Store your favourite settings in your Speedlite

Backing up your flash

The latest and greatest Speedlite 600EX-RT and Speedlite Transmitter ST-E3-RT have a memory feature to store your settings for quick recall. I’m sure most people will miss out on this detail, but it’s worth a further look to make flash photography simpler.

If you take a brand new flash or transmitter out of the box it will be set to use the radio ID 0000 by default. To avoid just about anyone with the same flash kit as me from using my flashes, I always set my kit to a different radio ID. The radio ID is stored when you do a save settings to each flash or transmitter memory.

If you have not stored your flash settings using the memory feature and then load the “factory” settings your flash will go back to radio ID 0000, not your carefully chosen setting.I just recently had this happen with an ST-E3-RT myself, I had switched out the batteries and reloaded the saved configuration only to find that I then lost contact with my slave flashes as the ST-E3-RT had no stored settings, so reset to factory stored defaults.

What do I store?

This will depend on how you use the flash and how many Speedlites you might have. From the way I use my flashes the most, these are my stored settings on the Speedlite 600EX-RTs and ST-E3-RT.

Speedlite Transmitter ST-E3-RT configured for group flash mode

Speedlite Transmitter ST-E3-RT

Speedlite transmitter ST-E3-RT

  • Group mode – I love this mode almost another reason to get an EOS 5D Mark III!
  • A group set to E-TTL
  • B group set to Manual with 1/16 power – this is my fill or backlight most of the time
  • C.Fn 20 set to Beep when slaves are charged
  • C.Fn 22 to on to keep the top LCD lit on the ST-E3-RT

Speedlite 600EX-RTs

Saved settings screen on Speedlite 600EX-RT flash

Speedlite 600EX-RT saved settings

I have two Speedlite 600EX-RTs and will be adding one more sometime, unless Canon introduces a lower cost 430EX type flash with radio then I’m likely to get two of them instead.

  • Radio active, flash set as a slave
  • Group A
  • Zoom set to 50mm
  • C.Fn 08 – set to 1 disabling AF illuminator, this flash is often in a soft box or umbrella obscuring the AF illumination
  • C.Fn 12 – set to 1 to use the external CP-E4 battery pack to charge the flash not the CP-E4 + flash
  • C.Fn 22 – set to 1 to keep the rear LCD illuminated – great when it’s dark
  • C.Fn 23 – set to 1 to only show the red LED on the back of the flash when it’s charged
  • P.Fn 07 – set to 1 to enable the linked shooting feature
  • Radio active, flash set as a slave
  • Group B
  • Zoom set to 135mm
  • C.Fn 08 – set to 1 disabling AF illuminator, this flash is often in a soft box or umbrella obscuring the AF illumination
  • C.Fn 12 – set to 1 to use the external CP-E4 battery pack to charge the flash not the CP-E4 + flash
  • C.Fn 22 – set to 1 to keep the rear LCD illuminated – great when it’s dark
  • C.Fn 23 – set to 1 to only show the red LED on the back of the flash when it’s charged
  • P.Fn 07 – set to 1 to enable the linked shooting feature

If I put one of the flashes on the camera, then it will automatically switch out of slave mode, so I don’t need to store this as my setting. Also I’m always using the ST-E3-RT as the master controller on camera with the radio flash system.

Tip for choosing a Speedlite flash radio ID

 

With the radio flash you have plenty of options, 9,999 of them besides 0000, so I would also suggest choosing something a bit more complex that ensures almost no-one will be able to just happily get to control your flashes. Choosing ID 5555 would be the most awkward option for another photographer since it requires the most button presses to set, however there is always the chance that someone else read this blog post… 🙂