Tech Tips
June 2008

by Chuck Westfall

A question regarding the EOS-1D Mark II and Speedlite 580EX. I just want to see if there is something I may be doing wrong. I have been using this camera for several years now with no issues. Outdoor shots are pretty much dead-on with little or no Photoshop correction. Flash photos are another thing. At my granddaughter's birthday party this past weekend I used the flash for all indoor shots. The WB was set to flash, ISO at 400 using the EF24-70/2.8L. When I looked at the images later that day all were sharp; however, the color was off. Color correcting in PS Levels brought the color back to what I saw during the party. Is there a setting within the camera I am missing? This has been a consistent problem/issue with my flash photography. Thanks in advance for your comments.

The camera's Flash WB setting was primarily intended for use with studio strobes, which tend to be cooler in color temperature than Canon Speedlites. The Speedlites are designed to match daylight, which is rated at approximately 5200K, whereas Flash WB is 6000K. As a result, photos shot with a Canon Speedlite at the Flash WB setting tend to turn out a bit cool, especially in situations where the flash is providing all or most of the illumination for the exposure. You would be better off to set Auto White Balance (AWB) rather than the preset Flash WB when using any Canon Speedlite with your EOS camera. That's probably all you'll need to do to get the color balance you're looking for, although you may want to experiment with your camera's Manual WB or WB Shift feature if you feel like tweaking the color balance any further.

With the EOS-1D Mark III, do AF Microadjustments carry over to manual focus when the shot is taken using Live View? In other words, if you adjust the focus manually on the LCD screen using Live View and then take the shot, would the AF Microadjustments kick in? I hope I explained this correctly. I posted this question on a couple of Web forums but nobody seems to know the answer. Thanks!!

AF Microadjustments have no effect on manually focused photos with or without the use of Live View. They can only take effect when autofocusing is active. However, one thing that may be throwing you off is that the image on the LCD screen during Live View at 5X or 10X magnification is intentionally sharpened to make manual focusing easier. You can still control the degree of sharpening applied to the recorded image by adjusting the camera's sharpness settings (with in-camera JPEGs) or during post-processing (with RAW image data). The fact that Live View's sharpening of the LCD image during 5X or 10X magnification is independent from the level of sharpening applied (or not) to the actual image is something that you'll need to get used to if you plan on doing a lot of work in Live View mode.

If I activate second-curtain sync on my Speedlite 580EX, but haven't enabled it in the camera's custom functions, will second-curtain sync still work? I'm asking because the Flash Exposure Compensation setting on the flash overrides the camera's setting, as far as I know.

An EOS camera's custom function for second-curtain sync applies only to the built-in flash and certain EX Speedlites (220EX and the discontinued 380EX and 420EX models) that don't have a second-curtain sync switch of their own. Whenever you're using a 430EX, 550EX, 580EX, 580EX II, MR-14EX or MT-24EX, the second-curtain sync setting (on or off) on the flash always takes precedence. The only exception occurs during E-TTL wireless flash, because second-curtain sync is automatically disabled in wireless flash configurations.

I just wondered... Should Canon be making a range of optional professional hoods for their L series lenses when used on a 1D body with its sub-full frame format image sensor? It seems that all the lens hoods are designed for full-frame 35mm film (except in the EF-S range), i.e., they are made ideally for use on the 1Ds and 5D models. For optimal picture quality, would a deeper lens hood be of any practical value when these lenses are used on a 1D-series camera? My math says a 16-35mm lens used on a 1D camera needs a hood designed for an effective focal length range of 21-46mm and a 24-70 lens needs a hood designed for 31-91mm, etc. After all, it seems like a lot of effort goes into getting a petal hood just right – but just right for what? Don't crop factor calculations count when it comes to lens hood design? Can you elucidate?

Your math and logic are correct, but in my opinion this request falls into the category of "technically possible but highly unlikely." However, if you want to take action on this idea by yourself, there is an independent Web site that provides PDF versions of Canon lens hood templates that you can print and cut out on various paper stocks. It's interesting because they provide modified hood designs that adjust the length of the hood according to the imaging format (full-frame, APS-H, and APS-C).

