External Flashes

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by Ja Di ksw, May 14, 2008.

  1. Ja Di ksw macrumors 65816

    Ja Di ksw

    Joined:
    Apr 9, 2003
    #1
    So, I finally decided to take a little more control of my lightning and I want to get a decent flash for my Canon 40D. However, I've never used lightning much, and I don't know much about what are some good flashes to get. Any help or suggestions people have would be more than appreciated, because right now I'm fairly in the dark (oh god, I just realized what a bad pun that could be).

    Here's what I'm working with:
    Canon 40D
    300mm f/4L IS
    28-135mm f/3.5-5.6 IS
    50mm f/1.8
    24mm f/1.4L

    I typically like to take close shots of cats/flowers/etc, some distance shots of birds/wildlife/etc, along with some action shots for martial arts/hockey/other sports, and normal shots of family and the life.

    Yes, I know that's a broad list :), sorry.
     
  2. JNB macrumors 604

    JNB

    Joined:
    Oct 7, 2004
    Location:
    In a Hell predominately of my own making
    #2
    I've got the Canon 430EX, and couldn't be happier with it. I just needed to learn to trust the camera/flash combo, and let it do its thing naturally. Really great piece of kit. the 580 is even better, but I didn't want to spend the extra $$ up front, and if I transition to it later, the 430 can be slaved to it easily.
     
  3. Lovesong macrumors 65816

    Lovesong

    Joined:
    Sep 15, 2006
    Location:
    Stuck beween a rock and a hard place
    #3
    Like JohnNotBeatle said the 430 and 580 are probably a good starting point. I have both, having purchased the 430 recently as a slave. The 580 is beefier, with more range and better controls. The 430 is a smaller, lighter (as well as cheaper) version of the 580, but it can't be used as a master flash.
     
  4. ChrisA macrumors G4

    Joined:
    Jan 5, 2006
    Location:
    Redondo Beach, California
    #4
    Flash and a 300mm lens don't go well together. Few flashes have the power to light up a distant subject.

    For your people shots you'd be bouncing the light off the ceiling or wall and a Canon dedicated TTL speedlight would be ideal. For close up work you wil likely want to remove the flash from the camera and use a sync cord so that you can control the angle of the light. Automation d not as helpfull here because you are setting up the shot and have a few seconds to think. You will likey want to use the flash both on and off camera and for on camera work you will want a unit that allows you to fire it backwards and light up a back wall or ceiling or side wall.
     
  5. compuwar macrumors 601

    compuwar

    Joined:
    Oct 5, 2006
    Location:
    Northern/Central VA
    #5
    If you haven't already go to strobist.blogspot.com and read everything you can. After that, you'll be ready to ask quesitons.
     
  6. seenew macrumors 68000

    seenew

    Joined:
    Dec 1, 2005
    Location:
    Brooklyn
    #6
    ^^^^
    this, for sure.
     
  7. Ja Di ksw thread starter macrumors 65816

    Ja Di ksw

    Joined:
    Apr 9, 2003
    #7
    Thanks, reading over it. Definitely need to, I don't even understand simple terms for flashes. Just never used them before now.
     
  8. jampat macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Mar 17, 2008
    #8
    I have used my 430 flash at concerts from 200' with a 200mm lens. It is definitely not a pretty effect, but I was amazed how much light it got to the target. For macro photography, you definitely want to get the flash off the camera (either with a cord or master/slave). So far I haven't invested in either, so if it isn't too bright, I pick a long shutter speed (1s+) and small aperture and fire the flash manually while the shutter is open, you can create really interesting effects by firing from a few different angles. If the ambient light is low enough, only the areas lit by the flash come through.
     
  9. Baron58 macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Feb 19, 2004
    #9
    I want a flash for my Canon G9, but didn't want to spend enough to get a Canon 430....

    I just ordered one of these. It should arrive in the next few days, and I'll see if it lives up to the advertised features for me. It seems to be pretty new on the market and I couldn't find a review for it anywhere. If it sucks, I'll return it and keep shopping: http://www.amazon.com/Phoenix-Digital-SmartFlash-Bounce-ETTL-II/dp/B000YDX1C2

    with a GN of 99, Canon ETTL-II compatibility, tilt, fast recharge time, etc. it makes all the right noises. Curious to see what it's like in real life.
     
  10. Ja Di ksw thread starter macrumors 65816

    Ja Di ksw

    Joined:
    Apr 9, 2003
    #10
    Thank you everyone for replying. I read over at Strobist and finally ended up buying Canon's 580 II, along with a nice bogen stand and a bogen clamp. Went with a white umbrella so I could shoot through it if I wanted, as well. My only concern now is to attach it with a cord or a pocket wizard. I "know" I should get a pocket wizard, but I'd rather not spend the money :eek:. We'll see. Can't wait to get it all :).
     
  11. disdat macrumors regular

    disdat

    Joined:
    Jul 21, 2005
    Location:
    New England USA
    #11
    For far away shots w/ the 300mm, I have heard a lot of people mention the Better Beamer.

    But I have also heard to be careful w/ it as it could bore a hole in your flash (behind it) if the sun hits it the right (or wrong) way.
     
  12. compuwar macrumors 601

    compuwar

    Joined:
    Oct 5, 2006
    Location:
    Northern/Central VA
    #12
    Fresnel lenses are indeed not unidirectional and a Better Beamer will melt your flash if it's pointed into the sun while it's on the flash.
     
  13. disdat macrumors regular

    disdat

    Joined:
    Jul 21, 2005
    Location:
    New England USA
    #13
  14. Ja Di ksw thread starter macrumors 65816

    Ja Di ksw

    Joined:
    Apr 9, 2003
    #14
    Thanks for the advice, I've definitely added the better beamer for use with my 300 lens.

    So the only real concern with using it is to avoid pointing it at the sun while it's in use?



    I'm also wondering what opinions people have for wireless transmitters for flashes. There are two I'm looking at right now, a pocket wizard multimax or canon's speedlite transmitter st-e2. I'm a little worried about the speedlite, as it uses infrared instead of a radio signal which will limit where I can place it and I don't know if it needs line of sight to work (no thick branches or something in the way), but I've also heard people say the pocket wizard broke on them within a year.
     

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