Using Off Camera Flash on my Huawei P30 and iPhone 11 Pro

Discussion in 'Phone and Mobile' started by johnfantastic, Oct 21, 2020.

  1. For a long time, I have always wanted to make my camera of choice a smartphone, Mainly for the reason that it is easy to carry and Its very light. What has always prevented me is my style of photography uses off camera flashes with my DSLR and there is none available for the smartphone. When I read somewhere that Innovatronix has just released the CPFlash 550W and off camera flash for Android and ios smartphones, I decided to give it a try. After trying to learn everything about the product I finally gave it a try last month and purchased 3 CPFlash 550W OCF. Last weekend I finally had a chance to try it. :)

    As a backgrounder here are some of my DSLR (Canon ESO600) Shots using OCF.

    lores Pinoys love tocelebrate.jpg

    lores Igorot ritual.jpg

    lores cardona fishing.jpg

    Here are some shots I took of my model friend in a Barn . It was bright daylight inside the barn and my exposure was 1/250S ISO200 and Fixed Aperture of 1.7. Shot in Manual mode . I did a slight edit on the images in PhotoShop using burning and dodging only. No other tools were used. :)

    lores A030.jpg lores A040.jpg

    I think I underexposed the shot by more than 3 stops to prevent the ambient light from contributing to the image.

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    I also tried some day for night techniques by using the included magnetic gels in the package.

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    This is how it would look like if you take a straight shot with your smartphone without an Off Camera Flash.

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    I also borrowed my wife's iphone 11 Pro but realize that I am not very familiar with it. Shooting with the standard program mode of the iPhone built in Camera app sometimes results in weird Computational Photography Processing. I think the iphone program treats the sudden very bright burst of light as an anomaly.

    lores A090.jpg

    Luckily my wifes iPhone 11 has a downloaded Light Room App (free to download) and I used the app in manual mode and thinks were okay. But I am sure iPhone experts can do a much better job that I can . I apologize for this. I am not very familiar with using the iPhone, I just want to try it. :)

    lores A130 APC_0020.jpg

    I think with the new Innovatronix CPFlash 550W I can now use a smartphone for 95% of my photography needs. I will still be needing my DSLR for Sports and Wildlife Photography. So my DSLR will stay with me for a very long time. :)
  2. My photography styles involves a lot of low power off camera flash to enhance the lighting. Very difficult or technically not possible to achieve without multiple OCF . Now with the Innovatronix CPFLash 550W, I can migrate my work to the smartphone.

    Here is a shot I took way back 2010 . I used an EOS400D .
    technical specs: 1/30 sec. f/7.1 10mm with 4 yongnuo OCF speedlites

    lores Bagmakers.jpg
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  3. Last edited: Oct 22, 2020
    mikemorrell and gogoshayne like this.
  4. Here is another DSLR shot with multiple OCF Flash. I loved using small portable low power external flashes for my shoot. I will be trying to retake similar shots with my Huawei P30 and my external flashes CPFlash 550W. :)

    lores Kapurpurawan.jpg
    Ludmilla likes this.
  5. John, thanks for these posts, some great photos. A quick technical question; what apparatus do you use for working with multiple flashes when using your phone? Could you post a photo of the ‘rig’
  6. Good morning Ludmilla,

    I used the Innovatronix CPFlash 550W external flash. I think its a new product and was just released March 2020. I have to wait a little while until reviews came out before I took the plunge and bought 3 units.

    I have wanted to migrate to smartphone photography for a long time as I am not getting any younger and my osteoporosis is getting worst. My doctor has told be not to carry heavy loads anymore. My problem is my style of Photography almost always uses external flashes hidden somewhere in the photo to highlight portions of the image. Whether it is inside a lamp or behind an object, its there. The results are visible but the external flashes are not. I have tried the GODOX A1, But it is very limited because it can only sync with your smartphone at 1/25S or less. Even during late afternoons, I still get a shutter speed of 1/400S with my Huawei P30 at an ISO of 50.

    Until the CPFlash 550W, there was no suitable High power External Flash available for the smartphone. There is a technical reason why the traditional xenon bulb flash use in photography does not work with the current smartphones. It is because smartphones, line scan the image not allowing you to take shots at shutter speeds higher than 1/25S. It is akin to the sync speed limit of the SLR because of the shutter curtain.

    Here is my gear. Its actually a tri-function flash. It works with your smartphones, android or ios, DSLR, mirrorless and it is also a video light (20W only) with 8 video special effects. I have not tried the video light effects as I don't do videos. But I have tried using the CPFlash with my DSLR and it works very well too.

