Advice & Comment -- How to Combine Studio Flash and Canon Speedlight Flash?


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haikuthief

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Apr 12, 2008
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#1
Hi,
I recently tried to use 2 lights -- one elinchome 600RX to create a pure white background and a main flash with my speedlight. Both work nicely individually, but when I combine both the Elinchrome studio light overpowers the Speedlight no matter what settings I use. Normal settings wihtout the studio light gets me nice lighting, but the exact settings show an underexposed subject with both lights. The difference then went down to changing ISO.
I'm using a Canon 20D, shooting on Manual Mode.

Any advice?
Thanks, Haiku
 

jeremyftk

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Jun 24, 2005
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#2
Er... Firstly, wrong sectoin to post this topic. Secondly, I don't think your Speedlight can possibly match up to the power of the studio strobe... Especially a 600-watter...

Thus, the way to fix our problem may be to swap the lights and use the strobe as the main light or use 2 studio strobes...
 

haikuthief

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Apr 12, 2008
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#3
Hi Jeremy,
I did expect the strobe to overpower the speedlight. What I tried to do was place subject further from the background and expose it for the speedlight, and let the strobe exposure in the background fall where it may (expected it to expose the white wallpaper so its pure white). It doesn't seem to work that way so I'm a little confused as to how it works.
Thanks for reply btw, Haiku
 

grantyale

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#4
It sounds like you have a flash metering problem rather than balancing. How were the lights triggered? How's the speedlite set?
It wouldn't be surprising if the speedlite is on ETTL and the strobe on an optical slave...
 

haikuthief

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Apr 12, 2008
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#6
Hi,
Thanks for the questions to clarify.
- I tried both ETTL and Manual (trying varying power levels up to maximum)
- SETUP: I put this thingamajig on my cam's hotshoe which feeds to the studio strobe (a black cube) and put my speedlite on top of that (stacked)

I'm trying to understand the difference it makes for slave/main -- my intitial idea was just to have both of them go off at their various levels and set my shutter long enough to catch both lights and that would be it. If the speedlight lighting the subject was too dark, I'd push up the aperture and not worry about the background since I know the strobe's power is awesome and will wash it white under most circumstances.

I gave this a lot of thought before I tried it -- but it looks like I only have one light (my strobe) when I tried it out. Tch. So much for my thinking. So much to learn... :\

Haiku
 

catchlights

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#7
for digital, more than two stop over is a lot, so if you background is overexpose too much, will cause flare.

and your canon flash is only can use on manual mode, else the pre flash will trigger the studio light, even you use sync cable to prevent studio being trigger by pre flash, the studio flash will mess up your canon flash ettl metering also.

beside, the power differences of studio flash and the canon flash are too grate, the minimum power of studio flash are still too powerful compare to a hotshoe flash with full power output. you won't get satisfactory results of using both together.
 

haikuthief

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Apr 12, 2008
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#8
Thanks Catchlight!
That does make sense. So let me clarify this --
1) there is no real way to combine studio flash and speedlites in studio photography because the power difference is too large
2) the only way is to either use multiple strobes or multiple speedlites
Is this correct? Is it absolute? Are there any exceptions?

Thanks again.
Keep the comments coming, would love to have more discussion on this.

Regards, Haiku
 

grantyale

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#9
What is "thingamajig" ?

Anyway... from your discription, it sounds like you have a hotshoe-PC adapter on top of your camera, linked to the Elinchrom. Please check if that thing has a hotshoe on top - that is, whether it has a center contact on top. Some adapter has a coldshoe which doesn't fire the speedlite. Also, set the speedlite to manual - ETTL doesn't work unless all five contacts are properly connected. As for balancing - dial the Elinchrom all the way down ( to about 1/8?, not too sure ).
 

haikuthief

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Apr 12, 2008
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#10
I took some photos of the "thingamajig" -- just something I called it because I don't know what it's called.

1. This is the top -- the speedlight goes in here


2. This goes to my Strobe


3. This goes on my camera hotshoe



I did use the lowest setting for my Elinchrome...
P.S. I did see a video on youtube of a photoshoot and it looked like he DID combine a speedlight with studio strobe lights. Mmmm... how to do it?

