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Old March 15th, 2011, 02:07 PM
Doug Kerr Doug Kerr is offline
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Default Speedlite 430EX and multi-flash operation

In the world of Canon Speedlite flash units, the multi-flash mode (often aptly described as a stroboscopic mode) is a mode in which, for one shot, the flash unit issues multiple bursts at a predetermined rate. Typically, the rate, the numbers of bursts to be issued, and the output level are separately settable.

Such Speedlite flash units as the 550EX, 580EX, 580EX II, and the onboard flash unit on the EOS 7D body provide for operation in this mode by way of the normal user controls. (In the case of the 580EX and 580EX II that includes both the controls on the flash unit itself and the flash control menu on EOS bodies having the capability of making control settings for attached Speedlite flash units of various modern types (580EX, 580EX II, 270EX).

I was intrigued by a post in the forum of the Canon Rumors site in which a member, parsing the Speedlite 430EX manual, had concluded that the 430EX could in fact operate in the multi-flash mode. But there seemed to be some uncertainty as to just how that might actually be done.

I posted an inquiry for Chuck Westfall of Canon USA on the ProPhoto Home forum. Chuck clarified the matter nicely. The thread is here:

http://www.prophotohome.com/forum/ca...ode-chuck.html

Basically, here's the story:

The 430EX flash unit, mounted on, and directly fired by, an EOS camera body cannot be operated in the multi-flash mode. (It cannot, for example, be placed in that mode by the associated body, even if that body has "flash setting" capabilities - the 430EX is able to be controlled by such a body with regard to its "normal" features.)

If a 430EX is used as a slave in a Canon wireless flash network, where the master has (in its own right) multi-flash capability (that means, as a master, a Speedlite 550EX, 580EX, or 580EX II, or the onboard flash unit of an EOS 7D, but not the onboard flash units of the EOS 60D and T3i/600D, even though they can serve as wireless flash masters), then it can perform in the multi-flash mode.

The multi-flash mode operates with such timing accuracy that, in a multiple-unit flash network, the bursts from the various participating units will be well synchronized. This does not depend on the slave unit(s) synchronizing with the actual output bursts of the master; the slaves are autonomous, having received the parameters of the multiple-burst exercise from the master prior to the commencement of actual flash emission for the shot. In fact, the master may be set to not emit for exposure in such a situation.

Way neat!

Note that the 430EX manual (quite properly) only mentions multi-flash operation in the section on wireless flash operation. (It in fact calls it "stroboscopic flash".) It does not mention that this is only available when the 430EX is a slave unit. (Of course, that would have to be so, since there is no provision for setting the 430EX to the multi-flash mode. Thus, if it were the master, we could not tell it to call for such operation on behalf of the network.)

Best regards,

Doug
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Old March 19th, 2011, 09:50 AM
Alain Briot Alain Briot is offline
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Doug,

Nice summary. I had the same questions and your responses are spot on.

One thing I found is that it is possible to use the 430EX as a slave, detached from the camera, if you use this device. It's only $25 so not a big investment:

http://www.amazon.com/CowboyStudio-N...549751&sr=8-12

Alain
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Old March 19th, 2011, 10:39 AM
Doug Kerr Doug Kerr is offline
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Hi, Alain,

Quote:
Originally Posted by Alain Briot View Post
One thing I found is that it is possible to use the 430EX as a slave, detached from the camera, if you use this device. It's only $25 so not a big investment:

http://www.amazon.com/CowboyStudio-N...549751&sr=8-12
Interesting. Thanks.

Here's the description from the supplier:

http://www.cowboystudio.com/product/c14/p140704-04.php

I assume this fires the flash unit in "manual" mode. Still, the 420EX is listed as compatible. It has no manual mode capability so far as I know (even as a slave in the Canon wireless flash system).

Maybe it just fires wide open.

Best regards,

Doug
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Old March 19th, 2011, 04:26 PM
Alain Briot Alain Briot is offline
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On the other hand the camera does calculate the exposure automatically, so it may work in some situations where full power is ok?

They do have some interesting accessories on their website, including relatively inexpensive backdrops.
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Old March 25th, 2011, 06:56 AM
Doug Kerr Doug Kerr is offline
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Chuck Westfall of Canon USA has recently advised of a correction to his original summary of the circumstances in which the Speedlite 430EX (and 430EX II) flash units may operate in the multi-flash ("stroboscopic") mode.

He had originally said that the units could operate in that mode only when operating as a slave and the master is a Speedlite 550EX, 580EX, or 580EX II or the onboard flash unit of an EOS 7D.

He now advises that he has determined that in fact the multi-flash mode cannot be utilized by way of the onboard flash unit of an EOS 7D as a master. When that facility is set to the multi-flash mode, its operation as a master is disabled.

Thus, the Speedlite 430EX (or 430EX II) can only operate in the multi-flash mode when operating as a slave and the master is a Speedlite 550EX, 580EX, or 580EX II.

Again, to avert any misunderstanding, the 430EX (or 430EX II) cannot provide the multi-flash mode when being directly operated from any camera, whether or not that camera provides for setting the associated flash.

Chuck's recent notice is here:

http://www.prophotohome.com/forum/ca...tml#post488749

Best regards,

Doug
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