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Thread: 4x5 camera + ST-E3-RT transmitter + 600EX-RT -- possible?

  1. #1

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    4x5 camera + ST-E3-RT transmitter + 600EX-RT -- possible?

    I see a lot of information about using flashes, but most (if not all) are related (understandably) to digital photography. I want to shoot with my 4x5 large format camera, and a flash setup (not strobe).

    Is it possible to use a Canon Speedlite 600EX-RT with a film camera? Actually the setup for my shoot will not be the camera attached to the flash, but to the transmitter. This is what my setup will look like:

    • I'm lighting the background with two hot lights (continuous lights--because I only have two flashes).
    • The subject, a person, will be lighted using two (2) 600EX-RT,
    • and I have one (1) ST-E3-RT transmitter that will control the two flashes.
    • The shutters on my lenses do have the X setting to sync flashes to it, and the apertures for my lenses range from f4 to f90.

    Is this possible? I asked on another forum which is almost 100% about digital photography, and no one knew for sure if it was possible. Most seemed to think that you couldn't do what I wanted to do. I have shot with strobes connected to my lenses and it's worked, but I've never used my camera with flashes. How would I go about setting the flashes to use them with my 4x5?

    (One thing I don't see in all the tutorials I've seen is how to set-up the power at which the flashes will light the scene. I know with strobes, this is shown as Watt percentage. You can regulate this as it pertains to your scene. Because most people use flashes with dSLRs, it is assumed you are using TTL and that the camera will automatically adjust to what the scene requires, but ... I'm not using a dSLR.)

    These days I bet you don't get that many questions about using flashes/strobes using a manual (film) camera. This would be a great question to have "out there."

    Thanks.
    --Mario

  2. #2

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    Re: 4x5 camera + ST-E3-RT transmitter + 600EX-RT -- possible?

    Why would you be using a 45 camera to do this?

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    Re: 4x5 camera + ST-E3-RT transmitter + 600EX-RT -- possible?

    Your 600Ex-RT manual should have a chart that lists guide numbers for exposure. That's all you need for manual exposure or simply a flash light meter which will be more accurate.

    Beyond that, as long as you have a sync cable that connects your shutter to your flash, it's a simple process.

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    Re: 4x5 camera + ST-E3-RT transmitter + 600EX-RT -- possible?

    This self-portrait was shot with a manual speedlight (well, three speedlights) and a speed graphic on Harmon Direct Positive Paper last fall:


    Self-Portrait by Mike Aubrey, on Flickr

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    Re: 4x5 camera + ST-E3-RT transmitter + 600EX-RT -- possible?

    Quote Originally Posted by MAubrey View Post
    Beyond that, as long as you have a sync cable that connects your shutter to your flash, it's a simple process.
    That's what I thought? I think it was just a case of "digital" people thinking our "old" cameras are not capable of doing "modern" things.

    In any case, I will test this.

    Thank you.
    --Mario

  6. #6
    Youngin Daniel Stone's Avatar
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    Re: 4x5 camera + ST-E3-RT transmitter + 600EX-RT -- possible?

    I've used speedlites with 4x5 and MF film cameras with zero problems. I use a handheld flash meter to measure flash output, and adjust as necessary, just like I would with a larger flash unit.
    I've found that Pocketwizards mean less stuff to trip over, like sync cords.

    -Dan

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    Re: 4x5 camera + ST-E3-RT transmitter + 600EX-RT -- possible?

    Thanks all. I thought it was possible but I wanted to check before I went ahead with my shoot. However, there was one thing one of these guys said that I didn't understand. It has to do with my using hot (continuous) lights to light up the background. I'm mixing lights, hot lights for the background and flashes for my subject. This is what he said:

    Do not mix continuous light s("hot lights") and flash. Even small flash units produce magnitudes more light that huge continuations lights.
    Again,, the fast sync speed used for the flash will provide virtually no exposure time for the "hot lights', regardless of how powerful they are. These hot lights will not provide any usable illumination for your background. Just try it and you will see.
    Do you guys know what he's talking about?

    Again, these people are experienced with digital cameras and don't know what our little, "old" cameras are capable of doing.

    Thank you.
    --Mario

  8. #8

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    Re: 4x5 camera + ST-E3-RT transmitter + 600EX-RT -- possible?

    Quote Originally Posted by macandal View Post
    Thanks all. I thought it was possible but I wanted to check before I went ahead with my shoot. However, there was one thing one of these guys said that I didn't understand. It has to do with my using hot (continuous) lights to light up the background. I'm mixing lights, hot lights for the background and flashes for my subject. This is what he said:




    Do you guys know what he's talking about?

    Again, these people are experienced with digital cameras and don't know what our little, "old" cameras are capable of doing.

    Thank you.
    The big problem you will have by mixing light sources is color temperature. Your strobes are going to be somewhere over 5000 K while your hot light's will be several thousand K lower. So while your flashes will be daylight or near daylight your hot lights will be much, much warmer and will be quite yellowish. To solve this you can filter your hot lights to daylight color temperature but it is tricky to use gels on hot lights without burning them. Or you could filter your flash to match the color temperature of your hot lights but that will cost you to lose output.

    The simplest solution would just to buy a couple of cheap flashes (strobes) for the background. They are cheap today. Or you could use some LED lights to do the same.

  9. #9

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    Re: 4x5 camera + ST-E3-RT transmitter + 600EX-RT -- possible?

    macandal,

    Balancing ambient and flash lighting with large-format shutters is fairly easy. A leaf shutter will X-synch at all speeds. The flash exposure is determined by the length of the flash itself coupled with the distance from flash-to-subject, so you set your aperture for that. Then you simply meter the ambient light, figure out an exposure for it, and set your shutter speed to the appropriate setting for the aperture you have already chosen.

    As Bob points out, strobe/flash lighting is "daylight" (~5500K) and hot lights are noticeably redder (3200-3400K). If you are shooting black and white, this isn't so much of a problem. With color, you might want to look into filtration for one or the other of the light sources.

    As for exposure, if you don't have a flash meter, you can always figure things out the old-fashioned way with guide numbers. See here if you need to find out more: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Guide_number .

    Best,

    Doremus

  10. #10

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    Re: 4x5 camera + ST-E3-RT transmitter + 600EX-RT -- possible?

    Quote Originally Posted by Doremus Scudder View Post
    macandal,

    Balancing ambient and flash lighting with large-format shutters is fairly easy. A leaf shutter will X-synch at all speeds. The flash exposure is determined by the length of the flash itself coupled with the distance from flash-to-subject, so you set your aperture for that. Then you simply meter the ambient light, figure out an exposure for it, and set your shutter speed to the appropriate setting for the aperture you have already chosen.

    As Bob points out, strobe/flash lighting is "daylight" (~5500K) and hot lights are noticeably redder (3200-3400K). If you are shooting black and white, this isn't so much of a problem. With color, you might want to look into filtration for one or the other of the light sources.

    As for exposure, if you don't have a flash meter, you can always figure things out the old-fashioned way with guide numbers. See here if you need to find out more: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Guide_number .

    Best,

    Doremus
    Doremus, the hot light's might not be photo bulbs which could drop the color temperature well below 3200K.

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