Tuesday, July 04, 2006

External Sync Mod for Canon Flash

Michael Bass is offering a neat little mod for you Canon 580 EX speedlight owners. He will add a miniphone jack to the flash for $59.95 plus shipping. For that price, you also get fast turnaround and a cable (shown in the photo) to connect the flash to a Pocket Wizard.

This thing works both ways - tied to a receiver to fire the flash, or with the flash on camera and hooked to a transmitter to fire it (to light up a second flash.)

This will, of course, void your warranty. But the electronics of adding an extra jack are very simple, so I would not expect complications form this particular surgery. But be advised.

There's more info here.


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25 Comments:

Anonymous Wayne said...

Wow. I found my 430 expensive. I don't know if I could bring myself to let someone crack open a 580.

And *then* have to get the Pocket Wizards....

Have I picked the one hobby more expensive then golf?

July 04, 2006 6:17 PM  
Blogger matthew.chamberlain said...

isn't there an adapter that you can slide on the foot of the flash that has a pc connection? i have done a little searching online but haven't come up with anything yet...

July 05, 2006 12:41 AM  
Blogger Chad said...

You can buy a Paramount cord from Roberts Imaging in Indianapolis that has a hotshoe on one end and a miniphone jack on the other. It's around $35, but I have not had a problem with them in the year or two I've used them.

July 05, 2006 1:48 AM  
Anonymous djidji.perroto said...

I'm not sure what you need a pc sync cable for... if you just need and extended cable, why not go for this solution: get a canon-branded ext. cable for about 50 bucks, cut it in two, and then create an extention from a 3m long cat. 5e utp cable (this is the stuff that connects most of the computers to the internet). For illustration please follow this link: forums.dpreview.com

July 05, 2006 3:17 AM  
Blogger ericrudd said...

Wayne said...

>Have I picked the one hobby more >expensive then golf?

I think my flying hobby rivals the cost of golf. Could be close, though! :o)

Eric

July 05, 2006 9:54 AM  
Blogger Joe Reifer said...

It's unfortunate that Canon doesn't have this functionality built-in to their $400 flash units. Argh.

The Paramount Cord has gone up in price to $45. It's much less expensive to get a hotshoe-pc converter, and a pc-mini adapter. Just don't use metal topped hotshoe-PC converters like the Hama brand.

If you've had bad experiences with PC cords not firing, you may want to consider having your flash modded. As mentioned on Sportsshooter, PC connections can be unreliable - especially as they age. I am using Calumet hotshoe-pc adapters (with built-in PC cord) and a Pocket Wizards PC-mini adapter - everything fits tightly and works well.

July 05, 2006 11:43 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Does anyone know if a sub-mini jack is the same as the connection used on Sunpak 544's and 383's?

July 05, 2006 1:03 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is a veery good solution:
http://www.bhphotovideo.com/bnh/controller/home?O=productlist&A=details&Q=&sku=269313&is=REG&addedTroughType=categoryNavigation

July 05, 2006 1:26 PM  
Blogger Michael Bass said...

If you use the adapter (either hot shoe to pc or hotshoe to household) you lose having the flash in the hot shoe for TTL metering functions, unless you also use the Canon Off Camera Cord II with a hot shoe modification (paramountcords.com, or by me michaelbass@charter.net) to trigger the Pocket Wizard and flash. Using the Off Camera Cord you still have to use a bracket to hold the flash and Pocket Wizard!

July 05, 2006 5:24 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Why void your warrenty or drill holes into your Canon flash when there is already a cord that will work with the Canon flash for under 50 dollars. Go to
http://www.paramountcords.com/
to the pocket wizard page . The cord is Cat # PW-MHSF1

http://www.paramountcords.com/proddetail.asp?prod=pw-mhsf1

July 05, 2006 9:47 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Why drill into your flash and void the warrantee when you can buy a cord that will do the same thing for 44 dollars. This cord was made for the Canon flash and the Pocket Wizard. The cord is PW-MHSF1
Here is the link:
http://www.paramountcords.com/proddetail.asp?prod=pw-mhsf1

July 05, 2006 9:51 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree. Why send you flash off to have a hole drilled into it? With the WEIN hotshoe/household device you can hook anything you wish up to your flash - a Pocket Wizard , peanut slave, or a longer sync cord.

July 06, 2006 5:31 PM  
Blogger Michael Bass said...

Sorry, but you are missing the primary point of the modification: to be able to trigger a pocket wizard as a transmitter (to fire other lights off camera) and still use the flash in the hot shoe to take advantage of the E-TTL functions. You can use the camera pc connection (if it exists) to trigger the PW while the flash is in the hot shoe, but that isn't always the best way.

