E-TTL and Manual flash modes

Discussion in 'Beyond the Basics' started by MarcusM, Mar 26, 2008.

  1. MarcusM

    MarcusM TPF Noob!

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    I have been doing some reading using the search function, but I'm still trying to learn my 430EX and the basics of using external flash.

    I read my manual but it did not explain E-TTL very well. According to Big Mike's quote from another thread, from what I understand, E-TTL is basically the Automatic mode for the flash. Is that an accurate statement?:

    I did some test shots in Manual Mode varying the power of the flash and I could not tell a difference in brightness from one exposure to the next. Does anyone know why this might be?

    I'm still having a lot of trouble grasping all the features of my 430EX even after reading the manual. Does anyone know any websites that explain external flash really well?
     
  2. Village Idiot

    Village Idiot No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    What was in manual mode? The flash and the camera?

    You have to keep the aperture static and adjust the flash power. You can tell a difference. When taking pictures with a flash, the aperture controls how much light the flash lets in, not the shutter speed. The shutter speed just adjust ambient.

    Using a flash means you're getting two exposures in one.

    Try again and post some examples. Take a picture at 1/250 @ f/5.6 with the flash @ 1/4 power then move the flash up to 1/2 and finally 1/1. If everything is in manual, you will see a difference.
     
  3. Big Mike

    Big Mike I am Big, I am Mike Staff Member Supporting Member

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    So you had the flash in manual mode (not just the camera)?

    I just did a test with mine. I set the flash to manual mode (pushed the 'Mode' button). First I shot at 1/1...it was really bright. Then I tried again with the flash set to 1/4, and then set to 1/64....each time, the image was darker.

    Now, if you had the flash set to E-TTL mode and the camera in manual mode....you will get pretty much the same results when varying the aperture or shutter speed. The flash (in E-TTL) will match it's output to the aperture that you have set. So if you use F2.0, the flash might use low power....if you set F16, the flash will have to put out a lot more power, but the exposure will be the same. That's E-TTL.
    You can alter the flash exposure by changing the FEC (Flash Exposure Compensation).

    I've got the perfect link for you....it's often called the 'EOS Flash Bible' and it's got more info than you will want to read. http://photonotes.org/articles/eos-flash/
     
  4. MarcusM

    MarcusM TPF Noob!

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    Both were in manual mode.

    I think that really makes a lot of sense now. So shutter speed really has nothing to do with allowing the light from the flash in up to the camera's maximum flash sync?

    I will try this tonight and post the results. Should the camera and flash both be on manual? Thanks.
     
  5. Big Mike

    Big Mike I am Big, I am Mike Staff Member Supporting Member

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    That's exactly right. The flash fires very quickly...maybe 1/10,000 of a second...so the shutter speed doesn't affect the flash exposure. What the shutter speed does do, is affect the ambient exposure (as mentioned, flash photography is actually two exposures in one, flash & ambient). You can test this out by shooting (a person or something) in a somewhat dark room or outside before it gets really dark. Keep the aperture the same (& flash the same) and change the shutter speed and watch how the background changes.
    To do your testing, yes...put both the camera and flash in manual mode.
     
  6. MarcusM

    MarcusM TPF Noob!

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    Wow, thanks for the link. This looks like just what I've been needing. I've got some reading to do.
     
  7. JamesF

    JamesF TPF Noob!

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    I have a question which is kind of related...

    Do Canon flashes offer an off-camera wireless TTL function like Nikons Creative Lighting System?
     
  8. Village Idiot

    Village Idiot No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Yes. You either have to have a 580EX on camera or attached via sync cable as a master or an ST-E2 ir transmitter on camera to control the flashes.
     
  9. JerryPH

    JerryPH No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Yes, I believe so. Its called an ET-2 (ES-2?), or something similar? The only thing is that it is not integrated into the camera like the Nikon's CLS is.
     
  10. Village Idiot

    Village Idiot No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Ha, beat you to it...and even got the model number right. :greenpbl:
     
  11. Big Mike

    Big Mike I am Big, I am Mike Staff Member Supporting Member

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    Canon's off camera system uses an IR signal to trigger slave flashes with a master. As mentioned, the master can be either the 580EX (or 550EX) or the ST-E2. The ST-E2 is a master control only, and not a flash...and it's still a few hundred dollars...so I would rather have the 580EX.

    The IR signal work fairly well when inside, where it can bounce around. However, it's known for being less than reliable when used outdoors and especially in the bright sun.
    This is one reason why many photographers prefer to use radio triggers like the Pocket Wizards...as per the Strobist.
     
  12. JerryPH

    JerryPH No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    :lol::lol:
     

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