Canon 550EX in manual mode can't trigger an optical slave?

Started Mar 7, 2013 | Discussions
jeffinvan
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Canon 550EX in manual mode can't trigger an optical slave?
Mar 7, 2013

Hoping someone might point me in the right direction; I've got:

  • Pentax K-5 with a wireless Cactus V5 trigger, wireless flash mode disabled
  • Canon 550EX in manual mode on another Cactus V5 trigger
  • Metz 48 AF-1 (Pentax) in set to SL(M) (otherwise known as dumb optical slave mode)

Under the following conditions, the Metz will fire:

  • firing K-5 on-board flash will trigger the Metz optical slave
  • firing a P&S Nikon on-board flash will trigger the Metz optical slave
  • firing the Canon 550EX on/off trigger (using the flash test button) will NOT trigger the Metz

Conclusion would leave me to believe that something might be wrong with the Canon?
Any help is appreciated.

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Sailor Blue
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Re: Canon 550EX in manual mode can't trigger an optical slave?
In reply to jeffinvan, Mar 8, 2013

jeffinvan wrote:

Hoping someone might point me in the right direction; I've got:

  • Pentax K-5 with a wireless Cactus V5 trigger, wireless flash mode disabled
  • Canon 550EX in manual mode on another Cactus V5 trigger
  • Metz 48 AF-1 (Pentax) in set to SL(M) (otherwise known as dumb optical slave mode)

Under the following conditions, the Metz will fire:

  • firing K-5 on-board flash will trigger the Metz optical slave
  • firing a P&S Nikon on-board flash will trigger the Metz optical slave
  • firing the Canon 550EX on/off trigger (using the flash test button) will NOT trigger the Metz

Conclusion would leave me to believe that something might be wrong with the Canon?
Any help is appreciated.

Rotate the front of the Metz to aim it at the Canon flash when it is mounted on the camera.  Be sure the Canon is set to full Manual power control - no TTL and not in the Master mode.  You do NOT want any pre-flash to fire.  Try setting the Canon to 1/32nd of full power, which should be more than sufficient.

Push the Canon test button.  If the 550EX fires the Metz should also fire. Observe this visually, not by taking a test shot since any pre-flash from the Canon would set off the Metz before the shutter opens.

If you can see the Metz flash fire then rotate the Metz flash head toward the subject and try taking a flash photo where only the Metz is illuminating the subject - rotate the Canon flash head so it is aimed at the Metz, not at the subject.

Now try using both flashes aimed at the subject at once, but be sure to visually check to be sure the Metz is still firing.

If you can visually see the Metz flash but the image isn't illuminated by the Metz then you have a problem with how you have set up the Canon flash or it is malfunctioning.

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SeedyBee
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Re: Canon 550EX in manual mode can't trigger an optical slave?
In reply to jeffinvan, Mar 9, 2013

Canon Speedlites do not play nicely with optical triggers.

Try it with the Master/Slave switch set to Off. The command pre-flashes "may" not be issued. I can't remember.

Otherwise, has your Metz got an S2 Mode, which ignores the first flash. It does not always work as the Canon can issue many bursts of light pulse code, before the Fire! command.

There are a few designed-for-Canon optical triggers which handle the preflashes better, and could replace the internal Metz detector if that flash has a PC-sync connector.
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ktownbill
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Re: Canon 550EX in manual mode can't trigger an optical slave?
In reply to jeffinvan, Mar 9, 2013

jeffinvan wrote:

Hoping someone might point me in the right direction; I've got:

  • Pentax K-5 with a wireless Cactus V5 trigger, wireless flash mode disabled
  • Canon 550EX in manual mode on another Cactus V5 trigger
  • Metz 48 AF-1 (Pentax) in set to SL(M) (otherwise known as dumb optical slave mode)

Under the following conditions, the Metz will fire:

  • firing K-5 on-board flash will trigger the Metz optical slave
  • firing a P&S Nikon on-board flash will trigger the Metz optical slave
  • firing the Canon 550EX on/off trigger (using the flash test button) will NOT trigger the Metz

Conclusion would leave me to believe that something might be wrong with the Canon?
Any help is appreciated.

Why not put a V5 receiver on the Metz?

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jeffinvan
Junior MemberPosts: 39Gear list
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Re: Canon 550EX in manual mode can't trigger an optical slave?
In reply to ktownbill, Mar 19, 2013

I had hoped to avoid having to buy a third trigger (since the Metz "should" be able to be put into optical slave mode) but even testing with my old 360GZ, it doesn't seem to fire but will fire off the on-board flash from both my Pentax K-5 & my Lumix GX-1.

Based on that, my guess it's the Metz and not the Canon...

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jeffinvan
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Re: Canon 550EX in manual mode can't trigger an optical slave?
In reply to jeffinvan, Mar 20, 2013

Okay, finally got the answer direct from the horse's mouth (Metz.de).

Apparently, in either slave mode (Wireless Servo "M/SL" or Wireless Slave "SL), the source must be a P-TTL flash thus my ability to trigger off the on-body camera flash but not flash unit set to full Manual mode.

Guess that means I need another trigger!

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