I can't seem to set my camera to 2nd Curtain sync. The only options I get are 1st curtain and high speed sync. I have both the camera and speedlight on manual, and I've also tried the speedlight on ETTL, but no luck. I have also set the shutter speed to 50, and even tried Bulb mode. No luck. I've checked the contacts...no luck. I'm using a Canon 600EX II speedlight. Any ideas?
With most Canon EOS cameras, second curtain sync is only available with shutter times longer than 1/30 second. However, the camera will usually allow one to set second curtain sync with a compatible flash, it just won't be used if the exposure time is shorter than the threshold.
Any manual control of flash sync is only allowed in P/Tv/Av/M exposure modes. If you are using the camera's Fully Automatic Shooting (Scene Intelligent) exposure mode the camera will insist on making those decisions for you.
Second curtain sync is excluded in Bulb exposure mode since the camera can't "anticipate" the beginning of the second curtain closing before the shutter button is released. The camera needs enough time to trigger the flash to allow for the flash duration before the second curtain begins to close. But in B mode, the second curtain begins to close the instant the signal from the shutter button (or button on the wired remote, or signal from the radio remote) is received. If the flash doesn't fire until the second curtain begins to close, the exposure will be uneven across the frame as the shutter curtain moves across the sensor (or film) while the flash releases its energy over time.
If you are in one of the P/Tv/Av/M exposure modes and you still can't select second curtain sync, the issue is probably with the current settings on the 600EX II-RT. In general, if a "non default" setting is selected using the flash's own menu, Canon EOS cameras will not override that setting. In order to control the flash settings from the camera's menu, the corresponding setting on the flash itself should be set to the default value. For example, exposure compensation should be set to "0", manual power should be set to 1/1 (full power), zoom head should be set to "Auto", etc. In the case of flash sync, the default setting in the flash's menu is "First curtain." If "second curtain" is already selected on the flash, the camera will not allow you to override that using the camera's menu.
If you are using the Canon RT radio systems to fire the 600EX II-RT off-camera, wireless 2nd curtain sync wasn't available as a feature until the Feb 2021 release of the ST-E3-RT (Ver. 2). This is a hardware update, not a firmware one. And with the following caveat (from the-digital-picture.com): "2nd curtain sync can be used with Speedlite EL-1, 600EX-RT series and 430EX-RT receiver units, but with EOS R5, R6, or EOS-1D X Mark III cameras only." And Canon's own webpage indicates this may also require a firmware update to the camera body.
It's been one of the longest-standing complaints about the Canon RT radio system ever since it arrived in 2012, that while 3rd-party systems like Godox and Yongnuo could perform wireless 2nd-curtain and remote zooming over radio, Canon's own OEM gear could not. And that holds true not just for the RT system, but also Canon's "smart" optical lcommunication as well.
my answer, the flash was set to wireless and it would not allow me to put it in second curtain sync. turned it over to (wireless off) and no problem getting in to second curtain sync.
Go to red menu 1. (Bottom option) External speedlite control. then down to flash function settings. top row: manual - wireless functions - zoom go wireless option and turn wireless off