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Thread: Probably a read the manual thing, but how many remote flashes can a 60D set off?

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    Probably a read the manual thing, but how many remote flashes can a 60D set off?

    Without buying some kind of controller or other fancy set up, just wondering if anyone knows how many remote flashes the built in flash on the 60D is able to control?
    I have one 430EXii and am thinking of adding either another, or adding a 530EXii to my equipment, and wondering if I'm going to be able to use them both remotely or whether I'll have to buy some kind of remote flash system for controlling them, and so wondered if long term it's capable of going beyond two. It's not for anything particularly complex, I'd just like to try one lighting the background, and one the model, or other basic configurations such as that for the moment.
    Last edited by Ezookiel; 30-08-2012 at 11:04pm.
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    Member Schy's Avatar
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    Not sure but did you mean the 580ex ii? If you meant that speedlight, the 580ex ii can act as a master, it can control a lot of slaves.. I think you dont need the 60D to control both of them, just use the 580ex ii as your master and the 430ex ii as the slave.. And i believe you can control the 580ex ii from the 60D itself..

    Not sure though, but this is from what ive read before about canon's speedlights.. Hope the strobists could help you more..
    Still learning the craft...

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    if anyone knows how many remote flashes the built in flash on the 60D is able to control?

    Do you get a full printed manual with a 60D. My 7D manual shows 3 flash groups A B C plus the popup flash (minimum 4 total ?). The 60D according to it's manual is similar in wireless mode to the 7D.

    I was about to buy another 580EXII and then it was superseded by the 600, so I've put it off for a while. I also use an external eTTL cable to get the 580 off the hotshoe, but you then can't use the popup at all while the cable is attached. As I recall, the popup couldn't do high speed flash sync, so I had to use the cable to use HS sync with the 580 and position it somewhere close to where I wanted it. This meant I couldn't use the popup to throw light from the front. (why I was after a 2nd 580)

    I've used the popup to control the 580EXII remotely off camera and slave units to trigger my non Canon units.
    Last edited by flashc; 31-08-2012 at 12:46am. Reason: addition
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    Ausphotography Regular Tommo1965's Avatar
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    Im starting to question the value of branded flashes using the commander type of control..for one thing you are governed by line of sight..also they are expensive....if I didnt already have two Nikon flashes and was doing it all again..id seek out a cheaper flash head that can be adjusted down from 1.1 through to 1.16..and a set of radio triggers.....cheap flash heads can be bought for $60 and a set of radio triggers for around the same amount ..I expect the canon speedlight your looking at is at least $450 or more ?

    might be worth a thought if your heading into lighting a set and don't really want/need TTL metering ..a good light flashmeter is good too..

    Edit

    I aint a clue about your question though
    Last edited by Tommo1965; 31-08-2012 at 12:54am.
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    Some good ideas and advice there though. I'll dig out my manual and have a look, but will also start to look into cheaper flash heads as suggested, because at the prices Canon ask for the Speedlites, it's definitely going to make it hard to justify with the limited use they'll get.

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    Providing you don't want to have more than 3 groups, I think it will control as many flashes as can be in line of sight contact with the camera.

    The camera just gives out a burst of infra red, and as long as a Canon flash can see the burst, it wil fire.
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    Ausphotography Regular Tommo1965's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bennymiata View Post
    Providing you don't want to have more than 3 groups, I think it will control as many flashes as can be in line of sight contact with the camera.

    The camera just gives out a burst of infra red, and as long as a Canon flash can see the burst, it wil fire.
    Ok.. that's different to the Nikon setup then..as that system {CLS} uses a flash from a commander flash..either a pop up or a speed-light to talk to the other flashes in the system ..you can determine if you want that commander flash be part of the exposure or not

    one thing the dedicated speed-lights can do that others cant..is high speed sync..if you want to use shutter speeds above 1/250......but for most stuff...1/250 is plenty
    Last edited by Tommo1965; 31-08-2012 at 8:36pm.

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    The Canon, and Nikon for that matter, system does not use infra red signals to fire the external or remote flashes, it is normal light from the flash tube.
    You are limited to line of sight, outside, but may get away with a little bit of leeway inside as the light will bounce off walls etc.
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    Quote Originally Posted by MarkChap View Post
    The Canon, and Nikon for that matter, system does not use infra red signals to fire the external or remote flashes, it is normal light from the flash tube.
    You are limited to line of sight, outside, but may get away with a little bit of leeway inside as the light will bounce off walls etc.
    Hi... Thanks for clarifying the info. When I bought my 7D, one of the reasons I did was because it had WIRELESS multiple flash control according to the Canon advertisements. Now... I thought that this would mean radio frequency wireless control that would be good for some metres around in all directions, but I never checked it out as I had no reason to. However, Canon and other manufacturers class it as wireless. (because it works without wires I guess)

    I see the Canon 580 EXII manual actually says it's an optical pulse type signal for wireless flash. I just found this site that has a good explanation for Canon flash (if it's factual, but it seems to be) http://super.nova.org/DPR/Canon/IRmyths/

    One of the reasons I haven't upgraded to a Canon 5D mk III is the lack of a pop up flash for wireless remote flash control and a bit of fill ocasionally. (the Nikon 700D and 800D have) No pop up would mean no dark light focusing for the Canon 5DII and 5DIII. I saw a video review recently at night where the 800D used their onboard focusing light to get a focus lock and the 5D III couldn't. I expect someone who has a 5D can say if this is true or not.

