Does anyone else miss a pop up flash on the 5Dmk2?

Discussion in 'Canon EOS' started by julian_hudson, Jan 26, 2010.

  1. I'm currently dithering between a 7D and a 5D mk2. I like wide angle lenses for landscapes and a big viewfinder (I have dodgy eyes), and not being interested in sports or wildlife I tend towards the 5D. You might think me odd but the aspect of the 5D that holds me back from it is that it doesn't have a pop up flash. As this camera will also be used for 'holiday snaps' I really appreciate some form of fill flash. It seems a pain to carry a hefty flash unit just for such shots. I guess the main response will be to get the 7D, but I'm not that keen on having to get another wide angle lens that cannot be used on a full frame body (I will also keep shooting and printing B+W, so would like to share lenses).
    So, are there any small size flash options available and does anyone else bemoan the absence of pop up flash?
  2. Canon 270Ex. Small, light, decent. Great for snapshots. I use it often on the 5D. About $149 (was $129 but rebate is now over). Tilts for bounce flash unlike some of the other models.
  3. Yes, I do miss it. Sure a popup sucks for AF assist and is weak, but it works fine for fill flash, emergencies and as a trigger. However I mainly use my 5D for landscapes and low light so it's not a deal breaker. I carry a 220EX loaded with lithium AAs as a popup sub. It's small enough to fit in a coat pocket and the lithiums weight half that of alkalines. The 270EX replaced it last year and is just as small, twists and turns but uses a disco pulse instead of the near IR AF assist of the 220EX.
  4. Pop-up flashes can't see around lenses -- they cast horrible shadows from the lens. So no. Popup flashes are as useful as the human appendix. I hate them. Yes I do.
  5. I don't miss the pop up flash at all. I don't like how the pop up flash only points to the front. I rather use an external flash with a tilt head to bound the flash off walls and ceiling.
  6. Oh... I forgot that on the 7D, you can use the pop up flash for remote trigger other slave flashes using ETTL... This function allows you to turn the power of the pop up flash to the point where it doesn't affect the exposure. This is one functionality I would like to have on the 5D. One downside to this remote trigger is that you need direct line of sight with your slave flashes. RF trigger is better for this.
  7. > Does anyone else miss a pop up flash on the 5D?
    I'm sure some do, but I don't.
  8. No. Didn't even use it on the Rebel XT. Shoe mounted flash is the way to go for clearance from certain lenses.
  9. I picked up a 270 during the rebates as well. Its nice and small and is much better then the pop up flash but I really only use it when I travel.
  10. You give some, you get some ... without a popup flash, the 5D and 5D Mk II allow unrestricted use of the Canon TS-E lenses. Probably of little interest to most photographers, but important for those who use any of these lenses.
  11. I have the 7D and have used the pop-up flash to control my 430 EX II.
    But when I want on the camera flash I use the 430.. I have never been that happy with the results of the pop-up flash. Perhaps I haven't learned how to use it.. but for me it seems to be great at red eye and not much else....
  12. The funny thing is that my Hasselblad H2's have one! Before I started shooting digital, I bought a entry level--Rebel XT-- DSLR for sending images to my art director when I was on the road and he wasn't there with us. It had a pop up flash which came in handy in certain situations--I don't use flash for personal work and haven't had an on-camera flash in over 20 years--and I liked just having it, the pop-up, even if I didn't use it very often--I like options. My current digital doesn't have one and I do miss it at times, but not enough to not want to keep it and the FF format.
    I carry around the big flash when I go off somewhere and have yet to use it--guess I don't miss the pop up that much!
  13. William Michael

