Flash Advice

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  • Neut 29 Jun 2010 15:05:51 380 posts
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    So I've been planning to get a flash for a while now. I've got no experience whatsoever with flash photography so was hoping to get one to learn the ropes basically. I've got a Canon and am looking at getting either the 430EX II or the Nissin Di622.

    From my quick google based research I've learned that the Nissin is cheaper, has a top that swivels (yay) and can be set off wirelessly by using the camera's built in flash as a master or something? The 430EX II, on the other hand, apparently has better build quality and a faster .. uh.. sync speed?

    I guess this is something that I'll want to keep around, so I'm ok with spending slightly more on a better build quality, but on the other hand I'm not really sure if I'll end up using it often enough or to such a degree that I need the extra cost/features. So fellow EG photopeeps who have way more experience with these things, any opinions?
  • mal 29 Jun 2010 15:46:16 22,328 posts
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    According to Amazon the 430EXII swivels as well. Wireless flash might occasionally be useful, but otherwise it looks like you're just paying for brand and build quality. Build quality's worth bearing in mind, seeing as they stick out the top of your camera and can be liable to the odd bump.

    Cubby didn't know how to turn off sigs!

  • Nth 29 Jun 2010 16:01:09 3,118 posts
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    I have that 430 and it does indeed swivel and tilt. Very well made. I added wireless ability with a little 20 widget off ebay.
  • mal 29 Jun 2010 16:21:35 22,328 posts
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    Is that full E-TTL wireless, or just remote trigger?

    Cubby didn't know how to turn off sigs!

  • Neut 29 Jun 2010 17:22:26 380 posts
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    Cool cheers, yeh I'm leaning towards the 430 atm, figured I might as well splash out a tiny bit more for something I know most people are happy with, in other words - brand.
  • Jackface 29 Jun 2010 17:28:29 3,736 posts
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    What do you plan to use it for? Sticking on top of your camera? Or also dabbling in off-camera flash lighting? I'd get the Canon one, personally, as it's the most likely to work best with your Canon camera and will have excellent build quality. But if the other one can be triggered wirelessly from your camera's own flash, that's a good feature.

    Sync speed is to do with being able to shoot a really fast shutter speed on the camera, and the flash still be able to pump enough light into the scene in that split second to light it. Most of the time cameras default to 1/60th of a second when they are told there's a flash being used, but if you shoot manual (which is recommended for really nice off-camera flash lighting) you can push the shutter up faster and most of the time once you pass around 1/125th of a second the flash willstart to make less and less impact on the scene. The Canon flash will probably let you push the shutter up to about 1/250th of a second.
  • jonsaan 29 Jun 2010 17:30:01 25,326 posts
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    Do you remember when paedos were called Flashers?

    Happy days:)

    FCUTA!

  • Jackface 29 Jun 2010 17:30:36 3,736 posts
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    I believe the word 'strobe' is favoured by flash users these days ;)
  • ram 29 Jun 2010 17:32:40 3,471 posts
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    If you can get the 580ex (not the newer 580ex mkII) for a similar price as the 430exII (might be unlikely, I haven't checked) then I'd go for that. It is significantly more powerful than the 430 and hence more useful and better images.
  • ram 29 Jun 2010 17:35:50 3,471 posts
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    ah ignore what I said, I can't find hardly any of the older 580ex's for sale and the ones that are about 100 more.
  • Neut 29 Jun 2010 17:51:36 380 posts
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    Jackface wrote:
    What do you plan to use it for? Sticking on top of your camera? Or also dabbling in off-camera flash lighting? I'd get the Canon one, personally, as it's the most likely to work best with your Canon camera and will have excellent build quality. But if the other one can be triggered wirelessly from your camera's own flash, that's a good feature.

    Sync speed is to do with being able to shoot a really fast shutter speed on the camera, and the flash still be able to pump enough light into the scene in that split second to light it. Most of the time cameras default to 1/60th of a second when they are told there's a flash being used, but if you shoot manual (which is recommended for really nice off-camera flash lighting) you can push the shutter up faster and most of the time once you pass around 1/125th of a second the flash willstart to make less and less impact on the scene. The Canon flash will probably let you push the shutter up to about 1/250th of a second.

