Thursday, 1 January 2009

Voice-activated light stands

This clever bit of technology allows you to position your lighting with pin-point accuracy. You don't even need to take them along in your kit bag - there are always plenty lying around at any wedding.

Happy New Year to all!

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Brian said...


Any any idea why it is only possible to dial down a Speedlite 580EX in manual to 1/128. Yet in ETTL mode it can clearly go lower power than this....


David said...

Hi Brian,

I regularly use the Speedlite in both manual and E-TTL mode and have never noticed a difference - it's not clear to me that it can go lower than 1/128 power when using E-TTL.

What may account for the difference you observe is the focal length that the unit is set to work with. If you're going to make the comparison I would manually set this, which is possible in both E-TTL and manual metering modes.

I could, of course, be entirely wrong!



Boaz said...

Hi David,

Great blog, I love your tips page! And your voice-activated light stands got me cracking up. But they are really a key piece of kit, and can be a lot of fun to use ;-))

I often photograph dance party events. I use a radio triggered off camera flash set-up, and have an 580EX2 flash on camera that I sometimes switch on for some slight fill. Normally I set everything manually. However, the on-camera 580EX2 at 1/128 sometimes still outputs far too much power. When I set it to ETTL, I end up having much finer control using the flash exposure compensation instead of setting it manually.

You can test it easily: just set your camera to any situation in which the manual 1/128 setting causes an overexposure, then switch the flash to ETTL mode - the overexposure is gone!

So I come to the conclusion that ETTL indeed allows far lower power flashes than a manual setting of 1/128.

PS: the Nikon SB900 behaves in exactly the same way too.

Greetings, Boaz.

David said...

Hi Boaz,

Many thanks for your kind words and very interesting comments.

I always imagined that 1/128 was the smallest possible output of the unit. Perhaps in E-TTL mode the unit is able to apply further FEC?

All the best,