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Photography DiscussionQuestions regarding ETTL...

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laura72568
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Questions regarding ETTL...

Postby laura72568 » Sat Jan 09, 2016 2:53 am

I was hoping to get some info regarding ETTL. I signed up for a class to learn ETTL. The instructor notes state that he will teach us how to use our own equipment. Great! But I have a Canon camera and just recently acquired 3 Yungnuo YN600-EX-RT flashes that are compatible with Canon ETTL. SO, my question is if I am using ETTL, will I need Wireless Flash Transceivers or a Wireless Flash Controller? I am clueless about this...seriously. :-)

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Re: Questions regarding ETTL...

Postby Duck » Sat Jan 09, 2016 3:33 am

E-TTL is Canon's Evaluative Through-The-Lens metering system for flash exposure control. Basically what happens is that the camera communicates with the flash to establish what the system considers are the appropriate settings to obtain proper exposure for the given scene. This requires the camera to have communication with a compatible flash by electronic means. Ideally the two will communicate through the hot shoe with the flash mounted atop your camera. Not the most ideal position, but it can be made to work.

For off-camera flash, a sync cord can be used that will still maintain electronic communication between the camera and flash. When it comes to radio triggers, you need a trigger that allows TTL control between the camera and flash via radio transmission. Pocket Wizard makes the Flex-TT5 and Mini-TT1 that allows TTL communication between the two. Yongnuo has the YN622C TTL triggers with TTL that should be compatible with your Yongnuo flash.

Regular Pocket Wizards will not work. I am also not very familiar with the infrared communications system in Canon flashes to say if that allows E-TTL but if it does the infrared requires shade and direct line of sight.

Personally I am not a fan of auto anything. TTL puts too much control on the machine and not enough in my hands. However, when you understand the system fully, it can be manipulated to work wonders. I have seen some very successful photographers shoot with TTL and they really know how to make it work.

Best of luck and let us know how your class goes.
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Re: Questions regarding ETTL...

Postby Steven G Webb » Sat Jan 09, 2016 3:53 am

I'm not familiar with either Canon nor Yungnuo but I did a little poking around on the Internet. You will not need additional triggers to fire your off camera flash. It appears the "RT" in the model name represents "Radio Transceiver". Now for specifically ETTL it appears the Yungnuos use infrared communication. You'll place one flash on the camera so it can communicate with the camera and it will be the "Master" transmitting data to the off camera "Slave" flashes. My gut says you should be able to set the Master so that it does not contribute any flash to the actual exposure. It will pre-flash to communicate with the remote "Slave" units but not contribute an exposure flash (Can't tell you enough about how poor on-camera flash looks). The infrared control is fragile at best; it requires line-of-sight and can be faulty in bright sunlight situations. ETTL is quirky. Since the camera is sending metering information to the flash, the kind of metering the camera is set to will have dramatic impact on how the flash reacts. Learning to effectively make the camera and flash combination do what you want it to do isn't really less intense for ETTL and if you overlook a couple of settings in the setup your results will be inconsistent, contrary to your feeling that it should be very consistent.
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Re: Questions regarding ETTL...

Postby laura72568 » Sun Jan 10, 2016 12:00 am

Thanks to both of you for this info! I appreciate it very much! I have only shot manual OCF in the past. This class promises to teach ETTL in "layman's" terms...which is obviously what I need since I posted this question! :-). Thanks again.

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Re: Questions regarding ETTL...

Postby Steven G Webb » Sun Jan 10, 2016 12:24 am

I believe every bit of education we can gain is beneficial. Some photographers are opposed to camera exposure automation of any sort; others have learned to use settings like Aperture Priority or Shutter Speed priority along with metering options to unleash the power of the camera's on-board computer and exposure meter to their benefit. Because of how ETTL works, many photographers find shortcomings with it. I believe if a photographer learns how the system works, and how to tell the flash by way of telling the camera what the desired outcome is, then the photographer could get the system to give them what they want. I completely advocate learning to shoot in manual, more particularly to shoot with flash manually. There are great advantages to understanding fixed outputs (like knowing what f-stop the flash produces at a given power level) and using a meter to calculate the exposure values. In the grand scheme of things, is there any difference in holding a hand-held meter and doing what it tells you and in dialing in some instructions and letting the camera's meter make the magic happen? The object is to make pretty pictures, how ever we choose to obtain them.
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Re: Questions regarding ETTL...

Postby Ed Shapiro » Tue Jan 12, 2016 1:48 pm

It is pleasantly surprising to me, as an old photographer who still does most of my work in manual modes, how amazingly accurate many of the automatic features on today's DSLRs are- the can work well! Through the lens metering and exposure control is certainly a handy tool for both amateur and professional photographers, especially when fast paced impromptu shooting is required. There are times when I am happy just being an “appliance operator” rather than a finite technician having to figure out and mentally calculate so many exposure issues. There, are times, well most of the time, that I need more precise control over the aesthetics of my lighting and that oftentimes demands the use of manual modes or what I call “modified automatic modes”.

My advice to many photographers who are learning or looking to improving their flash techniques to delve into some of the “old school” manual methodologies such as; flash power outputs (watt-seconds and ECPS ratings), guide numbers, flash to subject distances, the inverse square law, the angle of incidence theory, basic portrait lighting, lighting ratio, reflector and bare-bulb usage, hand-held exposure meter techniques, flash fill in out of doors and available light scenarios, and off the camera, bounce and multiple flash lightings.

If we become overly dependent on automatic operation, we loose finite control over the aesthetics of out imagery and there becomes a sameness in all our flash work, especially if the flash unit is just about “bolted” down to the hot shoe atop the camera.

Understanding exactly how basic flash photography works gives us more appreciation and insight into what out automatic features are doing for us- some of it is truly amazing! We also learn to “fool” our automatic systems by manipulating them, thereby giving us the tools to enable more customized effects, moods, and variations. We also learn to avoid some of the intrinsic problematic aspects of flash usage, the gremlins such as subject failure and flat lighting and “black hole backgrounds”. Subject failure occurs when the readings from the internal metering system are gathered in the wrong zone within the frame and serious, usually overexposure, issues result. Flat lighting lacks dimensionality and is a product of unmodified and non-directional on the camera flash usage. Underexposed (black hole) backgrounds and overexposed foregrounds, again are the result of flat-on-the camera flash and poor placement of the flash head on the camera which also causes distracting shadows on backgrounds and walls.

Even in auto modes, we can create better lighting and more control by purposely “fooling the system” and telling it what we want it to know! We can change the ISO settings, change the shutter speed to admit more ambient light and there are many modifications that we can introduce to create many variations. In a two light hand-held system, I have been know to place my hand over the on-camera light and just let a “sliver” of light seep out through my fingers to alter the lighting ratio without having to move further away from the subject and sacrifice my composition or take the time to remove the fill light from the camera.

I hope this helps. Ed :thumbup:


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