    Probably just sticking it on top of my camera for now, like I said I've never done much shooting with flash so I'm just trying to teach myself things, I might eventually dabble with off camera stuff but I'll think about that when I get to it.

    Ah thanks for explanation, one thing I was planning on trying was fill flash for daytime portraits so I'm guessing the faster sync speed would be pretty helpful.

    @ram: Yeh I think the 580EX is a bit more than what I'm looking for ;)
  • Jackface 29 Jun 2010 17:59:48 3,736 posts
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    It's sooooooooooo ridiculously easy to make absolutely stunning photos with a flash that's been taken off your camera and triggered wirelessly that you should definitely have a go at that. By all means keep it on top of your camera while you learn what the controls do but I fully recommend getting it off the camera and trying a bit of 'strobist' technique as soon as possible.

    Visit strobist.blogspot.com and read Lighting 101 and don't be daunted, it's a piece of piss and the effects are stunning :)
  • Neut 29 Jun 2010 18:07:55 380 posts
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    Whoo blocked, gotta love this country! :(
  • Jackface 29 Jun 2010 18:19:06 3,736 posts
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    What country?
  • Neut 29 Jun 2010 18:40:33 380 posts
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    China
  • Spin_Dr_Wolf 30 Jun 2010 12:57:09 6,170 posts
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    Just to chuck in a bit more info in case it helps :

    Flash sync speed has nothing to do with the flash, that is a variable that is limited by the camera, and is the fastest shutter speed where you will get a whole image with flash (its to do with how the shutter works). So ignore it's irrelevant for selecting a flashgun.

    If your completely clueless on flash and have no intention whatsoever of taking it off the camera then get the 430EX as you will be able to utilise the ETTL to help you learn and get decent results fast, i have one and its a rather nice flash.

    If however your likely to start experimenting with off camera flash soon think about the Nissin, simply as it has a slave function. Which means it has a light sensor and it will fire if it detects a burst of light ie, your on camera flash (or another off camera flash if you multiple flash guns) and fire at the same time.

    However the slave function will not allow you to use ETTL, but the Nissin will do ETTL on camera i've just realised after googling it so scratch my first point.
    You can as Nth said get some pretty cheap wireless flash triggers off ebay, i've also got some, but they won't do ETTL either (sorry Mal, gotta buy the ST-E2 Canon IR trigger for off camera ETTL, but don't expect it to work in bright sunshine i'm told).

    So there's very little in it tbh. The recycle time for the Nissin sounds slow to me though, my 430EX does not take 4 seconds, unless the batteries are running flat.

    Off camera flash is definately something to start playing with, but on camera flash can be pretty cool too.
  • Jackface 30 Jun 2010 13:42:15 3,736 posts
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    Neut wrote:
    China
    China clearly doesn't want you using your creativity to take nicely lit photos. Fucking Chinese Government. I pity anyone born there. Why you'd go there of your own free will to live I have no idea.
  • Willbow 16 Jul 2010 04:21:38 12 posts
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    I purchased the 580EXII a few months ago for my canon 1000D ( I do nightclub photography) it's one great piece of kit, but set me back 350! but well worth it, if you're serious about the hobby. I even use it in the day! Makes such a difference!
  • Jackface 16 Jul 2010 05:52:21 3,736 posts
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    Out of interest, with the nightclub work do you get much chance to do some fun stuff with the flash or is mainly for close up lighting of faces?
  • Willbow 16 Jul 2010 14:46:09 12 posts
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    It's half and half, promoters want pictures of groups of girls most the time, but I like to experiment, I play with the shutter speed and flash speed most the time, you can get some really good effects, the best if using my flash to really catch the lights, for example green lasers from lighting, with my 580 you can really get the green light, but without making it to bright, the settings on the 580 are fantastic. But the older versions, for example 580EX (not to be confused with the 580EXII) you can't do it.
  • boo 17 Sep 2010 15:15:28 11,702 posts
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    Quick question, photo gurus.

