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Photography Question 
Bruce D. Harris
 

Why are my pictures dark?


I shoot with a digtal Canon EOS Rebel. I have a Canon 430 EX Speedlite flash, and a Canon 70 - 200 mm 1:2.8 L IS USM lens. When taking outdoor daytime pictures recently using the flash for fill with the camera set to automatic and the flash to ETTL the pictures in the camera display and according to the histogram looked fine. When I loaded them in the computer to process,(jpeg format), most all of them were extremely dark. I tried changing camera settings but nothing seemed to help. I finally took the 430 EX flash unit off and just used the cameras flash and everything was o.k. I'm wandering if the flash is compatible with my camera. I've been told by Canon tech support that it is but I just can't seem to get it to work without getting darker than acceptible pictures. I have tried other lens and used it indoors as well with the same results. The flash is firing and everything appears to be fine until time to process. I'm using CS2 for that. Any comments would be appreciated.


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9/26/2006 3:27:52 PM

 
Jon Close
BetterPhoto Member Since: 5/18/2000
  Pictures with the 430EX are dark, but ok with the built-in? Check to make sure that you haven't inadvertently set negative Flash Exposure Compensation (value just right of the "lightning bolt +/-" symbol in the 430EX lcd).


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9/27/2006 6:45:51 AM

 
Bruce D. Harris   Thanx Jon C. for your response. I checked the Exposure Compensation and it is on O+. I shot some more trial pictures tonight indoors and out and had the same results. I used the 70-200 mm and a 50 mm 1.4f. I had lighter pics with the 50 but overall the shots were still to dark. What I don't understand is why I can take the shots with the flash and check the cameras lcd and histogram and everything looks o.k. But then I load them up and they are dark. I then try the same shots, same settings with the on board flash, check the camera and it looks the same as before, load them up and there o.k. I made sure the flashes flash is set to auto, but still dark. High speed sync is off along with the Second-Curtain Sync. Sometimes in outdoor night time conditions with only stray light conditions it is hard to obtain a good auto focus even using the pre flash. Sometimes I try using the FE Lock button (*) on the camera to acquire a good auto focus. When I do this I get a pre flash and usually acquire a focus. If it is to dark the 70-200mm may not auto focus. Please don't think the problem is just lighting conditions because I did these shots just for trial. When the problem first was noticed it was at a fairgrounds daytime and early evening shoot with track lighting. Actually the evening shots turned out better than the daytime shots. Any other thoughts you or anyone else can give would be greatly appreciated. At this point I'm at a loss, Thanx.


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9/27/2006 7:01:23 PM

 
Andrew Laverghetta
BetterPhoto Member Since: 9/13/2004
  Can you upload some photos from these situations that you've described? That might help?


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9/28/2006 12:08:41 AM

 
Jon Close
BetterPhoto Member Since: 5/18/2000
  Yes, some samples would be very heplful.

Re - obtaining focus. Autofocus in SLRs like the Rebel is "passive", it needs a minimum amount of both light and subject contrast to work. The built-in flash will flicker to provide more light for autofocus. I assume that is what you meant by "even using the pre-flash". This is only effective at short distances. Much better should be the 430EX's near-infrared AF assist light, which projects a pattern that the camera should be able to autofocus on, even on a blank wall in complete darkness. But it is also has a range limited to subjects closer than about 30 ft. using the center focus sensor, or within 16 ft. at the other AF sensors.


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9/28/2006 5:40:44 AM

 
Bruce D. Harris  
 
 
I took these pics this evening as new trial with and without the EX430 flash. The first pic is with the 430 flash and the 70-200mm 2.8 lens, 2nd is 50mm 1.4 and the 430 EX, 3rd is with the onboard flash and the 50mm, 4th is the 50mm and the 430 EX, 5th is the 70-200mm and the 430 EX. All the shots were taken with the camera in the Priority mode and the flash in ETTL auto. Hope this helps you, again thanks for your help.


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9/28/2006 5:16:35 PM

 
Bruce D. Harris  
 
 
Sorry didn't get the pictures in the first time.


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9/28/2006 5:19:30 PM

 
Bruce D. Harris  
 
 
Here we go again, hope it works this time.


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9/28/2006 5:22:09 PM

 
Bruce D. Harris   Sorry for the confusion, but I had some trouble uploading the pictures. Somewhere along the way my first test picture did not make it. But the numbers associated with each picture do correspond with the right numbers in my earlier description. Thanx


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9/28/2006 5:39:55 PM

 
Jon Close
BetterPhoto Member Since: 5/18/2000
  I don't see a significant difference between 4 and 5. They both look fine. WRT #2 (430EX), the E-TTL flash exposure system tries to avoid glare and hot spots with flash, so will sometimes overcompensate in a situation like this where you have significant glare off the picture's cover glass. I don't know why that wasn't also the case with #3 (on-board flash). They were both shot with the same lens (50 f/1.4), were they both shot at the same aperture and same exposure mode?


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9/29/2006 11:16:05 AM

 
Bruce D. Harris  
 
 
Yes Jon they were, 1/60s @ 4.0 with 400 ISO. I understand what you are saying about the shiny object and the flash compensating for it. I guess this was a poor example for you so I went into my recent files and found these shots, hope these help show you better about what I'm talking about.


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9/29/2006 6:26:20 PM

 
Bruce D. Harris  
 
 
Yes Jon they were, 1/60s @ 4.0 with 400 ISO. I understand what you are saying about the shiny object and the flash compensating for it. I guess this was a poor example for you so I went into my recent files and found these shots, hope these help show you better about what I'm talking about.


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9/29/2006 6:26:51 PM

 
Bruce D. Harris  
 
 
Yes Jon they were, 1/60s @ 4.0 with 400 ISO. I understand what you are saying about the shiny object and the flash compensating for it. I guess this was a poor example for you so I went into my recent files and found these shots, hope these help show you better about what I'm talking about.


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9/29/2006 6:28:41 PM

 
Bruce D. Harris   I don't understand why I'm having so much trouble uploading these pictures, I apologize. I've somehow sent double messages to you. I hope its not to difficult to figure out what I intended.


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9/29/2006 7:04:01 PM

 
Mike Rubin
BetterPhoto Member Since: 10/15/2004
  Canon Flash is not like any other. I have a 580ex and had a learning curve. An excellent reference is:

http://photonotes.org/articles/eos-flash/

It is a 3 part document which covers the basics of Canon flash through to advanced information. It is in PDF format and you can print it out. I keep it in a binder and seem to refer to it a lot.


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9/30/2006 5:57:28 PM

 
Mike Rubin
BetterPhoto Member Since: 10/15/2004
  Here is another great link which has a lot of Canon information.

http://photography-on-the.net/forum/


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9/30/2006 5:59:30 PM

 
Jon Close
BetterPhoto Member Since: 5/18/2000
  Bruce, I don't really see a problem with the flash in those samples. In all but a couple, the near subject is well exposed by the flash. The backgrounds are dark because there isn't much ambient light. It looks heavily shaded. Setting higher ISO would have achieved better flash/ambient light balance.


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9/30/2006 6:50:27 PM

 
Bruce D. Harris   Thanks Mike I will definitly check these references out. Appreciate the input.


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9/30/2006 6:54:33 PM

 
Bruce D. Harris   Jon I'll try your advise in the future in this type of setting. Thanks


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9/30/2006 7:03:35 PM

 
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