PDA

View Full Version : Flash



Dusty
05-04-2005, 06:14 PM
Hello I'm new to the dslr world, just bought a digital rebel 300D and was wondering what is a good flash for it, is the canon speedlite 420ex ok or is there other flashes that are better or cheaper then that one

Thanks

TheObiJuan
05-04-2005, 06:24 PM
I have this flash, it is great for the minimal flash needs that I have. The only thing that gets me is the slow recycle time. For this I will upgrade to the 580EX.

The 420EX is the minimum that I would purchase if I were you.

Savannah
05-04-2005, 07:37 PM
Does anybody like the Sigma EF-500 DG ST Flash for Canon E-TTL II ?? Its half the price.

Just wondering :o

TheObiJuan
05-04-2005, 07:40 PM
It is a good flash, it doesn't provide the features that the canon 580ex does, it doesn't have the same range, and future compatibility may be iffy.

jamison55
05-05-2005, 03:03 AM
Does anybody like the Sigma EF-500 DG ST Flash for Canon E-TTL II ?? Its half the price.

I have it...have been using it more lately (I forayed into the world of old auto-tryistor flashes for a while). It is a great flash. The high speed sync mode alone is worth buying it over the 420ex. 2nd curtain sync is neat as well and full manual mode. There aren't too many things the 580ex can do that this flash can't, but it is about 1/2 the price. The more challenging part is learning to use the Canon ETTL system. After a bunch of weddings I think it is finally starting to sink (or sync) in.

Tsukroffphoto
05-05-2005, 10:08 AM
Unluckily, the 300D is just ETTL, not "II". Which means it evaluates flash exposure from one of the 7 focus points.

This creates a problem when the focus point is on a white or a dark object, since the camera will under- or over-expose. There have been some suggested workarounds on this, mainly with the 10D, but they are not really possible with the 300D.

For weddings, I've found an almost uncorrectable problem with the ETTL, and have switched to using an external strobe in auto mode. Sadly, I lose the TTL control, but at least have consistency in final pictures.

The 350D/XT resolves this issue with true ETTL-II compatibility. (e.g.- the camera evaluates the scene, rather than just a specific focus point)

I believe you'll have to settle for inconsistency in flash pictures with the 300D.

As for a non-Canon strobe - Canon refuses to reveal its ETTL algorithms, but other manufacturers have made some good guesses and appear to have compatible flash units. Canon could change it's architecture at any time, of course, making non-Canon flashes obsolete. With the relatively recent change to ETTL/ETTL-II, previous Canon flashes (non-EX models) can not be made to work with the 300D.

Bottom line - if a non-Canon flash works, buy it. And be aware of the limits of ETTL.

Nathan

TheObiJuan
05-05-2005, 10:39 AM
I have it...have been using it more lately (I forayed into the world of old auto-tryistor flashes for a while). It is a great flash. The high speed sync mode alone is worth buying it over the 420ex. 2nd curtain sync is neat as well and full manual mode. There aren't too many things the 580ex can do that this flash can't, but it is about 1/2 the price. The more challenging part is learning to use the Canon ETTL system. After a bunch of weddings I think it is finally starting to sink (or sync) in.

what high speed sync mode? My 420EX has FP :confused:

jamison55
05-05-2005, 01:17 PM
what high speed sync mode? My 420EX has FP :confused:

My bad, the 420EX does have a high speed sync mode...bad assumption made by thinking that the Sigma EF 500 (non SUPER) had the same features as the 420EX and it doesn't have FP mode...

So advantages of the Sigma EF500 DG Super:

More powerful - GN of 160 vs 138
Ability to wirelessly control off camera slaves.

jamison55
05-05-2005, 01:30 PM
For weddings, I've found an almost uncorrectable problem with the ETTL, and have switched to using an external strobe in auto mode. Sadly, I lose the TTL control, but at least have consistency in final pictures.


I used my 300D for weddings before I bought the 20D (still use it as a second body as a matter of fact). After much frustration with the ETTL system and my Sigma EF500 Super ETTL flash, I went back to an auto-tryistor Sunpak 383. I have since learned a couple of easy work arounds that make the ETTL flash system work quite well...

