Cover image for Mastering Canon EOS Flash Photography

Book description

Automatic flash technology has revolutionized photography. Originally seen as just a way of illuminating dark scenes with portable light, flash is used today for many creative functions, including supplementing daylight and designing complex scenes lit by multiple light sources.

Creating striking or natural-looking images using flash photography can be a difficult artistic and technical challenge. Mastering Canon EOS Flash Photography is the authoritative book on the subject, guiding the reader through Canon's Speedlite flash system, off-camera portable flash, and professional studio lighting. Covering the fundamentals of flash metering technology, it discusses key concepts, and documents the features and functions available with EOS gear. Highly illustrated, this book is loaded with examples and diagrams describing important functions and lighting arrangements, and beautiful photographs demonstrating sophisticated flash techniques. Foreword by David Hobby.

Table of Contents

  1. Mastering Canon EOS Flash Photography
    1. Foreword by David Hobby
    2. 1. Introduction
      1. About this book
      2. Why this book
    3. I. Getting Started
      1. 2. Getting Started
        1. A beginner’s configuration: Canon Rebel T1i/500D with a 430EX II flash unit
        2. Flash exposure compensation (FEC)
        3. Bounce flash
        4. Daylight fill flash
        5. An advanced configuration: Canon EOS 50D with two 580EX II flash units
        6. A practical example of wireless flash
        7. Dragging the shutter
        8. Getting the flash off the camera
      2. 3. Top Ten FAQs
        1. 1. My camera already has a built-in flash. Why should I buy an external one?
        2. 2. Why are the backgrounds of my flash photos pitch black? It looks like I was in a cave!
        3. 3. Why does the camera set a really slow shutter speed when I use a flash? Parts of my photos look sharp, but there’s weird fringing
        4. 4. Why are the eyes of my friends and family glowing an evil red?
        5. 5. Why won’t my camera let me set a high shutter speed when I turn on my flash?
        6. 6. I have an old flash unit. Will it work on my new Canon EOS digital camera?
        7. 7. I took two flash photos in rapid succession. Why is the second one totally dark?
        8. 8. Why are my photos dark when I use a Speedlite EX or built-in flash to trigger my studio flash equipment?
        9. 9. Why use flash at all? Why not just use a fast lens and a high ISO?
        10. 10. Why do my flash photos look so lousy? Do I need to buy a better camera or a more expensive flash unit?
