PhotoNotes Compatibility Lookup - Canon EOS 5D and Canon Speedlite 540EZ.
This page outlines compatibility information between the digital camera and flash unit that you specified. You can also look up more detailed specifications on the Canon Speedlite 540EZ if you like.
Dont forget that you can also consult my article on EOS flash photography if you want any of the terms or concepts here explained or elucidated.
This combination is not compatible. The camera does not have TTL flash metering technology but the flash unit requires it.
TTL flash metering relies on measuring light bouncing off the surface of film inside the camera, and a digital camera such as this obviously doesnt have film. The flash unit predates E-TTL technology and so relies on TTL (and A-TTL) automatic flash metering.
The flash unit will fire on some camera bodies if manual flash mode is set on the flash unit. However I dont have enough information as to which non-TTL camera bodies can trigger which TTL flash units so youll have to try it yourself. Generally EOS 1 series digital cameras can trigger older flash units in manual mode but two-digit digital cameras such as the D30 or 10D cant always. But it varies - my 10D, for example, can fire a 430EZ if the latter is in manual mode.
If you were to experiment with this approach note that its pretty inconvenient since you would need an external handheld flash meter or else just shoot at different settings and see what works.
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