Just got a t2i and need help with strobist recommendations really fast

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by budha, Mar 17, 2010.

  1. budha macrumors member

    Mar 5, 2008
    Hello everyone.

    I have been reading the strobist blog for a year now at least and I finally have saved up enough $ for my camera and some gear.

    I wanted to know if you guys could give me a few suggestions on some good start up gear that would work with my t2i (strobes, umbrellas, light stands etc). I don't mind spending some money, but I want to keep it reasonable if possible

    I think I am going to get some cactus v4 wireless triggers, but I still need to decide on two speedlights.

    I really appreciate the help.
  2. akdj macrumors 65816


    Mar 10, 2008
    If you pick up a couple of 580s, you won't need triggers...they'll control eachother...Unless you don't have one on the camera.

    I use AlienBees. Check Adorama and B&H for light kits. All depends how much you want to spend. Going with a couple of Canon SpeedLights is a good way to go for speed and portability.

    If you need studio gear, you can save money without battery packs (if you have access to A/C)...you can save even more with constant studio lighting. If you don't have a 580 or 430, I'd grab at least one and start playing with it. Lighting is a deep subject, and an art of it's own;)

    Good Luck!

    Check out POTN if you get the chance
  3. jampat macrumors 6502a

    Mar 17, 2008
    If you are using the lights off camera, they will likely be in manual mode. If this is correct you are crazy to buy Canon flashes. Buy something like Vivitar 285 HV's or Nikon SB 26 or 28 and have hundreds of dollars left over (or more flashes).

    For on camera use, ETTL is helpful (especially for bounce flash), but with practice you can also shoot manual.

    Personally I use a 430 on camera (will be upgraded to a 580 one of these days for a number of reasons) and Alienbees (with assorted modifiers) if I need a lot of light. As the alienbees require AC power (or a battery pack), it is a very unstrobist setup.

    As akdj said, start with one light and get competent with that, then add more. Trying to learn multiple flash setups before being comfortable with a single flash will likely slow down the learning process.
  4. budha thread starter macrumors member

    Mar 5, 2008

    Can you still buy those vivitars and SB's new?

    Also, I am planning to get one of those ray ring flash units, so I would need an on camera flash.

    What do you mean by ETTL?
  5. Ruahrc macrumors 65816

    Jun 9, 2009
    ETTL is the term for I think "electronic through-the-lens", basically a fancy name for automatic flash metering. The camera will meter the scene and dictate how much flash to output, much like it meters and dictates the exposure when in most operating modes.

    While you may end up using manual mode for flash in the end, there is another aspect of ETTL that was not mentioned. At least for Nikon's system (Creative Lighting System of CLS, combined with its iTTL metering), you can control the output of the remote flashes from your camera or commander unit. This is handy because even though you might be shooting with manually set flashes, you can adjust the output power of all your flashes from your operating position via the camera menu. If you did not have this you'll need to walk over to your remote flash(es) every time you want to make an adjustment. This can be difficult if you put your flashes far away from you, or if you have multiple groups of flashes.

    I'm sure Canon's flash system has a similar capability.

  6. compuwar macrumors 601


    Oct 5, 2006
    Northern/Central VA
    The plastic pseudo-ring flash things suck. Save your money- even cheap off eBay they're not worth it. I'd also avoid the Cactus triggers, as they can be unreliable. Personally, I like the Cybersyncs.
  7. jampat macrumors 6502a

    Mar 17, 2008
    The vivitars you can buy new for sure (make sure you get the HV's, the non-HV 285's will fry your camera (without a safe-sync adaptor)), I am not sure about the Nikons. Why would you buy new though? I have never had a flash die on me. If it's working when you buy it, it should keep working. Let someone else pay the tax.

    ETTL is canon's version of flash for dummies. You just put the flash on the camera and it calculates the power it needs to properly expose the picture. Manual control is more difficult as the photographer picks the power they want the flash to use before the shot. ETTL doesn't always expose the picture the way the photographer wants (but it is pretty good in most situations).

    With canon flashes, you can get into remote control of power, but it is not nearly as easy as Nikon. To do remote flash control you need a 580 or ST-E2 on the camera and 430's or 580's as remotes. It is also rather cumbersome to adjust remote power. It is possible, but I find it faster to walk over to the flash to adjust the power (especially since when shooting with speedlights, the lights are normally within 10' of the camera).
  8. funkboy macrumors regular

    Apr 25, 2008
    my current rig consists of:

    - a 420EX I bought new back when I got into photography

    - a 550EX I picked up used recently for cheap

    - a 5 meter E-TTL II cord (they also have this same part at B&H)

    - two Tamrak Zipshot stands

    - two small Lastolite white umbrellas with removable silver cover (I find the silver side a bit too harsh indoors & usually take it off for portraits) and associated gizmos to mount them on the Zipshots.

    - a small Lastolite sunlight/soft silver reflector

    The whole kit is pretty lightweight, breaks down in a couple of minutes & fits in a small shoulder bag. I like to use lithium batteries in my flashes as they're really light, last a long time, & recycle quickly, but they're certainly not the cheapest solution.

    Basically I stick the 550 on one stand with the nice long off-camera cord, & it controls the other one wirelessly. I've got the heads turned around so that the AF assist light faces away from the umbrella. It takes a bit of practice to get the ratios between the two flashes dialed in, but it's not to hard to tell when you've got it how it should look. The modeling flash feature (hit your DoF preview button) is really cool, but don't overdo it as it heats up the flash heads & eats battery pretty quickly. Also sometimes I'll point the 550 directly up at the ceiling with a softbox or omnibounce on it if I need more light from overhead.
  9. Abraxsis macrumors 6502


    Sep 23, 2003
    A lot of good info in here. My lighting setup is as follows ...

    1x Vivitar 5250 RL Edition
    1x Vivitar 5600
    2x Alien Bee B800
    Vagabond II
    2x Shoot through brolly
    2x Bounce brolly
    1x Phototek Softlighter II (which I am beginning to not like)
    1x Westcott Apollo softbox

    Lighting fits all in a Nike bat bag, camera/lenses in Tenba Response Large, and a Fat Max rigid sided 28" toolbox (which holds my monolights, power cables, monopod, and tripod)

    This setup is reasonably portable and allows me to do just about anything I want/need. I also carry a Lowepro Fastpack 200 for when I need to get into remote locations, in which I usually go pure speedlights.

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