Speedlite 580EX II Question

Discussion in 'Photography Beginners' Forum' started by nsupanda, Aug 20, 2009.

  1. nsupanda

    nsupanda TPF Noob!

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    I am a beginner external flasher :lol:

    Anyway, I have recently purchased the Canon Speedlite 580EX II and have been teaching myself how to use it. I've been reading the guides and searching online and I have taught myself the basics and I love practicing on it.

    I've also been wanting a continuous light source and was wondering if the Speedlite can be set up to do that. If not, can you suggest one? Thanks!
     
  2. Big Mike

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

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    A flash unit works by storing electricity and releasing into the bulb/tube to create a burst of light...something like the equivalent of 100,000 watts of regular incandescent lighting. So no, you can't use it as a constant light source.

    Although, I do believe it has a 'modeling lamp' feature where it pulses the light continuously for a second or two. But that really eats the batteries and isn't for shooting with.

    Why do you want a continuous light source?
     
  3. nsupanda

    nsupanda TPF Noob!

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    Just to practice with, and to see what can be done with it. Like I said, I'm new to external flashes and want to experiment with different kinds. Thanks for the information though!
     
  4. astrostu

    astrostu I shoot for the stars

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    You can set it to pulse, but it has a maximum amount of time it can pulse because of the heat build-up.
     
  5. musicaleCA

    musicaleCA TPF Noob!

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    You mean Stroboscopic flash. That really won't be any more useful than a single flash unless you're doing something that requires a stroboscopic effect. And besides, it also runs-down the battery, and can't be used nearly as often as a single pop because of, as you noted, heat. Just don't even try to use your 580 as a continuous source of light. It wasn't made for that.

    If you want a continuous light source, go buy a work lamp from Rona or something. ;)
     
  6. nsupanda

    nsupanda TPF Noob!

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    Thanks! I will look into that!
     
  7. Big Mike

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

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    Continuous lighting can be easier, mainly because you can actually see what the light is doing. With flash, it's such a short burst, we can't actually see the results (thank goodness for digital cameras).

    The big trade off is exposure time. With continuous lights, the shutter speed is one of the main factors of the exposure (along with lens aperture and ISO). So if you don't have a lot of light and/or a large aperture, it can be hard to get a fast shutter speed....and if your shutter speed is too slow, you can get blur from the motion of the camera or subject.

    With flash, the burst is much faster than the shutter speed....and that burst will often freeze any movement. Thus, it's a lot easier to get sharp shots of moving subjects (like people) with flash than with constant lighting.
     
  8. icassell

    icassell TPF Noob!

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    I think that for the beginner, fixed lights can offer a great learning experience. You can see what's happening as you move the lights around. Even if you shoot the image with the flash, you can get an idea of the proper setup with the fixed lights (I use a couple of cheap worklights I bought from Home Depot).
     

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