Canon sx40 Frustration and Samples

Started Sep 30, 2011 | Discussions
PeterRoise
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Canon sx40 Frustration and Samples
Sep 30, 2011

I really like my sx40 but I really think I ought to send it back. I'm really torn. It seems that Canon has improved everything about this camera over the sx30, except they've lobotomized the hotshoe so that it only works with ETTL-II. I've explained my problem with this here:

http://forums.dpreview.com/forums/readflat.asp?forum=1010&thread=39469890

You can see a selection of more or less random photos taken with the sx40 here:

http://peterroise.com/Blogs/Canon-sx40hs/

And this sample self-portrait is an example of why it is so tragic that Canon has (apparently) made it difficult to use this camera with studio lights and regular dumb strobes. This camera could be so much cooler, it is supposed to be cooler... I'm so frustrated. I'd love any help I can get to get Canon's attention and get the firmware updated or something.

PeterRoise
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Re: Canon sx40 Frustration and Samples
In reply to PeterRoise, Sep 30, 2011

The self-portrait is taken by using my ETTL-II Nissin Di866 in manual mode to trigger the lights optically. It works, but high speed leaf-shutter sync is completely ruled out, as well as being able to use the radio trigger to trigger the lights in bright outdoor situations.

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Sunflower6
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The manual says
In reply to PeterRoise, Sep 30, 2011

"Using a non-Canon brand flash (particularly a high-voltage flash) or flash accessories may inhibit normal operation or damage the camera."

The manual was published online before anyone had the cameras for pre-order.

The SX30 had the same warning in the user manual.

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jonrobertp
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Re: The manual says
In reply to Sunflower6, Sep 30, 2011

Well Peter, the IQ looks good. I've never owned a smallish long zoom, so coming from a 100-400L...which i'm selling ...too heavy. So is the IQ from that small sensor and uber long zoom good enough for a 11x14 print at 200 dpi ? or what ? Hows it for sports like football games ? thx.
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PeterRoise
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Re: The manual says
In reply to Sunflower6, Sep 30, 2011

Yeah, but that's what they always say. And these flashes work fine with my 5DmkII and 60D... and every other camera with a hot shoe, and some without, that I've tried them with. Flash hot shoe technology is 50+ years old. It should work. There are web sites like this one:

http://www.botzilla.com/photo/strobeVolts.html

to help you make sure that you don't fry your camera with an old flash.

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PeterRoise
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Re: The manual says
In reply to jonrobertp, Sep 30, 2011

Jon, that would mostly depend on light and how picky you want to be, I think. I haven't used it enough to know for sure. It does pretty well, but it's not a 5Dmkii or a 60D. The quality of the images from these small cameras is really quite different. I used a Lumix FZ20 before I got my first DSLR and I really liked it, and I still like them. They are just a different tool, and fun to use. Sorry I can't give you a more definitive answer. I don't think I'd want to do go any bigger than 11x14, at least not if I'm calling it a high quality print.

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dave_bass5
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Re: Canon sx40 Frustration and Samples
In reply to PeterRoise, Sep 30, 2011

PeterRoise wrote:

I really like my sx40 but I really think I ought to send it back. I'm really torn. It seems that Canon has improved everything about this camera over the sx30, except they've lobotomized the hotshoe so that it only works with ETTL-II. I've explained my problem with this here:

http://forums.dpreview.com/forums/readflat.asp?forum=1010&thread=39469890

Why not post the sample in that thread then, rather than starting a new thread on the same topic?
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PeterRoise
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Re: Canon sx40 Frustration and Samples
In reply to dave_bass5, Sep 30, 2011

The title of the other thread didn't seem as clear to me. I'm emailing with Canon's technical support who seem eager to help, but still no answer on why stuff that works with Canon DSLR hotshoes will not work with the sx40.

Anyone else able to test for me to see if my particular camera is the problem?

Thanks,

Peter

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Sunflower6
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Re: The manual says
In reply to PeterRoise, Sep 30, 2011

PeterRoise wrote:

Yeah, but that's what they always say. And these flashes work fine with my 5DmkII and 60D... and every other camera with a hot shoe, and some without, that I've tried them with. Flash hot shoe technology is 50+ years old. It should work. There are web sites like this one:

http://www.botzilla.com/photo/strobeVolts.html

to help you make sure that you don't fry your camera with an old flash.

Then why not just use those flashes with the cams you listed? Your first thread on this topic says that even those cams are limited in how they work with 50+ year-old flash hot shoe technology.

If Canon didn't include this change in the upgrade from the SX30 to the SX40, there likely wasn't enough demand to justify it. I doubt you're going to get a firmware update on this issue anytime soon.

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PaulRivers
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Re: The manual says
In reply to Sunflower6, Sep 30, 2011

I think the bigger question the OP is trying to get answered is if anyone else with an sx40 could hook up a other flashes and they would work.

It certainly seems like it's a possibility that there's just something defective with the OP's particular camera, like one of the contacts on the flash is bad or something.

Or maybe Canon was just a jerk. It's hard to say without trying it with a second camera though.

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PeterRoise
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Re: The manual says
In reply to PaulRivers, Sep 30, 2011

Exactly, Paul, thanks for pointing that out. Also, I don't know if you, Sunflower, are aware of a rather large portion of the photography world that likes to bring some of their own light in the form of flashes (strobist is the biggest enthusiast group). The shutters in cameras like the sx40 are different than in the DSLRS and while people aren't going to abandon their DSLRS, there are things that you should be able to do with the sx40 that you can't do with a DSLR.

