I am SO confused with these new monolights.

Discussion in 'Photography Beginners' Forum' started by AlejandroHernandez, Nov 1, 2007.

  1. AlejandroHernandez

    AlejandroHernandez TPF Noob!

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    Ok my first monolights arrived today and after 1 hour trying to set up a softbox (it had no instructions) I turn on the monolights and get ready to take the first shot.

    I have a Canon 350D.

    Here's what I don't understand:
    First of all i have no external flash/slave flash or whatever you call them. I only have the buil-in flash. Then I worried, because i said "oh my god i need something more". So, the built-in flash doesn't work? I take the shot, the camera flash fires but the monolights just make a beep and that's all. When i use the "test" button it fires well but i don't know what's going on here, i really don't understand.
     
  2. Big Mike

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

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    You need something to connect the camera to the lights. You should only need to connect to one of them, the others 'should' have built in triggers to make them fire when they see the first one fire.

    You can't use your built-in flash for this because it fires a pre-flash for metering...the pre-flash may trigger the lights, and they won't be able to fire again when your flash fires a second time.

    I don't know for sure, but I don't think that the 350D has a PC port. It would be a little round socket on the side, with a flash icon on the rubber cover.

    It's OK if it doens't...you can use an adaptor on the hot shoe.

    You can get something like THIS which goes onto the hot shoe of your camera. Then you use a PC cord to conned the camera to one of the strobe units. I would think that your lights would have come with a cord...but if you need to buy one...you need to make sure it has the right connection to plug into the lights.

    What I do, is to use a wireless radio transmitter like THIS. The sending unit goes onto the hot shoe of the camera and the receiver uses a small cord and plugs into the light.
     
  3. AlejandroHernandez

    AlejandroHernandez TPF Noob!

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    Ok i was testing and found out that the monolights work when i use the built-in flash. Great. So now the problem is that the image looks like all those nasty flash pictures, i see no difference. Maybe changing the flash exposure compensation? or use some kind of diffuser for the in-camera flash? I really don't like the results. Maybe i should've sticked with tungsten lighting.
     
  4. Johnboy2978

    Johnboy2978 No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Well, you may need to study up on studio lighting and experiement with them before you give up on them. Just plugging them in doesn't automatically produce amazing results by itself. First thing I did when I got mine was to sit down and do some calculations using the guide numbers to determine how far they should be from the subject and with what aperture, shutter speed and ISO to produce a balanced exposure since I don't use a light meter. Get a couple of books on the subject and learn what you can do with them.
     
  5. Big Mike

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

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    If you are trying to mix on-camera flash with your strobes...you are only going to give yourself headaches. The built-in flash uses a pre-flash and TTL (through the lens) metering. The camera can't measure the studio lights the same way.

    When using studio lights, the camera should be in M mode and it's probably best if you turn off the built in flash.
     
  6. Puma

    Puma TPF Noob!

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    .

    Are these the flashes that wedding photographers sometimes use? I have seen a flash that kind of looks like a sort of beacon set up on a 10 foot pole that goes off remotely somehow when it senses the flash of the camera.

    I am looking to get into wedding photography so I have been iterested in finding out what these are. I own a dj company and was just going to wait until I do my next wedding to see if the photographer has one.

    -Puma-

    .
     
  7. Zatodragon

    Zatodragon TPF Noob!

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    Look into getting a book about setting up studio lighting. There's a lot of information to cover from light placement, to setting the camera up, and the effects of single or multiple lights.

    I don't know if your canon is able to adjust the flash, but see if you can't manually control the flash power threw the menu. That will make sure your on-camera flash doesn't pollute your lighting.

    Also, if you have a camera store close and your monolights do have a slave sensor, you might try picking up a IR trigger that plugs right into the hot shoe and they run about 30 bucks.

    Good luck!
     
  8. Mike Jordan

    Mike Jordan TPF Noob!

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    Did you get a flash meter? If you didn't it will be a bit more problematic to get a correct exposure... still possible, just takes a bit more work. And you will need to learn how to use another feature on your camera, the histogram.

    And it will be better if you get a hotshoe to PC adapter and a 15' PC cable to connect between it and one of your strobes.

    If you didn't get a flash meter and you get it worked out so that you can consistantly get your strob to flash, set your camera on Manual at it's fastest sync speed (probably about 1/125th but it could be slower or faster for that camera) and your shutter at f8. set your light up and get an object or subject to shoot. Take a picture. Look at your histogram (don't go by the display for anything other than just a rough guide). You will see a row of data with spikes in it. Don't worry about spikes, they aren't really important for exposure. Look at where the data is though. If it's all to the right side, you are over exposing, so close down your fstop one stop. If it's all on the left side, you are under exposing, so open up your fstop one stop. Shot again. Keep adjusting till the data is in the middle. Ideally you will want data spread out just touching the left side and the right side, but it could also be a more narrower blob of data that is not near the left or right. The idea is to get it evening spread in the middle of the histogram. If you can do this by adjusting your exposure, you will be close to having the exposure dialed in. You might have to go to half stops or even 1/3rd stops (if that camera does 1/3rd) to fine tune the exposure.

    Even if you have flash meter, the histogram can help you see how your exposure is and let you tweak it while shooting.

    Mike
     
  9. JerryPH

    JerryPH No longer a newbie, moving up!

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  10. AlejandroHernandez

    AlejandroHernandez TPF Noob!

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    Ok, thank you all for the info.

    So I have to buy an external flash. I saw the Speedlite 220EX, will it work?

    What i understood is that the external flash must fire first and after a few seconds the monolights fire? Do i have to use the sync cord? I have 2 monolights.
     
  11. Mike Jordan

    Mike Jordan TPF Noob!

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    No, you don't need to buy an external flash if you get a sync cord. The sync cord will connect from your camera to one of the flashes, which your camera will set off. If you have slave units on the flashes the first one that fires will set off the other almost instantaniously. It's fast enough that your camera only sees one flash and not 2 seperate ones.

    The external flash is good if you want to not have a cord running from your camera. You can put the external flash in your hot shoe, aim it up at the ceiling or put a card in front of it to direct the light away from your subject so it's light won't be part of your exposure and the slave sensors on the strobes should flash at the same time your external flash does. It really is a very fast reaction between flashes like that.

    All you need for an external flash is one big enough to produce enough light to set off the slave on the strobes. I use to use a little micro flash (about half the size of a deck of cards) that I got as a freebie. It put out about 1 candle power of flash power but it was enough to set off the strobes via the slave sensor. So if you can find a small cheapie, give it a try.

    Mike
     
  12. AlejandroHernandez

    AlejandroHernandez TPF Noob!

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    ooh ok. My monolights have 2 PC sync cables. What do i need then? My camera doesn't has that port so i guess i need some kind of adapter, is this adapter able to fire both monolights with only one sync cord or do i have to buy a multi-adapter?. I don't care about the cables i just need to end this problem.

    This is the kit:
    http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/402654-REG/Impact__2_Monolight_Kit_.html
     

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