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Thread: Flash too powderful

  1. #1

    Default Flash too powderful

    Hi guys,

    Sorry if this sound stupid, but I'm new to using off-camera flash.

    I have a 430ExII with an ebay trigger on manual mode, dialed to the lowest setting it can go (1/64).

    I'm using a 17-55 at 55mm for a tight headshot. The flash is 3 ft away from the subject, with an omnibounce. Nearer = softer, right?

    Problem is, the flash is too powerful, resulting in the subject being overexposed. Since the power is already at the minimum, what can I do to lower the flash output? In ETTL mode it's really easy using flash compensation.

    Thanks, and cheers!
    Canon 450D | Canon 17-55mm f2.8 IS USM | Canon 55-250mm f4-5.6 IS | 430EXII | Gitzo GT0541, 486RC2

  2. #2

    Default Re: Flash too powderful

    try use a difusser. That will soften the flash.

  3. #3

    Default Re: Flash too powderful

    Quote Originally Posted by robinlimkp View Post
    try use a difusser. That will soften the flash.
    errr... so what's an omnibounce?

  4. #4

    Default Re: Flash too powderful

    FYI, 1/64 is not the lowest setting... it's probably the slowest shutter speed...

  5. #5

    Default Re: Flash too powderful

    As you are using off-camera flash (unless with ST-E2 infra-red trigger) your max sync will probably be 1/200 (correct me if i'm wrong).

    Your shutter flexibility is limited, thus you got basically 4 choices;

    1. Reduce the f-stop, probably the easiest way, but you will get much lesser isolation of course.

    2. Move the off-camera flash further away from the subject.

    3. Use a bigger diffusing tool like umbrellas/softbox etc. to reduce the flash power and spread it across a bigger area.

    4. Use an ND filter to reduce overall light and enable you to have a good flash exposure at 1/200.

    Hope this helps.

  6. #6

    Default Re: Flash too powderful

    Quote Originally Posted by elijah81 View Post
    FYI, 1/64 is not the lowest setting... it's probably the slowest shutter speed...
    I think on his flash it is the lowest flash power. (480EXI/II)

  7. #7

    Default Re: Flash too powderful

    Quote Originally Posted by surrephoto View Post
    I think on his flash it is the lowest flash power. (480EXI/II)
    errr... it's the slowest flash speed... which means that the flash will strobe slower... if you don't want the flash to be stronger maybe try a faster setting like 1/200?

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Flash too powderful

    Quote Originally Posted by elijah81 View Post
    errr... it's the slowest flash speed... which means that the flash will strobe slower... if you don't want the flash to be stronger maybe try a faster setting like 1/200?
    I think you're confused my friend.

    TS dialled his flash power setting to the lowest possible, which is 1/64.
    Nothing to do with shutter speed, which i assume you're referring to.

    No such thing as 'flash speed' i believe.
    Expert Juggling Comes From Experience. Experience Comes From Bad Juggling.

  9. #9

    Default Re: Flash too powderful

    Quote Originally Posted by elijah81 View Post
    errr... it's the slowest flash speed... which means that the flash will strobe slower... if you don't want the flash to be stronger maybe try a faster setting like 1/200?
    eh???

    You don't set the flash the same way you do a shutter speed. The number is the so-called "flash output" as a fraction of "full power". In short, surrephoto was right.

  10. #10

    Default Re: Flash too powderful

    Quote Originally Posted by elijah81 View Post
    errr... it's the slowest flash speed... which means that the flash will strobe slower... if you don't want the flash to be stronger maybe try a faster setting like 1/200?
    Elijah81, I'm afraid you're confusing flash output power settings with shutter speed.

    At 1/64th of it's total power, the duration of the 480EXII output is something like 1-ten something-thousandth of a second.

    Whiplash, surrephoto has listed out all your possible options. The only thing I would add is that if using an ST-E2 to trigger, you're not limited to a fixed or max* sync speed unless you set your system up that way through Cfns, or your body has limited sync speed options. Still, if you look at the way ETTL and ETTL II was designed to work with Cat A bods, you'll know how to still get variable sync speed.

    * The ST-E2 is useable on high speed sync on ETTL II bods. Not sure about ETTL.
    Last edited by Dream Merchant; 7th May 2009 at 04:34 PM.

  11. #11
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    Default Re: Flash too powderful

    Quote Originally Posted by elijah81 View Post
    errr... it's the slowest flash speed... which means that the flash will strobe slower... if you don't want the flash to be stronger maybe try a faster setting like 1/200?
    I think you have misunderstood. You can set the flash output power, which was what TS meant. Flash output can be adjusted from a maximum of 1/1 to a minimum of 1/64.

