Off camera digital flash--HELP
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Old 02-14-2007   #1
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Default Off camera digital flash--HELP

I have a Bower Digital SF328AZ flash that came with my camera. I've tried to use it off-shoe, but can't get it to fire.

I put my camera in all kinds of modes, manual, Tv, Av, portrait, with the flash set a N, S1, S2, on all of the zoom settings, and STILL can't get it fire.

Am I doing something wrong? Or could there be a problems somewhere? Newer batteries? Manual settings only?

I'm at my wits end, can't figure out if I'm doing something wrong, or there's something wrong with the flash.

Debbie

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Old 02-14-2007   #2
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Default Re: Off camera digital flash--HELP

I'm not familiar with your flash and you haven't indicated the camera you're using. Does the flash work properly when it is in the hot shoe of your camera? If so, it may be a problem with the cable. If the flash offers a Through The Lens (TTL) mode then it will need a dedicated cable to use this functionality off of the hot shoe. I hope this helps get you on the right path!!
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Old 02-14-2007   #3
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Default Re: Off camera digital flash--HELP

nrottley--

I see this is your first post.* *WELCOME TO THE CAMEL!
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Old 02-15-2007   #4
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Default Re: Off camera digital flash--HELP

I"m sorry, I'm really not new. Just haven't been on in a while. Anyway, my camera is a Canon Rebel XT. And no, it doesn't work on or off the shoe. It only goes off when the camera flash goes off and I didn't think it was supposed to work that way. I would like to use it for fill in some outdoor shots, but if I turn on my oncamera flash, it overexposes the shots. It flashes when I test it, so there's no problem there, it just doesnt work like it's supposed to and I don't know what to do about it.

Debbie
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Old 02-15-2007   #5
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Default Re: Off camera digital flash--HELP

I "googled" your flash and came up with the following link which
may explain your problems and offer solutions:

http://photo.net/bboard/q-and-a-fetch-msg?msg_id=00EwPw
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Old 02-15-2007   #6
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Default Re: Off camera digital flash--HELP

Thanks, seems I'm not the only one having the same kind of problem. I'm going to register there and see what I can come up with.

Debbie
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Old 02-15-2007   #7
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Default Re: Off camera digital flash--HELP

Looks like it's an optical slave. If so, it needs to "see" the on camera flash to fire.
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Old 02-15-2007   #8
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Default Re: Off camera digital flash--HELP

Canon DSLR's have ETTL flash which means they emit a preflash that is used for metering followed by a real flash that takes the picture. Slave flashes that trip when they see a flash will go off when they see the preflash and not recycle fast enough to fire again when the shutter opens so you see the flash fire but there is no exposure for the image. To fix this some slave flashes (I believe including your model?) offer a 'delay' mode which causes the flash to go off with the second flash rather than the first. Some do this by counting flashes (ignoring the first) while others just delay the flash enough to give the shutter time to open. This works if the delay time is right for the camera being used or is adjustable. Look on the flash and see if there is a switch for a second mode (I do not know how it will be marked) and try the delay setting. You will know you are there when you can take a picture of the flash unit and see it firing in the picture but not through the lens. Sometimes this delay feature will require a slower shutter speed than the regular flash maximum (1/250) so you may have to try 1/60 or so to get it to work. Since the flash is not ETTL, you will have to figure the exposure (trial and error) and set the f/stop to get what you want. The flash should fire (manual exposure) from the hot shoe unless it is broken (a possibility). Note the person asking the question linked by nrottley above was getting flash. I suspect that problem was improved with the answer given there to try the S2 setting.

This really is a hard way to get a flash for the camera. I would suggest buying a compatible unit until you are comfortable enough with the camera to experiment.
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Old 02-15-2007   #9
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Default Re: Off camera digital flash--HELP

I'm a little confused here, so I'm going to ask some very elementary questions (and the photo.net link didn't work for me, so I couldn't gather anything from there).

How does the flash attach to the camera? Is there a cable or is it a wireless/slave flash? If wireless, what triggers it? Is it optical? Radio? Something else? If it is not optical (using the camera's built-in flash), does it come with some sort of transmitter that attaches to the camera?

If it is optical, does it have a means to ignore the pre-flash from the built in camera flash and fire on the 2nd flash that happens when the camera shutter is open?

If it is operating as a slave, does it have any provision for controlling the exposure? Does it somehow rely on the camera's ettl system? Or do you have to run everythihng in manual mode with the flash?

Does the flash have an instruction manual with it? Does the manufacturer have a website?





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Old 02-16-2007   #10
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Default Re: Off camera digital flash--HELP

This Bower Flash came with the bundle when I purchased the camera from B & H. It's wireless,(optical) and has no connectors. Works for me in manual mode.
Knowing nothing about flashes, I didn't ask to have it replaced with something else, and I'm just now really getting around to trying it out.

Actualy jfrancho's advice was probably the one that cleared things up for me. I finally got the thing to work, although, I guess being optical, it DOES NOT work on the hot shoe of the camera because it DOES need the preflash to work, putting it on the hotshoe of the camera does not allow the oncamera flash to work, so I have to put it on a bracket, but still use the camera flash. As I was afraid, I need to do some experimenting to find the right exposure, but I think it's too much flash when it's on the bracket right next to the camera. It will work better as fill flash set on a stand, or maybe background, or even outdoors for fill.

I'm thinking my next step is to go to a better end camera without the on-camera flash, but that will have to wait until I can earn enough money from these shoots that I'm doing to pay for the cost of the camera!


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