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Archive 2012 · Canon 580EXII frying issues
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p.1 #1 · p.1 #1 · Canon 580EXII frying issues

there are lots of rumours and allegations about the quality of the Canon 580EXII flash unit, especially when used or compared with the Pocket Wizard ControlTL system, yet there has been no attempt to try to put these rumours and/or allegations into perspective.

If you own a Canon 580EXII, please complete the survey in order to provide some measure of the situation.

Feb 04, 2012 at 01:26 PM
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p.1 #2 · p.1 #2 · Canon 580EXII frying issues

No attempt? Have you seen the study that the Pocket Wizard folks did about a year or more ago regarding the failures 580exII PW Flex users reported? I don't have the link handy but as I recall it is on the PW site.

I'm recalling this from memory so it might not be 100% correct but the gist of it was PW discovered was that as part of the re-design of the 580ex > 580exII to make it waterproof the design of the shield around the flash was causing arcing, darkening and pre-mature failure of the flash tube. The weather sealing affected the dissipation or heat vs the unsealed 580ex. Those factors, combined with using the PW in HSS mode with an external battery pack creates a perfect storm leading to pre-mature failure. The problem with arcing also varied from one 580exII to another depending on how the unit was assembled, with some having more space between the flash tube and shield not arcing to the same extent or at all. The the arcing problems didn't occur on the 430exII because it had a different flash head design.

It was PW's way of saying: "This is Canon's problem, not ours". Canon's position while not publicly stated would be that the PW HSS method over-drives the 580exII beyond it's design specs, but it has probably taken steps to address the problems PW brought to light.

There has been evidence of unannounced design modifications to the 580exII in recently sold batches. Canon addressed the mode switching to TTL which caused random full power bursts by changing the shape of the contact pins from rounded to cone shaped. It has probably also addressed the problems brought to light by the PW testing in later batches but keeps that under the radar to prevent demands for a recall.

A survey not taking into account purchase date is of limited value to a potential 580exII owner who would be most interested in how many purchased in the last 6 months have failed and why.

I didn't buy a 580exII because from the beginning I thought the changes misguided pandering to the Stroblist crowd wanting a PC connector to fire it with the old style PW and other design featues added like "auto" that have little practical use. Back when it was issued the main concern was the "thermal nanny" shutting it off unexpectedly. I had an e-mail exchange with Chuck Westfall about it who kept stressing "safety" as if reading from a script prepared as a joint effort by the Canon legal and marketing departments.

Edited on Feb 04, 2012 at 03:23 PM · View previous versions

Feb 04, 2012 at 02:54 PM
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p.1 #3 · p.1 #3 · Canon 580EXII frying issues

I had many a blown photographs on jobs because of design flaws with the 580EX2. It is among the most hated piece of Canon gear amongst my circle. That is one example of gear not missed (I have 580EX1's now). Companies who put problem gear like this out would do wonders to their reputation by admitting their mistakes and doing a recall instead of a soft redesign. Especially considering how forum savvy photographers are now. I've never heard of a frying issue with PW's, though.

Feb 04, 2012 at 03:07 PM
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p.1 #4 · p.1 #4 · Canon 580EXII frying issues

cineski wrote:
I've never heard of a frying issue with PW's, though.

12 here: http://photography-on-the.net/forum/showthread.php?t=1096799
33 here: http://www.flickr.com/groups/pocketwizards/discuss/72157623362956049/

Feb 04, 2012 at 04:08 PM

Search in Used Dept. 

Daan B
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p.1 #5 · p.1 #5 · Canon 580EXII frying issues

Only problems I had with the 580exII were actually due to a failing hot shoe connection. Since it happened on a specific body, and not on others, it is difficult to put the blame.

Feb 05, 2012 at 05:41 PM
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p.1 #6 · p.1 #6 · Canon 580EXII frying issues

The PW website doesn't make it easy to find, but Chuck Gardner's detailed memory of their response to the issues with fried 580EX2 seems very accurate to me. They had photos of the inner workings, showing the results of arcing, the variation in gaps from one sample to another, etc. I suspect that some of us have been lucky to have copies that are a little more resistant to arcing than the worst copies, and also, many of us make less use of rapid fire HSS off-camera flash than some of the photographers who have experienced 580EX2 failures with PW. As for me, though I use a 580EX2 with PW flex and mini, I tend to use my old 550EX units off camera, with the 580 on.

As I write this, only one of 35 580EX2 users answering this poll has fried a unit. There is, or at least was, a real weakness in the design of the flash, but the incidence of problems probably is lower than might be inferred from some discussions. Still, I'm glad there have been complaints and "firestorms". It may have influenced Canon to make the minor running changes in design, and maybe the next generation flagship EX will be more robust, lower in RF emissions, etc.

Feb 05, 2012 at 06:12 PM
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p.1 #7 · p.1 #7 · Canon 580EXII frying issues

When you look for a problem you WILL find it.

The internet is a very small place when it comes to opinions. You will always find even the best products in the world with issues.

The problem with what you are looking for is that it is out there. What is not out there is honesty nor knowledge. There are just as many, or more, user errors than bad 580EXII units. Of course there will be those who truly have had problems with the 580EXII and ControlTL frying, but it is important to know to take their experiences with a gran of salt.

As Chuck mentioned, PW acknowledge situations that they were made aware of and they explained those issues. Though I do not use the 580EXII, I've read the problems and solutions. I understand them. However, there are people who seem to want to keep the solved issues as ongoing. The bottom line is that you do have options.

Feb 10, 2012 at 03:51 PM
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p.1 #8 · p.1 #8 · Canon 580EXII frying issues

The poll is invalid anyway, since the last option duplicates and then expands on the second to last option.

I use PW ControlTL I've fried one 580EXII using it.
I use PW ControlTL I've fried one or more 580EXII's using it.

One who answered affirmatively to #5 could also have answered affirmatively to #6, leaving unanswered the question of whether it was one or more than one unit that was damaged.

Feb 10, 2012 at 05:23 PM

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