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EL-1 speedlite on-camera power when using multiple speedlites


I am not the smartest guy when it comes to using multiple flashes. And I find the Canon instructions confusing, to say the least.

I have three Canon speedlites, including the EL-1. I want to use one of the speedlites on camera, and the other two off-camera. I am able to get that to work, but am confused about how to set the exposure level or power for each unit.

I think I have figured out how to set it for the two off-camera units, but how do I know the level for the on-camera unit.

For example, maybe I want to set one off-camera speedlite to full power (100%) or the 0 level, and one to half power (50%) or the minus one level.

But what is the level of the on-camera speedlite? Can I set that? Is it always 100%?

Also unsure, if I should be using A:B, A:B:, or G (groups).

Any help will be appreciated. Or point me to a good online video or tutorial. Thanks!



What mode are you using? If ETTL, the camera will adjust the flash level as a result of the pre-flash, so you don't know the actual flash power. You can use manual flash if you want total control.

Thanks for the quick reply.

I am experimenting with ETTL, and manual, and also G (group) settings.

I would like to use a speedlite off-camera (umbrella or softbox on a light stand) as my main light, another speedlite on the background, and the EL-1 on camera as a fill light. For example, maybe I want the umbrella speedlite at full power, the background speedlite at 1/2 power (or minus one-stop), and the EL-1 on-camera 1/4 power (or minus two-stops, so I don't overpower the main light.

Should I be using A:B, or G (group settings), or something else? I am assume that A and B would be the two receiving speedlites, and there is no letter for the sender. Is that right?

I see how to set the power of the receiving speedlites, but in this case, how do I control the power output of the sending EL-1.

Any tips or guidance for the best way to achieve this will be greatly appreciated!

Sorry if this is confusing, but that is only because I am a bit confused. 🙂


You've indicated in your layout that you want to use manual power settings.  You can do this in manual mode and A:B C.  The unit on the camera is always part of the A group.  Just assign the other two units to groups B and C.

Group mode is overkill in your case: it's great for mixed setups where maybe you'd want manual (e.g. hair) and TTL (fill) together.