Which Sunpak or Vivitar with a Canon Powershot G2?

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by David Kassnoff, Sep 7, 2004.

  1. I bought a new Canon-dedicated ("CA" sticker) Sunpak auto-focus flash
    in hopes that it would work with the E-TTL flash functions of my Canon
    Powershot G2. It didn't -- all it did was fire at full power, every
    time, regardless of lighting. The overexposures were grisly.

    Do you know of a non-Speedlite flash that will operate correctly with
    the Powershot G2? The ideal flash would have bounce capability,
    variable power output, and be a bit smaller than the Vivitar 283 or
    Canon Speedlite 420.

    Thanks.

    -David K. (USA)
     
    David Kassnoff, Sep 7, 2004
    #1
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  2. (David Kassnoff) writes:
    > I bought a new Canon-dedicated ("CA" sticker) Sunpak auto-focus flash
    > in hopes that it would work with the E-TTL flash functions of my Canon
    > Powershot G2. It didn't -- all it did was fire at full power, every
    > time, regardless of lighting. The overexposures were grisly.


    It will get the right exposure if you switch your camera to manual.
    Just work out the correct aperture from the subject distance and
    the listed guide number.

    > Do you know of a non-Speedlite flash that will operate correctly with
    > the Powershot G2? The ideal flash would have bounce capability,
    > variable power output, and be a bit smaller than the Vivitar 283 or
    > Canon Speedlite 420.


    If you want E-TTL, bounce, /and/ smaller than the 420EX - you are
    AFAIK out of luck. Please pick two of these requirements, because
    that is the most you can get.

    Here is a list of the flash guns I am aware of that are E-TTL-compa-
    tible (sort off), sorted by maximum guide number (in meters, for ISO
    100). In addition to Canon's own models, I've listed some third party
    flash guns claimed by their manufacturer to be "Canon digital"
    compatible. These third party guns use reverse engineered interfaces
    for E-TTL compatibility. The Sigma 500 DG Super has a fair reputation
    for E-TTL compatibility, the Metz models have received more mixed
    reviews in this area, but make up for this by having an excellent auto
    mode. The Sigma and the two most expensive Canons may be used in a
    wireless (w/l) master/slave setup (the 420EX as slave only) and are
    compatible with wireless (infrared) transmitter ST-E2.

    ----------------------------------------------------------------------
    Model GN Notes
    ----------------------------------------------------------------------
    1. Canon 220 EX (22) No tilt/swivel/bounce.
    2. Canon 420 EX (42) W/l slave only.
    3. Metz 44 AF-4C (44) Rev. engineered. Also auto.
    4. Sigma 500 DG Super (50) W/l master + slave. Rev. engineered
    5. Metz 54 MZ-4C (54) Rev. engineered. Also auto.
    6. Canon 550 EX (55) W/l master + slave
    7. Canon 580EX (58) W/l master + slave
    ----------------------------------------------------------------------
    For technical details, see the manufacturers' specification sheets.

    Alternatively, you may drop the E-TTL and buy an «auto» unit (like the
    Vivitar 283). Then you'll get variable power output, but you'll have
    to set the aperture yourself.

    Are you sure that the Sunpak you bought doesn't have an «auto»
    mode? I assume that «Canon-dedicated» means TTL (as in film) -
    and that won't work with a G2 - but «auto» should work well in
    manual mode.
    --
    - gisle hannemyr [ gisle{at}hannemyr.no - http://folk.uio.no/gisle/ ]
    ========================================================================
    «To live outside the law, you must be honest.» (Bob Dylan)
     
    Gisle Hannemyr, Sep 8, 2004
    #2
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  3. Gisle-

    Thanks for your reply. I think there's a discontinued Canon E-TTL
    flash that, if I can find it will solve my problem. Sunpak has a PZ40X
    that they say will work with E-TTL, but it's almost as much as a Canon
    EX flash.

    The Sunpak I bought (and returned) had controls to adjust for ISO
    speed and lens (28mm, 35mm, 50mm, 85mm) . But it didn't make a
    difference. I was photographing a friend's wedding, and the flash did
    not have a way to cut back for near shots.

    Both Sunpak and Vivitar have a flash that's meant to work in synch
    with the G2's own flash, but it's all digital and automatic (not
    connected via the hot shoe). It looks like a possible alternative, but
    I'd rather find a flash that talks to the camera, rather than one that
    "guesses" at exposure.

    I have used the G2's manual mode for long exposures, but I was hoping
    to use the Av and P modes for general flash photography.

    Thanks again.

    -David K.

    !!!!!!!!!

    Gisle Hannemyr <> wrote in message news:<>...
    > (David Kassnoff) writes:
    > > I bought a new Canon-dedicated ("CA" sticker) Sunpak auto-focus flash
    > > in hopes that it would work with the E-TTL flash functions of my Canon
    > > Powershot G2. It didn't -- all it did was fire at full power, every
    > > time, regardless of lighting. The overexposures were grisly.

    >
    > It will get the right exposure if you switch your camera to manual.
    > Just work out the correct aperture from the subject distance and
    > the listed guide number.
    >
    > > Do you know of a non-Speedlite flash that will operate correctly with
    > > the Powershot G2? The ideal flash would have bounce capability,
    > > variable power output, and be a bit smaller than the Vivitar 283 or
    > > Canon Speedlite 420.

