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Canon 80d flash problem

I just received the 80d 2 weeks ago and it appears I already have an issue. The automatic flash pops up when taking pics in low light, but doesn't fire correctly and sometimes not at all. The 1st time I used it for Christmas lights with my family and it was fine. The 2nd time I was inside and the flash would pop up and fire, but it was premature. The flash would fire too early resulting in the appearance of no flash at all. Now, it pops up but doesn't fire at all. This is a brand new camera less than 2 weeks old. Is there anything I can try to resolve this prior to sending it to canon?




Reset the camera to make sure you are not in Easy Wireless mode or something.




It is a good idea to reset the camera whenever you are unsure why something isn't working or doesn't do what you expect.  When you are new it is easy to press a wrong button without realizing it.

Now, the big number one question, Kido.  You did read the manual?  So, you do have a basic understanding of how it works and what it does?


The best way to see if the camera is working as it should is on a nice day go outside with the 80D set to P mode and the lens in AF.  Take a shot or two and if they are good, the camera is working correctly.  It is the hard shots, "I used it for Christmas lights with my family...", where things require some different settings.

If you were using the 'green square' mode, the camera guesses what you want. Sometimes it guesses wrong. Much better to understand how to set it for exactly what you want.


Let us know how it goes.

EOS 1DX and 1D Mk IV and less lenses then before!


Hi Stephanie,


Are you certain you understand how it works and are using the flash correctly?


The flashes built into cameras aren't very powerful and have very limited reach. Are you sure you're close enough? I just checked and the 80D's flash appears to have a guide number of 39 feet at ISO 100.... that's probably with a 50mm f/1.4 lens wide open. If you are using a kit lens with a considerably smaller max aperture (for example f/4 is three stops smaller) and/or if you have your lens stopped down quite a bit, that will greatly reduce the flash's reach.


Also, the 80D's flash sync speed is 1/250. That's the fastest shutter speed the flash can be used with "normally"... 1/250 or a slower speed. The flash may have "High Speed Sync" (not sure if the built-in does, check the manual), which allows shutter speed to be set higher, but using HSS will very significantly reduce the flash's reach.


Are you certain the flash has fully recycled? The ones built into cameras are rather slow and rely upon the camera's battery for power (will draw it down quickly). If you try to shoot too quickly, try to take a shot before the flash is fully recharged, the image will often be under-exposed.


Canon's auto flash exposure is called "ETTL" (ETTL II on newer models, a slightly improved version).  It's easy to use, but Canon ETTL will automatically act as "fill" flash whenever the camera is set to any of it's auto exposure modes. If using Av, Tv or P exposure mode, the camera will set exposure based upon ambient light and only fire the flash at a reduced level for fill. Fill flash typically fires at approx. 1.66 stops reduced power.


For "full" power flash (rather than fill), set the camera to M, select a shutter speed of 1/250 or slower and choose a combination of ISO  (no Auto ISO) and lens aperture that will give correct exposure at the distance to your subject. Frankly, I'm not entirely sure how you do that on 80D with its built-in flash. Many auxililary flashes provide an LCD monitor on the rear that displays a distance scale to help with this.


In fact, auxiliary flashes solve many of the short-comings of built-in flashes. All but the very smallest are a lot more powerful. The compact Canon 270EX II, for example, has a guide number of about 89 feet, which is more than twice the reach of the 80D's built-in. Auxiliary flashes also have their own power supply, so they don't drain the camera's main battery and are usaully faster recycling. The 270EX II uses two AA batteries. Some of the larger models use four AA or even can be connected to supplementary battery pack.


So the best solution would be to get an auxiliary flash for use with your 80D. Part of the problem with built-in flashes is their location: not very high up and centered right over the lens. An auxiliary flash can be put on a bracket that positions it off to one side and a bit higher up, which goes a long way toward reducing redeye and improving shadows. To use a flash on a bracket requires an off-camera shoe cord to connect to the camera's hot shoe. 


But if you want to continue using the built-in flash, just be sure you are using it correctly, before assuming there's something wrong with the camera. It is possible something is at fault with the camera, but in my experience it's far more likely a user error.


Hope this helps!



Alan Myers
San Jose, Calif., USA
"Walk softly and carry a big lens."
GEAR: 5DII, 7DII (x2), 7D(x2) some other cameras, various lenses & accessories






I am having the same problem with the flash not working properly after three months of use. I bought mine around the same time so I wonder if they made a faulty batch. I have had several Canon DSLRs, including the D40 and D60 and never had an issue. My D60 was working fine after 8 years of heavy use and being caught in a few rain storms, but I just wanted the upgraded features. I have tried the flash in various modes in low light where I shoot my friend's band from a few feet away. Suddenly it just stopped working properly one night. It might work once in awhile the next time I go out and then it doesn't work when I go out again. I have a new battery and charge it fully before going out. I haven't tried an auxiiary flash on this unit yet, so that wouldn't have an effect. 


Me too!  Sent it back to Canon and they wantt $344 to repair!


Have you by any chance installed any sort of accessories into the hot shoe?

Yes, I have.  Triggers and flashes


I have the same problem with built in flash not firing. Camera is less then 3 months old. I’ve tried the suggestions provided and reset, but no luck.

Very disappointing. I will see if I can return the camera for refund or replacement.

If you want to take a lot shots with the built-in flash, then always make sure that your battery is fully charged before you begin taking shooting.  If the continuous shooting fps, frames per second, rate can slow down when the battery drops below 50%, then it is possible that the built-in flash can take a performance hit when the battery dips below 50%, too.

"The right mouse button is your friend."