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Author Topic: Is it my camera, my flash or just me?  (Read 2929 times)

onemundanelife

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Is it my camera, my flash or just me?
« on: July 22, 2012, 11:45:52 PM »
Hello, I hope someone can direct me.  I'm new to DSLR's & accessories and recently ran into the the following situation.

I have a canon t3/1100D and a Vivitar DF-186 external flash and the auto focus/red eye assist beam does not function. When I access the c.fn menu within the camera I get a message saying the flash isn't compatible or not turned on.  However everything I read before purchase and the customer service representative at B&H said it is compatible. 

My question is this...is this a user/camera or flash error?  As a side note this function works perfectly with the  internal flash.

I've read both the camera's and Flash's user manuals and followed the directions given in them.  In addition, I searched the web and this forum for a similar topic and came up empty handed.

Any help would be appreciated.


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Is it my camera, my flash or just me?
« on: July 22, 2012, 11:45:52 PM »

SteenerMe

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Re: Is it my camera, my flash or just me?
« Reply #1 on: July 23, 2012, 12:11:03 AM »
Maybe the camera answered your question. Not compatable.
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nightbreath

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Re: Is it my camera, my flash or just me?
« Reply #2 on: July 23, 2012, 01:21:31 AM »
I didn't find much information on the issue, so I believe it is flash incompatibility with the camera.
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birtembuk

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Re: Is it my camera, my flash or just me?
« Reply #3 on: July 23, 2012, 02:50:30 AM »
Had some similar problem some time ago with my MT24 on a Rebel. It would not recognize it. Most of the time it's because the flash is not pushed in the hot shoe to the maximum. This hot shoe may also be a bit loose and contacts are not perfect. I don't know what did you try yet but I would suggest you restart everything from zero. Cam off, flash off. Then mount the flash making sure it's deep enough inside the hot shoe. Set the cam to full auto (green square). On the cam, then on the flash. Aim at something that is within the flash guide number and go. If the flash functions, then you can change the setting: it has be recognized. If nothing happens, then it's most likely a compatibility issue. 

Hillsilly

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Re: Is it my camera, my flash or just me?
« Reply #4 on: July 23, 2012, 06:43:09 AM »
Make sure the autofocus mode is in One Shot [ie not AI Focus or AI Servo].
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onemundanelife

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Re: Is it my camera, my flash or just me?
« Reply #5 on: July 23, 2012, 07:04:38 PM »
Thank you for all of your responses! I called B&H just to confirm compatibility and they said it's TTL compatibleand will work with the T3.

Hillsilly, I think your suggestion worked. As soon as I switched to One Shot Mode and started firing, red eye disappeared and was able to focus in dark locations. Although, focusing isn't as consistent as I thought it would be.

Birtembuk, I had the hot shoe issue early on until I realized the flash wasn't pushed all the way in.

I really thought it was a compatibility issue also and still not a 100% sold that it isn't. Two reasons for this thinking, one the C.Fn menu still isn't opening and the green OK light on the back of the flash never illuminates.

Thanks again.

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Re: Is it my camera, my flash or just me?
« Reply #6 on: July 23, 2012, 10:49:47 PM »
You should contact Vivitar.  http://www.vivitar.com/products/9/flashes-and-accessories/1026/df-186-can
It should work, but for $49.95, don't expect much.

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Re: Is it my camera, my flash or just me?
« Reply #6 on: July 23, 2012, 10:49:47 PM »

brianleighty

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Re: Is it my camera, my flash or just me?
« Reply #7 on: July 24, 2012, 07:23:54 AM »
I think by compatible they're saying it's compatible with ttl or more likely e-ttl mode. That doesn't mean you can access it via the menu though. It just means it's smart enough to send out a pre-flash for metering so you don't have to do everything manually. That's my best guess.
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Hillsilly

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Re: Is it my camera, my flash or just me?
« Reply #8 on: July 24, 2012, 09:27:17 AM »
Glad my comment helped a bit.  The Canon designers, in their ultimate wisdom, have dictated that AF assist cannot be used in AI Servo mode.  Unfortunately, this is my favourite mode and it always takes me a few seconds to figure out what's wrong. 

Sorry, I can't help with the C.fn and green light.  Does the flash go off and do the exposures seem ok?  If the flash is working properly, I wouldn't be too concerned about the C.fn thing.  I'd just assume the function relates to something your flash can't do.  Your flash probably lacks the ability to communicate with the camera.  But I'd still expect a green light to come on.  This should just be an indicator that the flash is ready to go and would be independent of camera settings.  Are you using fresh batteries?

With the AF assist, I've found a big difference in effectiveness between various flashes.  If it is working consistently on objects less than two to three meters away, I'd say it is probably working ok.  They generally don't have a long effective range.  Do you have more than one lens?  If so, try different lenses and see if they work better.  I assume you're doing all of this in the dark?  I'm just guessing at this, but its possible some zoom lenses might not letting enough light into the camera for it to work very effectively.  Your centre focus point is probably the best one to use, so make sure you're testing on this one.

If AF assist is a big thing for you, I've been eyeing the Yongnuo ST-E2 recently.  I've heard it has the best AF Assist distance.  (But its not a flash - just an infra-red flash trigger which may or may not work with your flash). 
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onemundanelife

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Re: Is it my camera, my flash or just me?
« Reply #9 on: July 26, 2012, 09:21:06 PM »
Thanks Spokane and brianleighty, after more reading I believe the flash doesn't communicate with the camera. This is fine, I bought a lower end product to play around with but thought as long as it was TTL or e-ttl compatible I could access it from the menu.

Thanks again Hillsilly for your explanation. I bought it to play around with in darker settings or for shooting at dusk. I have 3 lenses, 2 zoom and a macro, but have shot with only the zoom so far. This weekend I'll work with the others and see if it makes a difference.

Thanks everyone!

haring

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Re: Is it my camera, my flash or just me?
« Reply #10 on: July 31, 2012, 02:12:14 PM »
Call vivitar! You save lot of time. I used to play around my camera gear but nowadays I just pick up the phone. It saves lots of headache!

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Re: Is it my camera, my flash or just me?
« Reply #10 on: July 31, 2012, 02:12:14 PM »