      3. 4. Terminology
    4. II. Technology
      1. 5. A Brief History of Flash
        1. Pyrotechnics
        2. Flash bulbs
        3. Electronic flash
        4. The first challenge: flash synchronization
        5. Open flash
        6. Flash sync
        7. Controlling flash exposure
        8. The second challenge: flash metering
          1. Manual metering
          2. Automatic flash-based (autoflash) metering
          3. Automatic camera-based (TTL) metering
          4. Automatic camera-based preflash (E-TTL) metering
      2. 6. Automatic Flash Metering
        1. Enabling internal flash and external Speedlites
        2. Subject and background in flash photography
        3. Ambient light metering versus flash metering
        4. Freezing motion
        5. Normal flash sync
        6. Slow shutter sync
        7. EOS flash and icon modes
        8. CA (creative auto) mode
        9. EOS flash and ambient metering modes
        10. Program (P) mode
        11. Tv (shutter speed priority) mode
        12. Av (aperture priority) mode
        13. M (metered manual) mode
        14. DEP (depth of field), A-DEP (automatic DEP), and B (Bulb) modes
        15. Fill flash
        16. Fill flash ambient light reduction
        17. Flash exposure compensation (FEC)
      3. 7. Technical Topics
        1. Canon EOS flash metering
        2. TTL flash metering
          1. TTL limitations
          2. Digital cameras and TTL flash
        3. A-TTL flash metering
        4. E-TTL flash metering
          1. Limitations of E-TTL
        5. E-TTL II
          1. E-TTL II’s improved flash metering algorithms
          2. Distance data
          3. Cases in which distance data is not used
        6. Type A and type B cameras
          1. TTL, E-TTL, and EOS film cameras
          2. Kodak Digital Science (DCS) cameras
        7. Flash technology availability summary
        8. Metering patterns
          1. Ambient metering and metering patterns
          2. Center-weighted average metering
          3. Spot metering
          4. Partial metering
          5. Evaluative metering
        9. Flash metering patterns
          1. Film cameras and ambient metering with TTL flash
          2. Digital cameras and ambient metering with E-TTL flash
          3. TTL and A-TTL flash metering zones
          4. E-TTL flash metering patterns
          5. E-TTL II flash metering patterns
        10. How mechanical camera shutters work
        11. Maximum X-sync
          1. Maximum X-sync limits
        12. High-speed sync (HSS)/FP (focal plane) flash
          1. Using high-speed sync mode
        13. First and second curtain sync
          1. Second curtain sync
          2. Issues with second curtain sync
        14. Inverse square law
        15. Guide numbers
        16. Quantifying flash output
          1. Watt-seconds (Joules)
          2. Effective watt-seconds
          3. Guide number
          4. Lumen-seconds
          5. Beam candlepower seconds (BCPS)
        17. Exposure value (EV)
        18. Color and shades of white
          1. Color temperature
          2. Color temperature and film
          3. Color temperature and digital
        19. Color filters
          1. Color temperature correction
          2. Non-tungsten artificial lighting
          3. Mixed light sources
          4. Special effect filters
          5. Filter naming
          6. Limitations of filters
        20. Infrared (IR)
        21. EXIF
        22. Safety and physical properties
          1. Overheating and fire hazards
          2. Flash safety and babies
          3. Shock hazards
          4. Noise
    5. III. Equipment
      1. 8. Dedicated Flash Units
        1. Built-in (popup) flash
          1. Popup flash limitations
          2. Improving built-in flash
            1. Gary Fong Puffer
            2. Professor Kobré’s Lightscoop
        2. Canon Speedlites
          1. Small hotshoe flash units
          2. Consumer-level tilt-head hotshoe flash units
          3. Pro-level tilt-head hotshoe flash units
          4. Handle flash units
          5. Macro flash units
        3. Speedlite naming scheme
        4. Older Canon Speedlites
        5. Third-party flash units
      2. 9. Canon Speedlites
        1. Hotshoes
          1. Flash feet
        2. Flash heads
        3. LCDs
        4. Swivel and tilt for bounce flash
        5. Zooming flash heads
          1. Automatic zooming
          2. Manual zooming
          3. Creative zooming
          4. Zoom compensation
          5. Zooming camera flash
        6. Flash head diffuser panels
          1. Catchlight panels
        7. Autofocus (AF) assist light
          1. Red AF assist lights
          2. Red AF assist and multiple focus point minutiae
