Best creative mode (other than M) for E-TTL flash photography

SumanV

EOS M50
Sep 25, 2016
36
2
I just wrote out a long reply but deleted it because the truth is this 2 page article does a much better job. The earlier answer might not have made the differences between E-TTL and E-TTL II clear enough and I apologize if I have caused confusion.


But yes, manual flash mode is the only way to get consistent and reliable output from the flash as in E-TTL II there are simply too many variables to process what the camera thinks it should do. However in most situations I find E-TTL II to be reliable enough to give me good enough exposures of what I want so I often use it in dynamic situations like receptions and functions where varying subject distances are simply too numerous to work the flash power accurately.
Hi @privatebydesign. I will go through the new link you posted. I am once again indebted to you and the other forum members who posted.

Regards
Suman
 

SumanV

EOS M50
Sep 25, 2016
36
2
Hi Suman

Great info posted. I have one slight disagreement with @Valvebounce. The shutter speed plays a role in the flash exposure in this situation. At slower shutter speeds, you begin to pick up more ambient light.

sek
Hi @scottkinfw , thank you very much. I agree with you. I read that aperture and shutter speed control the ambient exposure with the latter controlling the flash exposure as well. I am just learning flash photography and I will experiment as much as possible to learn how different modes behave. My kindest thanks to you and other forum members for the help!

Best regards
Suman
 
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Valvebounce

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Apr 3, 2013
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Hi Scott.
Thank you for picking up on this point, however my point was that it doesn’t affect the flash power, unlike aperture which affects both the flash and ambient equally.
“Shutter speed has little impact on the light from the flash”
perhaps I should have added the caveat that it does affect ambient as normal!

Cheers, Graham.

Hi Suman

Great info posted. I have one slight disagreement with @Valvebounce. The shutter speed plays a role in the flash exposure in this situation. At slower shutter speeds, you begin to pick up more ambient light.

sek
 
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VegasCameraGuy

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I haven't had much experience with flash on my R5 but with my EOS 80D I used my Godox AD360ii-c flash with the Xpro-C flash trigger. What I do is set to Av mode with the aperature set at f8. Configuring the flash for E-TTL, the camera will control the flash and when it gets enough light will turn the flash off. The camera should recognize the flash and set the shutter speed appropriately. Like you I've struggled to find decent information on using flash with the Canon EOS cameras. I've found that the camera does a pretty decent job and you can use the FEC to adjust the exposure up or down a little as required. My 80D tends to shoot about a half stop hot but I can turn it down a little or fix it in Lightroom.

Lots of good comments in this thread!
 

VegasCameraGuy

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Jul 9, 2020
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I just wrote out a long reply but deleted it because the truth is this 2 page article does a much better job. The earlier answer might not have made the differences between E-TTL and E-TTL II clear enough and I apologize if I have caused confusion.


But yes, manual flash mode is the only way to get consistent and reliable output from the flash as in E-TTL II there are simply too many variables to process what the camera thinks it should do. However in most situations I find E-TTL II to be reliable enough to give me good enough exposures of what I want so I often use it in dynamic situations like receptions and functions where varying subject distances are simply too numerous to work the flash power accurately.
Could you repost the link to his article as I can't find it now?
 

privatebydesign

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Jan 29, 2011
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Could you repost the link to his article as I can't find it now?
Hi VegasCameraGuy, it seems to have been taken down, probably because almost nobody uses the original ETTL now so it might have been considered confusing.

Specifically what is your question because unless you are using original ETTL gear in truth it is a bit academic.
 

VegasCameraGuy

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Jul 9, 2020
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Las Vegas, NV
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Hi VegasCameraGuy, it seems to have been taken down, probably because almost nobody uses the original ETTL now so it might have been considered confusing.

Specifically what is your question because unless you are using original ETTL gear in truth it is a bit academic.
What I was trying to do is retrieve all of the article that pertains to E-TTL use of flash and store it for future reference. This is the first definition that I've found for using flash on an EOS camera. Thank you for posting this as I haven't found anything similar before. I use a lot of fill flash but it's been mostly trial and error as how the EOS cameras interact with flash has been a mystery to me. I've got a R5 and Godox AD360ii-c flashes.

Is this information available in a book anywhere? Any other resources would be greatly appreciated?
 

VegasCameraGuy

EOS R5
CR Pro
Jul 9, 2020
71
55
Las Vegas, NV
www.flickr.com
What I was trying to do is retrieve all of the article that pertains to E-TTL use of flash and store it for future reference. This is the first definition that I've found for using flash on an EOS camera. Thank you for posting this as I haven't found anything similar before. I use a lot of fill flash but it's been mostly trial and error as how the EOS cameras interact with flash has been a mystery to me. I've got a R5 and Godox AD360ii-c flashes.