Thanks, D
 

grantyale

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#11
This adapter doesn't work the way you want it to - it has a coldshoe on top - it doesn't trigger your speedlite. You need something like this: http://secure.mycart.net/catalogs/catalog.asp?prodid=3441046

Actually it's better to just use your speedlite on manual, directly attached to the camera, and a optical slave (peanut) to trigger the Elinchrom. You do not need a slow shutter speed to get both in your exposure.
 

catchlights

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#12
This adapter doesn't work the way you want it to - it has a coldshoe on top - it doesn't trigger your speedlite. You need something like this: http://secure.mycart.net/catalogs/catalog.asp?prodid=3441046

Actually it's better to just use your speedlite on manual, directly attached to the camera, and a optical slave (peanut) to trigger the Elinchrom. You do not need a slow shutter speed to get both in your exposure.
don't have to, Elinchrom light do have a built in sensor.
 

catchlights

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#13
Thanks Catchlight!
That does make sense. So let me clarify this --
1) there is no real way to combine studio flash and speedlites in studio photography because the power difference is too large
2) the only way is to either use multiple strobes or multiple speedlites
Is this correct? Is it absolute? Are there any exceptions?

Thanks again.
Keep the comments coming, would love to have more discussion on this.

Regards, Haiku
it will be easier just use two hotshoe flash units, or two studio lights, as the power differences this two type are too grate to match.

however I do use hotshoe flash and studio light together, the studio light is the main light, the hotshoe flash is to use as kicker light or light up certain part of the background.
 

catchlights

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#14
I took some photos of the "thingamajig" -- just something I called it because I don't know what it's called.

1. This is the top -- the speedlight goes in here


2. This goes to my Strobe


3. This goes on my camera hotshoe



I did use the lowest setting for my Elinchrome...
P.S. I did see a video on youtube of a photoshoot and it looked like he DID combine a speedlight with studio strobe lights. Mmmm... how to do it?

Thanks, D
don't anyhow give a name to things you don't know, as nobody can understand what are you talking about, you can always post a photo and ask what is this thing call.

anyway, this is a hotshoe adapter. you can mount your flash on top of this, but can't fire the flash as there is no contact available.
 

haikuthief

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Apr 12, 2008
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#15
Thanks for the posts. Again, to clarify:

1. The hotshoe adaptor is not triggering my flash at all, but I can get a different kind of hotshoe adaptor that does
2. Greytale -- could you explain this setup please? Don't know enough to know this yet -- "...optical slave (peanut) to trigger the Elinchrom"
3. Catchlights -- How to I trigger the Elinchrom built-in sensor? Do I need another device?

I like the idea of using studio as main and speedlite as kicker / fill -- another reason I want to learn this. I really want a pure white background without paying for another studio strobe flash and go on the cheap with my Speedlite if that's possible. I've had some great shots with one light (simplicity is really the way to go), but I'm not experimenting with more complex setups, plus I can't get a nice pure white background.

Someone said something about it being too powerful that it'll cause flare -- will it help if I locate the subject >4m away from the backdrop? I watched a yahoo video that suggested this to prevent the light from crawling around the edges.

Thanks again, Haiku
 

grantyale

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#16
1 - you're right.
2 - since catchlights has pointed out that Elinchrom lights have built-in optical slaves, my suggestion is irrelevant.
3 - go figure out, RTM, you shouldn't need anything else to make it work.

I don't know what's the minimum you can have on your strobe, something like 1/16 or 1/8 should have similar output power to your speedlite at 1/1.
 

catchlights

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#17
if these are the model you have.. press the eye icon





and if this is the model you have, press the small square button on the right side, the led show green when the sensor is on, red is off.

 

catchlights

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#18
to get pure white, you need to overexpose it by two stops, anything more than that, will cause flare easily, and cheap lens and cheap filter are prone to flare too.
 

catchlights

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#19
btw, depends on what subject you shoot and the how big the background area needed to be light up, if it is on human, using one light is very hard to get even lighting on such a big background area. so not all part of the background can be white.
 

haikuthief

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Apr 12, 2008
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#20
You guys are great man -- thanks so much. I did some more reading and I'm going to try to trigger my Elinchrom with my Speedlite.

When I first got my Elin, I tried to use it on the background and I used a continuous hot light (A red-head) as the key light -- I got flare every single time as you said. I wonder if I'll still get flare when I use my speedlite + strobe. I can't wait to try.

Now that that's settled, would love some related advice.
- I'm now wondering how to overexpose it by 2 stops. I will need a flash lightmeter won't I?
- Are you talking about full calculations of light ratios?
- Do you have any idea how to do the calculations req'd to set the power of my flash?
- How do you guys like to light black backgrounds? one light? or many more? Do you like to use reflectors? Here's 2 shots I took with a single light.



 

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