          3. Flash brackets and alignment
          4. White light macro AF assist
          5. Main flash tube pulsing
          6. Disabling AF assist; disabling main flash
          7. ST-E2
        8. Redeye
          1. Redeye reduction
        9. Flash exposure compensation (FEC)
          1. Micro adjustment for flash exposure
        10. Flash exposure lock (FE lock or FEL)
          1. Engaging FE lock
          2. Flash exposure level
        11. Fill flash ratios
        12. Auto fill reduction
        13. Flash exposure bracketing (FEB)
        14. High-speed sync (HSS)
        15. Enabling second curtain sync
          1. Physical controls on flash unit
          2. Custom functions/menu items
          3. External Speedlite control
          4. Second curtain limitations
          5. Enabling second curtain sync with manual equipment
        16. Manual flash
          1. Speedlite 420EZ
          2. Speedlites 430EZ, 540EZ, 550EX, 430EX, 430EX II
          3. Speedlites 580EX, 580EX II
          4. Manual flash calculations
        17. Enabling wireless E-TTL flash
          1. Physical switches
          2. Push-button controls
          3. Menu controls
          4. Macro units
          5. Changing wireless E-TTL settings
          6. Changing channels and groups
            1. Speedlite 420EX
            2. Speedlites 430EX and 430EX II
            3. Speedlite 550EX
            4. Speedlites 580EX and 580EX II
            5. Macro lites MR-14EX and MT-24EX
          7. Enabling and changing ratios
            1. Enabling ratios
            2. Changing A:B ratios
            3. Changing C compensation
            4. Flash menu control
          8. Specifying wireless flash output manually
          9. Master flash firing on/off
        18. Integrated Speedlite transmitter, or built-in flash as master
          1. Built-in flash to control one group of slave units
          2. Built-in flash and ratios
          3. Enabling built-in flash to light the scene
          4. Wireless all-manual flash
        19. Advanced M (metered manual) ambient metering
          1. Meters and feet
        20. Quick Flash/Rapid-fire mode
        21. Stroboscopic (MULTI) flash
        22. Flash exposure confirmation LED
        23. Range warning
        24. Modeling flash
        25. Auto Power Off/Save Energy (SE) mode
        26. Speedlite autoflash/External flash metering
          1. 580 EX II autoflash
        27. Optical slave triggers
        28. Custom functions (C.Fn) on flash unit
          1. Resetting default settings
        29. External Speedlite control
        30. Test flash (manual firing)
        31. Rear control dial
        32. Weatherproofing
        33. Automatic white balance compensation
        34. Live View, silent shooting, and flash
        35. Cycle time and high voltage ports
      3. 10. Manual Flash Metering
        1. Manual flash metering
        2. Trial and error
          1. Manual flash in a digital age
          2. Digital histograms
        3. Flash meters
          1. Incident light metering
        4. Choosing a manual flash unit
        5. Trigger voltages
          1. Measuring the trigger voltage
        6. Incompatible shoes
        7. Autoflash metering
      4. 11. Off-Camera Flash
        1. The Seven Basic Methods for Off-camera Flash Control
        2. Off-Camera Method 1—Open flash
        3. Off-Camera Methods 2 and 3—Wired cords
        4. Off-Camera Method 2—Wired sync-only: PC cords
          1. PC connector problems and other sync plugs
          2. Speedlites and PC cables
        5. Off-Camera Method 3—Wired with automatic metering: Canon flash cords
          1. The Off-Camera Shoe Cord
          2. Multiple TTL flash cords for film cameras
        6. Off-Camera Methods 4 and 5—Wireless optical control
        7. Off-Camera Method 4—Wireless optical, sync-only: optical slaves
          1. Line of sight and range
          2. Misfires from other units
          3. Optical slave E-TTL misfires
          4. Disabling E-TTL on Speedlites
          5. Light and infrared
          6. Compatibility problems (SCR lockup)
        8. Off-Camera Method 5—Wireless optical with automatic metering: Canon wireless E-TTL
          1. How wireless E-TTL works
          2. Line of sight
          3. Channels and groups
          4. Wireless E-TTL ratios
          5. Manual wireless E-TTL control
          6. Macro ratios
          7. Speedlite Transmitter ST-E2
          8. Third-party support
            1. Quantum QNexus
            2. Sigma
            3. Metz
          9. Drawbacks of wireless E-TTL
        9. Off-Camera Methods 6 and 7—Wireless, radio frequency (RF)
          1. No line of sight requirement
