Canon EOS 7D Off-Camera Wireless Flash Test

A few weeks ago Park Cameras kindly loaned me a Canon EOS 7D so that I could test the effective range of the in-built wireless off-camera flash control.

According to Canon, the on-camera flash has an effective range of 15 metres or 42.9 ft. In my opinion I think this is a little optimistic or the Canon test was carried out in a long narrow corridor with plenty of flat surfaces to bounce the light from the in-built flash.

In the following test I used two Canon 550 EX Speedlites to test the extremes of distance both down range of the camera and to the side.

The lights in the above shot were coloured with Rosco Strobist Collection #80 Primary Blue and #26 Light red. The blue light in the distance had to remain in line of sight with the on-camera flash otherwise it would not fire. The distance was no more than 30 feet. We did try moving it further down range by as little as 12 inches and even in line of sight couldn't get it to fire. The red light to the right was approximately 3 feet in front of the camera, 6 or 8 feet to the right and elevated 10 feet; any closer than 3 feet to the camera resulted in no firing. We didn't try any higher as idiot features had forgotten both the steps and a taller stand or gaffer grip!

Once Paul and I had carried out the test Paul mooched on back to the studio to do some real work - well that's what he told me, whilst I took the opportunity to shoot a couple of portraits of the Managing Director and one of the sales guys.

Greg Priest - Sales and Customer Service Quentin Press

These portraits were both lit with two 550 EX Speedlites both set to ETTL with the back light power output being -1 stop under the key light. Camera settings were ISO 200 f8 1/30th second, handheld 24 - 105 mm IS L lens at 35 mm giving a full frame equivalent focal length of 56 mm. The back light was modified with a snoot fashioned from a piece of matte black Rosco Photofoil and the key light with a 24 inch/60 cm square softbox of unknown Ebay origin.

Both of the portraits are very much as shot, except for burning in (darkening) the background as it was a little too light in this instance. I could have used a faster shutter speed, say 1/60 th second, but I prefer to darken than lighten a background in post-production.

For the mid-shot (MS) of Greg I would have preferred to have a shallower depth of field, but I was already back to the wall with nowhere to go!

Mike Quibell - Managing Director, Quentin Press

For this shot of Mike, I've used exactly the same set up, including the way I posed or positioned him to give a more natural looking stance. The background is less in focus as I have moved my position closer whilst shooting at 105 mm (168 mm full frame equivalent). I did tinker with some high-pass sharpening on the shot of Mike and some desaturation but it just didn't work for me.

My thanks to Park Cameras and Quentin Press.

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