November 01, 2014, 07:12:41 AM

Author Topic: Speedlite Tutorials?  (Read 6613 times)

StephenC

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Speedlite Tutorials?
« on: April 06, 2014, 03:36:32 AM »
Hi all, I'm a bit of a photography novice so am looking for some advice.  I have just ordered a Speedlite 600EX-RT (and was persuaded to get an ST-E3-RT at the same time!).  The reason for this was that I was having trouble getting non-blurry photos at a recent family gathering.  It tuned out I had accidentally switched the ISO from Auto to 100, but by the time I discovered this I had paid for the flash!  There have been a few occasions when I genuinely needed a flash so I'm not too worried.

From the above, it is clear I don't really know what I am doing.  Can anybody point me to a "flashes for dummies" primer so I can take advantage of my new kit?  I do landscapes (which are unlikely to need a flash), portraits and wildlife mostly (all amateur).  I recently bought the 100mm macro (2.8L), which is probably where the flash will be of most use.  I'm guessing the secret here is to have the flash off camera, which is why I didn't protest too much about getting the ST-E3.

I'm using a 5D mkIII and also have the 24-70 mkII and 70-200 (f4L).
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Speedlite Tutorials?
« on: April 06, 2014, 03:36:32 AM »

tolusina

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Re: Speedlite Tutorials?
« Reply #1 on: April 06, 2014, 01:10:50 PM »
David Hobby at http://strobist.blogspot.com/
Search youtube for Syl Arena's videos.
Lots of great stuff on B&H's youtube channel.
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Mt Spokane Photography

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Re: Speedlite Tutorials?
« Reply #2 on: April 06, 2014, 01:26:07 PM »
David Hobby at http://strobist.blogspot.com/
Search youtube for Syl Arena's videos.
Lots of great stuff on B&H's youtube channel.

+1, its your first choice.

privatebydesign

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Re: Speedlite Tutorials?
« Reply #3 on: April 06, 2014, 01:38:40 PM »
Don't spend another penny until you get, read, and digest, this book. http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0321832752/ref=as_li_ss_il?ie=UTF8&tag=pasoroblphot-20&linkCode=as2&camp=1789&creative=390957&creativeASIN=0321832752

He has another book too, but this one is more appropriate for you. If his rumoured 600 EX RT book comes out I'd recommend that but it hasn't appeared yet and he now has a full time educators job.
Never look down on anybody, unless you are helping them up.

StephenC

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Re: Speedlite Tutorials?
« Reply #4 on: April 08, 2014, 01:56:13 AM »
Don't spend another penny until you get, read, and digest, this book. http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0321832752/ref=as_li_ss_il?ie=UTF8&tag=pasoroblphot-20&linkCode=as2&camp=1789&creative=390957&creativeASIN=0321832752

He has another book too, but this one is more appropriate for you. If his rumoured 600 EX RT book comes out I'd recommend that but it hasn't appeared yet and he now has a full time educators job.

Thanks for the advice, I bought the Syl Arena book, but haven't had time to get into it yet.  I also had a look at the Strobist web-site.  I'm still waiting for the flash to arrive from Hong Kong.
Canon EOS 5D mkIII
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Canon Speedlite 600EX-RT + ST-E3-RT, Canon GP-E2, Eye-Fi Card

privatebydesign

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Re: Speedlite Tutorials?
« Reply #5 on: April 08, 2014, 06:21:48 PM »
Don't spend another penny until you get, read, and digest, this book. http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0321832752/ref=as_li_ss_il?ie=UTF8&tag=pasoroblphot-20&linkCode=as2&camp=1789&creative=390957&creativeASIN=0321832752

He has another book too, but this one is more appropriate for you. If his rumoured 600 EX RT book comes out I'd recommend that but it hasn't appeared yet and he now has a full time educators job.

Thanks for the advice, I bought the Syl Arena book, but haven't had time to get into it yet.  I also had a look at the Strobist web-site.  I'm still waiting for the flash to arrive from Hong Kong.


Nice. Be careful, off camera flash is a rabbit warren of gear, well intentioned advice, and medicine men. Walk slowly and enjoy it, then get the stuff you actually think will help you grow.

We are always here with free advice, example images always help too both what you are getting and links to shots you are trying to achieve.
« Last Edit: April 08, 2014, 07:06:24 PM by privatebydesign »
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Dylan777

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Re: Speedlite Tutorials?
« Reply #6 on: April 10, 2014, 10:24:27 AM »
Don't spend another penny until you get, read, and digest, this book. http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0321832752/ref=as_li_ss_il?ie=UTF8&tag=pasoroblphot-20&linkCode=as2&camp=1789&creative=390957&creativeASIN=0321832752

He has another book too, but this one is more appropriate for you. If his rumoured 600 EX RT book comes out I'd recommend that but it hasn't appeared yet and he now has a full time educators job.

Thanks privatebydesign for the link. I just purchased the material and will try to go through this weekend.

I'm interested getting some lighting for home studio. Not sure if I should get some 600ex rt or just regular studio set. I like the ideal of having speedlite so I can take with me if need it. Any suggestions? Thanks
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Re: Speedlite Tutorials?
« Reply #6 on: April 10, 2014, 10:24:27 AM »

StephenC

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Re: Speedlite Tutorials?
« Reply #7 on: April 11, 2014, 06:55:28 AM »
The flash (600EX-RT) has arrived, so I've started mucking around to try and work out what all the buttons do (remember I am an amateur). I'm still reading Syl's book. I'm also chewing my way through the Speedlite manual. For now I think I will put the ST-E3-RT away and concentrate on working out on-camera flash. My first question is: what is the difference between ETTL mode and Ext.A?  When would I choose one over the other?  As far as I can work out, the only difference is that ETTL has the option of high speed sync. 

