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Posts: 3
Registered: ‎01-02-2017

Using 580EXII with ETTL in low light

Hello everyone. Just joined this forum to see if y'all can help a semi-pro with a couple of questions.

1. I have always shot low light with camera & 580EXII on manual,ie wedding receptions.  Is there a way to shoot with ETTL w/o going to a tri-pod?  Is there something I'm missing?

2. I am assuming that FEC and Flash lock does not work in manual mode.

 

Thanks

FletcherImages

In Him
DS Fletcher
Fletcher Images
7D & 5D Mark II/580EX II /430EX II
Reputable Contributor
Posts: 889
Registered: ‎02-06-2013

Re: Using 580EXII with ETTL in low light

[ Edited ]

FletcherImages wrote:

Hello everyone. Just joined this forum to see if y'all can help a semi-pro with a couple of questions.

1. I have always shot low light with camera & 580EXII on manual,ie wedding receptions.  Is there a way to shoot with ETTL w/o going to a tri-pod?  Is there something I'm missing?

2. I am assuming that FEC and Flash lock does not work in manual mode.

 

Thanks

FletcherImages


You need to up the ISO until your picture is 2 or 1 stops darker without the flash (use the Force, I mean Live View to tell then turn it off) then shoot away with ETTL. I never use Lock so can't help you with 2... but you should try flash exposure compensation for adjustment.  ISO 2000 is not much of a problem and should be adequate for most lighting conditions.

 

This picture below was taken with a 5DIII, 24-70mm f/2.8L II,  in M mode, 600EX-RT flash ETTL, 1/40; f/4.5; ISO 2000.  And no...the singers' faces weren't lit up by stage lighting.  All that was done by the flash (with a Gary Fong diffuser bounced up to the ceiling).

 

Capture.JPG

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Diverhank's photos on Flickr
Esteemed Contributor
Posts: 3,797
Registered: ‎06-25-2014

Re: Using 580EXII with ETTL in low light


diverhank wrote:

FletcherImages wrote:

Hello everyone. Just joined this forum to see if y'all can help a semi-pro with a couple of questions.

1. I have always shot low light with camera & 580EXII on manual,ie wedding receptions.  Is there a way to shoot with ETTL w/o going to a tri-pod?  Is there something I'm missing?

2. I am assuming that FEC and Flash lock does not work in manual mode.

 

Thanks

FletcherImages


You need to up the ISO until your picture is 2 or 1 stops darker without the flash (use the Force, I mean Live View to tell then turn it off) then shoot away with ETTL. I never use Lock so can't help you with 2... but you should try flash exposure compensation for adjustment.  ISO 2000 is not much of a problem and should be adequate for most lighting conditions.


I don't do weddings, which I consider to be the most dangerous job in photography this side of a war zone. But I did spend several years as a routine event photographer, so I guess I might as well weigh in.

 

I think Hank's advice is sound, but let me try to clarify some of the reasoning behind it. The ETTL algorithm is pathologically averse to blown highlights, which is a good thing; but it means that if you rely entirely on the flash, only the highlights will be properly lit. To put it another way: in the ETTL world, all flash is fill flash. So you have to use an ISO value high enough to make use of the ambient light. This is OK in a well-lit hall, but can pose a problem in a church or a restaurant function room. (Just one of the many reasons why I'm not a wedding photographer!) A workaround, short of going fully manual, that I've found effective is to use bounce flash wherever the ceiling height makes it feasible. The trick is that while the flash will still shut off when it thinks the highlights are lit, the reflection from the ceiling raises the relative strength of the light on the rest of the scene enough to compensate.

 

I had my easiest times when the hall had TV lighting that I could turn on, or when the event was being televised and the videographers brought lights that I could sponge off of. But you're unlikely to find TV lights in a wedding venue, so I can definitely appreciate your problem.

Bob
Boston, Massachusetts USA
Reputable Contributor
Posts: 889
Registered: ‎02-06-2013

Re: Using 580EXII with ETTL in low light


RobertTheFat wrote:

diverhank wrote:

FletcherImages wrote:

Hello everyone. Just joined this forum to see if y'all can help a semi-pro with a couple of questions.

1. I have always shot low light with camera & 580EXII on manual,ie wedding receptions.  Is there a way to shoot with ETTL w/o going to a tri-pod?  Is there something I'm missing?

2. I am assuming that FEC and Flash lock does not work in manual mode.

 

Thanks

FletcherImages


You need to up the ISO until your picture is 2 or 1 stops darker without the flash (use the Force, I mean Live View to tell then turn it off) then shoot away with ETTL. I never use Lock so can't help you with 2... but you should try flash exposure compensation for adjustment.  ISO 2000 is not much of a problem and should be adequate for most lighting conditions.


 

I think Hank's advice is sound, but let me try to clarify some of the reasoning behind it. The ETTL algorithm is pathologically averse to blown highlights, which is a good thing; but it means that if you rely entirely on the flash, only the highlights will be properly lit. To put it another way: in the ETTL world, all flash is fill flash. So you have to use an ISO value high enough to make use of the ambient light. This is OK in a well-lit hall, but can pose a problem in a church or a restaurant function room. (Just one of the many reasons why I'm not a wedding photographer!) A workaround, short of going fully manual, that I've found effective is to use bounce flash wherever the ceiling height makes it feasible. The trick is that while the flash will still shut off when it thinks the highlights are lit, the reflection from the ceiling raises the relative strength of the light on the rest of the scene enough to compensate.

 


I agree with everything Bob said.  There is, however,  another way that I've mentioned, you can use flash compensation to increase brightness...People have successfully used ETTL for more than fill all the time (4 or 5 stops)...just how much you like or dislike the flashy look.  I hate it. My goal is to make the pictures look as natural as possible when using flash and that means making flash as fills and sacrifice ISO to achieve it. My max tolerance is 2 stops.   With post processing I can get away with 12,800 easy but I have never had to use more than ISO 3000 for flashes no matter how dark...

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Diverhank's photos on Flickr
New Contributor
Posts: 3
Registered: ‎01-02-2017

Re: Using 580EXII with ETTL in low light

Thanks for the info.  Verey nice image! Your setup is very much like mine except I am using the 5DMark II including the Fong.  I have stayed away from high ISOs to avoid the noise problem.  I am growing weary of always having to change my flash output or shutter spedd as the interior lighting conditions change.

 

Fortunately I don't shoot many weddings anymore.  Looks more experimentation is needed.

Thanks.

In Him
DS Fletcher
Fletcher Images
7D & 5D Mark II/580EX II /430EX II
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New Contributor
Posts: 3
Registered: ‎01-02-2017

Re: Using 580EXII with ETTL in low light

I also tried using FEC but I don't think it functions in manual mode.  At least it didn't make any difference for me the other night.  Neither did Lock.  Now I do use ETTL all the time outdoors for fill flash with very good results.  I even used it the night handholding at 1/20.

In Him
DS Fletcher
Fletcher Images
7D & 5D Mark II/580EX II /430EX II
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