Help with using Canon and Nikon flashes together?

Maxwell2012

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I used to have a Nikon Camera but I recently sold it and bought a Canon 60D. I could still use my Nikon SB-800 flash off-camera since it has the SU-4 mode where it is triggered by the pop-up flash on the camera.

I've been wanting to do more off-camera flash with multiple flashes so I bought a Canon 580EX (not the EXII) so I could use it both on-camera and off-camera. I'm having a strange problem though, the Nikon and the Canon flashes seem to not work together. Here is what I've set up:

The 60D wireless flash settings are set to control the 580EX on channel 1. The Nikon flash is powered off at this point. The pop-up flash is on, both the 580EX and the 60D are in full manual mode. Push the shutter release and the 580EX flashes. I can do this 10 times in a row with no problem. I turn on the SB-800 set to SU-4 mode, push the shutter release and only the SB-400 flashes. The camera is in the same exact spot and has a clean line of sight to the 580EX.

If I set the SB-800 to another mode so it is still powered on but does not flash, the 580EX flashes. It seems that the strobe from the SB-800 is inhibiting the 580EX somehow.

Has anyone seen this before or have any thoughts?

Thanks!
Maxwell
 

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It's probably something to do with controlled light pulses as part of the process which send out a "code" for the flash units to read. For basic operation the Nikon is fine, but when you get more complex with more flash units the pulses of light are likely coded per brand and thus the two flashes can't communicate.

Best way is to get yourself some wireless radio flash triggers and set the flash units to manual mode. You can then use as many and whatever brand of flashes you want together.
 
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Maxwell2012

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For basic operation the Nikon is fine, but when you get more complex with more flash units the pulses of light are likely coded per brand and thus the two flashes can't communicate.

Best way is to get yourself some wireless radio flash triggers and set the flash units to manual mode. You can then use as many and whatever brand of flashes you want together.

Thanks for the response! To be totally clear, I'm not attempting to get the flashes to communicate to each other in any way at all. What I expect is the SB-800 to be triggered by the strobe of the pop-up flash (which works perfectly every time), and the 580EX to be triggered on Channel 1 from the flash on the 60D (which works perfectly, except when the SB-800 flashes).

I think what you're saying in that the flash from the SB-800 is somehow inhibiting the code sent from the 60D to the 580EX. I guess I will have to spend some more money on the triggers. Thanks again for the help.
 
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