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Metering 550EX flash in High Speed Sync Mode
Old 07-21-2005, 10:27 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Not sure if this is a basic question or not, but it has me stumped. I have a Canon Digital Rebel (non XT) and a 550EX Speedlite. I recently purchased a Sekonic L-358 flash meter which I am still trying to learn. If I mount the flash on the camera and attempt to meter the flash, I notice that I can't get above a 1/200 shutter speed. I need to get above the 1/200 shutter speed because the meter says I need to be at 1/800 to 1/1000 range for the fstop I am trying to use or I need to set the fstop to something like 22-25. I read the manual and see that the 550EX needs to be set to High Speed Sync in order to get the shutter speed under the 1/200 of a second speed. No problem. I set the flash to High Speed Sync. I can now set the shutter speed to 1/800. I meter the shot and the meter says I can bring the fstop to 6.3 at 1/800. Cool. I do that, but now the exposure in the picture is way too dark. If I take what the meter says in non High Speed sync mode (i.e. 1/200 at f22) the pictures look properly exposed. If I put it in high sync mode and go with something like 1/800 at f6.5 as the meter indicates, they are dark.

What am I missing here? Is this a problem with the flash in high sync mode or my VERY BASIC understanding of metering? The meter seems to work GREAT with ambient light and has already taught me so much compared to what I was getting when trying to meter with the camera on my own. It has shown me that I have no clue when it comes to "guessing" the proper exposure setting. I like the way the pictures look when metered in ambient light and when metered with the flash in non high sync mode. It is the high sync mode that has me stumped.

Thanks in advance!

Earl
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Re: Metering 550EX flash in High Speed Sync Mode
Old 07-21-2005, 10:51 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Does the Digital Rebel support high-speed sync? I don't think it does.

I've got a Nikon D70 and the max I get out of it is 1/500 with flash.

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Re: Metering 550EX flash in High Speed Sync Mode
Old 07-21-2005, 11:03 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Good question. I will need to go through the manual again to make sure, BUT when I put the flash in high sync mode, I can adjust the shutter speed to the 1/800, 1/1000 range, so I assume that means it does????

Earl
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Re: Metering 550EX flash in High Speed Sync Mode
Old 07-21-2005, 11:04 PM   #4 (permalink)
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I've had the Canon 10D and 20D and use them all the time with all sorts of studio flash. I've never been able to comprehend the complexity of those EX flash systems. I hear of people spending thousands on extra accessories to support the flash, but no one seems to be able to explain acutally what's going on or how to make them work.

That being said, I just put the thing on the camera when I need grab shots and set the 20D to P mode and I get about 90% good photos. If I'm indoors with a low ceiling, I get use it in bounce mode.

The only way the flash meter is going to help, is if you can put the camera in full manual mode and then can set the flash so it will fire at full power each time or at a known power (by that I mean, set it to 1/2 power, for example). Now with the flash meter you could get the fstop. You would naturally have to set the shutter speed to the sync speed or less and I don't believe you can use high speed sync in full manual (but I could be wrong on that). What I've done, though in a pinch is to meter the background and set the fstop and shutter speed for that, and then meter the model and adjust the power up or down on the flash. Usually its many times easier to just use an external strobe such as an Alien Bee. Then everything is quite simple.

Cheers,
rfs
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Re: Metering 550EX flash in High Speed Sync Mode
Old 07-21-2005, 11:33 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Do you have a 'Canon EOS Digital Rebel (EOS 300D)'? If so, google lists some sites indicating the flash sync is limited to 1/200. Hope that helps.
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Re: Metering 550EX flash in High Speed Sync Mode
Old 07-21-2005, 11:54 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Hi Earl,
Cna I ask a little more about why you are not shooting in ETTL mode? The flash does a pretty nice job if you let it do the thinking for you. Set you settings on the camera, any of the modes, and fire away. If the 550 is set to ettl, it will set itself accordingly.
If you can add a little details to what you are trying to shoot, it would certainly help.

Chris
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Re: Metering 550EX flash in High Speed Sync Mode
Old 07-22-2005, 12:12 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Whether the camera operates in HSS mode or not, your external meter will not read it properly. The meter, in flash mode, will read the first pop of the flash and not the subsequent pops. If you do in fact have HSS mode, you will have to let the camera operate in ETTL mode.

E
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Re: Metering 550EX flash in High Speed Sync Mode
Old 07-22-2005, 04:20 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Earl, I am not sure how you are doing your metering but I can tell you one thing. In high speed mode the power of the flash is reduced considerably. You may have to dial up your ISO to get enough power.

Regards...David
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Re: Metering 550EX flash in High Speed Sync Mode
Old 07-22-2005, 07:14 AM   #9 (permalink)
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All,

Thanks for all the comments, suggestions and questions. As to why I am doing this .... the light meter is new for me and I am just playing around with it in an attempt to learn. I have ordered some cheap studio lights that are due to come in next week, so in the meantime I was using the 550EX as a way to test (learn) the flash settings on the meter. I do have the flash in ETTL mode which might be part of the weirdness I am seeing.

Thanks again for all your help! I might play around with it some more in full manual mode as suggested above just to see if I can make it work. Under normal shooting conditions with this flash, I would not be trying to meter it this way.

Earl
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Re: Metering 550EX flash in High Speed Sync Mode
Old 07-22-2005, 11:29 AM   #10 (permalink)
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In ETTL mode the Canon flash fires a pre-flash.

E
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