Trigger a Canon Speedlite 580EX2 from compacts

How can I trigger a Canon Speedlite 580EX2 from my compact Canon cameras. I have an old Powershot G5 and a newer Powershot SD300. I can do this with my Nikon Speedlite SB-800 by setting the Wireless Flash Mode to SU-4. I cannot figure out how to do it with the 580EX2. Any help on this would be appreciated.

One response:

No ideal solution, I'm afraid

The Canon Speedlite 580EX2 has not got the equivalent of the Nikon SU-4 mode (i.e. a “dumb” optical slave mode).

Also to use something like a “dumb” optical slave, any pre-flash will trigger the slave too early. Unfortunately pre-flash can't be cancelled on all Canon cameras. I think you can cancel pre-flash on the G5 (by setting manual flash mode), but not on the SD300.

Here are some solutions you may consider, along with the pros and cons of each:

  1. Buy a “dumb” optical trigger (around $16) compatible with the 580EX2 and connect it to the 580EX2 via its pc-socket or via its hot-shoe. You need to make sure you get one that is compatible with the 580EX2. See our page on optical slaves for details. However, this will not work unless you are able to cancel or ignore the pre-flash on the compact. Here is a list of some tricks you can pull to to this.
  2. Buy a Poverty Wizard kit (around $40) to fire your 580EX2 wirelessly by radio. This is only workable if the compact has a hot-shoe where you can place the transmitter. The G5 has a hot-shoe, while the SD-300 has not.
  3. Buy a so-called “digital” slave trigger (around $100) and hope that your compacts only emit a single pre-flash.
  4. Buy a Canon ST-E2 Speedlite Transmitter ($225) and fit that in the hot-shoe of the G5. This will give you full E-TTL control over the remote flash from the G5 (again, the SD300 hasn't got a hot-shoe so you're out of luck there).

As you can see, unfortunately there is no ideal solution to your problem.

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