    William Michael Moderator Staff Member

  14. I don't miss the pop up flash at all. I don't like how the pop up flash only points to the front. I rather use an external flash with a tilt head to bound the flash off walls and ceiling.​
    Now that's funny! I've always thought of the 5D series as a landscape and macro specialist so it didn't even occur to anyone would actually use it where there was a ceiling or wall. Well, maybe the nearest mountain might work. But, yeah, indoor shooters like wedding buffs have ceilings albeit you need a friggen potato masher on bracket to bounce off your typical ballroom or church ceiling.
  15. No, pop up flash is a sucker punch! Don't fall for it. A standard zoom like the 17-55 is big enough to cast a shadow, even with the hood off. What a disappointment. I routinely use Lightroom with my 5D2 to brighten shadows and don't miss fill flash much. When I do shoot with flash, I'm glad to have the power and directional control of the 580, and I bounce off of a wall to get the look of window illumination--nice.
  16. I do not miss a flash. I am glad that Canon spent the money more wisely, on a great sensor. The flash on my D700 was a persistent nuisance that always made me laugh when it popped up. I would have ripped it off the camera if that would have worked.
  17. Not much to be said - it doesn't have a flash and it won't. Either get a small external flash or if you really need built-in flash get a different body that has it.
  18. I do , And I wish that all full frame have pop up flash, I just saw an elan7 on ebay, And wished that digital fullframe have popup flash like the ones in elan 7.
  19. I don't miss it. I often deliberately use my 5D2 sans flash because I find it's high ISO performance that good. 5D2+24-105 is my default walkaround kit nowadays...
  20. A popup flash with wireless control of speedlites (like the 7D has) would be very useful on a 5D MkII.
    Though I don't use popup flash a lot with my 40D, I do use it at times and it would be handy to have on my 5D too. An external speedlite is better of course, but it's no good if you forget to bring it along. That never happens with the built in flash!
  21. Yes, I miss it. I use the 5D2 for everything including quick snapshots of the kids around the home. At times like that I wish I had a pop-up flash instead of fighting with the 580EX for the sake of a quick snap.
    More importantly, SLRs with pop up flashes always have some sort of built in AF assist function whether it be infra red or strobe. AF assist is a definite bonus that I miss. Now I'm stuck to either mounting the 580EX or the ST-E2 to aid the AF in low light.
  22. A standard zoom like the 17-55 is big enough to cast a shadow, even with the hood off. What a disappointment. I routinely use Lightroom with my 5D2 to brighten shadows and don't miss fill flash much.​
    I presume you mean the EF-S 17-55 2.8 IS USM? If you make the mount modification to adapt this lens you'll find the image circle too small to cover the entire 5DII frame. In such case shadow casting shouldn't be a problem. However, I have used the EF-S 17-55 2.8 IS USM extensively on my 7D and there are no problems with shadows from the popup at any focal length (hood off of course). It did vignette on my 20D at 17mm at 2 meters but was fine a little further out or slightly zoomed.
    Canon, give me a damn popup on mah friggen 5DIII!
  23. Hi Julian, thanks for the thread. Always interesting to see what everyone thinks. Of course, they are just opinions and you already said for yourself, that you would really miss the popup flash.
    Let me try and help you with your decision. I recently own a 7D and the popup flash is another of the many features that I've been impressed with. It is not bad on the 40D either, but the 7D does a very nice job of being present without blowouts or even that little too much whitish on the photo. The white balance on the 7D has also improved imo. So if you think you'd miss the popup, I'd say you're right and go for the 7D. Like you, I too use my DSLR for snapshots, which is bad enough already but putting my 430EX on it all the time, is very undesireable. The 10-22 is a very capable lens, albeit EF-S. The new 15-85 is handy for both wide- and snap-shots. Good luck!
  24. The 270EX works great on 5D2. Its flash power is changed on the camera as easily as ISO and focus mode etc are changed. I primarily use the 5D2 indoors (not for landscape) and the 270EX is so light that it's on the camera almost anytime a full-size flash is not. The little 270 isn't as handy or compact as a built-in flash, but I'll take it until the 5D Mark 3, which I expect will have a built-in flash.
  25. Coming from an F-1, EOS-1, EOS-3, and finally EOS-1V, I had always regarded a built-in flash as a bit naff. When I bought my first digital body, a 20D, I was accordingly rather embarrassed to discover that the built-in flash had its uses. Many film bodies came with built-in flash, so there's no fundamental problem about combining it with FF (as demonstrated also by the Nikon D700), although it is true to say that Canon film bodies with flash had significantly less than 100% finder coverage, and a future 5D with flash might have to be a bit bulkier than a 7D. Of course, built-in flash has its drawbacks, as pointed out by other posters – shading by the lens and conflict, or at least awkwardness, with TS lenses and tripod rings are among them. But hey, nothing's perfect, and the flash built in to the camera is definitely better than the all-singing all-dancing flashgun that you find you haven't got with you. I can live without it on my 5DII, but I wouldn't mind having it.
    Onviously the 270EX (or its predecessor the 220EX) is an alternative, and is considerably more powerful than any built-in flash. The 270EX sounds great apart from one thing, which is the retrograde step of pulsing the flash tube to provide AF-assist. But I think Canon are missing a trick here. Why not add a couple of power contacts to the hotshoe and offer a batteryless flash?
  26. I rarely use it,even at times forget its there.Casts shadows if I do not remove my lens hoods.Why don,t you buy a small PS for your holiday snaps,it,s probebly lighter and cheaper than a external flash and takes up no space in your bag or pocket.
  27. Absolutely not. In the contrary, it is irritating me. I never used, but tried, and good only for a small DSLR+ a short lens for close family pictures. Even for family shoots I using on the Nikon D40 a SB-400 (C$130.00 ) flash, witch has a tilting head, and as an emergency flash I using this little devil on the D300 and the D700. It is mach powerful then the stupid pop-up flash on the so called consumer bodies. The D700 not a consumer body and would be mach stronger if don't have the pop-up flash on it. IMHO.
  28. I wish my 5D had one. I was quite happy to see that the Nikon D700, (Nikon's 5DmkII competitor), had one when I bought it. I was glad that I would always have the option of using it if I wanted to. Just yesterday I brought the family to the Children's museum. Brought the D700 and a 50mm because it had the pop-up flash. Didn't want to lug the much larger clip-on flash around with the family in tow. For most of the pictures I just used natural light below f/2.0, but they had super hero statues there this time. I had to jack up the aperture to get a good depth of field. Popped up the flash and there was no problem. I couldn't have gotten the shots without that built in flash. So I find them quite handy at times.
    That being said. The flash is going to be the week link in an otherwise very sturdy camera. Vulnerable to damage because it is a plastic moving part.
