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Canon T1i and Speedlite 580EX for off camera usage

hamideh
Apprentice

I have a T1i and 580EX (not 580EX II) flash. I would like to use the flash of the camera. Would I need any other devices (trigger, transmitter)? If not, then could you give me the guide as how it is set. Thanks in advance.

2 ACCEPTED SOLUTIONS

TCampbell
Elite

The 580EX can function as a Canon E-TTL wireless (optical line-of-sight) master or slave flash.  You can use a speedlight commander on the camera or get another flash capable of working as master or slave.  Some flashes such as the 430EX II can only function as "slave" (not master).  The 580's can be either.

 

The bult-in flash on a T1i cannot remotely trigger a Canon E-TTL slave.  I think the T3i was the first of the Rebel line to get that feature.

 

You can use 3rd party triggers... optical or radio.  Some of these are extremely inexpensive, but lack E-TTL.  The higher end 3rd party units that handle E-TTL are fairly expensive (Skirball mentioned the PocketWizard brand which has a very good reputation... but isn't cheap.  )

 

Incidentally PocketWizard has a reliability problem working with Canon 580EX II units (not sure if it would have the same problem with a 580EX non-II).  The actual issue is that when you're doing E-TTL there is a pre-flash and some communication occuring before the actual shot takes place (it's very fast) -- but when the pre-flash fires, the 580EX II was generating enough RF interference that the PocketWizards could not communicate reliably and the flash would fail to fire as expected.  There were some attempts to create RFI shielding and I've even heard of services that modify the innards of the flash to cut the interference (which would, of course, void the warranty.)  

 

Tim Campbell
5D III, 5D IV, 60Da

View solution in original post


@hamideh wrote:
Thanks for the advice. Now if I were to have two 580EX flashes, one mounted on the camera and the other off the camera then the one on the camera will trigger the other, no other devices like Yongnuo 622 is needed, right?

Correct.  See page 31 of the 580EX manual on how the wireless feauture works.  Here's a link to Canon's online copy of the manual:  http://downloads.canon.com/cpr/software/camera/580EX.pdf

 

You can also use a Speedlite Transmitter ST-E2.  This unit is not a flash.. it's just a transmitter (it's basically a non-flashing "master" that can trigger any Canon "slave" unit.)  Having a 2nd flash is perhaps a bit more versatile (but also larger and heavier).  

 

You can tell a Speedlight flash in "master" mode that you don't want it to fire.  The point of having a flash "on" but telling it not to fire is that it will still work as a commander (master) to trigger your remote slave units.  You will actually see the flash fire if you watch it... but it's only firing the pre-flashes necessary to communicate with the slave units.  When the shutter opens to take the shot, only the slaves will fire -- not the master -- so your image wont be impacted by the light you see flashing from the master.

 

E-TTL flash technically always fires twice... once to do the pre-flash and then again when the camera shutter opens to take a shot.  This happens so fast most people don't realize it fired twice.

 

Tim Campbell
5D III, 5D IV, 60Da

View solution in original post

6 REPLIES 6

Skirball
Authority

You have three basic options to get the flash off camera:

 

1)      Optical

2)      Wire

3)      Radio signal

 

Optical uses the flash on your camera to trigger the 580.  This means it has to be in line of sight and the front of the 580 needs to be facing your camera.  Indoors you have a bit more flexibility because the flash will bounce around, but outdoors or while using light modifiers it doesn’t work so well.  On the plus side, it doesn’t require any new equipment.

 

Wire is the old standby.  It’s reliable, no batteries, no misfires.  You can also trip over the wire and bring your flash and camera crashing to the ground.  I have a nice 20 ft eTTL cord I bought when first getting into flash, it mostly sits in my bottom gear drawer.

 

Radio is all the rage, and with good reason.  No wires, no line of sight, and you can even get full eTTL control.  Downsides: it can be expensive, takes batteries, more to trouble shoot, and you can get misfires.

