Yesterday's technology....tomorrow

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Yesterday's technology....tomorrow

Postby surenj on Tue Aug 17, 2010 1:17 am

Finally we might be getting the technology that we should have had many years ago....

Canon Patents Radio-Controlled Flash

* By Charlie Sorrel Email Author
* August 16, 2010 |

Canon has just filed a patent application for Wi-Fi-controlled flash. Using radio to communicate with a remote flash-gun, a camera could control the amount of light popped-out and automatically adjust exposure, all without wires.

Wireless off-camera flash isn’t new. Third-party boxes and dongles like the Pocket Wizards have been around for a while. While these have generally been a manual-only solution, simply triggering the light instead of offering control over its power, recent updates are creeping towards reliable full-auto setups. The problem with these is that you have to buy yet another box, and carry yet another set of batteries

The other option is that used for years by Nikon (and recently adopted by Canon). This uses the on-camera flash itself to blip coded messages via pulses of light. Using this morse-code like method in the milliseconds before the shutter fires lets the camera and flash communicate. The problem here is that you need line-of-sight for it to work.

Canon’s new solution puts an antenna in both camera and flash, and uses the 802.15.4 standard to communicate (the same tech as is used in Zigbee devices, for example). Wireless control itself can;t be patented, so Canon’s trick is to have the camera fire out a whole bunch of instructions, and have the flash know which one to pick, thus sending the correct power-output triggers to the right flash. This, according to Canon, improves reliability.

Normally we avoid patent applications, as companies tend to patent any idea their employees have, however whacked-out. This one, though, seems very likely to make it into real products. The Canon flash system is nowhere near as good as the Nikon one (many Canon camera users even buy Nikon strobes). This would be a big step forward. Your move, Nikon.

Read More http://www.wired.com/gadgetlab/2010/08/canon-patents-radio-controlled-flash/#ixzz0wmKAqwMq
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Re: Yesterday's technology....tomorrow

Postby DaveB on Tue Aug 17, 2010 1:40 am

The Canon radio system has been in development for a while. I suspect that in the test units the transmitter is housed in a special battery grip. It will be interesting to see it when it finally arrives!

A couple of clangers in the press piece though:

The other option is that used for years by Nikon (and recently adopted by Canon). This uses the on-camera flash itself to blip coded messages via pulses of light.

Recently adopted by Canon?
Canon introduced their wireless E-TTL in 1998 with the 550EX flash and the EOS-3 film camera!


The Canon flash system is nowhere near as good as the Nikon one (many Canon camera users even buy Nikon strobes).

The current Nikon wireless system is more recent than the Canon one, so sure it has some advantages. But Nikon wireless flash doesn't work with Canon bodies - another sure sign that the journo hasn't done his research. :lol:
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Re: Yesterday's technology....tomorrow

Postby surenj on Tue Aug 17, 2010 10:52 am

Dave,

I wasn't really comparing the two brands but merely making the point that wireless radio flash should have been standardised a long time ago.

Also I think he means built-in on-camera flash when referring to "recently adopted". I suppose it's the 7D that's been referred here.
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Re: Yesterday's technology....tomorrow

Postby aim54x on Tue Aug 17, 2010 10:16 pm

surenj wrote:built-in on-camera flash when referring to "recently adopted". I suppose it's the 7D that's been referred here.


:agree:

this is not eTTL vs iTTL but Canon wireless flash vs CLS. BTW what is Canon's wireless flash system called?
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Re: Yesterday's technology....tomorrow

Postby DaveB on Wed Aug 18, 2010 10:42 am

aim54x wrote: BTW what is Canon's wireless flash system called?

I don't think it has a separate name: it's part of ETTL.
It's always been there: the first EX (ETTL) flash was the 550EX which will act as a slave or master.

When Canon updated ETTL to become ETTL-II, that was actually only a change in the cameras (which are involved in the system in the metering phase). The flashes and their communication was unchanged. BTW, Nikon's ITTL had wireless support (e.g. in the SB800) long before the moniker "CLS" came along. Are the differences things like that CLS supports more groups of slaves?
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Re: Yesterday's technology....tomorrow

Postby aim54x on Wed Aug 18, 2010 10:18 pm

DaveB wrote:BTW, Nikon's ITTL had wireless support (e.g. in the SB800) long before the moniker "CLS" came along. Are the differences things like that CLS supports more groups of slaves?


Actually CLS is mentioned in the documentation (encyclopedia like booklet) that comes with the SB-800, so they were actually born simultaneously. CLS allows you group and control the output of up to three different groups of flashes (+ the master/commander) from your commander unit. The integration of CLS into the pop up flash unit on most of the Nikon DSLRs started with the D70s as far as i know, but pop-up CLS only allows for two groups (+master/commander ie your pop up). It is nice to be able to set any of the groups to TTL, M, or A and vary their power output without having to walk over the the flash.

The Canon wireless system lets you do ratios....does this mean two groups?
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Re: Yesterday's technology....tomorrow

Postby DaveB on Thu Aug 19, 2010 12:09 am

aim54x wrote:The Canon wireless system lets you do ratios....does this mean two groups?

Up to 3 groups, A/B/C.
The ST-E2 transmitter only gives you control over the A:B ratio, but the master flashes (and the 7D) give you control over all three.
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Re: Yesterday's technology....tomorrow

Postby aim54x on Thu Aug 19, 2010 1:31 am

DaveB wrote:
aim54x wrote:The Canon wireless system lets you do ratios....does this mean two groups?

Up to 3 groups, A/B/C.
The ST-E2 transmitter only gives you control over the A:B ratio, but the master flashes (and the 7D) give you control over all three.


So fairly similar to CLS. Thanks!
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