Black bottom of photos issue

Zeke_Wolf

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Hello...

I am relatively new to photography. I have a degree in video, but photography is a new aspect for me. I have a Canon 60d and I have a Neewer TT 560 Speedlite flash. One of my biggest issues is that I get black at the bottom of the screen and sometimes my flash won't connect to my flash and it comes out really dark (I am aware that the Canon 60d sucks at picking up light).

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I have tried to research Canon 60d's picture qualities and researching everything I can on pictures, but I am still confused as to what I am overly doing wrong and nothing really has helped. I know that it is a Shutter Speed issue, but AV mode doesn't have a setting for the shutter speed and when I changed the AEB setting to a positive number it takes a really long time to take the photo and makes it really blurry (which is another issue I am having).

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I am wondering if anyone could help me out with this as I am just stuck on what to do.

After typing this up and testing my camera some more, I was able to get some images working while some still had the black bottom. I just moved my camera (panned 90 degrees) and below is the results.

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I am so confused. Any help on how to alleviate this would be very appreciated.

Thanks! (More images can be attached if needed)
 

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Fujidave

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I use to get the same thing, then I dropped my shutter speed right down and it worked great then.
 

Braineack

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you shutter speed is too high. lower it to 1/200 or slower.

since this is a manual flash, you shouldn't be using a program mode with it, since the camera cannot accurately determine the final exposure.
 

tirediron

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Your shutter speed is set too high. Every camera has a maximum speed at which flash will work properly (This has to do with the way the shutter opens and closes; open doesn't always mean fully open, but not important now). Generally it's 1/250 or slower on modern cameras. Anything below 1/200 should be fine.
 
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Zeke_Wolf

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Since I am in AV mode, I am not able to lower it. Is there a way to lower it in AV mode?
 

Braineack

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Since I am in AV mode, I am not able to lower it. Is there a way to lower it in AV mode?

you shouldn't use AV to shoot with a manual flash. Im actually surprised the camera will even fire the shutter that fast with a flash attached... your EXIF information is stripped from the images, so i cant see what the camera is doing.


think about it. your camera is metering the scene, then picking a SS that will exposure based on your ISO and aperture setting. when you press the shutter, you're then firing off the flash adding an uncompensated for variable -- the camera has no way to measure the scene with the flash and pick a better shutter speed factoring in the flash.

usually, at least nikons, seem to lock the SS at 1/60 when it detects flash in program modes.
 
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Zeke_Wolf

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I researched using the 60D for photography and I read that AV mode was the mode to use and I was able to get the flash to work normally with that mode, but I have to have the AEB at -5, since anything higher will cause the shutter speed to be delayed and have the blurry effect.

What mode should I use then, since I am a novice at this?

Thanks so much for the help!!! ^_^
 

Braineack

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I would strongly suggest M mode.

set your aperature and iso. then set the shutter speed to 1/125sec.

you can power up or down the flash to add/remove light.

if 1/125sec put you're flash power at full power to achieve the result, slow the shutter speed down or increase the ISO and try again until you have a good balance --the slower the shutter speed and greater the ISO, the more ambient you'll bring in and the less flash you'll need.


if your flash had TTL mode, then AV would probably work without issues.
 
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Zeke_Wolf

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I normally didn't have issues til recently. All of my portraits was taking in AV mode, without the black bottom and they looked good, but I get the black bottom on occasion and now it is more prevalent. Especially when I try to take photos in rapid succession.
 

TCampbell

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Short version: Your shutter speed is too fast. Try using a speed no-faster than 1/250th sec.

Here are some good videos that will help you understand what is happening in your camera and why you get the black areas.


 
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Zeke_Wolf

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I also wanna try to keep it on it's native ISO, since I have issues with graininess as well!
 
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Zeke_Wolf

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Thank you so much everyone. This has helped out sooooo much. I just wish I could take better overall pictures, but that will come with time, lighting, and practice!

I attached a photo that I took with AV mode and the flash, many months ago (thumbnail4), to show that it was working for me for the time being.
 

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TCampbell

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BTW, Av mode DOES have a setting for shutter speed when using flash. The trick is ... the camera has to know you are using a flash. Since this is a 3rd party flash ... and it doesn't appear to use Canon's E-TTL system, the camera doesn't know it is being used.

Canon's own flashes are, of course, E-TTL compatible. Of the 3rd party flashes, Yongnuo is fairly popular but you would need a model that is compatible with the Canon E-TTL system (these same 3rd party flash vendors make flashes compatible with each of the major camera brands ... so you have to make sure you get the model compatible with YOUR camera brand.) Expect to pay around $100 ... giver or take.