  29. My old Canon Elan 7 has one, and has great viewfinder coverage, and the flash doesn't pop up automatically. You have to reach up and lift the flash by hand. In my mind, this is an acceptable compromise. The excuse that the flash would diminish the pentaprism is complete bunk. This is a simple matter and has been solved years ago. The excuse that it's irritating when it pops up unwanted is also bunk, as that has been solved, too. Even on cameras that automatically popup the flash, that ONLY happens in "AUTO" mode, when it is expected. Even in P mode, the flashes don't pop up on their own.
    The plain and simple fact is that it is a cheap implementation, and it is occasionally convenient, even if in the slightest degree and only in an emergency. Why is this the one entry-level feature that has been universally decided is completely unwelcome and should therefore be removed from all professional cameras? I find this a great nuisance, and is one of the reasons I prefer a top-notch "prosumer" camera and am content not to waste money on an "upgrade". If they are removing features on top-level cameras, they can keep 'em.
    It just doesn't make any sense NOT to have the flash, as a convenience. What if, after hearing myriad complaints about high-ISO noise, Canon decided not to include high-ISO's in professional cameras because they make your pictures "look bad"? Obviously, this would be nuts. Instead, they have worked to improve the quality of the high-ISOs so that they CAN include them on pro cameras. In fact, it's the pro cameras that have the BEST quality with high ISOs.
    What they should be doing instead of dropping the on-camera flash because it "looks bad", is designing improved implementation of it. That tiny little flash should be made slimmer, less obtrusive, and should TILT and SWIVEL as well, so that you can use it in a pinch, and even bounce it off available surfaces. Also, they should work at putting a more powerful bulb in there and adding power. If you're going to spend $3000+ on a camera, it should include an upgraded version of this $5 feature, rather than just drop the feature altogether. I mean, seriously, any $5 one-time use Kodak 27-exp camera has a built-in flash. It's not like it adds to the cost. We're talking about the premium-level cameras here.
    I call "BS" to all the blinded engineering types who claim this is an insurmountable technical obstacle. The on-camera flash can be made smaller, brighter, more convenient, weather-sealed, and strong without intruding on the full-size viewfinder.
  30. When I bought my first 10D, I tried the pop-up flash. About once. Thought it was a bad idea, and got a 550EX. When I upgraded to a 20D, I had another look at the pop-up flash. Still a bad idea - I added the 580EX. Reading this post made me realize that I have never taken a look at my 1D Mk3 if it has a pop-up flash or not! I don't think it has one.. Would not bother to go take a look in any case. The 580EXII does the job without me wanting something as small and silly as that.
  31. My D-700 has one and it does come in handy as a casual photo fill flash but I would never use it for anything serious, it just does not have the power. Normally though, I still use my trusty "old Faithful", my Sunpak 544 "potato masher" flash which can both swivel and tilt.
  32. If you use your 5d for travel or any non-pro use a 270 is really nice to have. I took some shots to show just how small it is. Now its not perfect but its pretty good and much better then a pop up.
  33. Front view
  34. Yes, I miss it. Not as much as I thought, but I do miss it. I don't always have an external flash with me and on some sunny day shots only a little fill is needed for casual photos. Of course they are too small to do a lot, but they do come in handy in some situations. I've only had a shadow cast a couple of times, but that could happen more with the larger L zooms.
  35. I simply don’t do snapshots, or other kinds of “have a camera handy and take pictures if anything interesting happens” photography. When I have a camera in hand, it’s for a purpose. Granted, sometimes it might be vague, in the sense of “head out to the Superstition Mountains and see if there’s anything worth photographing,” but even then the idea is to go there with the intention of coming away with at least one or two good exposures that I can work with later.
    And, as such, I find a popup flash worse than useless. There’s never a situation where I would find the results from one acceptable; I simply wouldn’t waste my time breaking out the camera for the shot. So why add all the extra complexity, reduce the viewfinder size, have something that gets in the way of lens movements, and all the rest, if there’s just no reason I’d ever use it at all?
    I do use flash plenty. Studio lights are wonderful, and the 580EXII is simply amazing. But the whole idea of a small under-powered light right on the lens axis is…ugh.
    “It’s all about the light,” so why inflict your art with really bad light?
    (Again, it should be really obvious by now that I don’t shoot pictures of kids I don’t have to fill a scrapbook so I can pull them out a couple decades later to embarrass them. And popup flash is fine for that sort of thing — but so are P&S cameras, so why break out the heavy artillery?)
  36. OK, when I get my 7D I am going to soon (within the week) post a picture taken with it using its popup flash and the the 16-35 lens. I am not holding out hope for much of anything usable. I can only imagine how horrible a popup flash would be with the same lens on a 5D were such an abomination even present on a FF DSLR.
  37. A couple of people mentioned a shadow cast from the lens hood. I was curious if my D700 with pop-up flash would make such a shadow on my 80-200mm with lens hood installed. These two pictures are with flash and without at 80mm and 3m distance.
  38. and without flash.
  39. without flash.
  40. this is the camera used.
  41. I agree hundred percent to Ben Goren.
    " I simply don’t do snapshots, or other kinds of “have . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . — but so are P&S cameras, so why break out the heavy artillery?) "
    Popup flash is for snap shots and such you don't need a 4000-5000 dollar camera, you are mach better with a 500 dollar P&S camera. It is ridiculous using a 80-200/2.8 lens with a popup flesh for interior photography, rather then a proper wide angle lens. Popup flash a gimmick for the amateur crowds, specially the beginner amateur crowds, with plenty of money. The smallest separate flash-light is 10 time better then a popup flash. Shame on Nikon to add something for a pro body, they don't needed, and just a chance to get more moving part to break.
  42. Bela, the pictures were to show that a pop up flash won't always produce a shadow. Lighten up.
  43. The question is concerning a 7D and 5D2, not Nikon. (or, does Nikon use the exact same popup as the 7D? I'd bet $1M it doesn't)
  44. Pop-up flashes can't see around lenses -- they cast horrible shadows from the lens.​
    Not always Ken. Does the 7D cast a shadow with a 70-200mm +hood installed? I don't have one so can't check.
  45. Hi Pete. You right in this case, but how many time you using an 80 mm lens in close place, like any room. I have a living room big like a ball-room and not even a 50 mm vill suffice. Your demonstration is irreverent in close interior shoots, like all, or most family shoots is inside some room. The argument applicable for all popup flash, including all models. And most pros or semi pro or serious amateurs would never use a popup flash. But! I used for my big room a smallest nikon SB-400, tiltable head and fit in my smallest packet with very good results. And tried the popup with very bed results. My apology if I insulted somebody with my statement. But that's the fact. Like Ben Goren said. I had this argument with one of my semi pro friend, and when I shown my SB-400 small flesh, and given to her to use it, she immediately rushed to bay one, and changed her opinion about it.
