"Strobist" Help for Canon User

Discussion in 'Beyond the Basics' started by K8-90, Oct 31, 2009.

  1. K8-90

    K8-90 TPF Noob!

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    I've read through Strobist, watched the tutorials. I've googled and researched, searched the forums, but I just don't get it!

    I think I've decided that the to take my photography up a level, I'm going to need to learn proper lighting techniques.

    I would really love and appreciate some help figuring out exactly what equipment I need for an off-camera setup, to be used with my Canon rebel. I'd love to be able to have "on-location" lighting - I'd like to be able to take them with me outside, away from electrical outlets. I thought what I needed was speedlights w/ softboxes and stands (none of which I currently own), but I don't know how to trigger them. I though what I needed was PocketWizards, but I read something along the way that was to the contrary.

    I really appreciate any help I can get. Please excuse my lack of knowledge in this department.
     
  2. Derrel

    Derrel Mr. Rain Cloud

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    The simplest kit is a light stand, an umbrella swivel mounting bracket that fits on the lightstand and accepts a shoe-mount flash on the top, and accepts an umbrella shaft in the middle. IF the speedlight flash has a uilt-in slave, or is fitted with a slave trigger, the camera's own pop-up flash can be set to a low-power manual mode, and the flash burst from the camera's pop-up flash will optically trigger the umbrella-mounted speedlight, literally "at the speed of light".

    The web site FlashZebra.com has slaves, as well as infrared triggering systems, which are similar to Pocket Wizard brand, but much,muchy less costly.

    For off-camera use with umbrellas, maufacturer speedlights like the 430 or 580 series Canon flashes might be considered "overkill" and needlessly expensive compared to old standards like the Vivitar 285HV. SO to recap you need a light stand, an umbrella swivel bracket, an umbrella, and a flash that has either an optical "slave trigger" either built in or added on, and a flash on the camera to trigger the slave. ALternately, you can buy a transmitter and receiver for infrared triggering of the umbrella flash.
     
  3. K8-90

    K8-90 TPF Noob!

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    Thanks, Derrel

    To use the built-in flash as a trigger, do you need to use any specific settings? I think I tried to find that in the manual last time I had my hands on a flash, but didn't find any info on it.

    Thanks for the help!
     
  4. KmH

    KmH Helping photographers learn to fish Supporting Member

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    If you have the right speedlights, they're triggered by the light from the flash, or you can get optical slave units like Darrell mentioned.

    A good way to trigger OCF for location shooting is with radio triggers. Radio triggers work even if the remorte speedlight is around a corner and can't 'see' an optical signal.

    For amateur work there are less expensive alternatives to PocketWizards.

    Look at www.gadgetinfinity.com

    Or, I know some local amateur shooters using Vivitar 285HV's ($90 new) and triggers like these on eBay. I've have a couple of the 285HV's too.
     
  5. Derrel

    Derrel Mr. Rain Cloud

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    K8,
    One problem many people have is trying to trigger a slave-equipped umbrella flash unit using their camera's flash unit with the camera set to Programmed Auto mode or another "automatic" exposure mode. What happens when the camera is set to an automatic exposure mode and the flash is used is the automatic system will send out a very short pre-flash pop,and that "pop" will trigger the remote flash unit(s) that have optical slaves. So, long story short, the pictures are very dark, because the pre-flash trigger the umbrella flash unit,and the pre-flash also adds the exposure of the auxillary flash's output,and the metering system is FLOODED with light, causing the metering system to squelch the camera's flash very early on= very dark picture.

    So, yes, you want to trip a slave-equipped flash with the camera set to a Manual exposure mode, and with a fairly small flash pop,most of the time. Not always do you "want" a small flash burst from your on-camera flash, but you must ALWAYS avoid using a Programmed, or Automatic exposure metering setting when using the camera's flash to trigger an off-camera flash equipped with a slave trigger. You want to control the camera's shutter speed and the camera's f/stop, and so Manual mode allows you to control f/stop and shutter speed, and a manual, low-power flash pop like a 1/8 power (set via the flash output menu or by dialing in heavy Negative Flash Compensation) ) flash pop is usually enough to trigger an optical slave at up to 50-100 feet away.

    So---umbrella mounted remote flash--use low-power on-camera flash to trigger slaved flash--camera always set to Manual shutter speed and manually selected f/stop = good results.
     
  6. Big Mike

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

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    I would recommend radio slaves over optical slaves...especially if you are going to be shooting outdoors.

    If you haven't yet, read the 'Lighting 101' section on Strobist.

    HERE is a kit that will give you everything you need to get started.
     
  7. KmH

    KmH Helping photographers learn to fish Supporting Member

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    To bad the light stands in those kits are only 6 foot.
     
  8. Big Mike

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

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    I'm sure they would be able to swap out the 6' stand for a bigger one.
     
  9. sincere

    sincere TPF Noob!

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    I have this 430EXII and i was wondering if i could integrate it in such a kit?
     
  10. Dao

    Dao No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Will your flash go to sleep after a short period of time of inactivity? I know my older Canon flash will go to sleep and the trigger could not wake it up. (The flash can be waked up by the camera if mounted on the camera directly)
     
  11. Shelly1204

    Shelly1204 TPF Noob!

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    WOW, what a great marketing idea! Clever kit. Go MPEX!
     
  12. Goontz

    Goontz TPF Noob!

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    I was confused until I realized how old your post was. They must have had many requests for taller ones, because they now include an 8.5' stand.
     

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