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Archive 2013 · why buy ST-E3-RT over an extra 600?
  
 
skasol
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p.1 #1 · why buy ST-E3-RT over an extra 600?


Just wondering what's the advantage of buying the ST-E3-RT over an extra 600 to use as master?

thank you all.



Feb 20, 2013 at 06:43 AM
cgardner
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p.1 #2 · why buy ST-E3-RT over an extra 600?


The ST-E3 allows a lighter "in hand" weight for camera when fill / key / rim lights are on stands in a static "studio style" set-up with large modifiers and allows shooting with one flash off camera. FWIW, Manual control of the flashes is usually better (for more consistent shot-to-shot exposures) than ETTL in those situations.

A 600EX-RT or other Master flash on a bracket is more ideal for "run&gun" shooting when used with a bracket and single off-camera slave on a stand. ETTL with FEC adjustments per the clipping warning is more convenient for that type of shooting.

The camera is heavier in-hand with flash on a bracket, but there is only one stand to wrangle. Without a bracket? The flash winds up poorly placed (too low and to the side) relative to faces to produce naturally flattering lighting.

I use flash a 580ex on a $50 Stroboframe camera-flip bracket with a 580ex slave on a rolling modified IV stand, both with identical small DIY modifiers. But it is worth noting I also have a set of studio lights I use for my "static" set-ups like portraits, which is why I don't own a ST-E2.

Having the flash over the lens on a bracket creates naturally flattering single flash modeling, and when using a slave from behind as "rim" lighting.

When slave is placed in front of a face in the role of "key" light the flash on bracket over the camera provides the a foundation of even fill which controls the holistic mood of the lighting via the A (Master Fill) : B (Slave Key) ratio. The fill becomes a "no-brainer" because it is always where it is needed.

In most indoor locations where I shoot with speedlights there are usually low ceilings creating a wrapping "spill fill" effect and when I want more or that softer "wrapping" look I open the top flap of my diffuser and bounce more light off the ceiling or turn the Master Fill backwards and bounce it off a wall behind me. Because I know how to "use the room" I don't use huge modifiers in situations like that, but will often carry along an umbrella for use on the slave if needed in a high-ceiling space.

Outdoors I keep the sun at the subject's back and first use the soft skylight as the "key and fill" by posing the face up into that flattering light BEFORE addiing any flash. Then add my "key" flash at the same vector as the skylight modeling the face (i.e. 45 degree downward angle to upturned face / 60-75 degrees to the ground) with fill flash from the bracket. That way huge modifers are not needed outdoors either. It is still "using the room" but the "room" is bigger with light covering the ceiling

That's why the Master-on-bracket method works for me w.. Canon flash..... But I started with the EX flash system in 2004 when optical signalling was the only option for full function wireless control. If I was starting over with the 600EX-RT today I'd buy two 600EX-RT flashes and the ST-E3-RT. That would give me the option to either use the bracket / stand method or two stands as needed.

The more tools one has the more different solutions there are to problems.




Feb 20, 2013 at 11:22 AM
Zenon Char
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p.1 #3 · why buy ST-E3-RT over an extra 600?


I cut the mini stand down to size, attached a spare BR connector and strap to and attach to belt. With my L-358 around my neck my hands are free. I fire the flashes via test button on the STE3, meter and adjust on flashes the spot. When done the STE3 goes on the camera. I could technically own 4 600's but I guess I figured 3 and one STE3 would do it.




Feb 20, 2013 at 08:28 PM
erichard
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p.1 #4 · why buy ST-E3-RT over an extra 600?


Does anyone know if it's possible to use Buff's Cybercommander as a meter instead of the L-358 in the scenario Zenon describes? I'm thinking the Cybercommander can't be set to meter an upcoming flash like the L-358, so it's not as versatile. I didn't see a way in the manual. I ask because I don't have a light meter apart from the Cybercommander and would like to try out Zenon's method with the ST-E3. That method is the way it works with the Einsteins of course.


Feb 21, 2013 at 01:58 AM
 

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Ronny Mills
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p.1 #5 · why buy ST-E3-RT over an extra 600?


$$


Feb 21, 2013 at 03:58 AM
cgardner
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p.1 #6 · why buy ST-E3-RT over an extra 600?


erichard wrote:
Does anyone know if it's possible to use Buff's Cybercommander as a meter instead of the L-358 in the scenario Zenon describes? I'm thinking the Cybercommander can't be set to meter an upcoming flash like the L-358, so it's not as versatile. I didn't see a way in the manual. I ask because I don't have a light meter apart from the Cybercommander and would like to try out Zenon's method with the ST-E3. That method is the way it works with the Einsteins of course.


With my Canon flashes I find it easier and quicker to just set exposure and ratio from the camera via test shots via the clipping warning (for exposure) and visual appearance / left side of histogram (for ratio / full range of detail).

Since exposure definitions and goals vary subjectively I should not my goal is to always capture a full range of detail, at least on the foreground illuminated with the even fill and overlapping key light. That is after all why I go to the trouble of using to flashes.

Only one ratio, regardless how it is set (M or ETTL A:B) or what lights are used will match a full range (black to white) subject to the fixed range of the sensor as in the shot below...







Since camera dynamic ranges differ between brands and models the ratio needed to record the full range varies. With manual flash finding the range is a matter of adjusting fill visually until the files produce the desired shadow detail them adjusting the key light until the files have accurate highlight detail. Then if you have a meter and measure the two lights separately you'd find that the key light is about 1 stop over fill for most DSLRs.

H:S
1:1 Even fill
2:0 Key one stop (2x) greater (incident)
===
3:1 reflected ratio

If you don't have a meter? Set the fill based on visual inspection of shadow detail in the playback then increase key until highlights are 1/3 stop below triggering the clipping warning.

With a pair of Canon flashes in ETTL ratio mode with Master (A by default) as the even fill and Slave (B) as key the process is reversed. First dial in the highlights with FEC to put them 1/3 stop below clipping, then find the A:B ration which puts "normal" looking tone and detail in the shadows. My testing showed A:B = 1:2 does that in most situations. If the room is bouncing a lot of "spill fill" a higher A:B = 1:3 will produce a full range.

The Canon A:B values represent relative INCIDENT strength in the same metering zone. Metering is done by firing a separate pre-flash for A, B, C .... then comparing. So A:B = 1:2 will adjust the power of the "B" slave (regardless of model) is 2x brighter than light hitting a metering zone where "A" fill also hits.

H:S
1:1 Group A Master even centered fill
2:0 Group B Slave overlaps and is 2x brighter
==
3:1 Reflected ratio

So either way it's the same 3:1 reflected ratio that I matching the range of the sensor.

Knowing A:B = 1:2 is full range I use that as my starting ratio baseline. I take a shot, evaluate highlights and adjust FEC to put them 1/3 stop below clipping, then look at the shadow detail and adjust ratio higher/lower as needed. The metering will adjust power so the highlights remain exposed the same.




Feb 21, 2013 at 04:16 PM
erichard
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p.1 #7 · why buy ST-E3-RT over an extra 600?


Basically I agree Chuck, which is why I'm reluctant to buy a separate flash meter apart from the cybercommander, but since Zenon can do either and is using the flash meter, perhaps there's some advantage to his system. Dunno. Perhaps it gets your where you want to be a little faster. In the end, I will always be looking to be just sub clipping regardless, is my guess.


Feb 21, 2013 at 06:25 PM





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