Firing Multiple Flashes

Discussion in 'Beyond the Basics' started by GwagDesigns, May 11, 2008.

  1. GwagDesigns

    GwagDesigns TPF Noob!

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    I was recently watching a video on Joe McNally, and how he uses multiple flashes when he works due to their portability. My question is, is what he does possible with Canon? i know you cant fire a strobe with the cameras flash like you can with nikon, the ST-E2 doesn't support rear curtain sync as far as i know, and only supports two channels (A, B) and the 580 can support 3. few other questions, can the 580 activate the flashes on the different channels while not firing itself? I was also looking into pocket wizards, but id need a pc sync cable to connect them to the flash? and do they support Ettl? I guess im a real fan of Joe's lighting and want to be able to do the same thing with canon.
     
  2. Sw1tchFX

    Sw1tchFX TPF Noob!

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    you can do anything with everything, granted there's enough power.


    Nikon's CLS is really something special, letting all the flash control come from the camera optically, even TTL.

    I don't know how canon's mock-up works, but I haven't heard anything good about it for the most part. I see a ton of Nikon shooters work with CLS exclusively, even for sports, including myself, but I haven't seen any canon shooters use anything but ebay triggers and pocket wizards.

    PW's and poverty wizards work via radio and with that force you yo make all your lighting adjustments on the flash itself instead of the camera like Nikons.

    Radio poppers retain TTL (you never really want to use that when strobes are off camera anyway), but they're just as tricky as PW's to set up, if not more.


    The one time i saw a canon shooter set up his 580 for wireless, it took him a long time because of how many hoops he needed to jump through.

    Personally, if I shot canon, I wouldn't bother fussing with ETTL because i've never seen it work, and pocket wizards aren't that tricky, and they're much more reliable than iTTL or ETTL.
     
  3. Big Mike

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

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    Canon E-TTL works just fine...but it can, at times, be a little tricky. Manual flash will be consistent...but it takes more time/experience to set it up.

    If you are looking at starting a system, I wouldn't recommend the ST-E2. As you seem to already know, it's not as functional as the 580EX is as a master...and the 580EX has the advantage of being a flash.

    You can always set the master flash 'not to fire'. It's one of the custom functions.

    Pocket Wizards do not support E-TTL...they only tell the flash when to fire...so it's manual flash control all the way. If you want to go that route, you could save money by going with off-brand flash units rather than Canon units. That being said, many pro shooters go with Canon flash units and PWs...then they still have the option of using them on-camera (or off) with E-TTL.
    Yes, with PWs, you would need a connection cable at the camera and at the flash.

    There is a new product/option on the market called 'Radio Popper'. It piggy backs the system's wireless signal and transmits it via radio waves. So you can have the advantage of radio triggers (range and reliability) and still keep the benefits of the native system (E-TTL, HSS etc). You would need to buy these in addition to the Canon flash units...so it's not a cheap option.

    As mentioned, you can do anything with anything. Don't get too caught up in brand names and who uses what. It's much more about control and knowledge of light.
     
  4. Village Idiot

    Village Idiot No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Or Cactus triggers, or skyports, or any other radio trigger....

    And a lot of people choose to use manual over TTL for a greater deal of control and consistancy across the bored as far as exposures go. Keep in mind, TTL is a function only for speed lights. Alien Bees, Elinhrom, Pro Foto, etc... are all "studio" strobes that don't offer TTL and probably never will. Even sports photographers use these high powered strobes in their venues with Pocket Wizards...

    I plug the cord into my Pocket Wizard PII, I plug the other end into the flash, I turn the PW on. Very tricky :roll:

    Or he didn't know what he was doing. Once you actually learn the system, it doesn't take any time at all.

    You obviously haven't seen a lot of peopel use it then. There's wedding shooters that shoot Canon TTL. Furthermore, I wouldn't call Nikon's CLS system super reliable. Go outside and try and shoot in sunny conditions at 50' away. I was at a shoot where we were shooting a couple at the top of a water fall that was probably about 50'+ away. No wireless TTL going on there. In fact, the only way to reliably use TTL wirelessly in those conditions is going with the Radio Poppers...

    Mis-information FTMFW.
     
  5. Village Idiot

    Village Idiot No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Most of his work is done with Pocket Wizards iirc. Even David Hobby, the creator of the strobist blog prefers using them over CLS. He did have a set of Radio Poppers he was playing with and they were working really well, but learning the nuances of how to properly set your flash power to match your camera settings and ratios and proper lighting will benefit you greater than letting the camera do all that for you.

    Pocket Wizards are the industry standard, but if you don't have the money to blow and want a reliable alternative, check out Elinchrom's Skyports. They're $185ish for a transmitter and receiver, as opposed to the PW's $180 for one transceiver. Basically half the price. If you do have the money, look into the PW's or the Radio Poppers if you truly want to retain TTL. The down side to the Poppers though is that they fire strictly via TTL, so you can't use them with non TTL capable strobes or speed lights, which means 90% of the flashes out there.
     
  6. Mike_E

    Mike_E No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Do yourself a HUGE favor and take an afternoon to learn how to use manual flash!

    And if you want to be BOTB, get and use a flash meter.

    mike
     
  7. Sw1tchFX

    Sw1tchFX TPF Noob!

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    de-constructing every little part of posts is such an annoying way to post.


    Cactus triggers = ebay triggers. I haven't seen canon shooters with other triggers besides those and PW's.



    right, but we're not talking about mono lights or strobes with power packs. Nikon's CLS isn't TTL-only, you can adjust your strobes manual power from the camera itself when lights are off the hot shoe.



    Hand someone who just started using off camera flash a pair of pocket wizards and see if they'll just be able to instantly be able to connect them as if it's as easy as walking. Not everyone may be as intuitive of a learner as you. :roll:



    I can agree with that, however he said that setting up wasn't as easy as CLS.


    Like I said, radio triggers are generally more reliable then CLS or the equiv.

    50' in broad daylight is totally unreasonable for a system such as CLS, the shooter should have known the limitations, before setting up and wasting time trying to get a system that has difficulty working under conditions such as those. It's even more difficult when using the pop up flash as the commander.

    CLS is an amazing system, but it's not the end-all-be-all lighting system.
     
  8. Rhys

    Rhys TPF Noob!

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    Back in the old days, I used a single Metz 45 CT1 and always had it on full blast. I calculated my exposures by adjusting the aperture according to the distance. I did the calculations in my head.

    Now I use a Canon camera I find I have to use Canon flashes.

    My findings -
    for fill-light ETTL works just fine.
    for a main light, ETTL screws up badly, giving normally 1.5 - 2 stops of under exposure whether it's camera mounted or to the side with an STE-2 controller.

    Maybe it's just me but I'm not that impressed - I much preferred my Metz 45!
     
  9. Village Idiot

    Village Idiot No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    And this means what? I have. There's more than PW's and "ebay triggers". Go to www.photography-on-the.net and you'll find plenty of people that use other alternatives. In fact, Skyports are extremely popular.

    Sunpak, Vivitar, Phoenix, Metz, etc... All companies that make non TTL speed lights that people use.

     

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