Canon 300D Digi Rebel + 550EX flash underexposure problem ugh

Discussion in 'Canon' started by Todd H., Apr 8, 2005.

  1. Todd H.

    Todd H. Guest

    Howdy all,

    The more I use this thing the more dissatisfied I become with the wild
    variability of flash exposures on this combination. My previous setup
    was an Elan and a 540EZ flash, and flash exposures were always
    reliable. I use the P mode on both. Sometimes direct, sometimes
    bounced up into a lumiquest (depending on whether I can spare the
    light loss given the distance to subject).

    Interestingly, this 550EX flash seems to work very nicely and
    consistently on my G2 (albeit top heavy as all hell), P mode, same
    flash techniques.

    I have seen fairly wide reports of flash underexposure with the
    on-camera flash of the Digital Rebel--but have folks also had problems
    with external flashes too?

    I'm looking to solve the issue, and dunno if I need to hunt down
    firmware, send the pair in for service to root out a bad exposure
    sensor (dunno if that even makes sense on a digital), or start telling
    everyone this stuff just sucks (hopefully not!). Non-flash pics are
    consistently exposed.

    Any advice or shared experience with the rebel is appreciated. :cool:

    Best Regards,
    Todd H., Apr 8, 2005
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  2. Todd H.

    Todd H. Guest

    I've learned a lot since I stumbled on this excellent page that
    dissects the EOS flash system in great detail:

    Basically, it says E-ttl and the Digital rebel force me to change the
    way I've shot since 1992. Grr. With the Elan, I've long been a "focus
    lock and recompose guy on P mode" kind of guy. The original Elan
    didn't have multiple focusing points, so it didn't try to be all smart
    and bias the flash exposure to properly expose the current focusing
    point. It had an actual film plane sensor...lots of differences.

    It seems that to do flash photography with any sort of prayer in the
    land of E-TTL and P mode with the center , you have to get used to
    using flash exposure lock (FEL, the * button) on every shot.

    Another helpful tip I got somewhere (maybe on the ng) is to dial down
    the LCD brightness so the confirmation images don't mislead you. And
    also, in the settings, under the playback tab, review setting to
    "review + info" so you can see the histogram on the confirmation
    image, and be wary of anything that leaves you with a blank right 1/5
    of the histogram.

    I'm going to do some practicing with with this newfound knowledge and
    see if I can't get back to 1992 where the friggin EZ system just,
    um... worked without me having to think too damned hard. :-\
    Todd H., Apr 9, 2005
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  3. Todd H.

    Big_Bob Guest

    I purchased the 580 flash a couple of weeks ago to go with my new Rebel
    XT. I was having a number of underexposed pictures with the on camera
    flash. I was excited to start taking pictures, but was dismayed to
    find the pictures were actually about 1/2 stop MORE underexposed. I
    took it with me on a trip to New York with a school and shot around 450
    pictures. MOST were underexposed. I was SO frustrated, I sent the
    fllash back today. Now I'm thinking it's something in the camera and
    the way I am taking the pictures. I'll try the flash lock and see how
    that improves, but overall I am disappointed with the flash picture
    Big_Bob, Apr 21, 2005
  4. Todd H.

    Todd H. Guest

    Well it's at least reassuring to know that I'm not the only one who
    thinks this flash system sucks.

    Now, if your flash comes back and yer problem's solved, that'll tell
    us something at least. I'm rather at a loss myself.

    I won't go running out and getting a Rebel XT to solve my problems in
    the meantime.

    What mode do you use typically?

    Best Regards,
    Todd H., Apr 21, 2005
  5. Todd H.

    Nick C Guest

    Well, it does and it doesn't. (Shrug) There are millions of people happly
    using Canon gear. I have Canon's 550 and 580 speedlights and after a short
    learning curve, use either one satisfactorily. Canon feels speedlights are
    primarily used as fill light and should not be considered a primary source
    of light unless the photographer wants it to be a primary source of light.
    When I first started using Canon gear, after using Nikon gear exclusively
    for the past 19 years, I too was a little taken back with Canon's speedlight
    system. But I've seen many a pro shooting weddings with Canon gear, so, it
    must be just a learning curve.

    Both speedlights do a great job as fill light when shooting out doors. At
    times, indoor or outdoor, depending upon what I see (and think) about a
    scene, I may boost the speedlight up anywhere from 1/2 to 1 full stop which
    is a simple operation. When I do that, I actually want the scene hit with
    light. If I err in a judgment call and don't have time to check camera
    histograms, I'll try correcting using Levels in Photoshop. Remember, not all
    scenes require capturing a full graduated tonal range to look good. I
    primarily shoot using aperture control and use the speedlights on a 20D or
    1DMkll camera as fill flash. Both cameras have Canons latest firmware

    I still have all my Nikon film gear and readily see the difference between
    Nikon's system and Canon. I'm getting used to Canon and now use one system
    as effectively as the other. Oh, I almost forgot to mention, when shooting
    indoors, I favor bounce light and if that's not readily possible or I may
    capture a bounced color cast, I generally use either a LumiQuest or a
    Sto-Fen attachment.

    FWIW, my wife favors using the 1DMkll and when wanting a flash she chooses
    the 580/Sto-Fen combination, with the camera set on "P" Mode. Photography is
    not her hobby. She favors the 1DMkll because she likes the feel of the

    After spending $1,4xx for the 20D and $4,4xx for the 1DMKll, (plus lenses),
    in addition to keeping my Nikon gear, whichever she likes and how she
    prefers to use them is fine with me.

    Nick C, Apr 23, 2005
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