    What you probably meant is when you set the flash to flash rapidly at different frequency, which is not what TS needs. Anyway strobe mode are shown in Hz ie. 1Hz, 2Hz ..50Hz etc.
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  12. #12

    Default Re: Flash too powderful

    use a faster shutterspeed.
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  13. #13

    Default Re: Flash too powderful

    Quote Originally Posted by wildsoyabean View Post
    use a faster shutterspeed.
    This is also what I have in mind.

  14. #14
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    Default Re: Flash too powderful

    Lower your ISO setting, or change to a smaller aperture.
    If you want ambient lighting, try to use a shoot through umbrella to diffuse the light, you'll love it, trust me.
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  15. #15

    Default Re: Flash too powderful

    As others said, use a smaller aperture (larger f-stop number), lower your ISO, try a diffuser. But IMO if you're talking about shooting portraits, you can't get much softer on a bare flash. The light source is simply too small. If you go too close, you get hotspots. For best results, try an umbrella or softbox.
    Videographer @ A Merry Moment

  16. #16

    Default Re: Flash too powderful

    Hi guys,

    Thanks for the replies.

    Yes, 1/64 is the lowest flash output possible (not shutter speed, or stroboscopic mode... the 430EXII doesn't have that anyway).

    No umbrellas or softboxes available. Possible to use a diffuser, but I'm using the 8-in-1 system so my diffuser became a reflector for the fill-in.

    I could try reducing the aperture, and see if it works. I don't want to reduce shutter speed as I am dragging the shutter to expose for ambient.

    I read that moving flash further results in harsher light, so am trying to avoid this. But this is probably my best option if no other choice.

    ND filters? Hmm, possible... but I don't have any.

    Oh, btw I'm using ebay trigger, not the ST-E2. No E-TTL II or high-sync.
    Canon 450D | Canon 17-55mm f2.8 IS USM | Canon 55-250mm f4-5.6 IS | 430EXII | Gitzo GT0541, 486RC2

  17. #17
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    Default Re: Flash too powderful

    I think is possible, here's a sample I took using just the SB-600 with Omni-Bounce. I took my soft umbrella with me, but the wind blew and my whole flash with umbrella collapse, causing my umbrella to break.

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  18. #18
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    Default Re: Flash too powderful

    Quote Originally Posted by WhipLash View Post
    Hi guys,

    Thanks for the replies.

    Yes, 1/64 is the lowest flash output possible (not shutter speed, or stroboscopic mode... the 430EXII doesn't have that anyway).

    No umbrellas or softboxes available. Possible to use a diffuser, but I'm using the 8-in-1 system so my diffuser became a reflector for the fill-in.

    I could try reducing the aperture, and see if it works. I don't want to reduce shutter speed as I am dragging the shutter to expose for ambient.

    I read that moving flash further results in harsher light, so am trying to avoid this. But this is probably my best option if no other choice.

    ND filters? Hmm, possible... but I don't have any.

    Oh, btw I'm using ebay trigger, not the ST-E2. No E-TTL II or high-sync.
    Don't think moving the flash further will cause harsh light, just trial and error. You will find the sweet spot.
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  19. #19

    Default Re: Flash too powderful

    Do note that increasing shutter speed won't affect your flash power, only ambient light, which may or may not be causing your subject to be over-lit. So feel free to keep your shutter for ambient like you wanted.

    Moving flash further theorectically does make it harsher. But compared to a large lightsource like ceilings, umbrellas or softboxes, moving the flash head closer is a very minor enlargement.

    I guess your best bet is bouncing off walls or ceilings.
    Videographer @ A Merry Moment

  20. #20
    Senior Member darrrrrrrrrr's Avatar
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    Default Re: Flash too powderful

    Quote Originally Posted by WhipLash View Post
    Hi guys,

    Thanks for the replies.

    Yes, 1/64 is the lowest flash output possible (not shutter speed, or stroboscopic mode... the 430EXII doesn't have that anyway).

    No umbrellas or softboxes available. Possible to use a diffuser, but I'm using the 8-in-1 system so my diffuser became a reflector for the fill-in.

    I could try reducing the aperture, and see if it works. I don't want to reduce shutter speed as I am dragging the shutter to expose for ambient.

    I read that moving flash further results in harsher light, so am trying to avoid this. But this is probably my best option if no other choice.

    ND filters? Hmm, possible... but I don't have any.

    Oh, btw I'm using ebay trigger, not the ST-E2. No E-TTL II or high-sync.
    What ISO and aperture are you using? I've really never had to shoot at 1/64 flash output before, but usually I hover around ISO 100 f5.6 +/- a few stops and the flash is at 1/2 to 1/8 power.

    Anyway I could suggest sticking a few pieces of tissue/printing paper on the outside of your omnibounce (inside may overheat I guess) to kill off more power from the flash.

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