Anyway... if you DO get an E-TTL compatible flash, then you can go into the camera's menu settings for external speed lights and you'll find a setting for shutter speed in Av mode when using flash. The three choices are (a) Auto, (b) 1/250th, or (c) 1/60-1/250.

I prefer the 3rd choice (the range of 1/60-1/250). Here's why.

When you use a flash, you have to keep in mind that there are two completely different sources of light. There's the flash itself... and then there's the "ambient" light. If you're in a really bright setting (like outdoor sunlight), then there are loads of ambient light. But if it is night or if you are indoors in a dimly lit room, then there is only a little ambient light.

When you use Av mode, the camera will "meter" the scene for AMBIENT LIGHT ONLY (I cannot stress that enough.) It will set the exposure based on you NOT having a flash. It will fire the flash in the shot, but it will use it as a "fill" flash. This means if you're in a dark room... you could get a shot that lasts several seconds (clearly not what you want). That's "Auto" mode.

If you set choice 'b' (1/250th) it will force the shutter to that speed. It will use it's E-TTL metering to determine how much power it needs to use on the flash to get a good exposure at that speed. If you're in a dimly lit room, 1/250th (especially at ISO 100). This means your subject (in dim lighting) will be lit almost exclusively by the flash and you wont see any (or very little) ambient light. If that ambient light was helping to create the mood, then you'll get some a rather unpleasant result.

If you set it to choice 'c' (1/60-1/250 range), then you get the best of both worlds... if there's adequate light, it will use the faster 1/250th sec. exposure. But if you're in a dimly lit room, it will slow down 1/60th. When the flash is lit, it's actually very brief (often less than 1/1000th sec). So the flash will actually fully illuminate AND FREEZE your subject. But with the shutter remaining open for 1/60th Second, you will let the sensor also collect some ambient light and you wont get that 'black room' look. At the same time, the 1/60th is fast enough that it works for most hand-held photography.



The Canon E-TTL system meters the scene for use with flash in a clever way:

1) meter the scene with no flash. Your camera actually has lots of metering "zones" ... like an invisible checker-board and it's checking the light in each zone.

2) It then fires a "pre-flash" (shutter is still closed) but at very low power (usually 1/32nd of the flash's total output) and WHILE doing this, it meters the scene again.

3) It compares each "zone" for #1 to each "zone" for #2 to determine how well that zone was improved by the flash at 1/32nd power. It uses this to determine how much actual power should be used when you take the shot.

4) finally ... it opens the shutter and takes the shot at the calculated power level from step 3.

This all happens so fast... you'd SWEAR the flash only fired once.

Without E-TTL it's up to you to manual work out the flash power level and camera exposure settings. You can use the flash "guide number" to work this out.

The guide number is usually rated in "meters" (but some flashes did it in "feet") the DISTANCE at which the flash can properly illuminate a subject IF the camera ISO is set to 100 and the aperture is set to f/1.0.

Keep in mind that the light "spreads out" the farther it travels from the flash. This means fewer photons of light will hit each square inch of your subject if they are farther away than if they are close. The math follows the "inverse square law" (see: Inverse-square law - Wikipedia )

Some flashes (actually many flashes) have an adjustable reflector to allow the light to spread wider ... or force it to concentrate into a narrower beam so it can illuminate subjects farther way. This changes the "guide number").

Anyway, you might have noticed that "at f/1.0" bit and thought "where will I find an f/1.0 lens"?

The point behind f/1.0 is that it's a great baseline to keep the math easy. Since the guide number is rated at f/1.0 ... all you have to do is divide the "guide number" of your flash... by the ACTUAL f-stop you really plan to shoot.

For example: A Yongnuo 568EX III has a "guide number" of 190' (about 58 meters).

Suppose you plan to shoot at f/5.6. Just divide 190 by 5.6. 190 ÷ 5.6 = 34 feet.

So if you set the flash to fire at full power but use an f-stop of 5.6 at ISO 100... you can correctly illuminate a subject 34 feet away.

There is a bit of math involved if the subject is closer or farther, etc. to work out the correct f-stop (or power adjustment on the flash). This is where the E-TTL really simplifies things.

The caveat with E-TTL is it *usually* gets the exposure right... but does not *always* get the exposure right. Sometimes when it really maters, I work it out via the math instead of letting the camera & flash E-TTL system do it (there are nuances that can fool the system into coming up with the wrong exposure or power level.)
 

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