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Author Topic: Any suggested work arounds for delay with ST-e3?  (Read 3804 times)

Tara Copp

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Any suggested work arounds for delay with ST-e3?
« on: April 26, 2013, 05:17:57 PM »
Here's my set up, I'm a wedding/event shooter primarily. Tomorrow's wedding reception is indoors in a restored movie house, it's quite cool. Large wooden dance floor and many interesting colors in the background. I have a 6d and a 60d, one 600 rt OCF on a tripod, and one 600rt bracket mounted on the 60d for candids, etc. The 6d now has a 50 1.4 mm on it and the st-E3 to radio trigger the OCF for fun dance floor shots.
It will be my first time to use the  st-3e at a wedding, before I would just have one 600rt trigger the other on the tripod, or just have both bodies have on camera flash.
I went there today to check out the venue because I'd never been there before, and figure out where I would set my tripod. Did some test shots and quickly got frustrated with how slow the flashes were recycling compared to all my past experiences. All batteries were freshly charged, both flashes and bodies set to multi-shot and high speed sync (not that that might have a difference.) Both flashes are tethered to their own Canon CP-E4 external battery packs - which in the past have blown me away by both how long they last at an event and how fast they recycle.)
But today on my test shots neither flash would recycle fast, resulting in one shot with light, followed by four or five in the dark shots before the "ready" light came on again and either the St-e3 would trigger the tripod-mounted flash or my on-camera flash would fire (just depending on which camera I had in hand at the time.) it's not an AF assist beam issue because the room still had enough ambient light in it. It's a recycle time issue. Just hoping someone else has come across this and has a suggested work around? Otherwise I may just turn the St-e3 off and have it in the mix only when I do some specific 50mm shots. Many thanks for all thoughts and ideas!

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Any suggested work arounds for delay with ST-e3?
« on: April 26, 2013, 05:17:57 PM »

Mt Spokane Photography

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Re: Any suggested work arounds for delay with ST-e3?
« Reply #1 on: April 26, 2013, 06:03:00 PM »
The flash may be using full power and has to recharge between shots.  Normally at low power, the flash only partially discharges and can keep on going even while its recharging.
 
Try turning flash power down and use a wider aperture or higher ISO if you want to reduce the time between shots.

Tara Copp

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Re: Any suggested work arounds for delay with ST-e3?
« Reply #2 on: April 26, 2013, 06:05:42 PM »
Just wanted to add that I may have found one of the culprits - I had my system on channel 1 for everything - and did not consider that there may have been other radio interference in the building/downtown slowing me down. When I just re-tested away from downtown, channel 1 seemed to work faster -- and when I switched both 600s and the st-e3 to "auto" scan ( where the flash or st-e3 will scan for the best transmission frequency) it responded even faster. I am a bit nervous about leaving the flash to hunt out the channel on its own all gift, but maybe this is the cause for the previous recycling delay?

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Re: Any suggested work arounds for delay with ST-e3?
« Reply #3 on: April 26, 2013, 06:11:33 PM »
Is it the flash or is it the ST-E3 that isn't recycling?

Are all the batteries in the packs and in the strobes fresh?

If using rechargeables, any chance some of the batteries have died?

One suggestion, try messaging privatebydesign. He's very experienced with the 600 EX and might know more. My experience so far is just with the 580 EX II and ST-E2. I have had problems with the ST-E2 overheating and then not firing the strobes, but I wouldn't think that would be an issue with a radio control unit.
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Re: Any suggested work arounds for delay with ST-e3?
« Reply #4 on: April 26, 2013, 06:28:56 PM »
Normally at low power, the flash only partially discharges and can keep on going even while its recharging.

IIRC, that's controlled by a C.Fn on the flash. I wonder if being an RT slave affects that?  Another function has the slaves report back when recharged, and the master beeps when all slaves have reported - maybe that forces a wait until all slaves are charged, so turning it off may help.
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Mt Spokane Photography

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Re: Any suggested work arounds for delay with ST-e3?
« Reply #5 on: April 26, 2013, 09:12:26 PM »
Normally at low power, the flash only partially discharges and can keep on going even while its recharging.

