning about the Canon Flash system, please read on.
    I can take canons flagship camera (1ds2) and their flagship flash (580) and have it over and under expose by 2 stops in 2 shots.

    Do this.........

    Point the cam/flash at an all black leather chair. Take the pic. Exposure = -1stop when ettl/AV,TV,P camera settings are used.

    Point the cam/flash at a white refridgerator. Take the pic. DOH exposure = -2 stops under!

    So now dial in +2 in the FE.

    Shoot the refrig. Exposure = OK
    Now turn and shoot the black chair. DOH overexposed by +1stops.

    This is a real world bride and groom shot. So are you telling me that you have to constantly set the flash exposure/power.

    My qflash gets this perfect every time. I NEVER have to adjust it.

    I don't think you read my previous responces in this thread. The EOS flash systme is DESIGNED to allow for ambient light exposures in Av or Tv mode - ie: Fill Flash, and it is VERY good at this. If you want to shoot in flash only, set the camera to Manual and shoot away. I shot a whole wedding with a 580ex and a 550ex and I did not lose one frame to poor exposure, nor did I spend time thinking about + or - Flash Exposure Compensation.

    Go the the link I provided - http://photonotes.org/articles/eos-flash/index2.html#programflash - Read it and come to understand how the Canon EOS flash system is DESIGNED. You will find that it gives you a great deal of control of your flash and the light it emits.
    If you set the cam to AV the shutter goes to 1 second with the 580.
    If you set the cam to TV the fstop goes to f1.4 and blinks.

    As I have pointed out several times, when you shoot in Av or Tv, the camera will set EITHER the shutter speed or the APERTURE for the AMBIENT lighting in the background behind the subject and control the flash for the subject in the foreground. That is how it is designed and it is very handy to be able to use fill flash in daylight or dark shots for this purose. If you do not avail yourself of the fill flash ability, you have missed a great trick for improving the quality of your images. I use the fill flash in Av on the 20D with the built in flash a great deal of the time if I am shooting people outdoors in bright sunlight, or if there are shadows on their faces.
    Its as if the camera does NOT know the flash is there and going to assist.

    Its the most useless system Ive ever seen.

    Read my previous answer again, slowly, and out loud to yourself.

    If you just want to shoot automatically with your flash making the decisions about light quality, set the 580ex for ETTL, and the camera mode to Manual, and the flash will always be the primary light source for your image. You will get to choose aperture, and the shutter speed up to the X-synch speed which is typically 1/250th or so - varies for different camera bodies.clap.gif

    I have enjoyed this discussion and I look forward to seeing images that you have applied fill flash to by shooting in Av mode:):
    Pathfinder - www.pathfinder.smugmug.com

    Moderator of the Technique Forum and Finishing School on Dgrin
  • wxwaxwxwax Immoderator Registered Users Posts: 15,471 Major grins
    edited April 19, 2006
    The patience of a saint and the ability to write easily understood technical copy, too. You're quite a catch!
    Sid.
    Catapultam habeo. Nisi pecuniam omnem mihi dabis, ad caput tuum saxum immane mittam
    http://www.mcneel.com/users/jb/foghorn/ill_shut_up.au
  • pathfinderpathfinder Drive By Digital Shooter western IndianaSuper Moderators Posts: 14,620 moderator
    edited April 19, 2006
    :): :): Sometimes the best responce to bait is not to bite. Right??

    And I relearned a little bit myself, waxy:D ..

    I had forgotten how confusing the EOS flash system can be to new users - I was one myself a while back, and the link I posted above really is so much better than the manual at clarifying everything.

