6D: Auto ISO won’t go above ISO400 if flash is used?

Started 7 months ago | Discussions
DPReview007
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6D: Auto ISO won’t go above ISO400 if flash is used?
7 months ago

When I shoot at parties (in low light) with a flash gun and select Auto ISO in Manual mode, the ISO won’t go over 400. Is there a workaround? Is is possible to go over that somehow and still use Auto ISO?

Why is Canon doing this anyways? Is this just a hold-over from the film days?

Also, when I’m in Manual mode and use Auto ISO, there does not appear to be any exposure comp option available (It would be nice to be able to e.g. overexpose by 2/3 of a stop compared to what the camera is metering depending on your subject, e.g. darker faces with bright background such as at the backstage of a fashion show...)

Is this the same on Nikons?

Thanks chaps!

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Keith Z Leonard
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Re: 6D: Auto ISO won’t go above ISO400 if flash is used?
In reply to DPReview007, 7 months ago

Iso 400 is the setting that is default when there is a flash attached.  I don't beljeve you can change this behavior, the camera will use the flash to correct the exposure.  I don't particularly like that either, I set exposure and iso to just unexpose the scene a bit and have the flash make up the difference.  This isn't always the case though, the camera can't know exactly what the user wants.  There are many cases where I want the flash to clearly be the dominant light source, for instance.

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DPReview007
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Re: 6D: Auto ISO won’t go above ISO400 if flash is used?
In reply to Keith Z Leonard, 7 months ago

That's what the paparazzi do in NYC as well. I don't like that. i like to balance available light with the flash. I only use the flash as a fill flash, NEVER as the main light source.

Can somebody enlighten me please??? Why is Canon doing this? This camera is amazing in low light. It's really good up to ISO 6400. Why not take a shot at that and use a tiny bit of fill flash???

Please, what's the logic behind the ISO 400 limit???

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Keith Z Leonard
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Re: 6D: Auto ISO won’t go above ISO400 if flash is used?
In reply to DPReview007, 7 months ago

I don't tend to use the flash as the primary light source when it is on camera, but with multip,e flashes off camera I sure do.  Balancing flash and avaikable light can lead to issues with white balance as now you have 2 color temps going on.  I am somewhat careful about the bulbs I buy for my home due to this.

As I said there is no way for the camera to read your mind and know what you want.  Aperture priority mode treats the flash differently, as a fill flash, take a look at that maybe??

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brightcolours
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Re: 6D: Auto ISO won’t go above ISO400 if flash is used?
In reply to DPReview007, 7 months ago

DPReview007 wrote:

That's what the paparazzi do in NYC as well. I don't like that. i like to balance available light with the flash. I only use the flash as a fill flash, NEVER as the main light source.

Can somebody enlighten me please??? Why is Canon doing this? This camera is amazing in low light. It's really good up to ISO 6400. Why not take a shot at that and use a tiny bit of fill flash???

You are using auto ISO..... So, the camera makes a decision, solely based on that it is told you want to use flash. Like already pointed out, the camera can not read your mind. Just don't use auto ISO, and set the ISO value you want for the effect you want to accomplish with the flash. There is no way for the camera (any camera) to know which percentage of the scene light you want to have from the flash and which needs to be compensated by ISO amplification.

Please, what's the logic behind the ISO 400 limit???

The logic is that you have told the camera not to bother with the Auto ISO going high like usual, because you want to use flash. For the rest, which conclusion is possible in your mind? You want it to do something impossible (make the right choice based on too little information).

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Pete512
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Re: 6D: Auto ISO won’t go above ISO400 if flash is used?
In reply to brightcolours, 7 months ago

I find when using flash, that it's much better to go to manual.  You set the shutter speed to control background exposure, aperture for subject isolation, flash exposure compensation to control the foreground exposure, and ISO to get shutter and aperture to within band of what you want. Meter readings are almost irrelevant.  In manual mode, ISO is not restricted to 400.

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curlyone
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Re: 6D: Auto ISO won’t go above ISO400 if flash is used?
In reply to DPReview007, 7 months ago

HI,     You  can use your flash as a fill light,  just reduce the flash power by pressing the +/- button  on top somewhere[ i dont have 6D]  then turn either wheel, one is exposure,  the other is for flash.

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24Peter
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Re: 6D: Auto ISO won’t go above ISO400 if flash is used?
In reply to DPReview007, 7 months ago

DPReview007 wrote:

That's what the paparazzi do in NYC as well. I don't like that. i like to balance available light with the flash. I only use the flash as a fill flash, NEVER as the main light source.

Can somebody enlighten me please??? Why is Canon doing this? This camera is amazing in low light. It's really good up to ISO 6400. Why not take a shot at that and use a tiny bit of fill flash???

Please, what's the logic behind the ISO 400 limit???

This topic (Auto ISO locked at 400 when using flash) has been beaten to death here and elsewhere over the years. Bottom line is, this is the way Canon has chosen to implement it (I think Nikon does it differently and many seem to prefer that). People here and elsewhere have tried to explain/defend/justify this choice but only Canon knows what is exactly behind this setting.