    I'm taking some photos of a band tonight, partly for them, mostly just for a bit of practice for me. I'd usually use the onboard flash, but that isn't much use for anything beyond a couple of feet, so I've dug my Canon 420 EX out. It was a present some years ago, and I've never used it.

    At it's simplest, is it just a case of switching it on, giving it time to charge between shots and then shooting (other than the tilt & twist business)?

    There's a Group - A B C button, a CH 1 2 3 4 button, which I must confess I don't know a thing about (stupidly left the flash manual on the kitchen table this morning).

    The other switch (which switches between a green circle and a {flash symbol}H) is the wireless thing (I think). I'm not using it off-camera, so I guess it stays on green circle?

    There's also a OFF/SLAVE switch - that stays at OFF I think.

    It's not the end of the world if none of the pictures come out, but I'd hate to mess up a batch just because I'd done something stupid (like not read the manual...)

    Just Another Lego Blog

  • boo 17 Sep 2010 15:23:32 11,702 posts
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    Not to worry - found a manual online. Think I'll be able to bodge my way through a few pictures.

    Just Another Lego Blog

  • mal 17 Sep 2010 15:32:38 22,328 posts
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    The group and channel stuff is all for off-camera as well, I suspect. Not sure what the other switch is for though.

    Cubby didn't know how to turn off sigs!

  • boo 17 Sep 2010 15:44:32 11,702 posts
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    Apparently the green circle / flash H is high-speed sync.
    Basically I just leave all the switches alone as the flash appears to be considerably smarter than me.

    Just Another Lego Blog

  • bauhaus 17 Sep 2010 15:54:08 3,511 posts
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    Off/slave switch is if you want to set it so it will be triggered (optically) by other strobes.

    usefull when you`re getting a bit creative with the thing, you can take the flash off camera, if you camera has onboard flash you can power that right down and it will (a) make that strobe go off and (b) put a some highlights into the eyes of your subject

    etc
  • angeltreats 21 Feb 2011 17:28:42 2,602 posts
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    Old thread bumpage.

    I'm toying with the idea of buying a flash, because I've started a food blog and it's very hard to take photos of food in natural light when there isn't any natural light :)

    Trouble is, I have pretty much no money, and I know nothing about flash. So whatever I would buy, it would have to be dirt cheap. Is it even worth bothering with a flash that would cost peanuts, and if so does anyone have any recommendations?

    Oops, meant to say I have a Nikon D80.
  • billythekid 21 Feb 2011 17:43:17 11,012 posts
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    You might be better off with one of those little light tents tbh. They help to create a non directional light source avoiding unsightly shadows that could ruin a shot of a plate of food.
    Not very expensive either iirc.
  • mal 21 Feb 2011 17:55:02 22,328 posts
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    Or you could get a second hand or third party flash, perhaps. For studio shooting you've got the time to dial the power up and down if you need to, so don't need to rely on the TTL flash system the D80's got. However, I'd say a light tent or something is probably a better investment, as without a Nikon flashgun or an additional flash extender lead, you're stuck with the flash on top of the camera, and while you can do bounce flash with many cheap flashes, it's a lot of faff.

    I'd go for a light tent, a sheet of paper and a rubber band to try to deflect the glare off the in-built flash if I were you.

    Cubby didn't know how to turn off sigs!

  • angeltreats 21 Feb 2011 18:51:39 2,602 posts
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    So like this type of thing? With a couple of little table lamps or just with the D80's flash?

    Oh and what's the rubber band for?
  • Deleted user 21 February 2011 19:52:39
    I'd recommend a swivel head flash, myself I'm using an ancient SB-80DX. It's much more flexible, all you need is a white ceiling or a wall to bounce that flash off into your food. :)

    BTW, if the blog can do fine with 800x600 or less images, you may consider using high ISO and existing light, thus there's no need for a flash.

    The camera flash is crap although it's worth diminishing its power as much as you can (flash compensation-3EV is the least I think) and try shooting flash on. The lack of shadows and general flatness of the image will be another matter though, esp. if the flash is the main source of light.
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