Tutorial: Canon Speedlite Flash Blinking Display - Mystery Solved

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Canon Speedlight Flash Blinking Display - Mystery Solved

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Video Transcript

All right. Maybe you're going to think this is a little crazy but the most common question I get from photographers about the Canon flashes is not some cool, advanced feature or some high-tech, tricky thing. It's a really simple question and it is "Why the hell is the display on the back of my 580EX or 430EX flash blinking at me all the time?" or even worse "Not all the time--it's blinking at me some of the time and I can't tell why and I can't make it stop." And this is a good question. I used to have the same question when I was starting out and I couldn't figure out why mine would do that either.

Well, here's the answer. At some point you pulled out this little wide panel diffuser that flips down over the front or the little catch light card that goes in the slot with it. And when you put it away you didn't click it all the way down in its little notch. You put it away and it looks like it's all the way in but it's not all the way in. And you don't know anything is wrong as long as the flash head is in this 90 degree position like that but one day when you tilt the flash out of that position--you maybe have it straight or maybe you have it angled to bounce--the thing blinks at you and it won't ever stop blinking and you can't figure out why.

Well, why would Canon do this? Well, this is Canon's way of warning you that they don't think it's a good idea if you take a picture with the flash wide panel out while you're bouncing off a ceiling or a wall or something like that. Well, okay. But I think the consequences of their little warning system are far worse than the consequences--whatever they might be--of your accidentally taking a picture in bounce mode with the wide panel out. And after all, we've got millions of photographers around the world pulling their hair out because they can't figure out why their flash is blinking and sending me emails about it.

On the other hand, what are the consequences of accidentally taking a picture with the wide panel out when you bounce it off a ceiling? Maybe you waste a few photons or something. But what about this, Canon? What if I want to put it up at some weird angle on a Justin clamp and it's not at 90 degrees but I want this panel out so that it'll fill the inside of the umbrella that I'm shooting through with light? Do you ever think it's something like that? No. Anyway, I think this is a bad feature. I hope they take it out of future versions. Now I'm so upset I'm going to have to have a drink.