Monolight with Canon SL1

Discussion in 'Canon Accessories' started by cmc800, May 22, 2015.

  1. cmc800

    cmc800 TPF Noob!

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    I'm fairly new to photography. I just got a Canon SL1 and three speedlites including two Canon 550EX lights and a 430EX light. I have the speedlites working via a Canon ST-E2 transmitter that sits on top of the camera. I am now thinking of getting some monolights. First, do I need to connect the monolight to the camera by a cord or can it be set off by the ST-E2? And if I do need to connect via cord, do I need to get a hot shoe adapter TTL Hot Shoe Adapter Base for Canon Fovitec since I understand the SL1 doesn't have a PC sync port? If so, this confuses me because the ST-E2 sits on top of the camera and I understand that the hot shoe adapter also sits on top of the camera. Last question - will I be able to operate the monolight with the ST-E2? If not, how is this done? Thanks.


     
  2. Derrel

    Derrel Mr. Rain Cloud

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    Turning on the monolight's optical slave trigger should allow it to fire and synchronize with the speedlights...at the speed of light.
     
  3. cmc800

    cmc800 TPF Noob!

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    Thanks! Do you think the ST-E2 would be able to control the monolight like it does with the speedlites or would I probably need a cord to the PC sync port for that to work?
     
  4. Derrel

    Derrel Mr. Rain Cloud

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    Most monolights are controlled, meaning power adjusted, modeling light adjusted for power or tracking, etc., by hard switches on the back of the light unit itself, so no, I do not think you will be able to control the light remotely, only synchronize it with the Canon speedlights. I don't know for sure though. Maybe it's possible there is a monolight you have in mind that *is* able to handle remote commander adjustment.

    Monolight flash units have long been available, and there are some that can be commanded using various remotes, but there are many more models that just use hard switches/dials/sliders for their control features.
     
  5. cmc800

    cmc800 TPF Noob!

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    Thanks! I really appreciate the info and this is very helpful!
     
  6. Derrel

    Derrel Mr. Rain Cloud

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    One thing you might run into. Most monolights have a simple yet good built-in slave that will "see" TTL pre-flashes, and will thus trigger the monolight too early, before the ACTUAL TTL flash pop occurs. In fact, this is **the** most common question I have seen here over the last five years, regarding mixing speedlights and monolights: "Why is my monolight not firing?" and variants of that...very,very common issue. There ARE some accessory slave triggers that can be hooked up to a monolight's PC outlet via a cable, and which will "ignore" TTL pre-flashes.

    However...that's kind of a bad approach, since one, or two NON-TTL, outside-the-equation monolights can easily provide two,four,eight,or sixteen times more light than say, a pair of 580 EX-II flashes provide. SInce you mentioned that you're new to photography, I figure I ought to tell you straight up: once more than ONE flash is used, the value of TTL and the wisdom of using TTL flash metering and control drops off exceptionally fast. Multi-flash lighting setups are traditionally built on ratioed outputs between a single Key, or Main light; a fill light; a hair light; and accent light; a background light, or even two background lights.

    Basically, TTL is both a flash output or power control technology, and by default, also a light metering technology. If there is auxillary flash power that will be added AFTER the TTL pre-flash, the results can unreliable. So...you might consider that TTL speedlights + monolight flash is not really a seamless fit. Think about controlling the flashes using fractional power settings, so that YOU determine how much power each light needs to be set to for the lighting effect **you** create, through power level settings.
     
  7. cmc800

    cmc800 TPF Noob!

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    Thanks Derrel! There is so much info to consider that you would never even realize if someone didn't mention it so I really appreciate the guidance. I now wonder if I should be using speedlites at all if the moonlight will be so much more powerful. I do feel like the speedlites aren't accomplishing a lot as far as producing very noticeable light output but I love using them and they're so light and convenient and easy to move around, etc. Do you think mixing speedlites and moonlights is a bad idea? Or if it's ok to do but needs some modification, do you have any suggestions on how that could best be resolved or do you know if there are any links or videos you would recommend for figuring out how to avoid the pre-flash issue from the moonlight?
     
  8. cmc800

    cmc800 TPF Noob!

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    Also, you mention a solution being using fractional power settings so I can determine who much power each light needs but wouldn't that still leave the pre-flash issue unresolved?
     

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