Is this information available in a book anywhere? Any other resources would be greatly appreciated?
I just found Mastering Canon EOS Flash Photography, 2nd Edition by NK Guy on Amazon and ordered a copy. Thanks for the information about him.
 

VegasCameraGuy

EOS R5
CR Pro
Jul 9, 2020
71
55
Las Vegas, NV
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@VegasCameraGuy and @privatebydesign Neil van Niekerk has excellent resources and technical discussion on flash photography. I found that the doubts/confusions I had were already discussed and answered there.

This is his URL (https://neilvn.com/tangents/flash-photography-techniques/) and I think many beginners like me will appreciate the contents.
Thanks for the link. It looks like he's got a lot of great information. I can see that I'm going to need a bigger hard drive! LOL
 

VegasCameraGuy

EOS R5
CR Pro
Jul 9, 2020
71
55
Las Vegas, NV
www.flickr.com
Hi Scott.
Thank you for picking up on this point, however my point was that it doesn’t affect the flash power, unlike aperture which affects both the flash and ambient equally.
“Shutter speed has little impact on the light from the flash”
perhaps I should have added the caveat that it does affect ambient as normal!

Cheers, Graham.
I'll throw in my favorite quote, "The smarter you become, the dumber you realize you are."
 
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privatebydesign

Garfield is back...
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What I was trying to do is retrieve all of the article that pertains to E-TTL use of flash and store it for future reference. This is the first definition that I've found for using flash on an EOS camera. Thank you for posting this as I haven't found anything similar before. I use a lot of fill flash but it's been mostly trial and error as how the EOS cameras interact with flash has been a mystery to me. I've got a R5 and Godox AD360ii-c flashes.

Is this information available in a book anywhere? Any other resources would be greatly appreciated?
The web archive version can be seen here http://web.archive.org/web/20180720...e.com/content/education/technical/E-TTL_II.do , it will show you the written part of the original article, it won't show the linked pictures.

But be aware that much of the research and articles you are reading are old material much of it reverse engineered by amateurs. Canon are deliberately vague about the details of the way ETTL II works at the level of anticipated exposure, the way it treats subject reflectivity, the way it lowers subject power as EV rises etc etc because those algorithms are proprietary. The concept of how ETTL II works is the same but the only way you get repeatable results is flash and camera in M mode. I do find ETTL II to get subject and background exposures within post processing limitations virtually all the time though, so I happily use it at functions and events. I also love that the Canon system always treated exposure compensation and flash exposure compensation differently, Nikon didn't, so you genuinely and easily have control over both exposures at the same time.

@VegasCameraGuy and @privatebydesign Neil van Niekerk has excellent resources and technical discussion on flash photography. I found that the doubts/confusions I had were already discussed and answered there.

This is his URL (https://neilvn.com/tangents/flash-photography-techniques/) and I think many beginners like me will appreciate the contents.
SumanV, I've been a fan and strong advocate of Neil for years and was very relieved he got over his health scare a couple of years ago. His best single piece of advice for on camera flash use BY FAR, the Black Foamie Thing https://neilvn.com/tangents/the-black-foamie-thing/ . I have taught this technique since I first saw it on his site in 2009! Some of his event and on camera flash images are simply amazing and he certainly elevated my on camera flash game substantially.

Here is one of my example images for the BFT use from 2012. No ambient light in this shot at all just a 550EX on camera with a 50c piece of foam and a hairband!

1600371460092.png
 
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SteveC

R5
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Sep 3, 2019
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The web archive version can be seen here http://web.archive.org/web/20180720...e.com/content/education/technical/E-TTL_II.do , it will show you the written part of the original article, it won't show the linked pictures.

But be aware that much of the research and articles you are reading are old material much of it reverse engineered by amateurs. Canon are deliberately vague about the details of the way ETTL II works at the level of anticipated exposure, the way it treats subject reflectivity, the way it lowers subject power as EV rises etc etc because those algorithms are proprietary. The concept of how ETTL II works is the same but the only way you get repeatable results is flash and camera in M mode. I do find ETTL II to get subject and background exposures within post processing limitations virtually all the time though, so I happily use it at functions and events. I also love that the Canon system always treated exposure compensation and flash exposure compensation differently, Nikon didn't, so you genuinely and easily have control over both exposures at the same time.


SumanV, I've been a fan and strong advocate of Neil for years and was very relieved he got over his health scare a couple of years ago. His best single piece of advice for on camera flash use BY FAR, the Black Foamie Thing https://neilvn.com/tangents/the-black-foamie-thing/ . I have taught this technique since I first saw it on his site in 2009! Some of his event and on camera flash images are simply amazing and he certainly elevated my on camera flash game substantially.