  46. Bela, hope this helps.
    • I find pop-up flashes to be very useful if I don't have a clip-on flash with me. (Even if a speedlite would produce better results).
    • Not all pop-up flashes will produce a shadow on a LONG lens like the 80-200mm with hood attached. (The last 3 photos were for DEMONSTRATION purposes only in response to Ken Papai's original post.)
  47. I don't miss a pop up flash.
    I've always found them to be too weak to do what I need, in some cases they couldn't even do an adequate fill flash in bright sunshine.
    I've been using a 580EX for 4 years now and love it. I'm constantly amazed how much power it has and just how much I can light up.
    Here's an example of lighting up a part of Caesars Palace in Vegas - and yes, what you see was totally the 580ex light :
    Tudor ApMadoc
  48. No I don't miss it! Not having a pop-up flash was one of the PLUS features that I liked about the 5dii.
    - rid of extra weight I don't want to carry around,
    - rid of flimsy piece of plastic that can get broken,
    - can't accidentally hit pop-up button and have it come up when I don't want it,
    - one less place for water to get inside the body,
    - probably reduced cost of body,
    - longer battery life (when I do choose to use a flash),
    - shorter flash recycling time (when I do choose to use a flash),
    - etc..
  49. No I don't miss it! Not having a pop-up flash was one of the PLUS features that I liked about the 5dii.
    - rid of extra weight I don't want to carry around,
    - rid of flimsy piece of plastic that can get broken,
    - can't accidentally hit pop-up button and have it come up when I don't want it,
    - one less place for water to get inside the body,
    - probably reduced cost of body,
    - longer battery life (when I do choose to use a flash),
    - shorter flash recycling time (when I do choose to use a flash),
    - etc..
  50. I had it on my EOS 33 and my EOS 20D and barely used it...
    The Hulk example above is one of the rare occasions where it could be useful.
    For fill flash in bright sunshine, it just isn't powerful enough; it can give you a feeble catchlight in the eyes though.
    For portraits or group shots in low light, it's just catastrophic. You would need at least bouncing on the ceiling. See those tips.
    @Pete Lilley, the shadow happens with wide angle shots not with a tele lens.
  51. Yes, I miss the pop up flash. My previous camera was the Elan IIe and the pop up flash was quite useful in certain situations for fill flash. Yeah, its quite weak, but you just have to know its limitations. Its just another tool and if used properly will give good results.
    I have the 220ex and 420ex. If going light is key, the 220ex is perfect. It still lacks some versatility, but its small enough to stick in my pocket or the baby's diaper bag and it gives decent results.
  52. I bought the 270 expressly for using my 5DII in family party point and shoot mode. I get enough practice with my 580's and don't wish to haul them around for such use.
  53. The Nikon D700 proves that a fully professional camera (dare I say more professional than the 5D2? I'd better not; let's just say "more weather-resistant") doesn't fall apart or leak just because it has a built-in flash.
    I just love the sound arguments from all the tough guys:
    --"It might add an ounce, which is more extra weight than I want to carry around"
    --"I prefer to carry two cameras, a P&S for snapshots and an SLR for 'serious' work"
    --"Flash pops up unexpectedly when I use camera in Green 'Idiot' mode"
    --"20-dollar feature adds expense to $2500 camera"
    Bottom line is that from Live View to video to sensor cleaning to popup flash to in-body IS to swiveling LCDs, there are always going to be features that some users want and others don't use ("One man's video is another man's pop-up flash"). But because none of those features add exorbitantly to the cost or seriously compromise the camera's picture-taking abilities, the manufacturers are going to gradually add all of those things to even high-level cameras.
    You can complain about those features or you can ignore them, but the fact is that "feature creep" sells cameras. Any added expense of an individual feature is usually going to be largely offset by the lower unit-cost that results from increased sales volume.
  54. I do not like the lighting from a pop-up. Even with a G11, I carry a small (279EX) flash. Pop-ups are handy on occasion, but not handy enough to miss. When I use my 5DMMII, I take a 580EX and bounce it off a reflector. Much better light than a pop-up
  55. I got the 270 as a fill-in for the times I use my 5D2 for taking pictures of family stuff. Yes, I feel that I can manage that with the 5D2 without any feelings of guilt.
    The 270 is also good for the times when you just take the camera and one lens. It's just a viable light option. I also found at Christmas it was pretty good at giving my 16-35 a hand indoors with a bit of bounce. My mother-in-law just got a G11 and it did a great job on that too.
    Having come from a 20D, I found that the pop-up gave pretty awful light when used as fill or for a 'happy snap'. It also cast a shadow over every lens I had except my old long gone Tammy 17-35.
    So in short, I don't miss having a pop up. The 270 is a great option for travelling light and indoors with a low ceiling. For the rest of the time my 580 EX II does a splendid job on or off camera.
  56. Ralph: thanks for the sensible response. I am overwhelmed by all the "tough guy" responses. I think there are alot of egos at stake as people realize that more expensive cameras incorporate all the features of all the less expensive cameras....except this one thing. There MUST be a reason! You'll never see any ego-maniac admit that his fancy camera lacks a feature that could ever imaginably be useful to anyone in the world, and that everyone should just carry around additional accessories to accomodate every situation. Since the quality of on-camera flash is inferior, it should not exist. By this logic, there should be no kit lenses. No true "professional" would be caught dead with anything in his bag that's not an "L" lens! And it would be no less than an embarassment to have the pop up flash give away the fact that you're shooting on "AUTO". This is akin to pitching a tent in your pants around civilized company, or letting go a fart.
    What I think is extremely hypocritical is that nobody says they shouldn't be putting an on-camera microphone on the 5D! Sure, you don't necessarily want to record audio with the on-camera mic, but you wouldn't want to be caught without it, would you? It would be a disaster to be FORCED to use external miking, rather than to do it by CHOICE. That's what I think external flash should be: a choice. That's what distinguishes great photographers, the conscious choices.
  57. I have a 5D. Not only do I not miss the built-in flash, I wish Canon had neglected the hot shoe. The pc connector is enough.
    I don't trust the structural integrity of plastic to keep a top-heavy flash secure, even with the 5D's metal chassis. btw- I am
    using 70's flash units. Modern flashes are probably much lighter.
  58. William Michael

