View Full Version : Low light problem with 430EX

11-06-2007, 09:32 PM
I'm relatively new here and newer to DSLR. I was just fooling around with the new camera and cracking off some shots of my puppy. I was originally using the camera's flash, with good results, but the dog is light colored and was getting washed out by the direct flash. SO....I whip out my flash and fire her up...aiming the flash to bounce off the ceiling...and got a dark picture!?!? SO...I figure I'll aim the flash at the dog, and still a dark picture!?!

I tried the camera in P and in full auto (to take out the idiot factor (me)) and still no change. The camera seems to be stuck at F4.0 and 1/60 whether aiming at a light bulb or down a dark hallway when the flash is attached and turned on...the shutter speed starts to adjust again as soon as I swirch the flash off.

I am stumped :confused: . All batteries are fresh, there are no custom functions set, and I have used the flash indoors before with excellent results. HELP!!!!!

Gear: Rebel XTi, Speedlite 430EX, Sigma 28-70, 1 - 8 month old golden retriever.

11-06-2007, 09:45 PM
OH yeah...sorry...I guess the pics would help:

Camera Flash:

And with the 430 Speedlite:

11-06-2007, 09:56 PM
Sorry I don't have an answer for you but I did want to say that in photo #1 it looks like your dog is winking.......very cute!

11-06-2007, 10:36 PM
The first thing I'd check is the flash power. On the LCD display you should see a 1/1 or a 1/2, 1/4, etc. 1/1 is obviously full power and it goes all the way down (doubling) to 1/64. 1/1 might be too high and wash out the pup but if it's too low, you're just not gonna get enough light. you're not shooting with a fast shutter speed so you should be letting light in. check that setting on the flash, let us know.

11-06-2007, 10:47 PM
It's set for ETTL...which was the way that I have always used it and had good results. I replaced the batteries on saturday because I was going to a wedding. Never used the flash at wedding, came to use it tonight and all the shots with the speedlite are dark.

11-06-2007, 10:49 PM
I don't know Bri. I haven't had an issue with my flash but I haven't had it that long either. We'll have to get the more experienced folks in on it.

By the way, why did I think you had one of the cameras with those little red triangles? Must only be Alan that's one of those Nikon types.

11-06-2007, 10:55 PM
Yeah thats Alan...god forbid he get the same camera as one of us.

When I switch the flash out of ETTL and into manual mode 1/1 and I hit the test button, DAMN...it hits and actually lets off some light, actually a lot of light...BUT it doesn't fire when I take a shot. I'm stumped...the only thing I'm gonna try is resetting the camera...maybe I hit something at some point and didn't realize it!?

EDIT: I just decided to take the flash off and check out the contacts on the Flash and the hot shoe...nice and clean, but a good rubbing with the finger couldn't hurt...right. Well put it back together and the flash now fires in manual mode 1/1 when I take a shot. And imagine that the fancy ETTL thingy works and the flash is actually appropriately bright enough. SO ALL FIXED...by my left index finger.

11-06-2007, 11:03 PM
I wonder if you have a problem with the connector on the flash or the hotshoe and that's why it's either not firing or just firing incorrectly.

11-06-2007, 11:12 PM
read my edit above

11-06-2007, 11:14 PM
Fixed by your index finger and my superb troubleshooting. I'm the smartest man alive!

If it's too bright on 1/1, hold the set button until the 1/1 blinks and then use the left and right buttons to adjust the power. I use that mode mostly to control my flash output.

11-06-2007, 11:40 PM
Glad you got your problem solved, although a finger is probably not the best thing for contact cleaning. Just to be safe, you may want to give the contacts on both sides a swipe with a pencil eraser which will hopefully get rid of any oxidation that might be on there.

The EOS flash system doesn't always operate the way you might thing. In ETTL, if you have the camera in P mode, then it will try to light the scene with the flash by adjusting everything. If you use the other modes... M, Av, or Tv, then the camera will setting background exposure, and the flash will provide fill for the subject. I highly recommend that you try shooting with flash with the camera in M and the flash in ETTL. Adjust the exposure in M so that you background is lit properly, and then let the flash take care of the subject (the dog in this case). That is how you can get some really good pop.

11-06-2007, 11:50 PM
I learned a little more about how it works from your post Mike. Thanks.

11-07-2007, 08:35 AM
Mike is correct... shoot in M mode... av if its outside and sunny .. in the auto modes, the camera will sens the flash and give you your max shutter speed of 1/250... in low light youll get a dark or black BG. In Manual mode, you can set the shutter at what ever it needs to be for the bg to be exposed and set the Aperture seperatly for the flash... even better, stick the flash in Manual mode and adjust its power for DOF... say you want alot of light in the room, bounce it up and crank the power on the flash,,, or lower the flash power if you need to point it at the subject.. this way if you HAVE to or WANT to shoot at say F 2.8 to properly light the BG, you can without blowing out the subject.. this is fun huh?

11-07-2007, 06:39 PM
this is fun huh?

It sure is! Keep talking I am learning tons about Flash photography!!!!!!

11-07-2007, 08:58 PM
It sure is! Keep talking I am learning tons about Flash photography!!!!!!

Here are some great links on flash photography, I haven't gone through them all. I'm still learning about flash, never use that much, but I just picked up the Canon 580EX II and the manual alone is as thick as my camera manual. YIKES

http://web.canon.jp/imaging/flashwork/ettl2/technology/index.html (http://web.canon.jp/imaging/flashwork/ettl2/technology/index.html)

http://photonotes.org:80/articles/eos-flash/ (http://photonotes.org/articles/eos-flash/)

11-07-2007, 09:45 PM
That photonotes link is about all you'd ever want to know.

11-07-2007, 10:03 PM
That photonotes link is about all you'd ever want to know.


And Sandy, Im real jelouse of that flash now!!!

11-12-2007, 12:42 AM
Good lord...and to think my flash just wasn't firing right!!!
Now it fires right...but I have to adjust everything...there are a ton of things to think about just to compose a nice shot. Thanks for all the tips, and I will now be moving to M from P.