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I have a Canon rebel and bought a Focus external flash for it. When I have it set to ETTL, the pictures come out really dark. It's like it's thinking that since there is a flash, the camera is adjusting to compensate and the exposure isn't enough. Doesn't matter if I make the exposure length really slow. The other problem is that if I put my flash in manual mode, it won't even fire even though it's still attached to the camera.

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    \$\begingroup\$ If your camera is in Av or TV mode, see: EOS Flash confusion. What model camera body, which model flash, and how is the camera's flash mode set? \$\endgroup\$
    – inkista
    Oct 31, 2022 at 5:08
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    \$\begingroup\$ What specific camera? What specific flash? What exposure mode is the camera set to use? What exposure times (shutter "speed") are used for your dark photos? What are the camera's flash settings? \$\endgroup\$
    – Michael C
    Oct 31, 2022 at 9:10
  • \$\begingroup\$ It's a rebel T100 aka 4000D. The flash is a Focus IFTTL, a cheap flash. Based on your link, the shutter speed can be no quicker than 1/90 second. But when it's in one of the automatic modes like Auto or portrait, I can't set the speed. In the manual modes, I've set the speed for slower than 1/90 and they are still too dark. \$\endgroup\$
    – Greg
    Nov 1, 2022 at 16:48
  • \$\begingroup\$ When I try to use the manual mode on the flash, it won't even fire, except when I have it detached and use the built in flash on the camera to fire off the external flash. But it won't fire when in the hotshoe in manual or multi mode. \$\endgroup\$
    – Greg
    Nov 1, 2022 at 16:50
  • \$\begingroup\$ How many contacts are on the base of the flash? How are they arranged? Do they line up with the contacts on your camera? Does your camera have a large contact in the middle of the hot shoe? Or only the pattern of four smaller contacts in a square pattern near the back of the hot shoe? \$\endgroup\$
    – Michael C
    Nov 3, 2022 at 8:17

2 Answers 2

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There are two different issues coming into play here:

  • Your Canon Rebel T100/4000D does not have a standard hot shoe with an ISO compliant contact in the center. Canon started doing this with the lowest priced models a few years ago. You can't trigger standard manual flashes directly with this hot shoe. There are a few workarounds that require hardware made specifically to work with the Canon cameras that have this partially disabled shoe. I call it a "semi-lukewarm" shoe.

We've had a few previous questions about this issue here at Photo SE:

How can I make use of a speedlight that does not work with the non-standard hotshoe on lower-end Canon cameras?
Is a Yongnuo YN560-TX compatible with Canon SL3 or T100?
What speed lights are compatible with canon 2000d? I can’t find any
Canon EOS 4000D Hot Shoe for Sync (with Studio Flashes)

  • Many third party flashes don't work very well in E-TTL mode if the Canon camera's flash metering is set to Evaluative. Try setting the flash metering mode to Center Weighted Averaging, or partial. Please note that Flash metering mode is a different setting than regular Metering mode.

We've also had a few previous questions regarding this issue here at Photo SE:

Flash intensity levels aren't the same across consecutive photographs
Yongnuo YN-685 underexposure issue in bounce mode at longer focal length
Why does my pictures becomes darker while using external flash 😓?

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I have a Canon rebel [T100] and bought a Focus [IFTTL] external flash for it. When I have it set to ETTL, the pictures come out really dark. It's like it's thinking that since there is a flash, the camera is adjusting to compensate and the exposure isn't enough.

If you use aperture priority (Av) mode, by default, the camera always tries to use the flash for fill, rather than as the main source of illumination. The assumed usage is firing a pop-up flash to illuminate shadowed faces when people are backlit by the sun. Your iso, aperture, and shutter speeds are kept relatively near where they would have been without using any flash.

See also: The EOS 'Bible': EOS Flash Confusion

Doesn't matter if I make the exposure length really slow.

Shutter speed doesn't have any effect on the flash portion of an exposure because a flash burst (at or below sync speed) will be faster than any shutter speed you can use. Leaving the shutter open for longer doesn't gather any more light from the flash. But I suspect your flash isn't actually firing in sync because...

The other problem is that if I put my flash in manual mode, it won't even fire even though it's still attached to the camera.

You have a T100. It is, unfortunately, one of the three camera models (the SL3/250D, T7/2000D, and T100/4000D) where Canon removed the central sync contact on the flash hotshoe. This is the contact that sends the main "fire" signal to the flash.

Only third-party flashes with eTTL II capability can deal with this missing sync contact, and only if they're firmware upgradeable so that they can deal with the communication protocol changes the missing contact needs to fire and control the flash. The main 3rd-party brand that does this is Godox. I would look to see if your Focus flash has a USB port, and whether there are any firmware updates you can apply to your flash for communication with the T100. But it's likely that your flash is simply incompatible with a T100, while it would work fine on a non-T100/T7/SL3 Canon dSLR body.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Thank you. This is very helpful. What I get for going cheap. \$\endgroup\$
    – Greg
    Nov 5, 2022 at 18:40
  • \$\begingroup\$ So, basically only canon and godox flashes will work correctly with my camera? \$\endgroup\$
    – Greg
    Nov 5, 2022 at 18:49
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Greg, it's possible some other 3rd-parties have updated their flash firmware the way Godox did, but Godox is the most popular and widespread choice and was the first to do so, so most of us stopped searching after that. :) Godox also has a lot of other advantages to other brands: built-in remote radio control, cross-brand TTL/HSS support, li-ion options, and expansion options that include AC manual monolights, IGBT TTL/HSS battery-powered monolights, and two pack and head systems. \$\endgroup\$
    – inkista
    Nov 5, 2022 at 23:36

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