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DPChallenge Forums >> Hardware and Software >> Help with Canon flashes and PWs
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02/15/2008 02:44:19 AM · #1
I have a Canon 580EX II, a 430EX, a set of PocketWizard Plus II Transceivers (PW). I have one PW on the camera hotshoe and the other connected to the 580EX II via a PC cable. What I would like to do is control the output on both the 580EX II and the 430 EX manually and have the PWs trigger the 580 EX II and the 580 EX II wirelessly trigger the 430 EX.

From all of my reading, I understand that I will lose some sync speed with this arrangement and that Canon disabled something so when connected to the 580EX II via a PC cable certain things won’t work. I am able to get both flashes to go off, but I do not seem to be able to manually adjust the power of each flash.

I also understand that if I acquire an adapter cable with a female hotshoe (such as one of these: FlashZebra or Paramount) that more options will open up. In the meantime though, is there not a way to achieve my desired arrangement?

Any help would be greatly appreciated.
02/15/2008 05:20:53 AM · #2
Sorry I can't help, but try to ask here: //www.flickr.com/groups/strobist/discuss/

Álex.
02/15/2008 06:41:16 AM · #3
I'm surprised you could even get both flashes to fire. I thought that for the 580 to act as a master, it had to be fully connected to the camera by cord, which means a full TTL cord (even if you are only using manual mode).

If you're getting the PW to fire the 580 and then having that trigger the 430, you're doing well.

Another option would be to get another PW receiver, or a cheap optical slave trigger and put that on the 430. This will let it fire immediately at whatever power level you set it.
02/15/2008 08:39:17 AM · #4
Thank you for the input. I am sorry that there is just not a setting or something that I have wrong - and there sure are a lot of different setting options.
02/15/2008 09:04:06 AM · #5
I have never hear of anyone getting that to work via PW's. I agree with above, ask over at strobist but I think you will go nuts trying to mix them.
02/15/2008 10:06:40 AM · #6
Well I can get them to fire, but as I said, I cannot change the output level of them individually. Here are what others are saying, but I can't seem to get the settings as suggested:

1. one PW can be connected to the master 580, the master will fire and control the power output of the slave EXs, but the master 580 II must be in manual mode with Ratio turned on. I cannot set as descrived here.

2. You cannot trigger your "master" 580EX II to start the process to allow it to trigger your other compatible Canon flash units via the Canon infrared system. I call this "hybrid triggering" (part fundimental sync triggering, part Canon infrared triggering).

If you connect the Pocket Wizard to the 580EX II via the hotshoe you can regain the manual- master function on the 580EX II.
Hence the needed hotshoe adapter I mentioned.

3. If it doesn't work you failed to either put the master into Manual mode or did not set the slaves properly. If the master is in Manual mode, then it can control the output of the slave flashes that are in ETTL mode. This is done turning on the ratio feataure. Or, the slaves can be set the manual mode and their output controlled manually from there.

Try it yourself if you have the necessary components.

The only time the master needs to be connected to the hotshoe, directly or via the off-shoe cord is if you want to work the flashes in full ETTL, i.e. auto, wireless mode.
Again, it looks as if what I want to do is possible, but I just do not have everything set up or I cannot get it set as directed. I can fire them both, just not adjust the power.

Anybody else with some thoughts?
02/15/2008 10:18:25 AM · #7
The 430EX is not meant to be a slave in that manner, since eTTL is inactive. For you to have full manual control of both flashes, your best bet is to get another PocketWizard.
02/15/2008 01:17:38 PM · #8
UPDATE: I can now get manual control over the slave (430EX) with this set up, but not the master (580EX II) - it is always full power. If I could just get this last little part I would be thrilled - many other readings indicate I should actually be able to do this.

580EX II (off camera as master, triggered with PW attached to PC):
mode = ETTL
Channel = 1
Master = ON
Ratio = A B C or A B (doesn't seem to matter)
Power = doesn't seem to matter = always full - here is the issue - others have suggested changing to Manual mode to set power and then back to ETTL, but I can see no difference

430EX (off camera as slave):
mode = Manual
[note: if set to ETTL, fires after shutter closes - as other reads have indicated]
Slave = on and Group B
Power = fully adjustable

Camera (with PW in hotshoe):
max sync for this set up to work is 1/80 sec.
02/15/2008 02:53:28 PM · #9
Unless the flash is connected to the hot shoe (all 5 pins) then it can't do eTTL.
So you have to put the 580 in MANUAL mode, and then you can adjust the power from full to 1/2, 1/4, 1/8, and on down to 1/256th I beleive, in 1/3 stop increments using the wheel on the flash.

The 580 has an auto feature than you might try.

The 430 can only be triggered via the canon wireless, which I think only works in eTTL mode, so you're probably outta luck on that. A wein peanut (or similar optical trigger adapter that goes on the hotshoe of the slaved flash unit) will let the 430 trigger whenever it sees any other flash.

My understanding of the 430 is you have full or 1/4 power and nothing else when in manual mode on that unit.
02/15/2008 03:27:59 PM · #10
Thanks.

Originally posted by Prof_Fate:

Unless the flash is connected to the hot shoe (all 5 pins) then it can't do eTTL.
So you have to put the 580 in MANUAL mode, and then you can adjust the power from full to 1/2, 1/4, 1/8, and on down to 1/256th I beleive, in 1/3 stop increments using the wheel on the flash.


I understand that I am not making use of ETTL in this arrangment, but when the 580 is in manual mode, nothing fires. I have to set it on ETTL and then both flashes will fire.