    William Michael Moderator Staff Member

    "I don't trust the structural integrity of plastic to keep a top-heavy flash secure, even with the 5D's metal chassis."

    I read, in some formal notes somewhere - but I can't find the source now, that the design of the Female mount (Camera) and Male Tongue (Flash Base) are such that if a shear force is applied, the Flash breaks with least (hopefully nil) damage to the camera and with minimal (i.e. repairable) damge to the Flash.

    Obviously the paper was referring to Canon Dedicated Flash units.

  59. I'm always amazed at the emotion displayed regarding such a simple topic.
    Anyways, I would occasionally miss the pop up flash, as I do use my dSLR as a point and shoot sometimes. Last time I used the popup flash was when taking a picture of my car's engine compartment before I took about 100 parts off. Why didn't I use a P&S? They drive me crazy because half the tiem I want to do something I can only do with the SLR, so I don't bother. If I don't have the SLR with me then I'll use my cell phone.
    When I do need a bit of extra light, I use an SB-400, usually on the end of an SC-17 cord. When combined with small primes and a D90, it's quite easy to single-hand the camera while positioning the flash with my other hand.
  60. Friends don't let friends use pop-up flash.
    The flash on the D700 gets in the way of shift lens usage. Canon made the right decision to eliminate this feature from the 5D2. Bravo and good riddance!
  61. Is a pop-up flash convenient sometimes? In my opinion, yes. After all, they are always on the camera. Is it essential to have one, or is not having one a deal-breaker? Not for me. At work, I take close-up photos of peoples' faces, in particular their eyelids, with a 10D and EF 100 mm 2.8 macro using the pop-up flash, and I get satisfactory results. For my 5D I did not want to carry my 550EX around all of the time, so I purchased a Sunpack RD2000, which works well. Although it is not controlled through the camera, it is E-TTL II compatible, and it is simple to use. The Canon 270EX also looks to be a nice flash. Either of these flashes put out more light than do pop-up flashes, and they also articulate for bounce flash. The ability to control a second Speedlight through the pop-up flash on the 7D is convenient, and saves some money in regard to not having to buy a second Speedlight to use as the primary flash, or the ST-2e wireless controller. But if you are already going through the trouble of carrying one rather large flash to be used as a slave (or secondary flash, to be pc about the terminology), it's not that big of a deal to also carry the second flash or the wireless controller. The greatest advantage of a pop-up flash is convenience, and the Sunpack RD2000 and Canon 270EX are both small enough to be conveniently available, tucked away in a pocket or in a small area of a camera bag. Although the pop-up flashes can be handy, I really don't miss one very much on my 5D.
  62. Too bad these threads don't have the option for ratings - I would give quite a few people 7/7! Like Ben, Chas, Dan to name just a few.
  63. They come in handy some times, I wish my 5D had one, it is one of the reasons I went with the 7D and not the 5DII
  64. Julian,
    I use a 5D (no built-in flash) and sometimes I miss the pop-up flash, which I became accustomed to with my 10D.
    However, I feel the 580EX lit photos I make with the 5D are often better than they'd be with a built in flash, especially since many wide lenses cast a shadow when pop-up flash is used.
    If you want a FF camera get it ! Then buy a nice Canon flash. BTW a 7D is on my wish list, for the new features and video, tele-reach etc.
    Here's a 580EX lit photo made on the 5D (read the details under image) I would never count on a built in flash for images like that one.
  65. For Pete's sake! The question isn't if the built-in flash is as good as a top-of-the-line 580 EXII! The question is, in absence of any external flash WHATSOEVER, is it ever a good idea to use the on camera flash, or are you always better off with NO FLASH. I can think of several situations where I'd rather use a chincy on-camera flash than none at all. Furthermore, that little bugger could be improved dramatically to really become a strongpoint on the camera, rather than ignoring it completely. This is lazy engineering, if you ask me, and complacency on the part of pro photogs.
    The quality of external flashes doesn't even need to be a part of this discussion. It's like saying you can do more with 2 flashes than 1, or 3 is better than 2, or studio strobes are brighter than speedlights! Well, duh! But none of this has any bearing on why there shouldn't be an emergency can't-get-left-behind flash built in. Mine has saved my pictures a number of times, given me fill in a tight spot where otherwise I'd be shooting with available light only, and never gets in the way. The one perceivable problem is the interference with T/S lenses, and I would argue that there's got to be a practical fix to that interference. This is one reason why I can't have the 5D for myself. I'll be buying a D700 instead.
    I don't understand how so many of you can mention in the same breath that you DO miss having a pop-up flash from time to time, but then say that you think it's okay for your camera to not have one. Why not demand with your dollars that Canon start putting top-quality flashes on the cameras? If the 5D had a small, bright, flexible, durable, and waterproof flash built in, that didn't interfere with anything when not in use, would this deter anybody from buying a 5D?
  66. @Hal B :
    You'll never see any ego-maniac admit that his fancy camera lacks a feature that could ever imaginably be useful to anyone in the world, and that everyone should just carry around additional accessories to accomodate every situation. Since the quality of on-camera flash is inferior, it should not exist.​
    Hmmm... The D700 for which I hesitated does have a real auto ISO feature (M mode) that I would really have wanted, same with the wider auto focus area. But I don't crave for the built-in flash as I nearly never used it on the EOS 33 and 20D. The 5D² does have other superior features for me though...
    They targeted well for me, I bought the 5D² even though it didn't have a built-in flash :)
  67. This is my first post on I am a wedding photographer. For some odd reason I chose to post in a Canon forum about the importance or non importance of a pop up flash. I guess I fall in the camp of, I love my pop up flash. I own some d700's and would say it is a very nice feature to have. Could I live with out it, of course I could, but I'd rather have it than not. Here are my reasons. Some of which have been covered, but I wanted to add some of my real world experiences about how I've found it useful. (note: I normally use Nikon's flashes - SB900, Sb800, and Sb600s, I prefer using natural lighting when possible, but I also like using creative lighting, when the lighting is boring (strobist))
    1. Weight / stealth - Sometimes you can't or don't want to carry a big flash around. For instance, during some engagement shoots, I have to walk pretty far or got to some pretty shady places, or places where I don't really want to have much gear on me. It's nice to know I have a flash incase the weather or lighting changes unexpectedly. I live in Seattle, so there is always a good chance of extreme weather changes that mess with the lighting. The sun could all of the sudden burst through a cloudy day, be at high noon, while we are in a place of no cover. The high sun and the ugly shadows it can bring with it on peoples faces, can be countered a little but with the pop up flash on the camera (Just enough to lighten the shadows up a bit).
    2. Ordinary night portraits (not the creative stuff) - Since the D700 has good low light capability, I don't really need a powerful flash all of the time. It would really need to be pitch black dark for it to be to weak. It works great when I am doing night portraits where I only need the flash to be able to reach about 5-10 feet in front of me to light up people's faces and shoulders. I rarely use flash at full power anyways, I like to have a good balance of ambient light. Today's High ISO cameras makes having a powerful flash not as important. The times I do need full power flash, are when I am using the flash/flashes off camera with pocket wizards anyways and I manually set power. The popup flash helps bring a little light to people's faces in the dark situations where there is lighting, but its just not hitting people's faces.
    3. Peace of mind - knowing, if for some reason my main flashes die, and I don't have my backups with me, I still have my popup option. As a wedding photographer, you can never have too many backups or options. The environment and lighting can change very quickly.
    4. Controlling remotes flashes on camera in unexpected situations - sometimes I only need one off camera flash, and sometimes the need is not always prepared for. For example, I could be in an engagement session where I just have to have a shot with an off camera flash. I didn't lug around my pocket wizards, only brought one flash, so what am I to do? I really want to, say, place the strobe behind the couple or to the upper right or left of them, so what do I do? With the popip flash, I have the option to use the commander function (not sure what its called in Canon terms, but I believe the 7d has the same thing) I can control all my TTL/ power for off camera flash functions via the camera, and use my one flash off camera in conjuction with my pop up flash. I've gotten some nice off camera lit stuff like this.
    5. To the naysayers about weight and durability - It adds negligible weight! As far as water - Living in Seattle it rains often and unexpectedly sometimes, my D700 has served me well in some pretty heavy rain. Never has the popup flash caused water to leak in and kill the camera. In the situations I would worry about this, I would not take the camera out of the bag anyways, and I doubt people would want to be photographed in a torrential downpour.
    6. Macro - there have been times I used the popup to shoot some details or people's rings. I took off the on camera flash because when bouncing the flash, because there was too much stuff on the ceiling so I was getting cast shadows. The reflection off of a diamond ring, sometimes looks better with the popup flash unbelievably. It doesn't always look better, but depending on the environment and lighting, sometimes it does.
    7. options are nice - power windows on a car nice? do you need them? No, but I'm guessing your car has them =).
    Ok I don't think I've ever written this much in awhile lol. Hope this helps people convert the the popup flash camp side.
  68. Some of these responses are REALLY funny. Come on, a pop up flash is not intended to totally replace a real flash unit. It also won't compromise the camera if engineered correctly, I really doubt it will get in the way of anything or come on when you don't want it. And yes, a lot of times it will help on a sunny day when you have strong shadows on peoples faces, no not all the time, but they are better than nothing. I did some event photography recently and forgot my flash, I had to spend some time in photoshop to try and over come the shadows. May not have had to do that if I had a pop up flash.
    I just love the idea that the dividing line between professional and consumer is a pop up flash. Like no one could use the d700 or 7d professionally. Or is it that some can't figure out how to make use of a pop up flash?
  69. FOR! I expect a 7D-style pop-up flash (control external flash units, with OR without light from the camera flash) on any new body I might buy from Canon! I missed its occasional functionality on the 5D compared to my 20D. The 5D2 was a Pass for me, for many reasons. The 7D is just right for providing this feature at this time.
    I no longer want to remember to pack the ST-E2, or spend several hundred dollars to plop a full Speedlite in the hotshoe simply to trigger an external light, or buy PWs and other stuff. I'll pay Canon an extra $100 for including both the flash and external flash control in the next FF body. The $300-400 extra for the 7D compared to the x0D-line bodies was well worth the outlay.
    And I'll give them $10 more for a simple MLU-on-demand button! - End customer feedback.
  70. Well, thanks everyone for their comments.
    I think Charles Badua and Mat Brost hit the nail on the head for me.
    I just found that it was useful to add a little fill light and lift the shadows on a sunny day when I had nothing else.
    After all these comments I'm going to check out the 220/270 speedlite on a 5Dmk2 - thanks Tommy DiGiovanni for the photos. Yes, I know it is no 580 but if it's compact enough it might be just the ticket for me.
  71. I've never had one..................
  72. William Michael