    The article in the web address seems to suggest that there is IR coding in the flash output signal, but not just full IR as I thought, was told, and am probably not alone.

    Someone asked the other day which Canon flash to buy in the future, a 580 or a 600. The new 600 is, I understand a true wireless device, but the Canon 5D III needs to have the additional wireless transmitter receiver? (true radio frequencies) be purchased as an optional extra to allow communication.

    This is why I have held off buying my 2nd 580 as the 600 would have to be more future proof as it has the old wireless (flash pulsing) communication mode as well to work with Canons like the 7D and 60D.

    Is it flash pulsing with a bit of IR signalling? I'm not an Canon design engineer so I'm not sure...

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    Quote Originally Posted by MarkChap View Post
    The Canon, and Nikon for that matter, system does not use infra red signals to fire the external or remote flashes, it is normal light from the flash tube.
    You are limited to line of sight, outside, but may get away with a little bit of leeway inside as the light will bounce off walls etc.
    It is actually the Infra Red component of the flash output that the non radio remote slaves trigger from.

    eg. on the Nikon CLS system, you can use either a proper speedlight or a dedicated commander unit known as the SU-800(dunno if there is a Canon equivalent for IR commander control).
    But the SU-800 doesn't fire a flash pulse, it only sends out an IR signal that the slaves work from.
    That IR signal is also in the flash light if a speedlight is installed as the commander on the camera, or if the built in flash is used .. but the SU-800 has a much stronger (and hence reliable) output.

    - - - Updated - - -

    Quote Originally Posted by flashc View Post
    .....

    One of the reasons I haven't upgraded to a Canon 5D mk III is the lack of a pop up flash for wireless remote flash control and a bit of fill ocasionally. (the Nikon 700D and 800D have) No pop up would mean no dark light focusing for the Canon 5DII and 5DIII. I saw a video review recently at night where the 800D used their onboard focusing light to get a focus lock and the 5D III couldn't. I expect someone who has a 5D can say if this is true or not.

    The article in the web address seems to suggest that there is IR coding in the flash output signal, but not just full IR as I thought, was told, and am probably not alone.

    ....

    Is it flash pulsing with a bit of IR signalling? I'm not an Canon design engineer so I'm not sure...
    The focusing light on the D700/800(and most Nikon bodies) has nothing to do with the built in flash.
    It's a dedicated LED light on the side of the body(upper RHS of the top plate, facing forward).
    Most of us turn it off in fact. Not quite as useful as it's made out to be.

    The IR light in the flash pulse is a full IR signal. What it's not is that it's not as strong as an IR signal from a dedicated IR output source(such as the SU-800).

    IR just like normal light can bounce of objects too, but it's not as 'bouncy'(reflectance) as visible light as IR is absorbed by many materials whereas vis is reflected.
    If you ramp up the power of the IR light(as I suppose a dedicated IR transmitter would provide!) you should get a bit more reflected signal info into your slave devices.

    There are many arguments for and against both types of systems(RF and IR wireless controllers). In general RF controllers are preferred due to their normal range usefulness, whereas light controlled systems will work more reliably/accurately at faster shutter speed ranges. This is due to simple physics, so think of it in this manner .... light travels much faster than sound(radio waves).

    The shorter the frequency(IR), the quicker the response,..... but the longer the wavelength(RF) the longer the range .... if that makes sense.
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    Ausphotography Regular Tommo1965's Avatar
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    Thanks for clearing that up AK....I never knew the bit about the IR hidden in the Vis light of either the pop up or speedlight

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    the IR component is not really 'hidden' as such, it's just part of the frequency range, unless it's specified that there is none.
    There's also a UV component in flash output as well, but it's quite weak(I think filtered as well as naturally a weak output from the Xenon(??) tube
    (I think flash light sources are Xenon ... can never really remember).

    With the CLS system on a Nikon, you can use the on board flash on many camera bodies to control the slave devices. Many people used to believe that the on board flash when set to commander but with nil power output still provides some lighting.
    So they used to filter the flash output using an IR filter.(you can get IR filter in gels and you cut it to size to cover the onboard flash. The IR component is allowed to pass through the filter, but the visible light output is massively eliminated.