I generally shoot in Av mode, as I like to set the depth of field.  If I want to use the flash at it's most basic, essentially as the missing pop-up flash from my old 400D, presumably I would just leave it in ETTL and click away?  I can then work my way into more sophisticated scenarios.
Canon EOS 5D mkIII
Canon EF 24-70mm f2.8L II USM, Canon EF 70-200mm f4L IS USM, Canon EF 100mm f2.8L Macro IS USM
Canon Speedlite 600EX-RT + ST-E3-RT, Canon GP-E2, Eye-Fi Card

m

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Re: Speedlite Tutorials?
« Reply #8 on: April 11, 2014, 08:10:13 AM »
If I want to use the flash at it's most basic, essentially as the missing pop-up flash from my old 400D, presumably I would just leave it in ETTL and click away?  I can then work my way into more sophisticated scenarios.

This is a good setup if you need the flash just to add a little light.
ETTL will also adjust to a bounced flash, so you don't have to think about how much light this wall/ceiling/reflector will eat up.

The "drawback" is that you are still using Av.
If you are in a very dark place, the exposure will lengthen and you might get blurry shots.
The flash will freeze parts of the image, but you still get the smear of the long exposure.

Two possible scenarios:
1) leave the long exposure as it is and set the flash to rear curtain sync.
This way the flash freezes the last moment of the exposure and you get some nice effect. Good for moving subjects, dancing, etc.

2) switch to M and let the flash compensate the exposure.

Even for the first scenario, I choose M, because I want to have full control.

I do landscapes (which are unlikely to need a flash)

Are you sure?

http://strobist.blogspot.de/2011/09/mike-kelley-two-speedlight.html

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=riTVghtbQ7E

http://fstoppers.com/how-to-use-a-flash-with-a-drone-helicopter

have fun :)
« Last Edit: April 11, 2014, 08:13:07 AM by m »

Cory

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Re: Speedlite Tutorials?
« Reply #9 on: April 11, 2014, 08:32:25 AM »
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5gmgN8l7UFg

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5byuHJ9uBns

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HCDtcVFjJG4

http://dedpxl.com/product/onelight/

I've just done one so far, but put together a GREAT inexpensive starter set-up that I can share if you like.  There's also another online thing that's very helpful that I'll find in a minute.
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Cory

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Re: Speedlite Tutorials?
« Reply #10 on: April 11, 2014, 08:35:15 AM »
OK, since you asked:
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and:

http://www.photonotes.org/articles/eos-flash/index.html
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StephenC

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Re: Speedlite Tutorials?
« Reply #11 on: April 11, 2014, 08:58:17 AM »

The "drawback" is that you are still using Av.
If you are in a very dark place, the exposure will lengthen and you might get blurry shots.
The flash will freeze parts of the image, but you still get the smear of the long exposure.

But there is a setting, on the camera, to limit Av shutter speeds to 1/60 - 1/200 (the x-sync for the 5D III), which essentially makes Av act like P, as far as the flash is concerned.

I haven't had time to read the articles you linked but I'm sure you are right, there will be times a clever photographer uses a flash for landscapes. At least I eventually worked out to use Landscape mode not Night Portrait (on the point and shoot) for after dark landscapes!
« Last Edit: April 11, 2014, 08:59:58 AM by StephenC »
Canon EOS 5D mkIII
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Canon Speedlite 600EX-RT + ST-E3-RT, Canon GP-E2, Eye-Fi Card

m

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Re: Speedlite Tutorials?
« Reply #12 on: April 11, 2014, 09:13:51 AM »
But there is a setting, on the camera, to limit Av shutter speeds to 1/60 - 1/200 (the x-sync for the 5D III), which essentially makes Av act like P, as far as the flash is concerned.

I only have the option to have a fixed setting of 1/250th as an alternative to a fully auto chosen speed.
Even with the option of limiting the speed to a certain interval, I'd probably still use M to get consistent results.

But this totally depends on your situation. If you have the option, try it and see if it works for you.

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Re: Speedlite Tutorials?
« Reply #12 on: April 11, 2014, 09:13:51 AM »

RLPhoto

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Re: Speedlite Tutorials?
« Reply #13 on: April 11, 2014, 09:19:33 AM »
Flash is a powerful and confusing tool to use. Strobist was a huge help for me in the beginning but I went to find old film books on flash because they are cheap as chips, still relevant and you can have 10 books for the price of one. The fundamentals haven't changed if your using a speedlite or studio strobe.

StephenC

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Re: Speedlite Tutorials?
« Reply #14 on: April 11, 2014, 09:21:01 AM »
I will do. Tomorrow, it is 11pm here. I am just reading the PhotoNotes article posted above. I'm guessing that the limited SS range setting on my 5D only applies when the flash is on, not all the time. It is in the Speedlite settings page. I will experiment. I certainly wouldn't want to neuter my available light Av settings.

I would use M mode but I find there are already too many settings to keep track of - see my 'needing a flash as all my photos have motion blur (because I set ISO to 100, not Auto)’  post at the beginning of this thread.
Canon EOS 5D mkIII
Canon EF 24-70mm f2.8L II USM, Canon EF 70-200mm f4L IS USM, Canon EF 100mm f2.8L Macro IS USM
Canon Speedlite 600EX-RT + ST-E3-RT, Canon GP-E2, Eye-Fi Card

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Re: Speedlite Tutorials?
« Reply #14 on: April 11, 2014, 09:21:01 AM »