Originally posted by Prof_Fate:

The 580 has an auto feature than you might try.


I definitely will give this a go.

Originally posted by Prof_Fate:

The 430 can only be triggered via the canon wireless, which I think only works in eTTL mode, so you're probably outta luck on that. A wein peanut (or similar optical trigger adapter that goes on the hotshoe of the slaved flash unit) will let the 430 trigger whenever it sees any other flash.

My understanding of the 430 is you have full or 1/4 power and nothing else when in manual mode on that unit.


The 430 triggers, but late when set in ETTL mode. It triggers fine and I have full control over the output also, again when in manual mode. The 430 gives full stop adjustments from 1/1 to 1/64.

So, I guess the issue is, why doesn't it all trigger when the 580 is in manual mode as it should, or at least as I have read that works?
02/15/2008 04:46:10 PM · #11
How do you have the 580 attached to the PW?

I've used a hot shoe adapter to my PW. I've not tried the PC connector on the 580 (assuming you mean the 580EX2)
Don't know if you have to turn on/enable the PC connector or not. It should't work in eTTL but should work in manual - eTTL meaning ThruTheLens and if it's not communicating with the camera body will all it's pins then then it's can't do TTL...

If you hit the test button on the PW that's connected to the 580, does the 580 fire? It should...if the cable and flash are operating correctly Have you got the PW to FLash cable plugged in to the right hole on the PW? Both PWs on, and on the same channel?

Yeah, basics, but it's easy to overlook the basics. I can't tell you how many times i get all set up and either find the lens cap still on or the PW on the camera isn't on.
02/15/2008 05:18:02 PM · #12
Camera:
PW on the hotshoe
PW on "both" and Channel 1

580EX II:
ETTL, Channel 1, Master on, Ratio A B
PC port to PW "Flash" hole
PW on "both" and Channel 1

430EX:
Manual, Channel 1, Slave, Group B

I read that Manual mode for the 580EX II is the only one possible for this configuaration through the PC port because of something Canon disabled in the new model. However, if you use a miniphone to Female hotshoe sync with the 580EX II instead, more options open up. I don't have any local or regional camera shops so I will have to order this to see how it changes things. Regardless, what I have read says that I can set this up all manual (and the 580 in Master) and I should be able to control the output on both flashes manually.

With the 580EX II switched to Manual mode, the PW test button does NOT fire the flash. Switch that back to ETTL and the PW Test button and the other PW triggered by the camera will fire both flashes. I have checked and rechecked everything else and all is connected well and to the right place as mentioned above.

Yikes this is making me crazy!
02/15/2008 06:34:38 PM · #13
I feel your pain!
I spent a bit of time each day this week and FOUR hours today to get PDA to synch/talk to my computer. I was blaming the used PDA, cable, XP - all sorts of things. Turns out that in the software the option I needed isn't there, or even documented in the PDF manual. I eventually right clicked the icon in the system tray and got another selection of settings..one was USB. It's NO other place. I needed Serial - that and modem are the only options accessible via the software and during install, so how USB became an option, and the default option at that, I have no idea.

OK, put a PW (just as you have it) on my 580-2.
IN eTTL it does fire (!). OK, move it to manual and it fired the first time, but not the second. Then I watched the Pilot liight - at 1/1 strenght in manual it takes a good while to recycle. I changed the power to 1/8 (push button in center of wheel, turn dial) it flashed every time - zoomed to any position, tilted and twisted to any position...my cfn settings are Cfn 00 =1 Cfn 2=3 6=1 and the rest are 0.

I have no second flash on (i have a sigma for sale, but no 430 or other canon flash) so I don't know if the wireless being on is your issue or not.
02/15/2008 07:26:33 PM · #14
Thank you very much for helping me out.

Yes! I agree that the PWs and a single off camera 580EX II in this configuration WORKS and it great. Now, when you add the 430EX to this configuration it will not trigger the 430EX until you switch back to Master ON for the 580EX II settings and switch back to ETTL - then BAM - no more abilty to adjust the power output on the 580EX II becuase it thinks it is getting it from the camera (ETTL mode). BUT, I believe there is a mysterious arrangement of the Master/Manual/Ratio permutations that will get it to work as desired - I juast can't figure it out. I also believe that when my hotshoe arrives and I connect the hotshoe to the PW it might work - however, I would love to know that for sure before I order.
02/16/2008 10:28:54 AM · #15
Again, eTTL is to be used with the master ON the camera hotshoe (or connected with the off-she cord, $50, so all the pins are connected). In this config the master talks to the slave - the entire exposure/lighting is controlled by the camera.

In manual mode the photographer controls the exposure/lighting. Leaving the 580 off-camera and putting it in eTTL mode will indeed cause it to behave in some strange way - it's not able to talk to the camera as it's designed to do.

You'll have to either get an ST-E2 for your hotshoe or a PW/hotshoe for the 430 and adjust it manually.

You could buy the Quantum eTTL light set up, but I think you'll find the price upsetting to your wife. $1000/light PLUS the eTTL modules. It's a great system though.
02/26/2008 04:05:17 PM · #16
Problem solved!
Since Canon disables the Master-Manual ability when using the PC sync, this great little creature solved all the problems.

Hotshoe adapter

Thanks to all who had suggestions.
04/10/2008 07:04:18 PM · #17
I'm so glad I found this thread because I have almost the same kit and have been having a similar problem.

Would you mind just explaining how everything is set up now, with the hotshoe adapter? It would really help me out a lot.

Thanks.
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