    William Michael Moderator Staff Member

    ................................. you don't know what you are missing
  73. Hi William :)
    Well I think I do a little bit. Most of my lenses could cause a pop up problems though, either the pattern wouldn't go wide enough or the lens could cast a shadow, but, I have used a D700 and the pop up on that and it seemed to work well, then again Nikon flash generally does. I really like that the 7D pop up can trigger remote flashes, saves having that pesky ST-E2, if the pro bodies had that functionality over and above just the seldom used fill aspect then I am sure it would be more interesting to many who buy those kinds of cameras.
    Whilst some of the answers might have sounded elitist I think that could be a little unfair, I well understand why the 1 series cameras don't have them and the people who generally buy those bodies new don't have a desire for the feature, but I see no reason at all for the 5D and 5D MkII to not have them.
  74. William Michael

    William Michael Moderator Staff Member

    ". . .then again Nikon flash generally does . . ." That was well crafted into the reply :)

    On the pop up theme, though, I like to keep my view on it it simple - I would have used a PUF on my 5D at a few Weddings where I was a guest and strolling with my 5D and my 35 or 50 Prime – there are occasions I would have liked a bit of Flash fill for outside.

    But just like using tele-extenders - the PUF is simply “handy to have around”.

    And if you have one, it's good to learn how to use it and how to use it well. Even better to know the limitations, and to never assume the PUF (and tele-extenders) are same thing as having a 300F/2.8L, a large studio packed with Elinchrom Lighting Gear, three Assistants and a truck load of semi-clad and beautiful Models.

    By the same token, it is also good to learn how to use “P” – some say it is for P for Program Mode, but I kind of like telling the congregation’s Uncle Bob’s it is “P for Professional” – so I guess I won’t get to heaven telling pork pies . . .

    Take care Scott, it is always a pleasure to touch base with you.

