Flash exposure compensation

Sometimes the amount of flash illuminated on a subject just might not be right, no matter how smart ETTL might be; for example, when there are extreme levels of light or dark in your photo causing the flash to misinterpret and try to compensate. Or, perhaps you want to tone down the effect of the flash for a softer lighting in your image. Often when flash images are a bit blown-out or have an unnaturally lighted look, ETTL didn’t completely do its job. In cases like this, you can adjust the Speedlite’s Flash Exposure Compensation (FEC) feature, which lets you manually increase or decrease the flash’s output by incremental steps to provide more or less light on your subject.

The incremental FEC settings are somewhat limited by your camera’s exposure compensation; for example, while the 580EX II is capable of 1/3-stop increment settings (as shown in 8-10 through 8-12), if your camera is only capable of 1/2-stop increments in exposure compensation, then your flash is limited to that as well. You can set FEC up to plus/minus three stops.

For this subject, I used a 1D Mark lln with a 580EXII Speedlite set to normal (8-10), +2/3 FEC (8-11), and -2/3 FEC (8-12). All three images taken with an EF 50mm f/1.4 lens, 1/60 second, f/6.3 at ISO 400.

Category: Flashes

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