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I got a couple Yongnuo RF-603 II triggers. And I got a Canon 550EX and 430EX.

I want to use the triggers to fire the 550EX remotely. The 550EX is in master mode. Which should trigger my 430EX in slave mode.

But it doesn't work. Being fired from the wireless triggers, the 550EX loses its master capability apparently. Anyway around that?

Thanks in advance

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The RF-603's are very simple triggers -- no E-TTL whatsoever, including pass-through to the hotshoe on the top of the 603. In your case, you should still be able to put a 603 on your camera's hotshoe, then either flash on top of the 603, with the other flash mounted on the other trigger. Set both flashes to manual power and zoom, then press the shutter on your camera. The RF-603 understands "flash NOW!" in this mode, and that's about it.

In many cases, this is all you really need from a flash trigger, so there's a niche for these super-affordable, super-portable triggers, but if you need more functionality, Yongnuo's YN-622C adds E-TTL and HSS support, which might be what you're looking for.

  • Thanks for you reply. Let me add something though, you suggest E-TTL twice but I'm not looking for TTL. I actually want them both in manual. I'd just like the 550EX to emit it's master signal when it flashes. It seems almost weird that it doesn't. I already tried what you suggest in the past but it defeats the purpose. If I have to mount one flash on top of the trigger in the camera than I don't need the triggers whatsoever cause the master-slave system works. – Lisboanoite Mar 3 '15 at 16:24
  • I think in this case, we can think of "TTL" as "full camera communication". Since the 603 trigger doesn't "pass through" TTL signals to the 550EX, I suspect the flash doesn't think it's getting enough information from the camera to be a master. Why aren't you able to just use the 550 on the camera w/o a trigger at all? It would be happy being a master in that case, I believe. – D. Lambert Mar 3 '15 at 16:44
  • Yeah that's what it looks like, I'm mostly trying to get confirmation. I don't mount he 550EX on the camera cause I want them both off camera. – Lisboanoite Mar 3 '15 at 17:11
  • Yup. You'd need one more 603 in that case. – D. Lambert Mar 3 '15 at 17:13
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None of the Canon flashes can be used simultaneously as slave and master. The 550EX can only be used as a master on-camera (or connected by a TTL cable to a hotshoe), or a slave off-camera. It cannot be an off-camera slave and an off-camera master at the same time. The same is also true of the 580EX, 580EXII, and 600EX-RT. In addition, once the PC port on a Canon flash is used, its optical master capability is also turned off. The flash will only "listen and talk" on one thing at a time: the foot, the smart optical sensor, or the PC port. You need to get an additional RF-603II to be a receiver for your 430EX, and consider the on-camera RF-603II as your master transmitter.

If you'd prefer to have more than manual-only triggers, you could use a 90EX or ST-E2 as your on-camera master (assuming you aren't shooting with a 600D, 60D, or 7D or later body which has one in the pop-up flash), and use that to control both of your EX flashes via Canon's optical wireless scheme. Or you could switch to TTL-capable triggers, like the Yongnuo YN-622/YN-622-TX or Phottix Odin triggers, but again, you'd need at least three units: two to act as receivers, and one to be the on-camera master transmitter.

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