Help with portable soft box!

Discussion in 'Beyond the Basics' started by nsupanda, Nov 7, 2009.

  1. nsupanda

    nsupanda TPF Noob!

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    I purchased this item:

    Morris | Soft Box - 15x18" | 32600 | B&H Photo Video

    I cannot for the life of me figure this thing out. I will admit, I'm a complete idiot when it comes to artificial lighting (I am only accustomed to natural up until this point). I recently purchased a Canon 580ex II and I wanted this softbox because it said it was an "on camera" softbox. I cannot for the life of me figure out how to attach it to my camera's flash. There is a shoe mount on it, but if I mount the flash to the softbox's shoe mount, then how in the world does my flash mount to my camera? And if the flash is not supposed to mount to my camera at this point, then how does the flash know when to "flash"???

    You can laugh at me and call me names, but please help me. I'm pretty much desperate at this point and I have nobody to ask. If there is something else I needed to buy, or if it's not intended to even be mounted on my camera please let me know.
     
  2. Big Mike

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

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    I think it may have been in the wrong section...This isn't meant for on-camera use...it's just too big.

    That may be a good thing...because getting the flash off the camera is the #1 way to improve your lighting.

    So in order to fire the flash when it's off camera, you need some way to trigger it. You could use a cord to go from the camera to the flash, or you could use a wireless system.

    Canon flash units have a built-in wireless system, but you would need a 'master unit' on the camera, to control the 'slave' unit off-camera. A master could be another 580 flash or the ST-E2. This system allows you to control the slave, from the master. It also allows you to keep the auto flash metering (E-TTL) just like the flash is on the camera.
    The problem with this system, is that it uses light pulses or IR to communicate...so if the flashes can't see each other, it may not work. And outside in the sun is also bad for communication.

    A 'better' system is radio. Radio waves don't need line-of-sight to work, so it's a much better communication. However, with most radio triggers, you can only fire the flash, not control it....so you have to set the power manually (no E-TTL).

    So if you want to keep this softbox and use it as an off-camera flash. You might want to get a light stand and an adapter/swivel head to mount the flash/softbox onto. As well as a wireless trigger system.
     
  3. nsupanda

    nsupanda TPF Noob!

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    Well, for my sanity's sake, I think the best thing for me to do right now would be to just use a cord. I don't want to really mess with figuring out all those radio/wireless ways right now. What kind of cord do I need though (what are those cords called)? Also, I already have a shutter release cord plugged into my camera. If I get a cord for the flash unit will I not be able to use my shutter release cord anymore? I guess what I'm asking now is will the cord be plugged into my "video out" female on my camera?

    I want to keep the softbox and now I plan on buying a light stand and the swivel/adapter thing. Thanks so much for your information Mike, you are always a big help to me! There are absolutely no camera or lighting stores where I live so I feel like I have to depend on the internet for help and supplies.
     
  4. RyanLilly

    RyanLilly No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    You can use one of 2 cords, Either a generic "PC cord" that plugs into the small round jack on your flash, and the same type of jack on your camera, usually indicated by a little lightning bolt, however some cameras do not have a sync port so a "hotshoe to PC" adapter. This method only triggers the flash, there is no metering communication, so you need to set the flash power manually.

    Alternately you can get a "TTL flash cable." This type of cord has all 5 of the contacts on your hotshoe, so it allows all of the flashes functions including metering to operate normally as if the flash were on the camera. TTL cords tend to be pricey, especially for canon branded, pc cords are pretty cheap and there are adapters to use pretty much any cable that you would like(audio cables, houshold extension cords, etc...

    Check out FlashZebra.com, and Midwest Photo Exchange Specializing in Off Camera Lighting, New and Used Photographic Cameras, Lighting, Printers, Medium and Large Format for a start.
     
  5. CrazyCanuck

    CrazyCanuck TPF Noob!

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    just gonna toss this out there on the off chance you haven't heard of it, but Strobist is a really good resource for off camera lighting info.
     
  6. Big Mike

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

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    You haven't mentioned what camera you have. Some have a PC flash sync port, some don't. (it's not the same as the remote shutter release)

    If you don't have it, you would need a hot-shoe adapter like THIS.

    I really would recommend a radio trigger set, it's not that complicated.
    THIS is a cheap set. It works but may not be 100% reliable.
    THIS is a better system, but more expensive.
     

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