220ex for the G1 -- Don't laugh!

Started May 25, 2001 | Discussions thread
darob New Member • Posts: 6
Re: 220ex for the G1 -- Don't laugh!

I believe that a lot of the "advice" on this one is a matter of personal preference. For what it is worth, here are my experiences. I have a 220EX and a Canon remote cord (I bought the cord some time ago to use with a 540EZ and a couple of EOS bodies with that system). Bounce flash with the 220EX and the G1 does work, but I rarely do it because of color balance issues (you need a white ceiling). Unfortunately, bouncing the 220EX is not easy unless you have a grip with a tiltable shoe (the 220EX does not have a swivel head like the other models).

My preference (which turns out to be less expensive) is to use a Sunpak 383. It bounces in all directions (i.e. its flash head tilts in both the vertical and horizontal axes). Generally, I tilt the flash head straight up and use a small diffuser (it causes no color balance problem, softens the harsh flash shadow, and is sufficiently "off axis" to reduce red eye).

None of the "auto features" of the camera work with the Sunpak 383 or the similar Vivitar models (I have a twenty years old Vivitar 283 with a high trigger voltage that does not work with recent model cameras), but that is not a problem. The Sunpak flash has a built in sensor that takes over the metering task. I set the G1 to manual mode, shoot at ISO 50 or 100, and use the f stop reading indicated by the flash -- this provides about the same degree of control over those settings that the Canon dedicated flashes provide in AV mode.

My experience so far (maybe a thousand G1 flash pictures over the last six months) indicates that the Sunpak works slightly better than the Canon EOS falsh systems with the G1. The G1 does not work like the other EOS cameras with multi zone metering and flash exposure lock. In those instances (backlit scenes with sunsets, etc., where you want proper exposure of both (a) the sunset's colors and (b) the foreground subject -- usually a person), using the EOS bodies and the E-TTL and A-TTL capabilities of the EOS flash system cannot be matched by the Sunpak.

The important thing to remember in all of these adventures in camera exposure is simple: bracket your shots, experiment, and remember what "worked" in a particular situation. Unlike film photography, the G1 offers the opportunity for endless experiments and quick verification of results. The G1 gives you enough control so that your experiments can lead to amazing results -- that you can see on the spot -- without the expense and delay of film processing.

And that is why I used the term "personal preference" in the begining -- the G1 is sufficiently flexible to do about anything, given some effort and experiments. This forum has a wealth of information about the various techniques, and I have not ceased to be surprised at the many different methods available to achieve similar results and effects. And for that reason, I can say only that my experiences are just personal preferences.

Linda wrote:

My new G1 and I are becoming best friends.
Today I've ordered the additional Viking 128 CF card and am taking
baby steps as I go along.
Next up .. a convenient external flash.
I went and looked at the 400 series, and am sure it's a wonderful
flash, bouncing every which way, and if I get into portrait
photography I'm sure I'll want one.
BUT, the 220ex seems like it might have some advantages for travel
pictures, being nicely small, and capable of providing adequate
light when needed, especially for fill flash.
(I understand I could add a Canon off camera shoe cord 2 if I
wanted to bounce the flash. ???)
Comments are appreciated.

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