That said, you can still use your flash for fill. Make sure the flash metering mode is set to "Evaluative" rather than "Average." If you are using M mode, you will have to be cognizant of where the ambient light is to get proper fill and overall exposure, but your flash will automatically give you proper fill. But you already knew that right? That's why you get paid the big bucks, no?

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DPReview007
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Re: 6D: Auto ISO won’t go above ISO400 if flash is used?
In reply to 24Peter, 7 months ago

Yeah man, I'm new to Canon. This auto ISO topping out at 400 is so stupid, I can't even tell you... It's a pain in the butt. At a party, I typically use anywhere between ISO 800 and 6400 to capture the beautiful background lights (typically still one or two or three stops underexposed if you were to go by the meter reading.)  If I could only pop it into Auto ISO and tell the camera to underexpose the ambient light by two stops and fill it with flash, that would be great. I could pay more attention to what really maters to a good shot: composition, directing my models, making them laugh, etc. I need to be in M, because I want to use 1/60 and f2.8.

Anyways, I guess Canon does this for the same reason Apple doesn't support NFT: pure arrogance of the market leader... Not cool.

Is there a firmware hack one could download? The ideal solution for me would be:

- to be able to set the auto ISO range myself (exactly like I can now without flash)

- to able to use exposure comp to comp it down by say 2 stops

- use fill flash

Anybody knows a reliable firmware hack for the 6D?

Thanks guys!

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DPReview007
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Re: 6D: Auto ISO won’t go above ISO400 if flash is used?
In reply to curlyone, 7 months ago

Thanks. I do that already. The issue is, I don't want to use my flash as my main light. (I absolutely hate the look that produces.) I only want to use the flash as fill, and capture a lot of the available light.

Sorry to say this, but the iPhone (or my Nexus 5) does a much better job balancing ambient light at parties with the flash than Canon (a camera manufacturer!) with its maximum ISO400... Really? Really? This made sense 10 years ago (not even sure about that,) but not in 2013-14!

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brightcolours
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Re: 6D: Auto ISO won’t go above ISO400 if flash is used?
In reply to DPReview007, 7 months ago

DPReview007 wrote:

Thanks. I do that already. The issue is, I don't want to use my flash as my main light. (I absolutely hate the look that produces.) I only want to use the flash as fill, and capture a lot of the available light.

Sorry to say this, but the iPhone (or my Nexus 5) does a much better job balancing ambient light at parties with the flash than Canon (a camera manufacturer!) with its maximum ISO400... Really? Really? This made sense 10 years ago (not even sure about that,) but not in 2013-14!

Are you using Av?

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WalterSrChat
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Re: 6D: Auto ISO won’t go above ISO400 if flash is used?
In reply to DPReview007, 7 months ago

DPReview007 wrote:

Yeah man, I'm new to Canon. This auto ISO topping out at 400 is so stupid, I can't even tell you... It's a pain in the butt. At a party, I typically use anywhere between ISO 800 and 6400 to capture the beautiful background lights (typically still one or two or three stops underexposed if you were to go by the meter reading.) If I could only pop it into Auto ISO and tell the camera to underexpose the ambient light by two stops and fill it with flash, that would be great. I could pay more attention to what really maters to a good shot: composition, directing my models, making them laugh, etc. I need to be in M, because I want to use 1/60 and f2.8.

Anyways, I guess Canon does this for the same reason Apple doesn't support NFT: pure arrogance of the market leader... Not cool.

Is there a firmware hack one could download? The ideal solution for me would be:

- to be able to set the auto ISO range myself (exactly like I can now without flash)

- to able to use exposure comp to comp it down by say 2 stops

- use fill flash

Anybody knows a reliable firmware hack for the 6D?

Thanks guys!

Buy a quality light meter, shoot manual, and stop blaming Canon for your inexperience with their camera.

If the manual for the equipment does not say it can do it, do not blame the maker if it won’t!

If you have questions about how to do something, tell us what you want to do and ask for help, we like to help.

The cause of most of our problems can be discovered by looking into a marrow.

Walter Sr

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DPReview007
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Re: 6D: Auto ISO won’t go above ISO400 if flash is used?
In reply to brightcolours, 7 months ago

Nope, but it doesn't matter whether I'm in Av or in M, i's the same story. Basically, the moment you turn the flashgun on, your ISO defaults to 400. I.e. Canon has NO Auto ISO if  flashgun is mounted...

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DPReview007
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Incredible...
In reply to DPReview007, 7 months ago

The moment you turn the flashgun on, your ISO defaults to 400. I.e. Canon has NO Auto ISO if flashgun is mounted. It is really hard for me to believe it.

I went to B&H yesterday, and double checked there. I tried a couple different Nikons. Nikon's auto ISO works well if a flash is on.

Here are the plausible explanations:

(1) - they can't figure out ho to make it work well. this seems implausible, you can just pop your Canon into M, dial ISO to what the camera meters is the correct ISO, use eTTL for your flash, and you'll get nice images

(2) - they are stupid

(3) - they are arrogant

It's probably a combination of (2) and (3) above...

