Not Your Everyday Banana

by Bart Arondson

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I'm a total newbie to flash photography, and I am just trying to do some test shooting with Canon Speedlite 580 EXII using my 7D.

I saw on the user manual that the maximum sync speed is 1/250 sec.

However I got the horizontal grey bar on shutter speed 1/200 and even 1/160!

I would like to know what I did wrong... PLEASE HELP ME OUT!

See the images below.

I have this issue with Cactus V5, as well as pocket wizard plus II, With Pocketwizard Mini TT1 and Flex TT5 I dont have that issue maybe because of the high speed sync support?

enter image description here

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Welcome to Stack Exchange! Do you mind if we include those images directly in the post rather than linking? (Which you couldn't do as a new user, but should be able to now that you have some upvotes if you edit the post.) –  mattdm Dec 9 '11 at 11:44
    
I notice in the pictures that your flash is positioned midway up the umbrella shaft. You can see how the flash head is not aimed at the center of the umbrella, thus the light from it is hitting only part of the umbrella. You may be doing this on purpose, but this position does not make full use of the umbrella's ability to spread/diffuse light evenly. For softer light, move the umbrella further out so the flash is at the end of the shaft. The flash will be aimed at the center of the umbrella, and you'll see softer/more-even light as a result. Who knows, it may even solve your issue :-) –  Ryan Pollack Dec 9 '11 at 16:02
    
Thank you, I will give that a try, I also got the pocket wizard mini TT1 and Flex 5, and on the ETTL mode with highspeed sync there is no issue, so I'm curious if it is my trigger has issue (both pocket wizard plus II and cactus v5 got that issue...) –  albert Dec 9 '11 at 20:26
    
The first image doesn't appear to have a problem. What is the difference? –  ysap Dec 9 '11 at 21:30
    
You are a total newbie to flash photography and you have pocketwizards, cactus's and 580EXII's already?! Nice startup kit! –  dpollitt Dec 9 '11 at 22:29
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2 Answers 2

up vote 10 down vote accepted

The 580EX should be fired in perfect sync with the 7D. Definitely when below sync speed. You seem to have a lag in your system here so the flash fires a fraction of a second after the 2nd curtain starts to close.

UPDATE - just noticed that the flash is actually mounted on the light stand and shoots through the umbrella - and it looks like you are using a non TTL wireless trigger to fire the flash. In this case it is possible that the radio trigger introduces that lag.

UPDATE 2: You can try setting the trigger to 1st curtain if it is set to 2nd curtain and it may help overcoming this lag with the slower shutter speed (say, 1/160).

I wonder why you don't use the built in remote flash controller in the 7D? The 580EXII+7D are a (almost*) perfect match in this sense.

(*) almost, b/c it does not support high-speed sync (HSS) mode in wireless mode.

UPDATE 3: from the new images you posted and the new description, it seems like you tried to trigger the flash through the radio trigger while it was also set as a wireless Master. I think it is not really designed to be a master when you trigger it by the simple trigger, and it may fool the flash. Another possibility is that when it receives the trigger signal it first transmits its control signals to (what it thinks to be) its slaves (which do not really exist). This causes the lag!

To sum-up, the 580EXII is supposed to work as a Master (to control remote slave flashes) ONLY when connected to the hot shoe - that is, directly mounted there or connected with an ETTL cable. Otherwise, it can be an ETTL optical slave (if you have the Canon ST-E2 controller or another 580EX as a master), or a full manual, non-ETTL slave, triggered with the simple trigger signal (like what the Cactus transmits or a PC-Sync cable will allow). Your last piece of information probably confirms this.

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Thank you very much for your help ! I use cactus V5 as my wireless trigger, and actually I tried with my pocket wizard plus ii as well, and they both showing the same issue. I will try to use my 7D flash to trigger the 580, but I heard that they must see each other ? meaning I cant put it inside of the softbox or have the flash sitting behind me ? –  albert Dec 9 '11 at 20:19
    
Inside a softbox there may be a problem. On an umbrella, however, there should be enough reflected light from the walls and ceiling to be captured by the flash's sensor. The two don't really have to be on LoS (Line of Sight) to operate as long as there is reflections. –  ysap Dec 9 '11 at 20:48
    
However, it does seem weird that you experience this with two different triggers. I used a cheap radio trigger myself w/o a problem. Might worth a more in-depth check. Does it only happen on this shootout, or do you experience this regularly? –  ysap Dec 9 '11 at 20:49
    
I have tried similar setup the other days, and it got this issue, So I thought that was because Cactus V5 is not really working, so I went to purchase the Pocket wizards Plus II...and still got that issue.... Really need help on this... Thanks a lot ! –  albert Dec 9 '11 at 23:03
    
Did you notice my UPDATE 2 in the answer? –  ysap Dec 9 '11 at 23:15
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Might be your third party flash trigger, try using your 7D's built-in wireless flash master to trigger the 580 instead (set the 580 to slave, and your pop-up flash to "trigger only" or something like that)

Indoors, like the situation you're dealing with, optical wireless triggering usually works really well, outdoors you're better of sticking to radio triggers. (Unless they turn out to be the ones causing the missed sync.)

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Thank you very much for your help, I thought that to use the 7D's flash as master, it has to see the slave flash (meaning I cant put it inside of a softbox or have the flash behind my camera ?) –  albert Dec 9 '11 at 20:15
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