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New to flash off camera, can I use a Canon flash?

Discussion in 'Accessories' started by fsuscotphoto, Dec 23, 2014.

  1. fsuscotphoto

    fsuscotphoto Mu-43 Top Veteran

    819
    Feb 15, 2013
    St. Cloud, FL
    Ron
    As in the title, I'm new top anything that isn't shoe mounted. I want to try macro now, and the issue is: Can I use my Canon flashes? I have the Oly FL600, but I want light on two sides. I doubt it will be TTL, so how would I set this up?

    Thanks,
    Ron

    Oh, I did the search thingy but I get way too many results that aren't specific enough.
     
  2. wjiang

    wjiang Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Manual mode, assuming your Canon flash has traditional (i.e. dumb) optical slave mode.

    Set your camera to manual, set the power for your FL-600R (on shoe) and Canon (off-camera) manually as well, and have the Canon slave triggering off the FL-600R. You can also use the FL-LM2 as a trigger to free up your FL-600R for off-camera duty as well, with both set to manual mode, and the FL-600R configured as optical slave. Because the FL-LM2 doesn't swivel, getting it to trigger reliably at different angles might be a little awkward, however.
     
  3. inkista

    inkista Mu-43 Veteran

    332
    Jan 13, 2012
    San Diego, CA
    You need to find some way to trigger the two flashes in sync together. Your best bet is probably to get some kind of radio triggers that will work with both flashes. Since I still have my Canon gear, I use the Yongnuo YN-622C-TX as an on-camera transmitter, and the YN-622C transceivers as receivers on my 580EX, 580EXII, and YN-568EX, and I can remotely control the zoom and manual power level on my flashes, but that may be overkill for you, and won't give similar control over the FL600R (just firing in sync).

    I use them because with my Canon bodies in the mix, I then get all the goodies: TTL, HSS, 2nd curtain, stroboscopic mode, Gr mode, groups control, zoom, custom menu settings, etc. etc. The whole enchilada. But if you don't have a Canon body with the flash control menu this probably isn't worth it. And there is no YN-622 variant that speaks micro four-thirds hotshoe; only Canikon versions.

    You'd probably be better off with manual radio triggers (that just fire the flashes, and you set the power manually on the flashes themselves), like the RF-603II or RF-605 triggers from Yongnuo (or similar triggers from Phottix, Cactus, RadioPopper, PocketWizard, etc. etc. etc. etc.) Avoid the MkI RF-603s--those are not compatible with mft. The Flash Havoc website is a good place to do some research.

    Or, you could sell off the Canon flashes and fund a YN-560III/IV and YN-560-TX setup, which seems to be the most popular route these days for folks wanting to do off-camera flash with mft.

    You might also be able to use optical slaves or cables, but that tends to end up costing as much as cheap radio triggers, and are less convenient.

    They don't (sigh). You can use an add-on dumb optical slave, but Canon EXs are notoriously incompatible with a lot of the more common ones (e.g., the Wein peanut), and you typically are left with the Sonia green-based slaves from flashzebra. :) However, ONLY the 580EXII and 600EX-RT have PC sync ports--none of the other models, do, so then you have to either a) hack your own sync port, or b) get a hotshoe adapter, at which point you're at the same spending level as cheap radio triggers.
     
  4. DaveEP

    DaveEP Mu-43 Top Veteran

    684
    Sep 20, 2014
    York, UK
    As said above, Canon flashes lack the optical trigger and I've found that Canon flashes just don't work well with optical triggers. They fire the first time and then need to be recycled.

    When moving to micro-four-thirds I transitioned my off camera flash to the Yongnuo YN560-III and YN560-TX transmitter. This combo gives you full (manual - not TTL) control from the camera - ( Yongnuo YN560-III Speedlight Review & Yongnuo YN560-TX Transmitter Review)

    Other Yongnuo speedlights that support Canon TTL but also have optical trigger mode (manual only for MFT) is the YN568-EXII. ( Yongnuo YN568-EXII Review )

    If you're looking for TTL of camera flash then you could consider the Nissin i40 which has wireless (optical) TTL remote mode that I've tested with both Oly and Panasonic bodies. Nissin i40 for Micro Four Thirds - Review
     
  5. inkista

    inkista Mu-43 Veteran

    332
    Jan 13, 2012
    San Diego, CA
    Actually, as I posted, the Sonia green-based triggers work fine with Canon EX speedlights. No need to power-cycle the flash between shots. They do not, however, ignore pre-flashes.

    Actually, YN models that don't end in 0 support eTTL-II; the models that end in EX can be used as wireless slaves in the Canon "smart" optical triggering system. The YN-568EXII isn't the only model that does this.
     
  6. fsuscotphoto

    fsuscotphoto Mu-43 Top Veteran

    819
    Feb 15, 2013
    St. Cloud, FL
    Ron
    I really don't want to buy another flash if I don't have to. My main reasons for more flash are macro and trying to get a bit more creative at night or low light, like one on camera and the other behind a tree or wall or some such. With just what I have would this work out? http://www.amazon.com/Cactus-Wireless-Transceiver-V6-Single/dp/B00KYFPLDC

    I really would like TTL, but as best I can tell from all your kind replies is that would take another flash instead of my Canon unit. Thanks so much for being patient with me as flash is just confusing. I can build a computer and run Access without a problem, but this stuff is like Greek!!!
     
  7. inkista

    inkista Mu-43 Veteran

    332
    Jan 13, 2012
    San Diego, CA
  8. fsuscotphoto

    fsuscotphoto Mu-43 Top Veteran

    819
    Feb 15, 2013
    St. Cloud, FL
    Ron
    One last question as your last answer was helpful. If I set it up as you suggested, as I understand it, the Canon won't be TTL, but I won't have to go to that flash to set the light output?
     
  9. inkista

    inkista Mu-43 Veteran

    332
    Jan 13, 2012
    San Diego, CA
    Yes. The Cactus triggering system is manual, but they've hacked the quench pin signal to give you remote power control. Flash "power" is actually a misnomer. The duration of the pulse determines how much light the flash gives out. The longer the pulse, the higher the power. The quench signal tells the flash when to turn off. Cactus have figured out which pin signal this is for the Canon, Nikon, and Pentax (and the digital signal sequence for select Olympus/Panasonic flashes), and can manipulate it via their triggers. The triggers themselves, however, do not communicate anything other than this "turn off" signal and the "turn on"/"Fire" signal. So, you don't get TTL (which has to communicate the preflash, and then the power setting from the camera and then the main flash burst), or HSS (which requires pulsed flashes).

    The triggers do, however, have the ability to pass through all the signals on the foot to the shoe up on top, so they have "passthrough TTL" for the on-camera flash, assuming that flash "speaks" the same flash protocol as the camera it and the trigger are mounted on (i.e., it has to be a micro four-thirds TTL flash on a micro four-thirds camera, or a Canon TTL flash on a Canon camera. You can't mix'n'match brands at this point, the way you can for remote power control).
     
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