The secondary benefit of the modification is to trigger the flash when used off camera (on a stand) using the PW as a receiver. The hot shoe adapter is an alternate way to achieve this secondary function only, not the primary function above. Using the hot shoe adapter is indeed less costly than the flash modification and doesn't void your warranty.
(My hot shoe to miniphone adapter is only $38)

Michael

July 06, 2006 8:00 PM  
Anonymous J Owen said...

I have had this modification done. The service was fast and it works as advertised. Workmanship was superb!!!!

July 19, 2006 12:14 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is not a much inteligent thing to do with your flash. Buy some adapter and get the thing working probably better than this mod and without losting the guarantee.

July 23, 2006 6:55 PM  
Anonymous PatH said...

I had Michael mod my 580 with great results. The whole process (including shipping) took less than 1 week (Sat to Thurs I think). I realize ppl are hesitant to drill into their ~$400 gear but the final results are professional looking as well as working as advertised.

My only issue is that the flash goes to sleep after a few minutes. I assume this happens with all the solutions discussed here? I haven't looked at he manual lately, is there a way around this?

August 07, 2006 12:58 PM  
Anonymous Dennis G. said...

My hat's off to Michael on this one! Sent off my 580 and had it back in 1 week. Very professional looking modification. It works very well using a PW as a receiver and the Sekonic L-358 as transmitter. I plan to see if Michael can modify my ST-E2 transmitter. Great Work Michael!!

August 07, 2006 9:29 PM  
Anonymous Andrew Strauss said...

I just had my 3 Canon 580EXs modified. Michael did an EXCELLENT job. His service was VERY professional. Email replies came within minutes, and he wrote thorough and clear responses to every little question I had. He turned it around in a day and had it right back to me. Everything worked perfectly and as advertised. I would highly recommend his service to anyone who hates using those cheap breakable inconvenient hot-shoe adapters. I used the hama ones which I have since burned! :) hehe...I really didn't like the hassle and frustration of using the shoe adapters, and having to carry around an extra piece of failure-prone gear. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED modification!

Andy

August 26, 2006 6:49 PM  
Anonymous Linda said...

Michael has just modified my 550EX amd the mod works like a dream with my Bowen Pulsar radio triggers. I'm very pleased with it.

October 11, 2006 9:23 AM  
Blogger Michael Bass said...

For some time now, I have been adding this auxillary sync jack to the full line of Canon units, including the ST-E2, and the OffCameraCord2, as well as providing additional custom length straight cables, and extensions for the OffCameraCord2.

For those who are leary about voiding a new warranty, the mod can be done on an OEM replacement foot assembly, and easily swapped back with the original foot should you ever need warranty service.

Turnaround time is still one day or less, and additional information is always awailable.

Many units done, many satisfied photogs!

Michael

November 02, 2006 6:55 AM  
Anonymous smulfhunter said...

I did the same modification myself on 540ez flash and a cable for PW. Easy to do, works well, no more hot shoe adapter and parts are cheap. If you use PWs and canon flashes it's just silly not to have this mod.

November 14, 2006 1:56 PM  
Blogger Justin said...

"PatH said...
I had Michael mod my 580 with great results. The whole process (including shipping) took less than 1 week (Sat to Thurs I think). I realize ppl are hesitant to drill into their ~$400 gear but the final results are professional looking as well as working as advertised.

My only issue is that the flash goes to sleep after a few minutes. I assume this happens with all the solutions discussed here? I haven't looked at he manual lately, is there a way around this?"

In the custom functions for the Canon Flashes, you can turn off the auto-sleep function.

December 21, 2006 9:19 PM  
Anonymous Storrs said...

If you would like to do this yourself but are worried about destroying your flash you can always contact canon and order a spare hotshoe assembly mod that and then unscrew the one on you flash and replace it with the modded one.

This is the Canon Parts direct number, 732-521-7230

And here is a thread detailing how to do it

http://photography-on-the.net/forum/showthread.php?t=256447&highlight=diy

January 18, 2007 9:09 AM  
Blogger V said...

I saw this 580 EX foot assembly that has a PC sync jack, on FlashZebra.com Has anyone tried it? Does it work well? How difficult is it to replace yourself?

http://www.flashzebra.com/canon580ex_footassembly.shtml

June 19, 2008 7:17 PM  
Blogger V said...

I answered my own question. I purchased the pre-modded foot assembly from FlashZebra.com It arrived promptly. Installation was easy to understand and straight-forward. Yay, I can now use my PW with cheap Radio Shack monophone cables!

June 24, 2008 11:49 PM  

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