2nd curtain sync?


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Apr 28, 2009
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I've started doing some night photography of friends who spin fire.

I'd like to pick up an entry-level flash and a cactus system to get some off-camera lighting. However, I want to set the flash to 2nd Curtain Sync. I was looking at the Sunpak PZ42X for $150. However, their website says that it won't sync with the 2nd curtain on Canon cameras.

I have a 50D. Is there a workaround? Can someone suggest a better flash in the $150 price range?
I can't confirm if it would work...but I do know that setting first or 2nd curtain sync is done in the camera's menu. So theoretically, it should work with any flash.

Ah, but now that I think about it. That might not be true because flash output is mainly controlled by the duration of the flash burst...and while the camera has a dedicated flash, it will know how long that flash needs, so it can start the flash with enough time for it to finish before the shutter closes.
But if you had a manual, un-dedicated flash, it wouldn't know how long the flash will take, so it would be risky to just fire it at the end of the exposure...so it would need to fire at the start, to ensure adequate time.
I don't know if that's actually the case, but it seems to make sense at the moment. :er:
With no flash attached, the 50D won't let the user access the "External Flash Settings." I imagine if I put a Cactus on there, it will just view it as a manual flash with no E-TTL info. Maybe the best option is optical triggering, and then I'll have two flashes, the on-camera and the external.
Now that I think about it more, and I realize I'm having this conversation with myself, the optical trigger won't work because with 2nd curtain sync, the on-board flash fires twice: once before the trigger opens for metering, and once at the end. When it fires the first time, that will trigger the slave, and the slave won't recycle fast enough for the 2nd flash?

Unless I set the slave to a lower power setting???
Yes, that is the problem with optical slave triggers. Although, there are some optical triggers that can be set to ignore the preflash.
Okay, I think I've got it sussed. I'm gonna give the Yonguo 560 a shot, and use it as a manual flash. I can pick up a cheapie-cheap stand, umbrella, clamp, and a cactus system, too, and the whole package will be around $200.

The 560 does have a mode that allows it to ignore preflash. Even if it doesn't work perfectly, for $200, I can afford to regret small mistakes.
You could always try the Ettl flash cords from Flash Zebra, it's cheaper than buying PWs.

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