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speedlight setup for 7d and other settings


So I'm very new to "action photography" specific to radio controlled cars. I have a canon 7D. I have learned how to set the c1-c3 to custom settings. For now I use the green "square" setting for group photo's and still "shop" photo's. I'm perfectly happy for now with the results my 7d produces in respect to those photo's. I just got the YONGNUO speedlite today. Here are the constants of my shooting:





1. Warehouse type lighting(not good especially when setting the apeture speed to about 1000) dark photo's.

2. the next few months (until spring) will be same setting




I want to set c1-c3 to cover action shots within a range of these poorly lighted facilitys


so any suggestions on what I shoudl set them too and what the best settings I should set my speedlight to???

thanks again, this is one of the best forums I have ever been to for ANY subject



I've been in Mexico enjoying my vacation so I may have missed a question or 2 you may have asked but what led you to buy that flash? I do know it's popular BUT flash may not work in your situation. According to the manual the max sync speed for flash is 1/250 on the 7D and that's not likely a fast enough shutter speed for your needs. It MAY work if you shoot while panning a car / truck passing across the area directly in front of you once you get good at panning. I'm not sure but I don't think it will be fast enough for something coming at you or heading away from you.

"A skill is developed through constant practice with a passion to improve, not bought."

honestly I grabbed it because It was $60 brand new.  1/250 might be enough for some shots, but like you said defently not all. Probably need another one. Whats the best priced unit I can get that will get to around 1/1000

from there site flash duration:                                         Flash duration: 1/200s - 1/20000s

Flash control: 8 levels of output control (1/128 - 1/1), 29levels of fine tuning

The flash can do all of that BUT the camera can't. The fastest dependable shutter speed it can use for flash is 1/250. What that means (by my interpretation) is that a faster shutter speed will be undersxposed. HOWEVER you do have some ambient light so it is possible that you can push the shutter speed a bit but I don't think 1/500 or faster is "in that zone" BUT I've never tried it either so I could be wrong. All of the R/C events I shoot are in good light although for years the biggest event of the season had me shooting straight towards the sun until mid afternoon. 

What you're trying to get good at is a really tough assignment & in all my years of shooting / contributing to applicable forums I haven't seen any good info I can share with you on what works. Indoor sports it tough but your trying to shoot smaller & faster targets that bounce around in a very random fashon. When I started shooting flying events back in 2008 I at least had had a few guidelines as to what's acceptable re prop blur & knew the hobby because I used to fly R/C before I lost my field (next door) due to a house being built there. It took a full season to learn how to set my cameras & what lenses worked best & I upgraded as needed when I had the money. Note that I have taken 2 photography courses so had some basic idea of things & learned on film & manual focus lenses. It's much easier today but unfortunately time & practice are still the best teacher when moving away from the mainstream stuff most shoot. 

"A skill is developed through constant practice with a passion to improve, not bought."


You didn't mention what lens you bought with your 7D. However, I can assume it is very slow, meaning the f-ratio is in the f5.6 area?

Any hot shoe flash like the "unit" Smiley Sadyou bought has a pretty limited coverage range. The 1/250 limit of the 7D is where the flash and the shutter will work together. Any faster shutter and the flash will likely fire when either the first curtain is in the way or the second curtain is.

For a warehouse, you need BIG lights. Or you need very fast glass, or perhaps both!


If you have two grand lying around, my first choice would be a Canon 70-200mm f2.8 L IS II.  It will certainly help and I would get Canon flashes like the 580 EX II or it's replacement 600 EX for use when flashes will work.


Actually in a warehouse setting using a flash, you may want to slow the shutter down. This works especially well if there is some ambient light. It lets the flash do it's thing and the camera do it's thing, too. Say, 1/60, with flash, maybe. Possibly too slow for your needs in this case but it works.

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


I don't have a Yongnuo flash. I use a bunch of Canon 550EX and 580EX II flashes and am most familiar with them. So the following may or may not be exactly what you can do with your flash... But it's what I'd do with my flashes.


