Using EOS Utility to control your Speedlite flash

I’m currently down in South Africa about to go to Cape Town for a couple of days, but for the last few days I’ve been busy at the Sandton Convention Centre presenting on Canon workflow software and also a session about my photography with Speedlites and other light sources.

While preparing for the seminars I was quickly checking a couple of points and found something I hadn’t seen before that I want to share with you. When you connect a camera to EOS Utility you can remotely control the camera, changing it’s settings such as shutter speed, aperture, ISO, white balance and more. However it’s also possible to control the flash too. Previously I had though the flash control via EOS Utility was possible if the camera was an EOS 600D, EOS 60D or EOS 7D since they have the built-in Speedlite master function. However I was working with an EOS-1D Mark IV and found the flash control menu was available whenever a Speedlite 580EX II was in the hotshoe of the camera and switched on. Now this means that any camera that has the possibility to set the flash features from the camera menu can actually do this from within EOS Utility – the function is more than just for three cameras.

This screen is the normal shot, with an EOS-1D Mark IV connected to the Mac, and the flash control menu selected.

EOS Utility control of the 580EXII

EOS Utility control of the 580EXII

In this screen the flash is setup for control of slave flashes in groups A, B and C all to deliver the same same power, ie treated as one big single flash. All the expected controls are available, flash head zoom, second curtain sync, channel selection even turning off the flash from the master so it only acts as a controller, not part of the exposure

EOS Utility control of the 580EXII

EOS Utility control of the 580EXII

In this final screen the Speedlite master is set to control the ratio of A and B channel flashes to acheive even lighting and a background flash in group C is then balanced against the combined power of groups A and B.

This may seem a small point, but if I had only thought this function worked on EOS 600D, EOS 60D and EOS 7D with the built-in Speedlite master feature then probably a lot of folks would have missed this too. I think this would be helpful if you need to repeat lighting set-ups on a regular basis since you can also store the lighting settings to a file on your computer and reload them at a later date.

 

About the author

Full-time photo tutor and photographer. I love to share my knowledge and skills to make photos, videos and teach others. I write books and articles for photo magazines and I always have at least one Speedlite flash in my camera bag