CANON FAQ   11/2017


•  Easy learning curve, a slightly higher guide number and with built in connectivity thru communication which solved Canons biggest problem.  It never worked right communicating with other strobes and for years it was a gift for Pocket Wizards. You bought Canon top of the line , you bought Pocket Wizards.

•  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 newest Internal Wireless two-way radio communication, eliminates the need for Pocket Wizards, Elinchrome’s  and other radio triggers.

•  It uses same cable for the as the 580 - EXII  

The 600 SERIES and the market, a little truth is a good thing...
It 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.  Canon announced, they are going back to Japan for their better stuff realizing China was not the answer, it was the problem. Production will go back to Japan for some items and be assured prices will go north not south.  


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.  A disaster was in the making.

A fellow in New Port Richey Florida who worked for a Strobe maker went off on his own to slay the strobe power pack world.  He came out with a new super pack for the 580-1. He was endorsed by famous sports shooter Rob Galbraith who pushed it like sliced bread. But the bread was burnt in the toaster and so was the flash. More 580-1’s, went back to Canon than coals to Newcastle. 

Literally destroyed most of the 580s who went with the DBC pack.  This was the shortest lived strobe in the Canon prosumer line up.  It was replaced immediately by the 580-II.  And the blame game started between the cable maker and the pack maker and Canon refused repairs. Never settled, DBC vanished from sight, the cable maker sold out to another company and all is well again.

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. 

The MB2 - CABLE 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.

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  lead pencils, their cost was a lot less and more reliable.


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.