How can I get information on the various basic shooting modes on my EOS Rebel XSi? (I do understand P, Av, Tv, M, and so on.) I can't find the information in the owner's manual. I'd like to know, for example, for each mode (e.g., landscape, sports, portrait, flash off) what the camera is doing with respect to shutter speed, aperture, sharpness, contrast, white balance, skin tone, and so on. All I can find is information that says when each mode is suggested. If it is in the manual, I'd be grateful if you could point out where I might find it, and if it isn't (as I said, I couldn't find it), I'd be grateful to know how I could get the information.

Canon does not publish detailed information on the full range of exposure settings and image processing parameters for the Basic Zone shooting modes of EOS Rebel cameras. However, you can learn more about these modes at the Canon Digital Learning Center Web site. There is a dedicated section on exposure modes in the Digital Rebel XT tutorials here:

Please review Chapter 11 for more information. Although originally written for the Rebel XT camera, this section is equally applicable to the Rebel XTi and XSi models.

With regards to the EF70-200mm f/4L IS USM lens, notwithstanding the battery power considerations mentioned in the manual, does this lens have the ability to detect when it's on a tripod?

The EF70-200mm f/4L IS USM has the ability to detect when it is mounted on a tripod. If you keep the shutter button half-pressed, or better yet, use a remote switch to simulate a half-press, the stabilizer mechanism will drift the image downwards for the first second or so, then the mechanism will stop moving. (It's for this reason as well as battery power conservation issues that the instruction booklet recommends shutting off the IS system while the lens is mounted on a tripod.) You can see the effect if you look through the viewfinder while half-pressing the shutter button. However, it is important to understand that this form of disabling is different than shutting off the IS function with the mode switch on the lens. In the latter case, the IS mechanism is centered and locked into place, whereas in the former case, the IS mechanism shifts the image downward slightly for a second or so, then stops moving. It's not moving, but it's not centered or locked, either. It's effectively on standby, so that it can resume its corrective capabilities instantly if movement is detected. Again, you can see this for yourself by looking through the viewfinder while pressing the shutter button halfway for at least several seconds, assuming the lens is mounted on a tripod and the IS switch is on. To my way of thinking, this is not the optimum way to use the equipment. In my opinion, if you use the EF70-200mm f/4L IS USM on a tripod, it would be best to turn off the IS mechanism via the switch on the lens, rather than depending on the tripod detection capabilities of the IS mechanism.

Thanks for reading Tech Tips! That's it for now. See you in July!

You are invited to submit questions about photo equipment, imaging technology, or photo industry trends that may have a bearing on your work or interests. I cannot promise to answer everything, but I pledge to do my best to address the issues that concern you. (Please use the e-mail link provided at the end of this article.)

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© Chuck Westfall

After earning a degree in Professional Photography from the Rochester Institute of Technology and accumulating some valuable on-the-job experience during a 10-year stint in commercial photography and photo retail, Chuck Westfall began his corporate career with Canon U.S.A. in 1982 as a Technical Representative. He has steadily advanced through the ranks to achieve his present position as Director of Media & Customer Relationship for the company's Consumer Imaging Group, working out of Canon U.S.A.'s headquarters office in Lake Success, N.Y. Among his many assignments, Chuck Westfall is currently Canon USA's main media spokesman for new camera products. He also provides a unique insider's perspective to financial analysts who follow the company's CIG sales and marketing activities.

Chuck's involvement with digital cameras began in 1994, when he assisted Canon and Kodak engineers in developing the EOS-DCS series of professional SLRs. Since then, his responsibilities have expanded to include participation in the development and launching of many other Camera Division products, including Canon's professional and consumer-oriented digital cameras. Over the last 10 years, Chuck has continued to participate in the design, development, introduction and marketing support of camera products. Most recently, he supervised the launch of a comprehensive on-line and on-site dealer training initiative for the Camera Division.

On the personal side, Chuck married his beautiful wife Ying in 2000 and they have been blessed with a wonderful daughter, Anna. As Chuck says, "Bringing up the baby is a blast, and we're enjoying every minute of it."