    I had forgotten that the manual for the 580ex does not really go into detail in the design goals of the camera modes and the EOS flash system, when I initially responded to the original poster of this thread.
    Pathfinder - www.pathfinder.smugmug.com

    Moderator of the Technique Forum and Finishing School on Dgrin
  • wxwaxwxwax Immoderator Registered Users Posts: 15,471 Major grins
    edited April 19, 2006
    Well, you helped me. I'm a fan of natural light, and have never forced myself to learn how to properly use the flash. This is great stuff.
    Sid.
    Catapultam habeo. Nisi pecuniam omnem mihi dabis, ad caput tuum saxum immane mittam
    http://www.mcneel.com/users/jb/foghorn/ill_shut_up.au
  • pathfinderpathfinder Drive By Digital Shooter western IndianaSuper Moderators Posts: 14,620 moderator
    edited April 19, 2006
    Waxy, the beauty of Av mode is that you CAN add fill flash and if you dial in -2/3 FEC to taste, on the back of the 580ex, you will almost certainly not be able to detect that flash was used to spruce up your image.

    There was a great thread recently here on dgrin - (sorry I do not remember the links right now - googling fill flash on dgrin will probably find them - ) that showed how much better people look with fill flash added when they are backlit by the sun. It used to be almost impossible to do nice fill flash with film cameras - even with modern strobes - but now it is easy as pie, and helps smooth out contrast levels without obviously being due to flash.

    To me, that is one of the real secrets of the 20D, and one reason I prefer it to the 5D sometimes - that little built in flash is really terrible for flash use, but great for fill flash outdoors in the sunlight. Just Av mode and pop up the flash and go.
    Pathfinder - www.pathfinder.smugmug.com

    Moderator of the Technique Forum and Finishing School on Dgrin
  • SamSam San Jose CA Registered Users Posts: 7,419 Major grins
    edited April 19, 2006
    Pathfinder,

    Thank you for your explanation. I still need a lot of practice, but have a better understanding of how the flash works.

    Kick back and have a beer on me, you deserve it!

    Sam
  • pathfinderpathfinder Drive By Digital Shooter western IndianaSuper Moderators Posts: 14,620 moderator
    edited April 19, 2006
    Make it a Molsen, eh??!!
    Pathfinder - www.pathfinder.smugmug.com

    Moderator of the Technique Forum and Finishing School on Dgrin
  • rneugebauerrneugebauer Beginner grinner Registered Users Posts: 5 Beginner grinner
    edited April 21, 2006
    pathfinder wrote:
    Make it a Molsen, eh??!!

    Please order another one on me, too ... I really appreciate the help I got so quickly after asking my question on how to get better results out of my flash/camera combination.

    And I agree that the manual completely hides the information that really counts, or maybe doesn't contain it at all. It explains a lot of things that are pretty obvious, and the simple recipes (like: "For Flash only lighting, use M to control the Aperture, do not use Av") remain a secret to the casual user (and maybe evento those who really try).

    Re. Fill Flash, I have a little corollary question: When I use Fill Flash, the color temperature of the flash often clashes with the ambient light and makes e.g. faces look bluish compared to what one would 'like' to see.

    Does anyone have a 'recipe' for this also? Or is the secret ingredient a warm tone filter taped in front of the flash (I never tried, as I never had anything suitable available to me when I was disappointed with color temterature or skin tones in fill flash situations ...)

    Thanks Pathfinder, thanks everybody

    Rainer
  • pathfinderpathfinder Drive By Digital Shooter western IndianaSuper Moderators Posts: 14,620 moderator
    edited April 21, 2006
    Thanks for the brewsky.:slurp

    Using a warming gel over the flash can be done, but does raise issues with how it blends in the background etc. Not real convenient either.

    Dialing back the flash strength with -FEC helps make it less apparent also.

    I tend to blend in a warming photo filter in post processing in PS, if needed, on the foreground.

    I guess I rally haven't noticed that apparent a color shift, altho it certainly makes sense. I do shoot almost all my images in RAW and can alter WB in RAW conversion.

