E-TTL for event photography is a nightmare!!!

Started Feb 28, 2004 | Discussions
Adrian Tung
Adrian Tung Veteran Member • Posts: 3,754
E-TTL for event photography is a nightmare!!!

rant on

Just came back from an event... body all sore and muscles aching now, lol...

After today's event, I really, really, really HATE people who wear all white or all black especially if they are VIPs, or worse - some wear black and some wear white. Hmm... that will include weddings now, doesn't it? ooooo.....

Things happen at events quite fast, so sometimes there's no time to watch where the AF point lands, set FEC and then shoot. So sometimes I get some underexposed shots (fine - PS can handle that) and sometimes I get overexposed ones (gaaaahhh!!!!!! blown highlights all over!!!!!). Even though I've practiced setting FEC while peering through the viewfinder, sometimes I forget I turned off the thumb dial because I kept accidentally turning it while my 10D hung around my neck.

rant off

So... anyone want to share their experiences, or chip in some useful advice? :)))

-- hide signature --

:)atwl
http://www.imageevent.com/atwl77

Canon: E0S-1OD, Can. Z8-13S F3,5-5,6IS U5M, Can. 5Omm F1,8II, Tam. 28-3OOXR, Tam. 9O F2,8 macro, Can. 55OEX
Olympus: C-75OUZ, TC0N-17, WC0N-O7, MC0N-4O, FL-4O

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Nugi Contributing Member • Posts: 591
Re: E-TTL for event photography is a nightmare!!!

That is why I sold my 550EX and bought Sunpak PZ5000AF. There is a time when the FEL is impractical and need the auto thrystor instead.
--
Nugi
10D + 4 L glasses
Need lens comparisons ? See :
http://www.pbase.com/image/22050307/original

Ken Phares Forum Member • Posts: 62
Re: E-TTL for event photography is a nightmare!!!

I know exactly what you are talking about. I was use to shooting with a Nikon f5 and SB28 flash. With the nikon you never even had to think about what you were shooting, it just worked very well. I dont think I got 5 bad flash exposures in 5 years. The 10D is very hard to use for event phtotography. My most dificult shots seem to be dance floor photos where there are 2 people and you have to focous on the face and recompose. When you hit the fel button they think that you took the shot and they look away. It gets pretty old explaining to people that dont understand I was just meetering my flash.

I love my 10D, I came from the fuji s1 and s2 where I had many more and other problems.

Adrian Tung wrote:

rant on

Just came back from an event... body all sore and muscles aching
now, lol...

After today's event, I really, really, really HATE people who wear
all white or all black especially if they are VIPs, or worse - some
wear black and some wear white. Hmm... that will include weddings
now, doesn't it? ooooo.....

Things happen at events quite fast, so sometimes there's no time to
watch where the AF point lands, set FEC and then shoot. So
sometimes I get some underexposed shots (fine - PS can handle that)
and sometimes I get overexposed ones (gaaaahhh!!!!!! blown
highlights all over!!!!!). Even though I've practiced setting FEC
while peering through the viewfinder, sometimes I forget I turned
off the thumb dial because I kept accidentally turning it while my
10D hung around my neck.

rant off

So... anyone want to share their experiences, or chip in some
useful advice? :)))

CoalXMan Forum Member • Posts: 98
Re: E-TTL for event photography is a nightmare!!!

I was under the impression the sunpak was a much cheaper flashunit
what is the auto thystor your talking about.

Dose the flash connect to the hotshoe,or does it run on batteries, or dose it just drain the camera battery really fast.

-- hide signature --

Those rare few who have mastered the pixel, can one day wield the
almighty weapons that capture time and space.

Adrian Tung
OP Adrian Tung Veteran Member • Posts: 3,754
Re: E-TTL for event photography is a nightmare!!!

When you hit the fel button they
think that you took the shot and they look away. It gets pretty
old explaining to people that dont understand I was just meetering
my flash.

Exactly why I stopped using FEL for event shoots - it's so annoying!!!

So I employ a bunch of other tricks to work around the E-TTL system such as:

  • switching AF points to get the best one to land on the subject

  • quickly dialing in FEC based on where the AF point lands after recomposing

  • shooting a wider shot to make sure that the AF point lands on a good spot, then crop for composition later

But sometimes, things can happen very quickly (with no time to play around with exposure) and I can only hope for the best... or at least hope that it can be saved in post-processing.

