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Using an External Speedlite

One of the more exciting features of the T6s / T6i is its ability to control an off-camera flash by using the pop-up flash as the wireless controller. In years past, you needed to mount a controller flash unit on top of the camera (such as the ST-E2 transmitter), which meant spending additional money. Now you can simply purchase one of the wireless-enabled Speedlites like the 320EX and have complete control to move it away from the camera.

The biggest benefit to doing this is that you can get more natural-looking light by having the flash moved to the side of the camera. This gives you more natural-looking shadows. You can also do things like fire the external flash through umbrellas, softboxes, or simple diffusion panels to make the quality of light much softer and complimentary to your subject (Figure 8.18).

Figure 8.18

Figure 8.18 By moving the flash away from the camera and firing it through a diffusion panel, you can achieve a much better quality of light that is more flattering to your subjects.

ISO 640 • 1/20 sec. • f/5 • 71mm lens

Using off-camera flash

To use an off-camera Speedlite, you need to do two things. First, purchase the Speedlite. There are several models that allow you to use the wireless feature, and they range in price from around $225 for the 320EX all the way up to the top-of-the-line model, the 600EX-RT with its nearly $500 price tag. Personally, I am a fan of the 320EX (Figure 8.19) because it allows me to use it off-camera, but it also has the added benefit of having a built-in LED light that can be used both as a focus assist lamp and as a video recording light. It also has a pivoting head that allows the light to be bounced off the ceiling to create softer, more flattering light.

Figure 8.19

Figure 8.19 The 320EX is a great Speedlite for starting out with flash.

Setting up off-camera flash

  1. Press the Menu button and then select the Flash Control option in the first shooting menu (A).

  2. Select the Built-in Flash Settings option and press Set (B).

  3. Select Built-in Flash and press Set (C).

  4. Choose which wireless option you want to use, Easy (EasyWireless) or Custom (CustWireless). If you select EasyWireless, you are ready to start shooting (D). Simply pop up the built-in flash, turn on the Speedlite, and set it to wireless mode.

  5. The only other option you need to set in the menu for EasyWireless is the channel number of the slave unit that you want to control (E). Check out the “Going Wireless” sidebar for more information on master and slave flash units.

Choosing custom wireless settings

  1. To gain more control over your wireless slave flash, follow the first three previous steps but in step 4, select the CustWireless option (A).

  2. Select how you want the built-in flash to operate. If you only want the built-in flash to control the slave unit and not have any effect on the actual image—that is, you don’t want the built-in flash to fire—then highlight Wireless Func. and press Set (B).

  3. Select the External Speedlite Only option (C).

  4. Select the channel for the slave unit by highlighting the Channel option, pressing Set, and then using the up/down Cross keys to select the channel of your choice, 1–4 (D).

  5. Make sure the built-in flash is in the raised position, set up the wireless slave flash by turning it on and setting it to wireless with the appropriate channel, point the slave’s wireless sensor at the camera, and start shooting.
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