    As I said, I had forgotten where I learned the details of the EOS flash system and it turns out, it was not from the manuals. :D

    I just noted yesterday that George Lepp, a famous pro, offers a weekend workshop explaining the use of the EOS flash system - that ought to suggest that the manual is not all it should be too. Glad I could be of helpthumb.gif

    I finally found the thread I alluded to about the use of fill flash in sunlight - here it is -

    http://www.dgrin.com/showthread.php?t=31323&highlight=fill+flash
    Pathfinder - www.pathfinder.smugmug.com

    Moderator of the Technique Forum and Finishing School on Dgrin
  • cmasoncmason Old dog, new tricks Raleigh, NCRegistered Users Posts: 2,506 Major grins
    edited May 10, 2006
    I actually discovered the wonders of Av mode and flash outdoors, by reading the manual (go figure). Love, love, love my 430EX for this very reason. Thanks for the explaination, since I now see I have even more options. Here is one result:

    65911306-M.jpg
  • Scott_QuierScott_Quier Lovin' It Registered Users Posts: 6,524 Major grins
    edited May 11, 2006
    cmason wrote:
    I actually discovered the wonders of Av mode and flash outdoors, by reading the manual (go figure). Love, love, love my 430EX for this very reason. Thanks for the explaination, since I now see I have even more options. Here is one result:
    65911306-S.jpg
    Exposure on this is pretty much spot on - I think you have it figured. I need to find me a sucker .... er ... willing model to stand still long enough to do the same thing as I am also in the process of trying to figure out the whole flash thing.
  • pathfinderpathfinder Drive By Digital Shooter western IndianaSuper Moderators Posts: 14,620 moderator
    edited May 11, 2006
    cmason wrote:
    I actually discovered the wonders of Av mode and flash outdoors, by reading the manual (go figure). Love, love, love my 430EX for this very reason. Thanks for the explaination, since I now see I have even more options. Here is one result:

    65911306-M.jpg
    Shooting in AV mode with a flash in ETTL Fill Flash mode does a great job, doesn't it?

    Did you dial in any Flash Exposure Compensation ( + or -) or was this just straight Fill Flash?

    Shooting in Av with flash can be one of the easiest ways to really improve many snapshots.
    Pathfinder - www.pathfinder.smugmug.com

    Moderator of the Technique Forum and Finishing School on Dgrin
  • cmasoncmason Old dog, new tricks Raleigh, NCRegistered Users Posts: 2,506 Major grins
    edited May 11, 2006
    pathfinder wrote:
    Shooting in AV mode with a flash in ETTL Fill Flash mode does a great job, doesn't it?

    Did you dial in any Flash Exposure Compensation ( + or -) or was this just straight Fill Flash?

    Shooting in Av with flash can be one of the easiest ways to really improve many snapshots.

    No Flash comp at all. It was basically a "trust the camera" moment. This one was really not posed, I just got a quick shot in, with little time to prepare: Check the shutter to see it is fast enough for handheld, see if the apeture is ok for desired effect and push the button.

    I think the shirt is a bit blown, but you take what you can get at times.

    On this subject of FEC...when you say FEC, are you referring to the FEC settings on the camera, or on the flash controls as well? Do they do the same thing? I thought that on my 430EX, if I take the flash power down, that was putting the flash in manual mode. Can I reduce the power and still shoot in ETTL-II?
  • pathfinderpathfinder Drive By Digital Shooter western IndianaSuper Moderators Posts: 14,620 moderator
    edited May 11, 2006
    cmason wrote:
    No Flash comp at all. It was basically a "trust the camera" moment. This one was really not posed, I just got a quick shot in, with little time to prepare: Check the shutter to see it is fast enough for handheld, see if the apeture is ok for desired effect and push the button.

    I think the shirt is a bit blown, but you take what you can get at times.

    On this subject of FEC...when you say FEC, are you referring to the FEC settings on the camera, or on the flash controls as well? Do they do the same thing? I thought that on my 430EX, if I take the flash power down, that was putting the flash in manual mode. Can I reduce the power and still shoot in ETTL-II?

    I haven't played with the 430ex enough yet, but I know that on the 580ex you can dial back the fill flash by adjusting it on the back of the flash, and I seem to recall the same ability on the 430ex.