Oh well, I only have one alternative. I'll vote with my wallet. I'm buying a DSLR for my GF now. She is getting a Nikon... Not least for it's very good "party/indoor" scene mode, which is implemented well on the Nikons, and which she will use. Canon does not have anything comparable.

Another weird and inexplicable thing on my 6D: if she were to use any of the automatic modes, there is no way to select the focus point you want to use. All focus points are live, and the camera selects automatically. I.e. all your shots will be out of focus:). Very smart Canon, very smart indeed... I guess Canon engineers use Nikon cameras?

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DPReview007
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No Auto-ISO with flash mounted....
In reply to WalterSrChat, 7 months ago

Thank you Walter. If I buy that "marrow" you are suggesting, how will that help the lack of Auto-ISO when the flash is mounted please? I look into the "marrow" and then what do I do?

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Lemming51
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It can be done ...
In reply to DPReview007, 7 months ago

DPReview007 wrote:

Yeah man, I'm new to Canon. This auto ISO topping out at 400 is so stupid, I can't even tell you... It's a pain in the butt. At a party, I typically use anywhere between ISO 800 and 6400 to capture the beautiful background lights (typically still one or two or three stops underexposed if you were to go by the meter reading.)  If I could only pop it into Auto ISO and tell the camera to underexpose the ambient light by two stops and fill it with flash, that would be great. I could pay more attention to what really maters to a good shot: composition, directing my models, making them laugh, etc. I need to be in M, because I want to use 1/60 and f2.8.

Anyways, I guess Canon does this for the same reason Apple doesn't support NFT: pure arrogance of the market leader... Not cool.

Is there a firmware hack one could download? The ideal solution for me would be:

- to be able to set the auto ISO range myself (exactly like I can now without flash)

- to able to use exposure comp to comp it down by say 2 stops

- use fill flash

Anybody knows a reliable firmware hack for the 6D?

Thanks guys!

Set M mode, 1/60 and f/2.8.  Manually set the ISO that gives you ambient at -2.  That's not significantly any more manual than Auto ISO and you manually dialing in -2 EC.  The flash in ETTL.  With the ambient exposure set for -2 EC, the flash will be the main light, not "fill".  Apply -FEC if you want less light from the flash.

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curlyone
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Re: Incredible...
In reply to DPReview007, 7 months ago

Hi  007,   This problem is not confined to the 6D,  {I dont have 6D, I have 5Dmk3}   try this, i/ go to the menu,     2/ look for ISO SPEED  SETTINGS,   3/ select  ISO SPEED RANGE  say 100-12800  and set button to OK, then MENU.    This way you can have both Auto Iso & Manual iso  on tap,  this way you set your Iso manualiy to anything within  the range you have set,  when using your flash, and you  can still use AUTO if you want. Try it ,  I know its not NIKON , but sometimes bloody Patents get in the way and cant be helped.

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Schwany
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Re: Incredible...
In reply to DPReview007, 7 months ago

DPReview007 wrote:

Oh well, I only have one alternative. I'll vote with my wallet. I'm buying a DSLR for my GF now. She is getting a Nikon... Not least for it's very good "party/indoor" scene mode, which is implemented well on the Nikons, and which she will use. Canon does not have anything comparable.

Instead of suffering with Canon, why not elect a Nikon for yourself as well? Seems like the smart choice today if you want a lot of Auto features with EC at parties. Complaining about Canon here isn't going to help change anything.

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DPReview007
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Re: Incredible...
In reply to Schwany, 7 months ago

You're right. It won't help as Canon doesn't seem to care how to make their system better. Puzzling to me. Companies that have this sort of attitude lose customers.

Obviously, switching to Nikon is not cheap. The grass is always greener. Sadly, the two lenses I use are less sharp for Nikon currently (as the Canon versions are newer.)

I have to say Nikon does seem to care more about the usability of their system.

This Auto-ISO issue could be corrected with a simple firmware update. IFF Canon cared...

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rbarta
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Re: Incredible...
In reply to DPReview007, 7 months ago

DPReview007 wrote:

You're right. It won't help as Canon doesn't seem to care how to make their system better. Puzzling to me. Companies that have this sort of attitude lose customers.

Obviously, switching to Nikon is not cheap. The grass is always greener. Sadly, the two lenses I use are less sharp for Nikon currently (as the Canon versions are newer.)

I have to say Nikon does seem to care more about the usability of their system.

This Auto-ISO issue could be corrected with a simple firmware update. IFF Canon cared...

The 1DX is getting the Manual Auto-ISO EC in software update v2.0 available this month http://usa.canon.com/cusa/consumer/standard_display/eos_1dx_afae_improve so suggesting that Canon is incompetent or don't care is false.  1DX is also getting expanded min shutter speed in auto-ISO.  Obviously it is hoped that this will trickle down to the other models as well.

In the meantime you have other options.  One option (the one I use) is to set the ISO yourself, take a reading in the room (or take a shot without flash and adjust) to get the right background exposure then turn on the flash ETTL and you are good to go.  Another option would be to use Av mode since that sets the shutter speed for the scene and use EC to bring it down a to where you want.

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