-- hide signature --

:)atwl
http://www.imageevent.com/atwl77

Canon: E0S-1OD, Can. Z8-13S F3,5-5,6IS U5M, Can. 5Omm F1,8II, Tam. 28-3OOXR, Tam. 9O F2,8 macro, Can. 55OEX
Olympus: C-75OUZ, TC0N-17, WC0N-O7, MC0N-4O, FL-4O

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Jeff Peterman
MOD Jeff Peterman Forum Pro • Posts: 12,889
Auto thyristor mode

This type of flash has been around for over 20 years. It has a sensor on the front and it measures the average light reflected back to the flash. You select the distance range you want on the back of the flash, and set the camera to the indicated aperture, and the flash takes care of the exposure.

This works great when your subject fills most of the view seen in the lens, but its problematic when the view is much different, e.g. with a long lens.

-- hide signature --

Jeff Peterman

Any insults, implied anger, bad grammar and bad spelling, are entirely unintentional. Sorry.

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Bernie R Swanson Regular Member • Posts: 459
Here is a great link on EOS flash usage

Timley thread Adrian. I have an reception on May first that I am a little concerned about because of flash exposure issues. I have the 10d and a 420EX and a Lumiquest pocket bouncer. I have been struggling with using E-TTL with this set up and my 17-40L or using my old Sunpack auto544 handle mounted flash gun. With that set up, the camera is in manual mode and the flash in Auto mode. I could vary the f stop to adjust for ambient light and the shutter for movement if needed. Do you have a second flash unit like this to try?

Someone gave me a great link to EOS flash photography recently and it is a great read for anyone with a Canon body.

http://photonotes.org/articles/eos-flash/

Adrian Tung wrote:

rant on

Just came back from an event... body all sore and muscles aching
now, lol...

After today's event, I really, really, really HATE people who wear
all white or all black especially if they are VIPs, or worse - some
wear black and some wear white. Hmm... that will include weddings
now, doesn't it? ooooo.....

Things happen at events quite fast, so sometimes there's no time to
watch where the AF point lands, set FEC and then shoot. So
sometimes I get some underexposed shots (fine - PS can handle that)
and sometimes I get overexposed ones (gaaaahhh!!!!!! blown
highlights all over!!!!!). Even though I've practiced setting FEC
while peering through the viewfinder, sometimes I forget I turned
off the thumb dial because I kept accidentally turning it while my
10D hung around my neck.

rant off

So... anyone want to share their experiences, or chip in some
useful advice? :)))

-- hide signature --
Todd Walker Veteran Member • Posts: 6,091
Re: E-TTL for event photography is a nightmare!!!

Adrian Tung wrote:

So... anyone want to share their experiences, or chip in some
useful advice? :)))

Sunpak 383 Super. Perfect results almost every time (a much higher percentage than the EX flashes,) for $60.

-- hide signature --
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Robert D. McGee1 Senior Member • Posts: 1,157
A different point of view

Before I comment, I would like to state that I am not making fun of anyone nor am I stating that everything is "easy as pie" with E-TTL Flash.

However, reading these comments, I had a little chuckle. You see, I just received a new book on "Weegee" the great photojournalist of New York in the decade of 1935-1945. "Weegee" used the hot set up of the times, a 4x5 Speed Graphic, set his aperture on f 16 and shot all of his shots using the old, familiar, side mounted flash gun with flash bulbs (looked like 40 watt bulbs). For those unfamiliar with the old flash guns, you had to replace the bulb after each shot. Each bulb was good for one exposure! Weegee had to mostly shoot from a fixed position from his subjects - 10 feet. The disadvantages were obvious but the advantage is he could shoot instantly when he was at the right distance (ten feet) and could "capture the moment".

With all of these equipment limitations, he practically invented tabloid photojournalism.

Get one of his books off Amazon, they are amazingly inexpensive, look at the gritty, underbelly of New York of the time, and realize what great equipment we have with the 10D and 550EX.

Dale53
http://www.pbase.com/dale53

Adrian Tung
OP Adrian Tung Veteran Member • Posts: 3,754
Re: Here is a great link on EOS flash usage

Someone gave me a great link to EOS flash photography recently and
it is a great read for anyone with a Canon body.

http://photonotes.org/articles/eos-flash/

I think most experienced E-TTL users already know that link by heart.

Understanding E-TTL is the easy part... the hard part is to try and apply all that information to a real, fast-moving situation where speed and timing are the key.