IIRC, that's controlled by a C.Fn on the flash. I wonder if being an RT slave affects that?  Another function has the slaves report back when recharged, and the master beeps when all slaves have reported - maybe that forces a wait until all slaves are charged, so turning it off may help.
A good possibility.  My thought when I envisioned a large dark theater with a big stage was that he was trying to light that from 50 ft away at ISO 100.

Tara Copp

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Re: Any suggested work arounds for delay with ST-e3?
« Reply #6 on: April 27, 2013, 08:15:56 AM »
Thank you all for the good ideas! I need to figure out what Cf controls the feedback .. I'll post if/when I find it

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Re: Any suggested work arounds for delay with ST-e3?
« Reply #6 on: April 27, 2013, 08:15:56 AM »

privatebydesign

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Re: Any suggested work arounds for delay with ST-e3?
« Reply #7 on: April 27, 2013, 07:29:32 PM »
Hope the wedding is going well!

Here are a few thoughts to mull over.

C. fn-06
: 0 OFF, or disabled, that is, the flash will not fire unless it has enough charge for the metered exposure.
:1 ON, enabled, the flash will fire when triggered with whatever power it has in the capacitors, this will often lead to underexposure and is not the default setting.

With regards the auto scan and radio channel selector. Very much leave it on auto, though do make sure you have programmed in a four digit ID number. Auto channel select works very well and the only reason I can think to bypass it is if there were several photographers shooting with complicated setups and you were causing interference on the "best" auto selected channel. In that situation I'd do a manual scan and pick the second or third best channel, if you do the manual scan there are often one or two bad channels.

With regards the ST-E3-RT, I have found it eats batteries, even without an external pack on the flashes the two AA's in the ST-E3-RT will die long before the 600EX-RT batteries do, go figure!

Also, remember that which ever master you turn on first will be your main master. To work smart and give your on camera flash a rest when it isn't used by the 6D, turn the ST-E3-RT on first, then the 60D mounted flash and make sure it is set to master (the Link light should be orange), and then the remote, on the ST-E3-RT turn off Group A, this will prevent the 60D mounted flash firing but will give you the remote fire, on the 60D set that Group A to whatever you want your fill flash to be, normally ETTL. (Of course you can set that up for either to be the main master and fire, or not, the 60D mounted flash, but that suggestion is the logical way my mind works!)

Another thought, although you are using external battery packs there is a choice on how these work. The flash MUST have good batteries in it for actual flash function, the pack only helps the capacitor charge, not the actual running of the flash, one bad battery in a flash can stop it working even if all the other 11 are good.
C.Fn-12 separates external and internal power use, by default (setting :0) the flash will charge from all 12 batteries when an external pack is fitted, but you can ensure operational longevity by separating the external to charge the capacitor and the internals to run the flash (setting :1), this will decrease the recycle time slightly, but should result in more reliable flash operation.

One last observation, when a flash drops out the rest work, therefore, if you get neither flashes with the ST-E3-RT (assuming you have both groups turned on as a test) but do get one or both with the 60D mounted master then you have a faulty ST-E3-RT. I have noticed if I am in ETTL and I lose one flash (normally due to batteries or I didn't reset the wireless button after a battery change) if it didn't fire on the preflash the others will make good the exposure, if it did contribute to the preflash then I get an underexposure, if I am in manual then I just get underexposure, which all makes sense if you think about it.

P.S. Thanks unfocused for that vote of confidence.
« Last Edit: April 27, 2013, 07:36:34 PM by privatebydesign »
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Tara Copp