A flash can be used in a warehouse lighting situation, so long as you are just trying to illuminate a specific item and not the entire warehouse. I suspect you won't be able to bounce the flash off ceiling or walls, so will probably need to direct it right at your subject. That may or may not give you the results you want. But, what the heck, give it a try and see if the results are what you wanted...


If you are using a longer telephoto lens, you might also need a flash extender to concentrate the light farther away. Most flashes are designed for up to about 100 or 135mm. Using 200mm or 300mm lens with them might be unsatisfactory without an extender (link is to the only one I found quickly that's specifically for Yongnuo flashes, you might shop around... I use a different type for my Canon flashes). A flash extender can bump lighting strength by 2 or 3 stops at a typical telephoto distances.


Now try this...


Set your camera to 1/250 shutter speed, manual mode (M), and put the flash in ETTL. You control the reach (distance) of the flash with the lens aperture... the larger aperture, the farther the flash will reach. Use a smaller aperture for closer distances, to prevent blowing out images. Turn off Auto ISO. Set your camera's ISO a bit below what it would need to record the ambient light with the shutter speed and aperture combo you're using. At the same time, be aware that the higher the ISO you use also increases the flash's effective reach at any given aperture. You have to strike a balance, where you get the reach you need but keep the ISO low enough to make the flash the primary or main (or only) light source.


Using M makes the flash the main light source, as far as the camera is concerned. ETTL will still provide auto exposure, even though the camera is set to M with Auto ISO turned off. Using flash as the primary light source (overpowering the ambient lighting), will eliminate most or all problems with the color of mixed lighting. Use the "Flash" white balance setting on your camera (it might do it automatically if left in Auto White Balance, once the camera senses a flash is being used).


You can still use Flash Exposure Compensation to increase or decrease the exposures you're getting.


The main reason to set up this way is that the flash will act like a relatively fast shutter speed, around 1/720 is typical with most flashes. That will freeze relatively fast action. You could even slow the camera's shutter down to 1/200, 1/160, 1/125, 1/60... It would matter because the camera's shutter speed doesn't really determine the exposure, so long as it's not so slow that ambient light starts to be recorded. In other words, the flash is acting like a shutter, instead of the camera's shutter.  


If some ambient light is still being recorded, you can see some odd (or interesting) ghosting effects. You have a choice... set the flash to rear curtain sync so that the ghosting "trails" the subject and looks more realistic.... or you can  decrease your ISO, so that less ambient light is being recorded at your chosen aperture and shutter speed.  (Note: You cannot use rear curtain sync and HSS at the same time, see below.) 


If the flash itself isn't fast enough to freeze the action, you will have no choice but to use High Speed Sync (HSS). That's usually set on the flash itself and it seriously limits the distance your flash can reach, but allows you to bump up your shutter speed to better freeze action... to be able to get enough reach, use the lowest shutter speed you can.... try around 1/800 or 1/1000, 1/1250... the faster your shutter speed, the less reach of the flash. 


Unless you shoot in the same location frequently, the lighting there is very consistent and you want the same sort of results all the time, you may or may not be able to use one of the presets (C1, C2, C3) the way you're trying to do.


Be sure to turn off Auto ISO. And do not use any of the camera's auto exposure modes (Av, Tv, P). Those will force the flash to FILL mode, and try to expose based on the ambient light as the main source. You'll get too slow shutter speeds, or too shallow depth of field due to too large an aperture, or too high an ISO


Alan Myers

San Jose, Calif., USA
"Walk softly and carry a big lens."
GEAR: 5DII, 7D(x2), 50D(x3), some other cameras, various lenses & accessories


What is the difference in the  1-128 power setting in the Canon 550 EX and the Flash Compesation setting.

You really need to get Syl Arena's Speediliters handbook, but it is currently out of print and outrageously expensive.


To answer your question, the 128 levels are for manual shooting, and the flash compensation is for E-TTL to balance flash and ambient light.