          2. Enhanced range
          3. Digital coding
          4. Multiple receivers
          5. Regulatory issues
          6. Latency
          7. No cross-manufacturer support
          8. Battery drain while idling
        10. Off-Camera Method 6—Radio, sync-only
          1. PocketWizard MultiMAX and Plus II
          2. Elinchrom EL Skyport
            1. EL Skyport Universal
            2. EL Skyport RX
          3. Bowens Pulsar
          4. Microsync Digital
          5. Quantum FreeXwire
          6. Cactus/Gadget Infinity V2/V2s/PT-04
          7. Cactus/Gadget Infinity V4
          8. Yong Nuo CTR-301P
        11. Off-Camera Method 3—Radio with automatic metering
          1. Quantum Q-TTL
          2. RadioPopper PX
            1. RadioPopper advantages
            2. RadioPopper limitations
          3. PocketWizard ControlTL devices
            1. Basic features
            2. Compatibility with sync-only PocketWizards
            3. Manual output controlled by the 580EX II
            4. Upgradeable via USB port
            5. Advanced features
            6. Higher efficiency sync
            7. HyperSync
            8. Range limits
            9. Not compatible with entire Canon range
      5. 12. Flash Accessories
        1. Flash diffusers
        2. Small diffusers
          1. Sto-Fen Omnibounce
          2. Gary Fong Lightsphere
          3. Demb Flash Diffuser
          4. Speedlight Pro Kit Flexi Bounce
          5. Harbor Digital Design Ultimate Light Box
        3. Small reflectors
          1. Demb Flip-It!
          2. PRESSlite VerteX
          3. Hanson Fong Skin Glow
        4. Medium-sized reflectors
          1. LumiQuest Quik Bounce
          2. LumiQuest Softbox III
          3. Westcott Micro Apollo
          4. Speedlight Pro Kit Reflectors
          5. Generic vinyl diffuser
        5. Large portable diffusers
          1. Umbrellas
          2. Umbrella brackets
          3. Lastolite Ezybox
          4. Westcott Mini-Apollo
          5. Westcott Recessed Front Apollo
          6. California Sunbounce Micro Mini
        6. Other flash accessories
          1. HonlPhoto Speed Strap
          2. HonlPhoto Speed Grid
          3. Speedlight Pro Kit snoot with honeycomb
          4. HonlPhoto snoot
          5. Walt Anderson Better Beamer flash extender, from Arthur Morris/Birds as Art
        7. Ringflash adapters
          1. Rayflash
          2. orbis
        8. Filter gels
          1. Gel holders
            1. LumiQuest FXtra
            2. HonlPhoto Filter Kit
            3. GelHolder.com
        9. Do it yourself!
        10. Supports
          1. Plastic foot stand
          2. Light stand
          3. Joby Gorillapod
          4. Justin Clamp
          5. MagicArm
          6. Kacey pole adapter
          7. Flash brackets
        11. Batteries
          1. Standard AA (zinc carbon/zinc chloride/manganese oxide)
          2. Standard AA alkaline (LR6)
          3. Rechargeable nickel-cadmium (NiCad/NiCd)
          4. Lithium AA (FR6)
          5. Rechargeable nickel metal hydride (NiMH/HR6)
          6. Hybrid/low self-discharge NiMH
          7. NiMH Chargers
          8. Other battery tips
        12. External battery packs
          1. Battery pack types
      6. 13. Studio Flash
        1. Types of studio lights
          1. Monolights
            1. Pros
            2. Cons
            3. Analog monolight controls
            4. Digital monolight controls
          2. Pack and head lights
            1. Pros
            2. Cons
          3. Ringflash
          4. Battery packs
          5. Inexpensive gear
        2. Basic flash unit features
          1. Flash heads and speedrings
          2. Modeling lights
          3. Optical slaves
          4. Trigger voltage
          5. Duration versus output
          6. Audio confirmation (beepers)
        3. General studio gear
          1. Light stands
          2. Booms
          3. Light stand attachments
          4. Ceiling support systems
          5. Backdrops
            1. Canvas and muslin
            2. Seamless paper
            3. Backdrop supports
          6. Radio control
          7. USB/Infrared control
        4. Studio light modifiers
          1. Flash head reflectors
          2. Umbrellas
            1. Reflective umbrellas
            2. Shoot-through umbrellas
          3. Softboxes
          4. Striplights
          5. Beauty dishes
          6. Self-illuminated panels
          7. Reflecting panels
          8. Snoots
        5. Hot lights
          1. Heat
          2. Power consumption
          3. Fewer light modification options
          4. No freezing of motion
          5. Limited filtration requirements