    >
    > If you want E-TTL, bounce, /and/ smaller than the 420EX - you are
    > AFAIK out of luck. Please pick two of these requirements, because
    > that is the most you can get.
    >
    > Here is a list of the flash guns I am aware of that are E-TTL-compa-
    > tible (sort off), sorted by maximum guide number (in meters, for ISO
    > 100). In addition to Canon's own models, I've listed some third party
    > flash guns claimed by their manufacturer to be "Canon digital"
    > compatible. These third party guns use reverse engineered interfaces
    > for E-TTL compatibility. The Sigma 500 DG Super has a fair reputation
    > for E-TTL compatibility, the Metz models have received more mixed
    > reviews in this area, but make up for this by having an excellent auto
    > mode. The Sigma and the two most expensive Canons may be used in a
    > wireless (w/l) master/slave setup (the 420EX as slave only) and are
    > compatible with wireless (infrared) transmitter ST-E2.
    >
    > ----------------------------------------------------------------------
    > Model GN Notes
    > ----------------------------------------------------------------------
    > 1. Canon 220 EX (22) No tilt/swivel/bounce.
    > 2. Canon 420 EX (42) W/l slave only.
    > 3. Metz 44 AF-4C (44) Rev. engineered. Also auto.
    > 4. Sigma 500 DG Super (50) W/l master + slave. Rev. engineered
    > 5. Metz 54 MZ-4C (54) Rev. engineered. Also auto.
    > 6. Canon 550 EX (55) W/l master + slave
    > 7. Canon 580EX (58) W/l master + slave
    > ----------------------------------------------------------------------
    > For technical details, see the manufacturers' specification sheets.
    >
     
    David Kassnoff, Sep 11, 2004
    #3
  4. (David Kassnoff) writes:
    > I think there's a discontinued Canon E-TTL flash that, if I can find
    > it will solve my problem.


    You are probably thinking about canon 380 EX that was discontinued
    in 2001? Yeah - that seems to fit your ticket. It has bounce
    and it is E-TTL compatible.

    It is not a very powerful flash (GN 108ft/33m), so the use of bounce
    will be limited to small rooms and close range.

    > Sunpak has a PZ40X that they say will work with E-TTL, but it's
    > almost as much as a Canon
    > EX flash.


    Thanks - that is a new model I was not aware of. I'll add it to
    my E-TTL list.

    > Both Sunpak and Vivitar have a flash that's meant to work in synch
    > with the G2's own flash, but it's all digital and automatic (not
    > connected via the hot shoe).


    This is a "slave" setup - where the slave is triggered by the camera's
    main flash. If you go for this option, make sure that the unit is
    compatible with the E-TTL of the G2. Most older slave triggers fire
    on the pre-flash that is part of the E-TTL protocol. This makes them
    useless on any camera where E-TTL can't be disabled.

    > It looks like a possible alternative, but I'd rather find a
    > flash that talks to the camera, rather than one that "guesses"
    > at exposure.


    An "auto" flash doesn't guess. It uses its own sensor to measure the
    light reflected by the scene and turn off the flash when the right
    amount of light for whatever aperture you've set has been emitted.
    For most shooting situations, including using a flash diffuser box
    and bounce, "auto" provides just as accurate exposure control as
    E-TTL does.

    If you learn to use it, it is painless. You set up the G2 in aperture
    priority (Av) mode, set the aperture on the camera, and set the same
    aperture on the flash. From then on, you don't have to worry about
    exposure settings - the flashgun will automatically make sure that
    the right amount of light reaches the sensor.

    An excellent "auto" flash such as the Vivitar 283 kan be had for
    around $67 brand new (if you buy this used - note that the older
    models have a trigger voltage that may fry your G2).

    A good tutorial on using flash (covering both manual and auto) is on:
    http://www.camerahobby.com/Ebook-FlashTechnical_Chapter9Sub.htm

    > I have used the G2's manual mode for long exposures, but I was
    > hoping to use the Av and P modes for general flash photography.


    As noted above, an "auto" flash will work fine in Av mode on a G2.

    If you want to use P or the camera on fully automatic, you need a
    E-TTL flash. You should be able to find a used Canon 380EX in good
    condition for about the same as the cost of a new Vivitar 283.

    If you want a factory new unit, the «cheap» alternative is the
    Canon 220 EX ($115). But I would strongly recommend putting down
    the extra dollars for the higher output and bounce of the Canon
    420 EX ($180). Btw: I use the 420 EX myself and I am very happy
    with it.

    The 420 EX is a great bounce flash in an ordinary room provided the
    ceiling is white or off-white - but you should be aware of that its
    bounce is useless in a church or auditorium (because of the higher
    ceilings robs too much light). The same is of course true for the
    even less powerful Vivitar 283 and Canon 380 EX.
    --
    - gisle hannemyr [ gisle{at}hannemyr.no - http://folk.uio.no/gisle/ ]
    ========================================================================
    «To live outside the law, you must be honest.» (Bob Dylan)
     
    Gisle Hannemyr, Sep 11, 2004
    #4
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