Here is one of my example images for the BFT use from 2012. No ambient light in this shot at all just a 550EX on camera with a 50c piece of foam and a hairband!

View attachment 192881
Beautiful woman!
 
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VegasCameraGuy

EOS R5
CR Pro
Jul 9, 2020
71
55
Las Vegas, NV
www.flickr.com
But be aware that much of the research and articles you are reading are old material much of it reverse engineered by amateurs. Canon are deliberately vague about the details of the way ETTL II works at the level of anticipated exposure, the way it treats subject reflectivity, the way it lowers subject power as EV rises etc etc because those algorithms are proprietary. The concept of how ETTL II works is the same but the only way you get repeatable results is flash and camera in M mode. I do find ETTL II to get subject and background exposures within post processing limitations virtually all the time though, so I happily use it at functions and events. I also love that the Canon system always treated exposure compensation and flash exposure compensation differently, Nikon didn't, so you genuinely and easily have control over both exposures at the same time.
Thanks for the link and I appreciate the difference between older TTL and current designs. Thanks to you, I've finally been able to better understand how the latest EOS flash works. I agree that Canon does not explain how their flash controls operate and it would seem to be in their benefit to fully explain how the various modes operate. I'm sure Nikon and Sony know but amateurs don't have a ton of experts to call upon. Manual is the best way to go but when you're shooting events and don't have the ability to make everyone stand still while you check lighting and reset your camera, forces you to rely on the automated modes. In the old days, I'd use my Metz 202 and my Canon F1 at concerts to get shots when no one else could.
 

SumanV

EOS M50
Sep 25, 2016
36
2
@privatebydesign
The web archive version can be seen here http://web.archive.org/web/20180720...e.com/content/education/technical/E-TTL_II.do , it will show you the written part of the original article, it won't show the linked pictures.

But be aware that much of the research and articles you are reading are old material much of it reverse engineered by amateurs. Canon are deliberately vague about the details of the way ETTL II works at the level of anticipated exposure, the way it treats subject reflectivity, the way it lowers subject power as EV rises etc etc because those algorithms are proprietary. The concept of how ETTL II works is the same but the only way you get repeatable results is flash and camera in M mode. I do find ETTL II to get subject and background exposures within post processing limitations virtually all the time though, so I happily use it at functions and events. I also love that the Canon system always treated exposure compensation and flash exposure compensation differently, Nikon didn't, so you genuinely and easily have control over both exposures at the same time.


SumanV, I've been a fan and strong advocate of Neil for years and was very relieved he got over his health scare a couple of years ago. His best single piece of advice for on camera flash use BY FAR, the Black Foamie Thing https://neilvn.com/tangents/the-black-foamie-thing/ . I have taught this technique since I first saw it on his site in 2009! Some of his event and on camera flash images are simply amazing and he certainly elevated my on camera flash game substantially.

Here is one of my example images for the BFT use from 2012. No ambient light in this shot at all just a 550EX on camera with a 50c piece of foam and a hairband!

View attachment 192881
@privatebydesign Great photo! I didn't know that Neil had a health scare. I am glad that he is doing fine now. His technical contents are superb. After going through his webpage, I can now say with a degree of confidence that I understand flash photography a little better. I need to practice often in order to hone my skills though and I hope to do that! I am trying to understand how a softbox works. I have seen a couple of videos but I am unable to achieve the look I wanted.

If I remember correctly, he had a youtube video where he tested different light modifiers. This might be the link

I have a question to ask you. When shooting fast paced events where the subject moves and the location changes how do you get the correct composition and lighting?

Cheers
Suman
 
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VegasCameraGuy

EOS R5
CR Pro
Jul 9, 2020
71
55
Las Vegas, NV
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I often shoot people indoors and with my EOS Canon 80D, I used it in Av mode with the f-stop set to 8 typically. Then I use a 360-watt/sec Godox flash firing into an umbrella on a light stand, fired by an XPro-C wireless trigger. It's a little cumbersome but indoors with a lightweight light stand, you can move it pretty easily. I've got a shoot this weekend and am going to try the same setup with my R5. PrivateByDesign helped a lot with understanding how the new EOS flash works and NK Guy's book on flash are very helpful. My 80D would do pretty good at controlling the light and was seldom more than 1/2-stop off when moving around. I've got a shoot this weekend at the Carol Shelby Museum and am hoping that I get good results with my new camera.
 

unfocused

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Jul 20, 2010
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Completely non technical person's opinion using ETTL:

If you are shooting something where you want most of your light to come from the strobe, use manual mode and reduce/increase the shutter speed and or aperture to let in more or less ambient light.

If you are shooting something where you want most of the light to be ambient, use P, AV or TV and use flash compensation to reduce or increase the amount of light coming from the strobe.