Monday, June 11, 2012

Speedlite Timer Tip

I've been a flash user for many years, but only recently have I started harnessing the power of multiple off-camera Speedlites (or Speedlights on the Nikon platform) as an upgrade to a single handheld flash. The nice thing about this approach is it allows for more refined lighting setups without the bulk, expense and time investment of working with larger studio-style strobes. But one problem, at least with my Canon 580EX, is that it goes to sleep after 90 seconds of disuse. Many strobes do this, and it can be pretty inconvenient if you're not using the flash on camera. You go to take a picture and... nothing. This is a real killer if you don't have the flash mounted to the hotshoe on your camera, and even worse if it's all the way across the room on a light stand. I finally figured out how to harness my flash's custom functions to disable this sleep timer. With my Canon, it's accomplished by setting custom function 14 to state 1. Access this by holding the CF button for at least three seconds until it starts blinking on the LCD screen, then use the scroll wheel to adjust it from 0 to 1. Simple! No matter what flash you're using, there's usually a similar fix. So don't just settle for a flash that keeps shutting off at inopportune times. Do a little Googling to find out how to fix your flash and make it perfect for remote triggering. Then step up your lighting with multiple off-camera flashes.
DPMag Published in Blog
Speedlite Timer Tip


I've been a flash user for many years, but only recently have I started harnessing the power of multiple off-camera Speedlites (or Speedlights on the Nikon platform) as an upgrade to a single handheld flash. The nice thing about this approach is it allows for more refined lighting setups without the bulk, expense and time investment of working with larger studio-style strobes. But one problem, at least with my Canon 580EX, is that it goes to sleep after 90 seconds of disuse. Many strobes do this, and it can be pretty inconvenient if you're not using the flash on camera. You go to take a picture and... nothing. This is a real killer if you don't have the flash mounted to the hotshoe on your camera, and even worse if it's all the way across the room on a light stand. I finally figured out how to harness my flash's custom functions to disable this sleep timer. With my Canon, it's accomplished by setting custom function 14 to state 1. Access this by holding the CF button for at least three seconds until it starts blinking on the LCD screen, then use the scroll wheel to adjust it from 0 to 1. Simple! No matter what flash you're using, there's usually a similar fix. So don't just settle for a flash that keeps shutting off at inopportune times. Do a little Googling to find out how to fix your flash and make it perfect for remote triggering. Then step up your lighting with multiple off-camera flashes.
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