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Re: Any suggested work arounds for delay with ST-e3?
« Reply #8 on: April 30, 2013, 12:57:25 PM »
PrivatebyDesign - that was a very helpful post - thank you!
The wedding went great, many many keepers on the dance floor. I used the advice here and went into my custom functions, allowed the camera flash to fire before getting a signal that it was fully charged.
I did have a few panicked moments, and still trying to figure out the cause. Here's what happened:
Bride had two offsite locations where she wanted wedding party portraits (in a park, and then big group shot in front of movie house marquee right before they all made their grand entrance.) for both, because it was a large party, I put the St-e3 on the 6D and had each 600rt on a tripod lighting both sides of the group.
After the movie marquee sign group shots,  I raced ahead into the movie house ballroom and quickly planted one tripod behind a post I had staked out earlier. I returned  the ST-E3 to the 60D, quickly re-mounted the other 600rt on top of my 6D's flash bracket/CP-e4 cord, and got in position to shoot their entrance.... Take a test shot and ... Nothing. The slave by the post does not fire. Quickly walk over to it to see if all is connected, and NONE of the flash's buttons will respond. It is acting as if it is locked, but it is not. I press basically everything on the back, to see if I can get it to switch to ETtL/Radio Transmission - for some reason, it was on "slave/M" - and no Radio link at all. No buttons will respond. i'd never run into this - and I did not put it on "M," promise. It had fired with radio/ETTL  just minutes before.
I wondered if the St-E3 was interfering somehow so I turned it off - still no response from the flash. My saving grace was that the wedding party was big enough that it took them some time to get organized for their big entrance.
This is the strange part - somehow I got the quick idea that if I took it from the Tripod and quickly put it back on a body, maybe that would reset it. So I did - I took the St-e3 off the 60D and put the 600rt on it.  as soon as the  600rt was back on the 60d it came back to life - and allowed me to set it as the slave, on ETtL and Radio.  A bit unnerved, I left the st-e3 off for the rest of the night and did on camera master/ tripod mounted slave, and all was well.
I was curious though if anyone else has run into a situation where the flash buttons did not respond?
Thank you again for all the thoughts and feedback!
Tara

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Re: Any suggested work arounds for delay with ST-e3?
« Reply #9 on: April 30, 2013, 01:08:16 PM »
Don't forget to bump your ISO up to 400 to get two stops more out of your flash power. Keeping the flash below 1/2 power will help recycle times.

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Re: Any suggested work arounds for delay with ST-e3?
« Reply #10 on: April 30, 2013, 01:20:25 PM »
Tara Copp,

All I can think is if the ST-E3-RT was powered on when you moved it from one camera to the other it could short circuit across the hotshoe and send a confusing/spurious signal to the remote 600 that locked it.

Glad the thread helped too.  :)
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Re: Any suggested work arounds for delay with ST-e3?
« Reply #11 on: April 30, 2013, 03:06:03 PM »
Tara Copp,

All I can think is if the ST-E3-RT was powered on when you moved it from one camera to the other it could short circuit across the hotshoe and send a confusing/spurious signal to the remote 600 that locked it.

Glad the thread helped too.  :)

I bet that's what happened. TaraCopp, do you remember if you properly powered them down? No shame if not, it would just be nice to know. The instruction manuals warn to power off the transmitter and speedlites before attaching or detaching.
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Re: Any suggested work arounds for delay with ST-e3?
« Reply #12 on: April 30, 2013, 03:11:23 PM »
Increase your iso will help with recycle times  also i use energizer lithium batteries which also improved recycle times for me other batteries IMO havent come close to those,today i also took delivery of a lastolite triflash so when possible i will use that so as i can use a lower power setting on each flash therefor shorter recycle times it will also help when in HSS mode to gain back some of the power lost.

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Re: Any suggested work arounds for delay with ST-e3?
« Reply #12 on: April 30, 2013, 03:11:23 PM »

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Re: Any suggested work arounds for delay with ST-e3?
« Reply #13 on: April 30, 2013, 03:15:28 PM »
...although you are using external battery packs there is a choice on how these work. The flash MUST have good batteries in it for actual flash function, the pack only helps the capacitor charge, not the actual running of the flash, one bad battery in a flash can stop it working even if all the other 11 are good...

Wow!!! Light bulb going off over my head. That explains issues I have had.
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Tara Copp

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Re: Any suggested work arounds for delay with ST-e3?
« Reply #14 on: April 30, 2013, 08:25:45 PM »
I use fairly new Eneloop rechargeables, got them last year and don't think they are anywhere close to the 1500 life cycle recharges limit the packaging notes. (Packaging says they can be recharged up to 1500 times but i doubt I'll push that before buying new ones.) I didn't know that about either the drain rate on the ST-E3 or the way the flash heads drain, but it makes sense. I reloaded my flash heads with freshly charged batteries twice (I always refresh in between church service and reception,) and then I did again during a break at the reception when everyone was eating.
I have another wedding this weekend, I plan to watch for similar issues ..and I doubt I powered down the St-e3 or e flashes before switching them around - really good suggestion that I"ll watch for next time!!!!
Thank you! :)

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Re: Any suggested work arounds for delay with ST-e3?
« Reply #14 on: April 30, 2013, 08:25:45 PM »