    I tested this supposed visible component using onboard null commander for CLS, and while it does provide some light, it's at macro distances, and it's barely about 1/128th ..... or really weak.
    That was tested with no flashes firing on the subject at, all and the flashes firing(fooling the camera to believe that a slave was being fired(but I had a black cover over the flash to stop any light hitting the subject.
    So with the subject not being flashed by a slave device and the only 'light source' being the supposed light from the null on board commander flash, the image is unusably dark, and what appears to be about 1/128th flash power.
    With a normal well positioned flash I really doubt that anyone could tell if the onboard flash made any exposure difference to the image.

    One of the tests I also did in this was to shield the onboard flash from both the subject and from direct line of sight of the flash .. using some black cardboard.

    (on board commander)[FLASH]< / (<-card shield)
    (SB800 slave)[FLASH]< [SUBJECT]

    in a manner like this dreadful schematic ...

    No matter how low and ahead I placed the SB800 ahead of the camera, even tho the SB800 had no line of sight to the commanding onboard flash of the D300, the reflected light in the room still provided enough IR to command the slave SB800 which provided a good exposure.
    While the camera and flash were only a matter of a meter or so apart, the two units couldn't actually see each other directly .. as say a beam from an IR remote and the IR window of a receiver would when you pointed the remote at it.

    Did more tests with the SB800 in different rooms too, and even in the next room facing in a pretty useless direction, I could still see it flashing it's lil heart away!
    Of course that sort of test is both useless and futile even tho it was done indoors, and not out.
    At the time I was shooting a pretty impressive mansion and used my solitary SB800 as a slave to help throw some fill light in various locations for this house.
    For a reference, the main ballroomformaldiningliving?? room was about as big as my house is in toto!
    It was a hard task to capture for a noob like me, with only simple gear!

    Ever since, I've wanted to get a setup consisting of a battery of flash units(of some kind) that I could use in a portable manner every now and again.

    Thinking of getting a couple of Nikon units as well as a series of cheapo units for occasional use.

    And for something just slightly OT but still partly on topic.
    A while back I purchased a new home theatre device, for playing movies, but also as another NAS store place on my network.
    Whenever I use the remote to set the movie player to NAS mode, the aircon positioned high up on a wall and behind my shoulder always beeps(but doesn't do anything else).
    So it's reading an IR beam that must be similar to one of the codes of it's native remote. But that beam can only be bouncing(reflected) off something(TV screen?) ... dunno what.
    But I'll find it one day, it's quite annoying.
    Last edited by arthurking83; 01-09-2012 at 10:55am.

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    Member flashc's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by arthurking83 View Post
    It is actually the Infra Red component of the flash output that the non radio remote slaves trigger from.
    - - - Updated - - -

    The focusing light on the D700/800(and most Nikon bodies) has nothing to do with the built in flash.
    It's a dedicated LED light on the side of the body(upper RHS of the top plate, facing forward).
    Most of us turn it off in fact. Not quite as useful as it's made out to be.

    The IR light in the flash pulse is a full IR signal. What it's not is that it's not as strong as an IR signal from a dedicated IR output source(such as the SU-800).

    IR just like normal light can bounce of objects too, but it's not as 'bouncy'(reflectance) as visible light as IR is absorbed by many materials whereas vis is reflected.
    Hi... Firstly, apologies to the Nikon owners for my placing the "D" at the wrong end of the model number. I've had a Canon for too long and it's hard to switch. Just don't ask about which way the lens twist goes when mounting a lens on the bodies or when zooming in and out if you rotate clockwise or anticlockwise.

    The Youtube review test I saw of the 5DIII and the D800 was a total darkness test with only city lights as the background in the distance and I think they were testing high ISO with no flash. No flash was used at all and the Nikon passed the auto focus lock test because of the focusing light that threw it's beam onto the foreground subject. The Canon, as I recall had the subject hold a torch before dark auto focus could be achieved.

    Based on this review, I complained as to why Canon didn't place a popup flash on the 5DIII or 5DII to do focus assist and also as a useful fill light (as it does on my 7D) when the Nikon D700 and D800 had.

    One of the reasons I've just bought a Nikon was because of the inbuilt focusing light, as I thought it could be extremely useful inside churches. However, you say most Nikon owners turn it off. Does it not assist well enough when focusing or cause other problems (annoyance because the light comes on when you don't need it perhaps ?? )

    Back in the early TV and VCR days, (1970's) I used my new infrared remotes to bounce the IR signal off walls and still operate the TV and VCR, if line of sight was not available.

    I now also have 3rd party RF transmitters for radio frequency wireless flash for my 7D because they work much better outdoors, range wise, as there are no walls to bounce the Popup pulsed IR flash to the remote flashguns.

    This article speaks of similar flash setups.
    http://super.nova.org/DPR/Canon/IRmyths/

    Thanks for your assistance, testing and explanations..

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    Ausphotography Regular Tommo1965's Avatar
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    I don't turn off the focus assist light unless its a situation where it becomes intrusive ....I consider it a very useful part of the camera and helps considerably to achieve focus in dark environments ...but its only good for subjects close to you...Id say up to 15 metres...past that it becomes probably too dim to be much help

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