    Have you played tele-extender surfing yet?
  75. The camera has such a could low light performance you won't need it and you shouldn't use it anyway as pop up flashes really kill an image.
  76. Julian, its very compact and light and while its obviously no 580 its better then nothing and much better then any pop up flash.
  77. Lazy engineering Hal? Gimme a break! Making the on-camera flash smaller and more powerful and more flexible (bounce/swivel) are conflicting requirements. Sure, there's always progress in miniaturizing components but there are some basic physics at work. More power means a larger flash cap. Period. There's no getting around it no matter how industrious the engineer is.
    Have you actually designed a camera? Didn't think so. I have... several (twenty four years in camera design at Kodak). Sure, they were much simpler than Canon's models but the same basic physics apply. Mechanisms require parts and parts require space.
    So we arrive at the beauty of having many models in the product line: the customer chooses the model with the best match to their particular requirements. A model with every possible desirable feature would require a truck to move and would be immediately condemned for costing too much.
    Getting back to the original question, I don't miss the on-camera flash at all when using my 5Dmk2. I hardly ever used it on the 20D, preferring to use the 580 EX or available light or studio flash or a variety of off-camera strobes. ANYTHING but that harsh, weak red-eye inducing pop-up. But that's just me.
  78. Nope. Don't miss pop-up flash on 5DMII. Matter of fact, never even used it on my 40D. I simply don't like the light pop-ups produce. Horrible!
  79. Allow me to quote myself, in context:
    Furthermore, that little bugger could be improved dramatically to really become a strongpoint on the camera, rather than ignoring it completely. This is lazy engineering, if you ask me, and complacency on the part of pro photogs.​
    "Lazy engineering" refers to omitting the flash entirely, rather than implementing it on pro cameras. I'm assuming there is some technical obstacle which they have, as yet, been unable to overcome. Several suggestions have been made already, such as weather-proofing, durability, reliability, and geometric interference. Now don't get smirky with me about who has more experience designing what, because that's not really relevant. I don't have to divulge my credentials to be able to give input on a design element. My input is just as relevant as anyone else's. I am a photographer, and that is what matters here. Plus, you don't want to get into the credentials game, because you will be surprised by who will trump you. There's always someone smarter than you.
    I have some suggestions on how to improve the PUF on each of the points I made above, and I am a little doubtful that it is truly impossible at this point in modern history to improve upon our current idea of what a pop-up-flash is capable of doing. For now, it sufficeth to say that they could be better.
    If it makes you feel any better, it was probably not an engineering decision to omit the flash altogether. This is more likely a marketing strategy or a sales decision; a result of market studies or cost/benefit analyses. My personal opinion is just that this is a carryover from the days before flash existed in a portable electronic form. High end cameras always didn't have flashes 30 years ago. They were introduced on cheap, consumer cameras in the 1980s, and just haven't trickled their way up to the top of the hill yet. There's no particular reason, it just hasn't been done yet. Some engineer might have brought up the question once, "Why don't we implement an improved flash on high-end cameras?" His boss probably said, "That would cost money, and we can sell the cameras just as well with no flash." Complacency. That's it. Complacency.
  80. There's a couple of points on which we can certainly agree. No doubt PUFs could be improved. The notions of increased power and control are excellent but what is the real cost in terms of price and size?
    I agree completely that the 5Dmk2 feature set was a marketing decision but I don't equate that with complacency. It's just the realities of the marketplace. Someone had to decide exactly which features would be included given a certain physical envelope and price point. It's possible that the inclusion of a powerful PUF in the 5Dmk2 would lift the price point so much that the sales estimates would drop considerably.
    Sure I take a burn when when you label the engineers as lazy. I've got no problem with being trumped with credentials but my reality is that I've been party to exactly these kinds of design tradeoffs.
  81. This thread surely was a stitch to read, depleted sherry glass in hand and the week's troubles beginning to drain into a hazy past. I have a 7D, and wouldn't trade my popup for your FF sensor. :-D (Well, maybe I can be talked into it after I've had a snort or two more.) Among the very best new features on the 7D is the wireless flash controller that optionally also provides on-camera fill. How cool is that? Eat your hearts out, Gentlemen. You would miss your popup too, if you had had one to start with.
  82. @Michael: Such a sweet and mellow post ........ and do I detect a hint of waspish humour? :))
  83. Prior to my 5D I had film camera with a pop up flash. Most of the time I shoot landscapes and most of the time I found the flash was not useful. The few times I tried it, it frequently didn't have enough power due to the aperture setting I needed to get the depth of field I wanted. There were only two times where I was able to use it, and it was just barely strong enough to do what I need. Later when I got a more powerful external flash I did use flash a little more, but over time flash photography more useful for pictures of friends and family than it was for landscapes.
    I have started to do some wildlife pictures in the last couple of years with a external flash on the 5D with its fare greater power is much more useful. However even with the more power I have run into limitations. Mainly flahs sync speed. A higher flash sync speed would have been very useful this year. 1/200 was too slow due to subject motion and high speed sync setting on the flash reduced the power too much. A pop up flash would have been totally useless.
    Additionally of all of the 3 cameras I have owned (1 manual film SLR without a flash, film SLRs with flash, and the 5D) I have had only one develope a problem, the pop up flash failed.
  84. df