This link is exactly why Canon should make sure they are not alienating hundreds of thousands of potential buyers with the sx40.

http://strobist.blogspot.com/2007/09/new-canon-powershot-g9-makes-my-g7-feel.html

I've already put in a request with CHDK to get a look at the firmware and see if this is written in the firmware. I would really appreciate anyone else out there who has a non-canon flash and a Canon sx40 if they could test and see if this is a "feature" or a defective model I have. You can also just cover the 4 ettl2 pins or contacts on the camera and test with a canon flash as well.

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PeterRoise
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Re: The manual says
In reply to PeterRoise, Sep 30, 2011

Ken has tested it. Looks like mine might be defective.

"PeterRoise wrote:

Ken, if you just put a little piece of electrical tape over the four contacts at the back of the hot shoe and then try with your flashes... I think that would show the same thing. Of course, it would be nice to see if your flashes will fire on a generic trigger, but I think the Canon flashes do though. I've owned a 430ex, but don't now.
Thanks
Sorry for the wait...

Yes, the SX40 does fire. I taped the four dedicated contacts. The 430EXII fired at full duration.

This won't help but my SX10 would fire my Sunpak 433 that was dedicated to Nikon. Once you get this flash issue behind you, I'm sure you will like the SX40.
Ken"

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Sunflower6
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Re: The manual says
In reply to PeterRoise, Sep 30, 2011

PeterRoise wrote:

Exactly, Paul, thanks for pointing that out. Also, I don't know if you, Sunflower, are aware of a rather large portion of the photography world that likes to bring some of their own light in the form of flashes (strobist is the biggest enthusiast group). The shutters in cameras like the sx40 are different than in the DSLRS and while people aren't going to abandon their DSLRS, there are things that you should be able to do with the sx40 that you can't do with a DSLR.

This link is exactly why Canon should make sure they are not alienating hundreds of thousands of potential buyers with the sx40.

http://strobist.blogspot.com/2007/09/new-canon-powershot-g9-makes-my-g7-feel.html

I've already put in a request with CHDK to get a look at the firmware and see if this is written in the firmware. I would really appreciate anyone else out there who has a non-canon flash and a Canon sx40 if they could test and see if this is a "feature" or a defective model I have. You can also just cover the 4 ettl2 pins or contacts on the camera and test with a canon flash as well.

But what portion of those "enthusiasts" are trying to use their own light in the same way you are? Why weren't they here complaining with the SX30, so that they would get that firmware update with the SX30 or added functionality with the SX40?

I don't know if you, Peter, are aware how competitive the P&S market is. If there's enough demand, the problem will get solved. If there were "hundreds of thousands of potential buyers" to be alienated, surely Canon would have figured it out by now.

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PeterRoise
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Re: The manual says
In reply to Sunflower6, Sep 30, 2011

Exactly, Canon will figure it out, but sometimes even the best companies go astray. It is looking like I have a defective unit.

Just to make sure I'm very clear here. If Canon were limiting the use of this hotshoe to just ettl2 flashes it would be the first time I've ever heard of them doing anything like this (the sx30 would fire all my flashes just like I want it to). If this were for real, and if they started pushing this kind of thing out to all their hotshoe cameras it would cause a major controversy. It seems to me like you probably don't use the hotshoe or care about it. And that is fine, but a lot of photographers basically don't buy cameras without a hotshoe. And that hotshoe works the same way on my Pentax Spotmatic from the 70's, on my Canon DLSRs, and even on my son's Lumix FZ20... it is a standard connection. Imagine buying a computer with a USB port on it and then discovering that your computer manufacturer decided only let USB devices they made work with your computer. It'd be a problem, right. Same thing here.

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Dale Buhanan
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Re: Canon sx40 Frustration and Samples
In reply to PeterRoise, Oct 1, 2011

One thing you should try at this point Peter to see if there may be a compatibility issue with your flash:

Meter what the voltage on your external flash center terminal is with a voltmeter. If it is higher than about 7.5 volts, you may have blown your camera and a new one won't help. The new one could be damaged also. These cameras are made to handle center terminal voltage of TTL levels-- ie about 5 volts.

Some of the older flash units generated over 100 volts at this terminal. I had an Epson flash some time ago that had 150 volts here! An external flash of this generation will fry the camera trigger circuit. So meter the voltage on your particular units before you go any further. You may need to trigger it with an interface trigger unit.

PeterRoise wrote:

The title of the other thread didn't seem as clear to me. I'm emailing with Canon's technical support who seem eager to help, but still no answer on why stuff that works with Canon DSLR hotshoes will not work with the sx40.

Anyone else able to test for me to see if my particular camera is the problem?

Thanks,

Peter

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Dale

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PeterRoise
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Re: The manual says
In reply to PeterRoise, Oct 1, 2011

Great news! On a whim I decided to reset all settings to see if that would help by any chance. And it did. Now the hotshoe will fire all my accessories just like I wanted it to, and I can synchronize up to 1250th of a second. I've started my review of the camera and I'll post examples of high-speed sync as well.

Thanks for your help and participation, and if anyone else has a problem like this, just reset the camera.

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