    I grabbed this photo of the CPFLash 550W from the internet. BTW the 550W is a continuous light source . It is NOT 550W-S rating of like a real Studio Flash. Based on my experience, the CPFLash is similar in power output as my Canon 580EX. More than enough power for my smartphone Flash. I usually set the power output to a maximum of 30% during an actual shoot. Each CPFlash unit can either be set as a master or slave, The smartphone app can control all the settings of your master cpflash and up to 4 individual slave units. :)

    Here is the link to innovatronix shopify page:

    CPFlash 550W Off-Camera Smartphone Flash (Patent Numbers : 2-2016-000506, 2-2016-000842, 2-2016-000505)

    Here is a grab photo of the CPFlash. It comes almost complete with accessories. With a Hot shoe trigger for your DSLR or mirrorless camera. It also comes with a smartphone camera trigger (handy for iPhones) and 6 magnetic filters. The size of the head is almost the same as a standard speedlite so any accessory that you have with your speedlite will mate with your CPFlash. The App is also very intuitive and easy to use. I learned it in less than 10 minutes flat.


    Last edited: Oct 26, 2020
  7. I just discovered this youtube video today. Although I don't really do videos, It is nice to know that my smartphone external flash is capable of video lighting effects. :)

  8. I'm new here. Great thread John. I'm also into mobile photography nowadays. I'm actually curious about the lighting gear you used in your photos. How was it connected to your phone?
    johnfantastic likes this.
  9. Hello Gogoshayne,

    I used a huawei P30 and 3 Innovatronix CPFlash 550W as external flashes.
    Each Flash can either be set as master or slave. If it is set as master it will communicate with your smartphone via bluetooth. If we set it as a slave, it will communicate with the master CPFlash via radio. :)

    gogoshayne likes this.
  10. I am not a profesional photographer, neither do I do a lot of Wildlife or Sports Photography and I don't print images larger than A3+ (13"x19"). So instead of spending more than 4000$ on a new mirrorless and a variety of lenses I decided to use my smartphone. For my needs a smartphone is better for me than an ILC as I can carry it anytime without the bulk. :)

    Here is my latest shoot in a studio using a Huawei P30 smartphone and 4 Innovatronix CPFlash 550W external flash. My interest in photography has definitely returned thanks to the smartphones. :)

    lores IMG_20201119_144420.jpg
  11. Hi John

    Do you use your smartphone and flash equipment out of the studio, say around town?
    johnfantastic likes this.
  12. Hello Ludmilla,

    Yes, actually I use it a lot when I do travel photography, but travel is pretty much restricted right now so I have t content myself with doing it in a studio. Here is another shot i took yesterday. Again with my P30 Pro ang 2 CPFlashes. :)

    One Cpflash, I positioned on the left and used as a hairlight. The other CPFlash was use for a sidelighted main light. :)

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  13. Here is a shot I took in a Bazaar with a friend with a single CPFlash 550W used as a harlight. It is easy to use. It took me less than 3 minutes to set-up this shot. :)

    lores IMG_20201119_165316.jpg
  14. Thank you for this info John. I actually have a love-hate relationship with Bluetooth connection. How was the pairing and connection? Thanks!
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  15. bluetooth pairing is seamless and lightning fast. Connects in less than 1 second. It is compatible to all types of Bluetootth connection from 3.0 to 6.0
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  16. this is a beautiful shot. I also happened to own a Huawei phone but a different model. I usually use it to take snapshots during my travel.
    johnfantastic likes this.
  17. Hello James,

    You can actually do a lot more with your smartphone now. Here is an HIPA award winninng shot taken with a smartphone, the very shallow depth of field is the result of computational photography. with a few keystrokes you can simulate the effects of a very large aperture lenses costing thousands of dollars, and you can control the amount of blurring to you liking. :)

    Photo not mine, grab from the HIPA website and shows how capable smartphones have gone. This is a very low resolution photo intended for internet viewing but I like this photo very much. Kodus to the Photographer . :)
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  18. Ooops I forgot to attached the photo. :)

  19. But it's LED no xenon flash.
  20. Hello Bebu,

    yes that the beauty of this flash. It gives a burst of intense light from 80ms to 500ms (user adjustable). This is the reason why it will synch with you smartphone, DSLR or mirrorless camera at any shutter speed. I have tested it with my smartphone and DSLR at shutter speeds of 1/10,000 S and it has no problems synching with both the smartphone and DSLR.

    There is also a technical reason why xenon bulbs will not synch with your smartphone above about 1/25 S. It has something to do about linear scanning of the image capture. That was the technical problem that was never solve by the Godox A1 until it was discontinued this year. It is also the same reason why no xenon bulb flash has ever been offered for a smartphone.

    Because it is LED it is rated for about 50,000 hours or probably tens of millions of flash burst, compare this with a xenon bulb which is rated to fire about 20,000 times before it gets busted and its power is equivalent to a light output of a Canon 580EX or a nikon SB900 or Yongnou or Godox speedlights if you use it with an DSLR . The equivalent guide number is about 190' or 58meters at 105mm angle of view or an equivalent of about 60WS.

    Here is a youtube video review of a famous photographer Davin Lavikka of the CPFlash 550W. It is very informative. :)

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