I attached my Canon 580EX flash to my Canon 6D this evening to take some Halloween shots. Although body and flash usually work seamlessly together, tonight I noticed that the flash kept turning itself off and the only way I could get it to work again was to switch it if and then on again. When it's on, it fires appropriately. Also, the flash head failed to zoom in sync with my lens.

I wondered if this might be a sign that it's time to change the batteries, but the cycle time is still pretty short and I did change batteries recently.

Has some witch or ghost cursed my strobe? Do I need to send it to Canon for a proper exorcism?


1 Answer 1


The problem seems to have been a bad connection between the flash and the camera. Canon Speedlites have an automatic power off feature that puts the flash to sleep after a short period. Normally, half-pressing the shutter button wakes up the flash, so you may not even realize that it was off, so I was surprised when I couldn't get the flash to wake up.

In my case, there must have been some dirt preventing one or more of the pins in the foot from making contact with the hot shoe, and this caused the wake up and zoom functions to fail. Removing the flash, wiping the foot and the shoe with a clean cloth, and reattaching the flash sees to have completely lifted the curse.

For what it's worth, you can disable the auto shutoff if you like. It's custom function 14 on the 580EX, and custom function 1 on most other models.

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    \$\begingroup\$ In my case I observed also oxidation of the contacts on camera. Friendly touch with very fine sandpaper helped, and I should probably add a splash of some contact spray. \$\endgroup\$
    – ssavec
    Nov 1, 2013 at 10:01
  • \$\begingroup\$ For other folks who might have this problem and be concerned about oxidation, I'd recommend starting with a soft cloth and progressing to a pencil eraser if necessary. Even very fine sandpaper sounds like a drastic solution. \$\endgroup\$
    – Caleb
    Nov 7, 2013 at 15:58

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