Canon Rebel XTI's internal flash is very poor

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by rxl125, Aug 5, 2007.

  1. rxl125 macrumors regular

    Apr 15, 2006
    On the automatic mode indoors, which I use for indoor shots, after 7 or 8 shots, my camera gets stuck with the "busy" message. After that, I'm only able to fire 1 shot and then busy, etc...

    Is this pretty normal? If so, very poor design.
  2. ChrisA macrumors G4

    Jan 5, 2006
    Redondo Beach, California
    Not a poor design at all. The design is a trade off of features

    It can only suck power out of a battery so fast. The first few pops use power that is stored in a capacitor. Had the flash fired full power it would have completely drained the capacitor but it seems you didn't need full power. Once the cap's empty it needs to recharge from the battery. which can take a few seconds.

    Even the studio strobes work this way. Mine is a foot cube box that draws 15 amps from an AC wall outlet and I have to wait after a full power "pop" but the thing is powerful enough that I can use 1/8th power and almost never have to wait for a recharge.

    In between the little built in unit and the ones you need a dolly to move are a whole range of strobes but they all work the same way, Once you discharge the capacitor you have to wait. How long you wait depends on how big the power source is (AA batteries, Lithium cell, or AC wall current) and how big the capacitor is.

    They do make units with very fast re-cycle times. They are powered by a high voltage battery the photographer wears on a belt clip.
  3. rxl125 thread starter macrumors regular

    Apr 15, 2006
    the rebel xt did not have this problem though
  4. sjl macrumors 6502


    Sep 15, 2004
    Melbourne, Australia
    Are you certain that you're comparing apples to apples? Was the lighting in both cases the same? Are the flash units on the XT and XTi identical in power and power draw? The XT may have been in a situation where it drew less power for the flash, hence the appearance of poor flash performance on the XTi. We're all guessing here, because we don't know the circumstances.

    If you need to be able to fire off a lot of flashes in quick succession, you may be better off spending the money on an external flash unit (I use the 580EX; the 430EX is also good. Don't bother with the 220EX, it's not worth the money, IMO.) When using an external flash, use NiMH batteries, not alkaline - the high internal resistance of alkaline batteries causes very slow cycle times. You may even want to go to the extent of buying the external battery pack (the CP-E3 or a third party equivalent - note that this will, AFAICT, only work with the 580EX) to reduce the cycle time even further.

    As an added bonus, such an external flash unit will let you bounce the light off a ceiling (assuming a white ceiling), which will give you a much more natural looking photograph, as well as less redeye. This was a major impetus for my purchase of the 580EX, and I haven't regretted it. (Funny - I also bought the 100-400mm at the same time, and yet it's the flash - at one third the cost or less - that's had the most work and the greatest effect on my photography ...)
  5. rxl125 thread starter macrumors regular

    Apr 15, 2006
    I used the same card and had the worker at the store I bought the camera take the same picture as I, and the XT never really paused like the XTI.

  6. bousozoku Moderator emeritus

    Jun 25, 2002
    Gone but not forgotten.
    Was the XTi at the same resolution as the XT or was it trying to write a lot more data to the card, which would take longer? Also, was there some sort of noise reduction enabled, as that would take longer to process given the data size?
  7. RichS459 macrumors newbie

    Dec 1, 2007

    I have been experiencing exactly the same issues as you. I have an XT, which I love. I started doing a few shoots for friends, and started getting paid for it, so I thought I better have a second camera "on the job." I got the XTi, and loved it even more than the XT....*except* for that nagging lockup/busy issue using the internal flash. I have an external flash, so I figured that would be that, but sometimes I just like to take my camera with me to snap some photos of my kids, etc., and the external flash is a bit bulky...

    Canon support told me it was designed to work that way, I tried to explain to them that the XT did not have that "feature," but got nowhere.

    I updated my firmware this evening to 1.1.1, to see if maybe they fixed the problem without really admitting it was a problem, but got the same issue. Then, for no real reason, I flipped the flash back down, then pressed the shutter release, and the camera instantly flashed and took the picture! I just finished taking 117 pictures in rapid succession, with the internal flash, by flipping the flash arm closed immediately after each picture. The flash seemed equally bright each time, and took no longer to operate than the first 15 photographs (before it started locking up).

    Not an ideal workaround, but it has given me new hope to keep this model (I was contemplating selling it and buying another XT).

    Hope this helps.
  8. ClassicBean macrumors 6502a

    Jun 20, 2004
    I just got this camera a few weeks ago and noticed the same thing. How do I update the firmware?

    EDIT: Googled it... Here it is for those who want to know:
  9. .JahJahwarrior. macrumors 6502

    Jan 1, 2007
    Personally, I think the internal flash shouldn't be a big deal at all. No serious photographer will use it for long--external flashes on a hotshoe are the way to go. Then, get some radio triggers and start doing things the Strobist way :)

    You'll get better pictures. You'll be forced to think more, and will become a better photographer. You won't be using up power from your camera batteries. And you won't have that delay you are so annoyed by. (all flashes will have some delay, though)

    You can buy an extremely cheap external flash for $40, and it will make a huge difference. If you have the cash, get a nice one though :)
  10. MT37 macrumors regular


    Aug 9, 2006
    Oshawa, ON, CA
    Any internal flash is poor. I never use my Rebel XT's internal flash. I bought a speedlite, because you have way more control over the flash.

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