    I have a 50D. Whenever I shoot a social event I always use my stroboframe bracket and speedlite with great results. However, I was recently in the City for fun, and to attend a friends suprise birthday party. Friday night. We'd planned this trip months in advance and I forgot I was supposed to be the photographer. I got a reminder on Friday evening that I was supposed to shoot the event. I forgot to bring my bracket and flash and the only lenses I had were my 17-40 and 70-200 f4 which I didn't think would work with the pop up. B&H and Adorama were closed so I went to three Mid Town camera rip off stores and tried to negotiate a fair price. Saturday morning I found Camera Land at 575 Lexington and a fair price. I got great pics at the party, photo shop took care of the red eyes, and my story had a happy ending.
    Better a pop-up than no flash (even though the AF assist is a nuisance), a thank goodness for Camera Land.
  85. @Steven, the flash itself is much faster than the shutter, on the order of 1/10000 second or less, and easily freezes motion. High speed sync is more usually used to balance fill flash in very bright ambient conditions. (I have't found any other use for it.)
    There's little question that the 580EX is better than any popup. At $450 each, it had better be! What might be useful at times is getting it off the camera, perhaps placing it closer to the subject or ambush site, and triggering remotely. If the 5D had a popup, a firmware change might have been all it would take to give it a remote trigger, like the 7D's.
  86. @Steven, the flash itself is much faster than the shutter, on the order of 1/10000 second or less, and easily freezes motion.​
    At low power settings the 430EX or the 580EX will be that fast. However at higher powers the flash pulse gets longer. Using my old hobby electronics kit I was able to measure the flash pulse of a 430EX and 580EX flash at full power. The pulse was a little longer than the shutter speed of 1/200 which is may cameras sync speed. Cutting the flash power reduces the length of time the flash is emitting light.
    I was trying to take a picture of a tree swallow just before it landed on a bird house. They are extremely fast birds. At 1/200 of a second and the ambient light there was too much motion blur. Without a flash the color of the feathers were black instead of green. At high speed sync function of the flash cut the range to much forcing me to increase the iso. The birds were too fast for auto focus so I had to manually focus and narrow the aperture to get enough depth of field to insure the birds were in the shot. I had a lot of things working against each other. While I eventually did get a decent shot it was more luck than anything else. I was lucky to hit the flash just at about the same time the bird came to a near hover.
  87. The pulse was a little longer than the shutter speed of 1/200 which is may cameras sync speed.​
    With all due respect, I think I see the disconnecct. No, the flash duration is not 1/200 second. The specified sync speed is the time required for the first shutter curtain to fully open, the flash fired and then quenched of useful light, and only then the second shutter curtain released. This is the 1/200 second sync speed you specified. Anything faster will leave a partial shadow of the second curtain.
    The motion blur in your shot is caused by the bright background, not a slow flash. Faster shutter even with high speed sync will not cure it without darkening the background, since you say you are constrained by DoF and noise considerations. As I said before, high speed sync is useful for fill in bright ambient conditions, which this is. The blue sky in your background will have metered between EV 11 to 12, from my experience. (Sunny-16 is EV 15, to relate that to more common measure.) Anyway, since the flash is not the problem, a better flash also won't cure it. If anything, the fill is a stop or more hot in my opinion, and the blur adds to rather than detract from the image.
  88. With all due respect, I think I see the disconnect. No, the flash duration is not 1/200 second. The specified sync speed is the time required for the first shutter curtain to fully open, the flash fired and then quenched of useful light, and only then the second shutter curtain released. This is the 1/200 second sync speed you specified. Anything faster will leave a partial shadow of the second curtain.​
    I am well aware of what flash sync speed is. But the flash is not always 1/10000 second. You might want to look at this web site (data similar to what I got is posted below). At full power Canon flashes put out a long pulse of light that is equivalent of a shutter speed of 1/175 second. Not a short pulse like most people believe. In the linked site you will find this data which is fairly close to what I had (my measurements agree at full power but I didn't see 1/1000 of a second until the 1/4 power setting. I didn't get accurate measurements at 1/16 power or lower (a limitation of my sensor).
    580EXII -- Distance from Flash to Sensor: 2 feet
    1/128 power = 1/10714 seconds Flash Duration
    1/64 power = 1/7894 seconds
    1/32 power = 1/5464 seconds
    1/16 power = 1/3785 seconds
    1/8 power = 1/2650 seconds
    1/4 power = 1/1716 seconds
    1/2 power = 1/1017 seconds
    Full power = 1/177 seconds
    If anything, the fill is a stop or more hot in my opinion, and the blur adds to rather than detract from the image.​
    The blur in the wings is fine. My problem was blur in head of the bird which is not in this picture.
  89. Knowing the definition of sync speed, do you still find the 1/177 second flash duration reasonable and meaningful? I'm trying to recall if I ever shot at full manual power and noticed that it looked no different from 1/2 power. Should be easy enough to test...
    Short of scrimming the sky with your own colored background and lighting it yourself, this really isn't a question of the flash. Agreed? You'll have to choose which to give up: background exposure, noise, or DoF.
  90. Michael,
    Steven is 100% correct and some 5D MkII's don't sync a 1/200.
  91. So now the camera body is slow, too, and that somehow explains the flash duration. Is it too much to say that the less than rigorous measurement that came up with 1/177 second measured something other than flash duration? Sheesh. Forget it guys. I'm over my head in this stuff.
  92. William Michael

    William Michael Moderator Staff Member

    "I'm trying to recall if I ever shot at full manual power and noticed that it looked no different from 1/2 power. Should be easy enough to test... this really isn't a question of the flash. Agreed?"
    I haven't read all the dialogue between you two guys, and I dunno specifically about the 5DMkII + 580EXMkII combination:
    BUT there are Camera Mount Flash units where the Flash Duration is LONGER than the Camera's (advertised) "Flash Sync Speed".
    Pro Wedding Photographers and Photo-Journalists (newspaper - a dying breed), both often use Flash Fill in daylight, in manual mode where the Flash POWER is "FULL".
    This "Full Power" anomaly is common knowledge amongst these pros - at least the ones I know. - "the tell” is: under exposure banding (I guess that Strobist link will have examples).
    Flash Power is not technically a "power" thing like we think of "Power" in a scientific sense - it is a TIME thing - as described above (again I dunno if the times are correct - I have never tested it) - but I am ALWAYS careful when using MANUAL + FULL power – ALWAYS with ANY FLASH unit.
    Also note that the "advertised" Flash sync speed for most cameras can be thrown right out the window when using studio Flash units - for example I use 1/160s or slower with my 5D when using my Elinchrom gear - ALWAYS.
    Hidden in the notes section of most Canon DSLR user manuals is a warning regarding this fact - the Icon for "notes" is a little piece of paper with writing found at the bottom of the page.
    So I dunno if you want to refer to these situations as "a question of the flash" or not - but it is a question of getting a saleable picture - or a dud.
    So the point is, assuming that the advertised Flash Sync is OK to go in all circumstances can lead to egg on face.
  93. OMG! :) :) ...the OP just asked a simple question about no pop-up flash on the 5D series...... (OK, is 99% about the study/application of light. Flash has a lot to do with it, so a few tangents are expected.) Proceed.
  94. I tested my 430EX II and 7D, and posted the results in a new thread,
  95. My friend has a 5D Mk II, and I used it in parties and family reunions, holiday snaps, as you call it, in very poor light conditions, without flash, only using it on very high ISO, and the pictures were excellent, much better than my 40D, with his pop up flash.I would not hesitate buying the 5D.
  96. I just switched from the 40D to the 5D Mk II. I was thinking about it before the upgrade, and I hardly ever used the pop-up flash. I shoot people, and I don't like the look from the pop-up flash indoors on skin tones. I am sure better photographers than I can make it work, possibly in post-production, but it just doesn't work for me. I'd rather push the ISO or pop on the 580EX. In fact, when the 40D was sitting around, it had the 580EX semi-permanently attached.
    That said, if I had been offered the choice of 5D Mk II with or without PUF for the same price, I'd have chosen to have it. For travel when I don't think I'll need flash, but don't want to be without it, I'm thinking of getting the 270EX. Its easy to slip into any camera bag, maybe even a pocket.
  97. Meant to say, with the ISO performance of the 5D Mk II, its even easier to resist using pop-up flash. :)

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