Problem with Canon T1i (500D) Busy Signal / Flash Recharge

Discussion in 'Canon EOS' started by karen_mackay, Apr 15, 2010.

  1. Hi - I am new to this forum and to DSLR photography in general but very interested in pursuing this new hobby. I purchased the Canon T1i in October 2009.
    Lately I have noticed that the camera will "lock up" when I am in the middle of shooting. This usually occurs after approximately 10 shots. It says "busy" and will stay that way for a good 10-15 seconds. It is only when using the flash but it occurs in both well lit and poorly lit situations. I am still really new to photography so I do most of my shooting in auto or creative auto right now (embarrassing, I know) and I am shooting L images (not RAW which I understand can take longer to process).
    I am also using a SD Extreme III Card with 8GB.
    I will admit that my son dropped the camera once, about 20 inches off a coffee table onto a hardwood floor. I didn't notice this "busy" problem before the drop, so do you think that could've done something to the flash?
    Would my best bet be to send it to Canon for evaluation? Or would a Speedlite solve my problem?
    I brought it to Best Buy (where I purchased it) and they said it is a feature of the camera. How can my tiny point and shoot be faster than this DSLR? Thank you in advance for any help / advice you may have.
  2. Can you be more clear on where it says "busy"? Are you shooting in burst mode (multiple shots)?
    Even then an 8gb card should be able to keep up in jpeg mode.
    Try a new/different CF card. Make sure you format the card IN CAMERA and see if perhaps that helps. The card may have an issue or be corrupted slowing down the read/write speed.
    Take it to a local camera store where the staff is more knowledgeable and can asses whether its working correctly or not. I doubt it has anything to do with the flash.
    If they think there is an issue, I would insist BB send it for repair or contact Canon directly.
  3. Thanks so much for your response Mark. No, I am not shooting in burst mode. It says "busy" in the lower left hand side of the viewfinder and it has a flash symbol next to it, that's why I assumed it was the flash.
    I did try a different CF card (a 4GB SD II card that was sold to me with my camera by the salesman at Best Buy) and the delay is just as long with that card.
    I do have a local camera store nearby and I will give them a shot - I was just worried about bringing it in there because I didn't purchase there. BB made it seem like it was a "feature" of the camera, but how could that be? I thought the purpose of a SLR was fast continuous shooting?
    Thanks for your response and suggestions!
  4. I don't have that camera, but when I look at the manual on page 62, that symbol means the flash is recycling. It's possible that after 10-15 flashes the capacitor runs out of juice and need to recycle. The manual also says the recycle time is only 3 seconds so 10 sec is way too long. Do you have fresh batteries?
    If battery is good, I would have Canon check it, they have an efficient system to arrange pickup. Deal directly with Canon not thru BB, since you're out of return period.
    Go to and follow the link.
    Good luck.
  5. If I'm not mistaken, and if your firing of several shots in a row with flash,
    it's a high temperature thing, and it will say busy until it cools down to
    safe(er) levels.
  6. Karen, I think that's pretty normal for some but not all Rebels. The reviews don't usually don't mention it (though you'll find some reports if you Google "Rebel slow flash recycle"). But my own 450D flash locks up with a long Busy signal before even 10 shots are taken in quick succession. My new 550D shoots 25-30 flash pictures in fairly quick succession (i.e., more than 1 frame per second) before it gives me 9-second lockups after each successive exposure (I've never owned a 500D), although the 550D does give a less-than-1-second long Busy alert after each exposure almost from exposure #1 of those 25-30.
    With the 450D, I usually work around the Busy signal by pausing two seconds or so between shots, but even then it eventually stalls and makes me wait. I cannot figure out why this isn't a universal problem that other Rebel owners complain about: I use new, fully charged Canon batteries in the camera and I don't think my memory card speed is holding it up because there is no indication that the Busy signal is related to card writing.
    I'm sure you're not keen on buying a Speedlite, but one compact and affordable option would be the Canon 270EX ($150 including shipping at B&H). That would be more powerful than your built-in flash and also can do ceiling bounce, which is nice (I have one as well as several 500-series flashes). There are plenty of reviews to be found on the various Canon external flash options.
    But no, it has nothing to do with your son dropping the camera. The flash would either work or it wouldn't after a hit like that, but it wouldn't merely slow down.
  7. Thanks so much for your detailed response Ralph! Yes, I don't understand why more Rebel owners don't complain about this "feature". I did see this complaint sporadically on reviews of other Rebels, but never on the T1i specifically. I guess I am going to have to look into the Speedlite or the 270EX that you recommended.
  8. Why should people complain about this? Flash units generate a fair bit of heat, and can get quite hot if fired multiple times. Would you prefer that the flash unit burn out if you overdrive it?
  9. No NK, but I would prefer that the camera continued to shoot without the flash. I am missing some important shots of my son due to this "feature"!
  10. guess you shoulda gotten the Nikon or pentax or sony that doesn't pause to cool down the flash.....keeps going...untill you burn out the flash.......I've only had cameras come in a couple times while working in a camera store with this problem, but you can imagine how angry people were that we wouldn't take them back and Nikon would say it wasn't covered due to abuse.
  11. If you're worried about missing important shots, just flip the flash back down when the "busy" warning appears.

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