    It just dials the flash exposure that was called for by the ambient lighting and camera settings back or forward in 1/3 stop intervals dialed on the back of the flash. It should show something like -2/3 or +1 1/3 FEC

    This should have no effect on the background illumination in Av mode, as that is metered by the camera and set by the ambient brightness.
    Pathfinder - www.pathfinder.smugmug.com

    Moderator of the Technique Forum and Finishing School on Dgrin
  • USAIRUSAIR Picking and Grinning Registered Users Posts: 2,646 Major grins
    edited May 12, 2006
  • cmasoncmason Old dog, new tricks Raleigh, NCRegistered Users Posts: 2,506 Major grins
    edited May 12, 2006
    USAIR wrote:
    Heres another link that might help Fill Flash Cheat Sheet

    Fred

    Nice article, thanks!
  • iyacyasiyacyas Gig 'em Registered Users Posts: 13 Big grins
    edited June 2, 2006
    diffuser?
    Pathfinder, if i could tack on a question to your thread above (and thanks in advance as it's been helpful to remind me of a few things...)

    when you're using the 580ex, do you ever use the built in diffuser when usign it for fill flash and/or perhaps a stofen diffuser at all?

    Im curious fo the best way to use the diffusers appropriately but, not sure which is best and, if the stofen , how to reliabley compensate for the difference in the outpaut of the flash.

    (just looking for general thoughts here which this thread sparked my curiousity, dont' ahve any specific example to give but, can always make the excuse to go out tomorrow and shoot a few!)

    Cheers,

    Michael
  • pathfinderpathfinder Drive By Digital Shooter western IndianaSuper Moderators Posts: 14,620 moderator
    edited June 11, 2006
    iyacyas wrote:
    Pathfinder, if i could tack on a question to your thread above (and thanks in advance as it's been helpful to remind me of a few things...)

    when you're using the 580ex, do you ever use the built in diffuser when usign it for fill flash and/or perhaps a stofen diffuser at all?

    No, I don't use the diffuser, generally up to 24mm wide with a full frame camera. If I was using a 16mm focal length, I probably would use the built-in diffuser.

    I do use the diffuser pulled out straight up and not folded down over the front of the strobe if the strobe is at 45 degrees sonmetimes as a little white card to bounce the light off to get a better catchlight in the eyes though. You may need a little -FEC for this trick. Shoot in Manual mode will let you choose the aperture and shutter speed needed here.

    I gave my Stofen away, too much hassel to put on and off. It usually worked fine.

    Now, if I need a diffuser, I use one of Gary Fong's Lightsperes. I use the Lightsphere II PJ. You will get a lot of strange looks, but it does give a nice soft light. I usually do not notice the decrease in output of the flash with a diffuser, because I am trying to balance flash with ambient light most of the time. If it is very dark, and flash is the only light, then you may have to raise your ISO as needed, but if you shoot in Manual mode you get to choose fstop, shutter speed, and ISO so this is not usually a problem if the ISO is raised enough. On the 5D, even ISO 1600 gives great looking images.

    The diffusers are not as necessary if the light is going to be bounced off a ceiling or a wall. The problem is churches with a very high ceiling that precludes using bounce flash. That is where the diffusers come into play.

    If I don't have a diffuser, sometime I tape a white 3x5 card to the top/back of the strobe head and set the strobe at 45 degrees and effectively bounce the light off the 3x5 card. Or even a hanky at times can be pulled into service.

    Just remember, if you cannpt shoot in Av mode because the ambient lighting is too dark, shoot in Manual mode and balance the flash and ambient light that way. The aperture determines the amount of flash exposure, and the shutter speed determines how much ambient iight is imaged.

    It takes a little practice to remember the benefits of flash lighting. I was recently shooting in Monument Valley, in broad daylight, shooting through windows in the rocks. I had shot several shots through various apertures of trees, bushes, rocks when I realized I needed to be using fill flash as some of the foreground frames I was shooting through, were in the shade, and significantly darker than the subject in the distance seen through the frame. Av Fill flash to the rescue. You cannot see the flash, but it is here in both images. Without it, Dan Chee's face would be totally without detail!

    [imgr]http://Pathfinder.smugmug.com/photos/72154826-M.jpg[/imgr]72154748-M.jpg
    Pathfinder - www.pathfinder.smugmug.com

    Moderator of the Technique Forum and Finishing School on Dgrin
Sign In or Register to comment.