CANON FLASH SPECIFIC INFO   6/2017

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THE NEW 600EX-RT - PRO SERIES

EASY LEARNING CURVE, AND HIGHER GUIDE NUMBER  
BASICALLY A 580 EXII ON STEROIDS WITH BUILT IN CONNECTIVITY
SOLVED CANONS LONG TERM 580 EX II COMMUNICATION PROBLEM
SAME CABLE FOR THE 600EX-RT (MB-2)  AS THE 580 - EX ll  
√√√√√
LOTS OF GREAT LOW TIME 580EX II’s WILL BE FOR SALE
 AND SO WILL POCKET WIZARDS WHICH 
WILL BE MARKET PRICED CHEAP

THE BAD NEWS - CONS
PRICE WENT UP INITIALLY OVER 600.00 DOLLARS, NOW 599.00


Is the latest incantation of flash that promises to provide a new level of performance and reliability that is also designed to make consumers happy and obviously make additional money for Canon which makes Canon happy.   Manufacturers don’t retro or upgrade older models anymore to perform better, or fix an obvious fault, they just come out with a new model.  Thats my gripe.  It’s also part of todays throw away society and relatively nothing we can do about it.

The newest Internal Wireless two-way radio communication, eliminates the need for Pocket Wizards, Elinchromes and other radio triggers.  The bastion of their sales came from the fact that Canons were notorious for the antiquated triggering system they had, which failed only at the most critical times.  That's Murphy's Law for you. This model eliminates that problem. 

It appears from reports I’m getting that Canon made a giant leap forward in solving this their biggest headache which was the  reliability of their communication. A huge percentage of 580 EXII professional users, also owned stock in Pocket Wizard.  

So now if you upgrade to the 600RT, it might put a ton of 580 EXII's on the market with Pocket wizards for those shooters who can’t stand being one model behind or showing up at a wedding or event and Uncle Fred had something newer.  This means you might recoup some of the losses flashes endure when a new model comes out.  Thats the good news. Already own Pocket Wizards? You have two options, I’m sure they will integrate new and old, so steal the 580's on eBay and forums from the sellers moving up.

The 600EX-RT offers an expanded zoom range and a higher guide number, plus a number of improvements over its predecessor in both operation and feel.  They call them improvements,  thats corpo-guano for upgrading.  It features a dot-matrix LCD panel for display of all pertinent shooting information, backlit controls plus an internal sound generator. 

The good news is the 600 series uses the same MB2 which is a locking module and fits quite a few models however it can be installed wrong, very wrong.  Please take a careful look at the photo shown below.  The most common call I get involves the square module. Since it is square it can be inserted backwards sometimes instantly but  rarely causing a burning smell.  

Even more apparent on the less expensive units, from mainland China and VietNam, also Thailand.   The better units are still coming from Japan.   Thats why the 580 EXII costs twice as much as the 430 EXII.   Thats why even Quantum has a warning on the module, a tag. READ THIS CAREFULLY.


INSERTING BLACK BOX CABLE - IGNORE THE CANON MARKINGS! 

See Below for the right cable position on the 600EX-RT, as it is the same as the 580EX-II.   The shoe of the strobe is on the bottom side of the picture and the head to the top.  The door is open to the top. Place the tiny red dot supplied, or use nail polish in the position shown which is the bottom of the battery compartment  facing back to the screen.

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580-1  OLDER VERSION
WARNING - Some of the first edition older 580s are getting old in the tooth,  I have seen this anomaly happen only a few times. It  runs on the pack but four AA’s aren’t strong enough. I did see this more often almost eight years ago when it was Canons top of the line and popular.  Sometimes it would run on the pack but not on the AA cells.

Investigation showed weak capacitor, and diodes controlling the input, no pattern to this, isolated case and the solution was/is just run it on the pack till death do us part.  Not worth fixing, Canon repairs are high. They don’t repair the 580-1s anymore. Run it on the pack.  Another problem with the original 580-1 was caused by…fast shooting, one of the high side diodes could not handle it.  

Then a fellow in New Port Richey Florida came out with a new super pack for the 580-1. He was endorsed by famous sports shooter Rob Galbraith.  Literally destroyed most of the 580s who went with the DBC pack.  (WHOLE STORY)   This was the shortest lived strobe in the Canon prosumer line up.  It was replace immediately by the 580-II.

Canon always followed Nikon in the dynamics of flash to camera communication. This was a known phenom in those days just like if you owned a Canon AE-1, the most popular film camera made, it would fail in its shutter switch.  We fixed many of them. Hundreds!

Later on Canon’s pro series, the F-1 was one of the worst cameras in inclement weather and if water got into the top plate  of the camera, it was done.  I was covering football in Tampa Bay and it started to rain at the stadium and one by one cameras stopped. Only those willing to garbage bag and rubber band their gear survived.  I never leave the house without garbage bags in the car and rubber bands.


580 EX II APPEARED
The 580 EX-II was a logical improvement because it addressed a lot of the earlier 580/1 problems.   With that said, the overheating was the usual number one cause as is with all brands when you use accelerated packs.  It also had weak springs in the battery compartment and the green boards because of poor heat insulation.

Poor seals, wet weather was a killer; seals were one of the selling points of the new EX II model.  BUT, seals keep water out and heat in. Sort of a mixed blessing when you think about it. 