-- hide signature --

:)atwl
http://www.imageevent.com/atwl77

Canon: E0S-1OD, Can. Z8-13S F3,5-5,6IS U5M, Can. 5Omm F1,8II, Tam. 28-3OOXR, Tam. 9O F2,8 macro, Can. 55OEX
Olympus: C-75OUZ, TC0N-17, WC0N-O7, MC0N-4O, FL-4O

 Adrian Tung's gear list:Adrian Tung's gear list
Sony RX100 III Olympus Stylus Tough TG-870 Sony RX100 VI Olympus PEN-F Panasonic Lumix DC-G9 +18 more
Rob van Hoorn Senior Member • Posts: 1,629
two words: manual focus!

manual focus yourself and the problem is gone.
or use the 550 in manual mode.

Rob.

Adrian Tung wrote:

rant on

Just came back from an event... body all sore and muscles aching
now, lol...

After today's event, I really, really, really HATE people who wear
all white or all black especially if they are VIPs, or worse - some
wear black and some wear white. Hmm... that will include weddings
now, doesn't it? ooooo.....

Things happen at events quite fast, so sometimes there's no time to
watch where the AF point lands, set FEC and then shoot. So
sometimes I get some underexposed shots (fine - PS can handle that)
and sometimes I get overexposed ones (gaaaahhh!!!!!! blown
highlights all over!!!!!). Even though I've practiced setting FEC
while peering through the viewfinder, sometimes I forget I turned
off the thumb dial because I kept accidentally turning it while my
10D hung around my neck.

rant off

So... anyone want to share their experiences, or chip in some
useful advice? :)))

-- hide signature --

shoot!

Loggedonnow Senior Member • Posts: 1,698
Re: E-TTL for event photography is a nightmare!!!

The Metz 54-3 in auto mode is great as it bypasses the e-ttl and manages the camera itself.

Adrian Tung wrote:

rant on

Just came back from an event... body all sore and muscles aching
now, lol...

After today's event, I really, really, really HATE people who wear
all white or all black especially if they are VIPs, or worse - some
wear black and some wear white. Hmm... that will include weddings
now, doesn't it? ooooo.....

Things happen at events quite fast, so sometimes there's no time to
watch where the AF point lands, set FEC and then shoot. So
sometimes I get some underexposed shots (fine - PS can handle that)
and sometimes I get overexposed ones (gaaaahhh!!!!!! blown
highlights all over!!!!!). Even though I've practiced setting FEC
while peering through the viewfinder, sometimes I forget I turned
off the thumb dial because I kept accidentally turning it while my
10D hung around my neck.

rant off

So... anyone want to share their experiences, or chip in some
useful advice? :)))

 Loggedonnow's gear list:Loggedonnow's gear list
Nikon D850
StaceyRGT Junior Member • Posts: 28
Re: two words: manual focus!

Rob van Hoorn wrote:

manual focus yourself and the problem is gone.
or use the 550 in manual mode.

Rob,

I too have been stuggling with e-ttl....can you explain how manual focus, or manual mode on the 550 solves the problem????

Thanks,
Stacey

jbjones Regular Member • Posts: 411
Re: How about...

I know that using MF defaults to evaul metering, but what if I set all focus points active? Does E-TTL stlll exopose only the points used or does it move to eval metering as well?

Rob van Hoorn wrote:
manual focus yourself and the problem is gone.
or use the 550 in manual mode.

Rob.

Adrian Tung wrote:

rant on

Just came back from an event... body all sore and muscles aching
now, lol...

After today's event, I really, really, really HATE people who wear
all white or all black especially if they are VIPs, or worse - some
wear black and some wear white. Hmm... that will include weddings
now, doesn't it? ooooo.....

Things happen at events quite fast, so sometimes there's no time to
watch where the AF point lands, set FEC and then shoot. So
sometimes I get some underexposed shots (fine - PS can handle that)
and sometimes I get overexposed ones (gaaaahhh!!!!!! blown
highlights all over!!!!!). Even though I've practiced setting FEC
while peering through the viewfinder, sometimes I forget I turned
off the thumb dial because I kept accidentally turning it while my
10D hung around my neck.

rant off

So... anyone want to share their experiences, or chip in some
useful advice? :)))

-- hide signature --

 jbjones's gear list:jbjones's gear list
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jbjones Regular Member • Posts: 411
Re: two words: manual focus!

When you switch to manual focus, the metering uses evaluative metering and exposes the entire frame, where if you choose a focus point it actually only exposes the active focus point.

Manual mode uses the av and tv that you choose and leaves the flash to properly expose the picture. I use Man mode for all my flash shots.

StaceyRGT wrote:

Rob van Hoorn wrote:

manual focus yourself and the problem is gone.
or use the 550 in manual mode.

