My Canon Speedlite 540EZ is now officially a dinosaur. I’d suspected as much a few months ago when I went to use it with my EOS300D and nothing happened. That is, the pilot button on the back would fire the flash when charged, but the camera wouldn’t. It was the first time I’d attempted to use it with the digital body, and (stupidly) I’d not tried it out before going somewhere where I really needed it. So I had to manage, and vowed to test it again soon.
Various factors made me forget to do so, until yesterday, when I remembered to try it again. The same result. At least in all the auto/semi-auto modes I tried. I didn’t have a huge amount of time to play further and have not tried full manual yet. But I’ve just googled for compatability issues between the two, and it seems it’s never going to work any better than in full manual mode. I have to set the shutter speed, aperture and flash power all by hand. Damn.
At first, I thought it was just Canon’s sneaky marketing scam to get you to buy a new flash for the sake of it, but reading a couple of articles has tempered my cynicism a little. Steve Dunn (4th post down) explains here why it won’t work in any mode except manual. Basically, its an old flash which only understands TTL or A-TTL metering which relied on measuring the light reflected off the film during exposure. And of coures, digital doesn’t have any!
So it looks like I’ll have to think about buying new flash gun if I want to use fully automatic metering. I’m wondering whether to bother, bearing in mind how often I actually use a flash. And with the abililty to change ISO rating on a per-frame basis with digital, plus a half-decent image-stabilised lens, the occasions I’ll need it are probably diminishing.