Some shooters didn’t understand  a simple zip lock solves all problems and if you think you can shoot in pouring  rain, you are an idiot. They made better seals because humidity and heat to cool transitions caused problems.

Now since we do not put any heat in the strobe with the Black Box design (NO AA CELLS) we are not a cause of heat. That allows a level of repetitive shooting, and not getting the capacitor hot as fast.  Quantum announced a Locking Plate for the MB5 cable when used with a Canon 580.  It's small, ingenious and it works. Best part is Quantum will send you one free. 

Obviously they felt the MB5 door was not as secure just using Velcro, as it should be, and they corrected it.  Later kits of the MB5 come with the  a locking adapter plate for the 580 model.  It does not need the door to be closed, it is held in place with a small piece of Velcro furnished with the kit. 

Basically it works like this. Place the module in the 580. Press down, slide clip in place, use the supplied Velcro to secure door, voila! Simple doesn't hurt the flash with over power and allows you to use batteries for backup if needed. And lets air inside.

It locks the cable in place with nothing permanent and no sharp points like on the Vivitar module. In addition no stress is put on the AC port which accelerated units use and damage is easily traceable there should you get a runaway capacitor or surge blow-out.  Again, It allows the Canon to safely run cooler. The 580 stuffs a lot of electronics into a small package and they are not exempt from over zealous use and overheating. 


The MB2 - CABLE READ ME, also fits the 600EX-RT)
The 580 EX II and the  600EX-RT use the MB2 which is a locking module and fits quite a few models however it can be installed wrong, very wrong.  

Please take a careful look at the photo shown to the right.  The most common call I get involves the square module. Since it is square it can be inserted backwards,  actually four different ways.  

Even if you are intelligent but in a hurry you can do serious harm and reversal will cause a burning smell.  Even more apparent on the less expensive units, from mainland China and Viet Nam, also Thailand.   

The better units are still coming from Japan.   Thats why the 580 EXII costs twice as much as the 430 EXII.   Thats why even Quantum has a warning on the module, a tag denoting it can be installed ass backwards.


FOLLOW ME PILGRIM
The shoe of the strobe is on the bottom of the picture and the head to the top.  The door is open to the top.
 IGNORE THE CANON MARKINGS!  Place the tiny red dot supplied, or use nail polish in the position shown which is the bottom of the 580 EX II and facing back to the screen.

You can see a little (+) molded in the Canon Module. Place a dot of nail polish on this (+) mark. This is the correct orientation.
Use the Velcro supplied to hold the door from moving around. The door open has a great advantage in keeping the strobe cool.  Like I said on many occasions, this module can be installed three out of four times wrong because it was made to fit a plethora of different models and brands. 

For those who have a problem with doors open.  I accept the fact there are those who refrain from jaywalking, won't step on a crack in the pavement and never walk under ladders. They probably spend half their life cleaning lenses, and constantly charging and overcharging  their batteries. From my sordid life as a street shooter, political chaser, event and wedding photographer, I see things as tools to be used in the best possible way. I don't mind the door open. I just have a package of Black rubber bands in my gadget bag.  Simple ten cent solution.

It reminded me of the NASA space program whereas we spent half a million dollars to develop a pen that would write in space merely pressurizing the refill, a simple enough solution.  The Russians issued mechanical lead pencils, their cost was a lot less.

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If it gives me better performance, less strain on the electronics, better heat dissipation, and longer component life, than so be it.  Idiots tell me it's not as pretty as the front mounted high AC port. But, components that are stressed and ultimately can fail move the critique to the attorneys and you can tell them how pretty it was. And that's my opinion. 

OK, go get a TURBO, still screw with four NiMH and have half the flashes, increased maintenance, plus, the possibility of an overheated unit. But you will be pretty.

But if it rains hard what will I do? The same thing you did with the SUBWAY sandwich you didn't finish, put a ZIP-LOCK bag on it and a rubber band.  If it's raining that bad, the Bride is already indoors, the body is en-route to the lab, the game was called and you are the only idiot left standing in the rain.  

Or suffer with the door slightly ajar which can only help to dissipate heat. HEAT is the number one killer of strobes caused by too rapid shooting exacerbated by over clocking with transformers or external capacitors.  

Flashes are not waterproof neither are battery packs especially those with large amounts of electronics.  I don't care what they tell you.  Drop it in the pool and see what happens.  Electronics, capacitors, heat, wind and water do not mix.  Hot car trunks and air conditioning with a hot capacitor… create moisture.  If you have one of those accelerated units costing 639 dollars getting drenched with all that electronics in it, be cautious that's 330 volts of prime time.  If you are shooting in a down pour, whether the door is open or closed won't mean a thing, you should have it wrapped in a zip lock, saran wrap or if the rain is that bad get your butt inside because that where everyone else will be. 


430 EX and EX II USERS 
The 430 EX II is a great backup.  For pro work the 580 series is heavier and has more safeties than the 430 series, thats why you pay more. One is made in Japan , the other mainland China.  Nikon did the same thing with the 600 series.  Pro Japan, amateur China. Very cost and profitable that way.  I predict if things keep going on the global side more will be from China and thats not good. Same rules for location as the 580.

                     

CURRENT CANON CABLES TO FLASH GUIDE