 

If you choose to go radio there’s all kinds of options.  PocketWizards are the gold standard, but they’re expensive.  I’m a bit biased, but I’m also going to say that Yongnuo is the gold standard of generic.  If you only want manual flash (no eTTL) just go get a set of Yongnuo RF602.  They’re like $25 on Amazon and you can play with off camera flash.  If you want to upgrade to something more advanced later you’re really not out much money – plus it can be used to radio trigger your shutter if you don’t need it for flash.   If you’re certain you want eTTL, and don’t want to spend the money on PocketWizards, then I’d recommend the Yongnuo 622.  They’re about $85, and provide wireless eTTL or manual with power adjustment.  I have heaps of Yongnuo and it has all worked quite reliable for me.

 

I highly recommend doing some reading at Strobist:

 

http://strobist.blogspot.com/2006/02/welcome-to-strobist.html

 

Thanks for the advice. Now if I were to have two 580EX flashes, one mounted on the camera and the other off the camera then the one on the camera will trigger the other, no other devices like Yongnuo 622 is needed, right?


@hamideh wrote:
Thanks for the advice. Now if I were to have two 580EX flashes, one mounted on the camera and the other off the camera then the one on the camera will trigger the other, no other devices like Yongnuo 622 is needed, right?

Correct.  See page 31 of the 580EX manual on how the wireless feauture works.  Here's a link to Canon's online copy of the manual:  http://downloads.canon.com/cpr/software/camera/580EX.pdf

 

You can also use a Speedlite Transmitter ST-E2.  This unit is not a flash.. it's just a transmitter (it's basically a non-flashing "master" that can trigger any Canon "slave" unit.)  Having a 2nd flash is perhaps a bit more versatile (but also larger and heavier).  

 

You can tell a Speedlight flash in "master" mode that you don't want it to fire.  The point of having a flash "on" but telling it not to fire is that it will still work as a commander (master) to trigger your remote slave units.  You will actually see the flash fire if you watch it... but it's only firing the pre-flashes necessary to communicate with the slave units.  When the shutter opens to take the shot, only the slaves will fire -- not the master -- so your image wont be impacted by the light you see flashing from the master.

 

E-TTL flash technically always fires twice... once to do the pre-flash and then again when the camera shutter opens to take a shot.  This happens so fast most people don't realize it fired twice.

 

Tim Campbell
5D III, 5D IV, 60Da

Thank you TCampbell for such in depth explanation.

 

 

Hi to all,  i  ve a flash speedlite 580 EX Unit and  yongnuo 622 TX  installed on my camera, canon eos 5d mark III and the radio recevier yongnuo 622C on my flash. 

I ve seen that the settings of the flash in ETTL and in MANUAL mode does not showed on my body camera, under flash control menu. You could confirm that there is not the possibility to control all the settings of the flash off camera, and the power of that ? 

I ve tryed to set up in manual the unit 580 EX  but  the power and the settings are not trasmitted on camera under the menu ? is true ?  I  need to setup correctly that for working with triggering  . How I can do that ? 

 

 

TCampbell
Elite

The 580EX can function as a Canon E-TTL wireless (optical line-of-sight) master or slave flash.  You can use a speedlight commander on the camera or get another flash capable of working as master or slave.  Some flashes such as the 430EX II can only function as "slave" (not master).  The 580's can be either.

 

The bult-in flash on a T1i cannot remotely trigger a Canon E-TTL slave.  I think the T3i was the first of the Rebel line to get that feature.

 

You can use 3rd party triggers... optical or radio.  Some of these are extremely inexpensive, but lack E-TTL.  The higher end 3rd party units that handle E-TTL are fairly expensive (Skirball mentioned the PocketWizard brand which has a very good reputation... but isn't cheap.  )

 

Incidentally PocketWizard has a reliability problem working with Canon 580EX II units (not sure if it would have the same problem with a 580EX non-II).  The actual issue is that when you're doing E-TTL there is a pre-flash and some communication occuring before the actual shot takes place (it's very fast) -- but when the pre-flash fires, the 580EX II was generating enough RF interference that the PocketWizards could not communicate reliably and the flash would fail to fire as expected.  There were some attempts to create RFI shielding and I've even heard of services that modify the innards of the flash to cut the interference (which would, of course, void the warranty.)  

 

Tim Campbell
5D III, 5D IV, 60Da
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