Rob,
I too have been stuggling with e-ttl....can you explain how manual
focus, or manual mode on the 550 solves the problem????

Thanks,
Stacey

-- hide signature --

 jbjones's gear list:jbjones's gear list
Canon EOS 60D Canon EF-S 15-85mm f/3.5-5.6 IS USM Canon EF 70-200mm F2.8L IS II USM Canon Extender EF 2x III Sigma 35mm F1.4 DG HSM Art
Guillaume paris2 Veteran Member • Posts: 4,014
Photography without brain is a nightmare

This ETTL event stuff has been discussed over and over... read before you rant.

http://forums.dpreview.com/forums/read.asp?forum=1019&message=7715940

The Big Bad Veteran Member • Posts: 4,108
Flash bracketing solves my problems every time

Tell the 550EX to bracket each shot + -2 and your all set. 1 out of the 3 has always been acceptable to me.

Not the best way to work for every shot, but during those tricky situations I think it takes alot of guesswork out

-- hide signature --
Todd Walker Veteran Member • Posts: 6,091
Re: Flash bracketing solves my problems every time

The Big Bad wrote:

Tell the 550EX to bracket each shot + -2 and your all set. 1 out
of the 3 has always been acceptable to me.

Not the best way to work for every shot, but during those tricky
situations I think it takes alot of guesswork out

Alright, so far we have the following "fixes" for ETTL shortcomings:

  • Cripple your $1500 camera by using manual focus

  • Take three shots of everything so that one will come out right

  • Push the FEL button then explain to your subjects that you didn't really just take the picture and ask them to please return to their previous positions for the actual shot.

Please remind me again why this is all worth it? I think that a $300 flash should work BETTER than a $60 one but with Canon this isn't the case.

BTW, I have a 420EX as well but I never use it because I can't count on it to give me the proper exposure. My Sunpak works every time.

-- hide signature --
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Imagemaker18 Regular Member • Posts: 183
Re: Flash bracketing solves my problems every time

To all of you, who are frustrated by the 550EX ETTL idiosyncracies, I humbly suggest that you read the 550EX manual, pp. 112 & 113 "CUSTOM FUNCTIONS", and see that you can eliminate all your ETTL woes by simply switching CF-3 from 0 to 1, which turns the unit into a straight TTL flash for those special occasions when you can't use FEL or can't focus on an area that represents average exposure. For my money, TTL flash beats the run-of-the mill Auto-Flash, although the Vivitar 283, 285, and the Sunpack 383 Super are excellent Auto-Flash units. I have them, and use them on cameras that can not use TTL Flash. IMHO, ETTL, however, when applied correctly, produces superb images!

All the great hi-tech features that Canon offers in the $300 550EX are useless, unless applied judiciously. The Canon 550EX Flash is an excellent, flexible unit, if used properly.

Cheers!
Imagemaker

Todd Walker wrote:

The Big Bad wrote:

Tell the 550EX to bracket each shot + -2 and your all set. 1 out
of the 3 has always been acceptable to me.

Not the best way to work for every shot, but during those tricky
situations I think it takes alot of guesswork out

Alright, so far we have the following "fixes" for ETTL shortcomings:

  • Cripple your $1500 camera by using manual focus

  • Take three shots of everything so that one will come out right

  • Push the FEL button then explain to your subjects that you didn't

really just take the picture and ask them to please return to their
previous positions for the actual shot.

Please remind me again why this is all worth it? I think that a
$300 flash should work BETTER than a $60 one but with Canon this
isn't the case.

BTW, I have a 420EX as well but I never use it because I can't
count on it to give me the proper exposure. My Sunpak works every
time.

Ken Phares Forum Member • Posts: 62
Amen!!! (nt)

Todd Walker wrote:

The Big Bad wrote:

Tell the 550EX to bracket each shot + -2 and your all set. 1 out
of the 3 has always been acceptable to me.

Not the best way to work for every shot, but during those tricky
situations I think it takes alot of guesswork out

Alright, so far we have the following "fixes" for ETTL shortcomings:

  • Cripple your $1500 camera by using manual focus

  • Take three shots of everything so that one will come out right

  • Push the FEL button then explain to your subjects that you didn't

really just take the picture and ask them to please return to their
previous positions for the actual shot.

Please remind me again why this is all worth it? I think that a
$300 flash should work BETTER than a $60 one but with Canon this
isn't the case.

BTW, I have a 420EX as well but I never use it because I can't
count on it to give me the proper exposure. My Sunpak works every
time.

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