          6. Inconsistent color temperature
          7. Easily adjustable power output
        6. Cheap vs. expensive
          1. Reliability and repeatability
          2. Power and color consistency
          3. Unique features
    6. IV. Technique
      1. 14. Basic Technique
        1. Direction
          1. Short and broad lighting
          2. Multiple light sources
        2. Intensity
          1. High key
          2. Low key
        3. Quality
          1. Achieving soft light
        4. Color
        5. Basic Speedlite portrait photography
          1. Bounce flash
        6. Building a studio portrait
          1. External flash off-camera with shoot-through umbrella diffuser
          2. Two off-camera flash units with shoot-through umbrellas
          3. Two off-camera flash units with shoot-through umbrellas, one background light
          4. Two off-camera flash units with shoot-through umbrellas, one background light, one hair light
        7. Experimenting with light
      2. 15. Advanced Techniques
        1. Slow shutter sync and motion
        2. Hard isn’t all bad
        3. Narrowing down the light
        4. Backlighting and flash in the frame
        5. Kill the ambient
        6. Cookies
        7. Open flash
        8. Stroboscopic (MULTI) flash
        9. High-speed photography
          1. High-speed photography timers
        10. Cross-polarizing
        11. Learning from the masters
      3. 16. Conclusion
    7. V. Appendices
      1. A. Flash Units for Canon EOS
        1. Speedlites for film and digital cameras (E-TTL)
          1. Speedlite 220EX
          2. Speedlite 270EX
          3. Speedlite 380EX
          4. Speedlite 420EX
          5. Speedlite 430EX
          6. Speedlite 430EX II
          7. Speedlite 550EX
          8. Speedlite 580EX
          9. Speedlite 580EX II
          10. Speedlite Transmitter ST-E2
        2. Macro flash
          1. Speedlite ML-3 Ring Lite
          2. Speedlite MR-14EX Ring Lite
          3. Speedlite MT-24EX Macro Lite
        3. Speedlites for film cameras (TTL)
          1. Speedlite 160E
          2. Speedlite 200E
          3. Speedlite 200M
          4. Speedlite 300EZ
          5. Speedlite 300TL
          6. Speedlite 420EZ
          7. Speedlite 430EZ
          8. Speedlite 480EG
          9. Speedlite 540EZ
        4. Third-party flash
        5. Sigma
          1. Sigma EF-530 DG ST
          2. Sigma EF-530 DG Super
          3. Sigma EM-140 DG
        6. Metz
          1. Mecablitz 15 MS-1 macro slave flash
          2. Mecablitz 76 MZ-5 hammerhead
        7. Quantum
        8. Nissin
          1. Nissin Di866
          2. Nissin Di622
          3. Nissin Di466
        9. Marumi
        10. Generic flash units
        11. All-manual battery flash
          1. Vivitar 285
          2. LumoPro LP120
          3. Yong Nuo YN460
          4. Nikon Speedlight SB-800
      2. B. Choosing a Flash Unit
        1. A flash unit for casual and occasional use with a Canon digital camera or a type A film camera
        2. Advanced use with a Canon digital camera or a type A film camera
        3. A flash system for wireless E-TTL
        4. A flash unit for all-manual work, Strobist-style
        5. A flash unit for macro photography
        6. A flash unit for use with a type B film camera; no plans to buy a type A film or digital camera in the future
      3. C. Features Table
        1. Key to Appendix C: Features Tables
      4. D. Custom Functions
        1. Speedlite 430EX
        2. Speedlite 430EX II
        3. Speedlite 580EX
        4. Speedlite 580EX II
      5. E. Sequence of Operation
        1. E-TTL (film and digital) sequence of operation
        2. E-TTL II sequence of operation
        3. Wireless E-TTL sequence of operation
        4. TTL (film only) sequence of operation
        5. A-TTL (film only) sequence of operation
      6. F. Lenses
        1. Lenses With Distance Data
          1. Prime/Fixed Focal Length EF
          2. Zoom EF
          3. EF-S
          4. Special-Purpose
        2. Lenses Without Distance Data
          1. Prime/Fixed Focal Length EF
          2. Zoom EF
          3. SPECIAL-PURPOSE
      7. G. Troubleshooting
        1. Built-in flash
        2. Speedlite power issues
        3. Flash unit compatibility
        4. Using the flash unit
        5. Flash unit features
        6. Autofocus assist
        7. Flash head coverage
        8. Wireless
        9. Studio lighting
      8. H. Online Resources
        1. Discussion forums
        2. Reviews and information
        3. Personal blogs
      9. Credits and Acknowledgements
        1. Models
        2. Manufacturers, Distributors, and Suppliers
      10. Chapter Opening Images
    8. Index