The first is to always choose a focusing point that is over a patch of skin on the subject. I got really good at switching between focusing points that I composed the most with on my DReb. For example, I always got perfect exposures on brides processional by making sure the active focus point was on the bride's face when I took the picture.

Second (for stationary targets) zoom in on the subject's face, press the FEL button to lock the flash exposure, zoom out, recompose, and shoot.

Third, download the Wasia hack to enable FEC on the camera. When shooting the bride set your FEC to +2 and make sure your focus point is on her white dress when you shoot the picture. For grooms in black, the opposite.

Although I had more consistent results with the Auto Tryistor unit before I understood how ETTL worked, I found that the AT units were usually just a little hot, or a tad underexposed. It was very difficult to nail a "perfect" exposure. The ETTL system, when used with the workarounds described, produced "perfect" exposures more consistently. I still go back and forth, but I am using the Sigma ETTL flash more than the Sunpak these days...

24Peter
05-05-2005, 09:40 PM
I recently returned my 420EX for a 220EX. I don't use a flash that much and mainly wanted something to replace the AF-assist strobe effect of the on-camera flash. The 220EX has the same red AF -assist lamp as the bigger Canon flashes plus E-TTL II, high speed synch, 2nd curtain - all the features of the other flashes except no swivel/tilt, no built in wireless and it's less powerful. However, it is lighter and smaller than the 420EX (and 500 series) which was really important to me. I found even the 420EX loaded with batteries was too (top) heavy for me to comfortably review pics on the LCD. My right wrist was shot after 20 mins of titling the camera forward to review my shots. (I definitely now agree with those who are saying the XT's grip is too small.) The 220EX is much more manageable - and a lot cheaper ($110 after rebate).

To test it out today I went into a completely darkened closet (so dark I couldn't even see what I was shooting through the viewfinder) and got perfect shots everytime with the AF-assist and ETTL metering. Awesome (esp. if you like hanging out in the dark... :( )

So anyway, if price/size/weight are a consideration, the 220EX might be an alternative.

jamison55
05-06-2005, 02:49 AM
I recently returned my 420EX for a 220EX...So anyway, if price/size/weight are a consideration, the 220EX might be an alternative.

Peter, as your business grows you might regret that decision. I try not to point a flash directly at my subject anymore, but bounce it whenever I can. It leads to much more subtle, natural, and (dare I say it...professional) lighting. Something to think about...

24Peter
05-06-2005, 07:41 AM
I can't quarrel with your experience Jamison but I'm not too concerned about it. I was at a wedding the other night and the photographer didn't bounce any light and it was fine (been to many nightime weddings in my life but was really paying attention to how this guy worked since I have interest now). Plus the E-TTL seems to err on the side of underexposing shots so my subjects won't be blasted. I also personally don't like when half the image is light and the other half is in shadow (as when using the bounce head on a flash). Plus I also still have my Sunpak 383 from my FZ20 days (what was that, like last month??? :confused: ) which I can use on camera (although talk about heavy, unwieldy bricks sitting on top of the camera) or better, off camera on a stand with an umbrella. And finally, I've already figured out how to place some diffusion material over the 220EX if needed. If anything, the 220EX might be a bit underpowered for large events but I will be mainly using it as fill light for headshots/portraits taken outside to balance the sun. And in case in spite of all that it doesn't work out, I've started doing wrist exercises :o

jamison55
05-06-2005, 02:06 PM
And in case in spite of all that it doesn't work out, I've started doing wrist exercises :o

I've been doing wrist exercises since i was 13 or so...oops, this is a family forum, isn't it...

Definitely do what works for you, I have pointed the flash at my subject more times than not myself. But I have been studying the work of some contemporary wedding photographers whom I admire and, one in particular, never points his flash at the individual. He bounces it off the ceiling or nearby walls, or even the floor. He even mentioned using his hand as a bounce card. His work is amazing, His mastery of light makes all of the difference. None of his shots look like a flash was even involved. They look...in a word...professional. In a world where point-n-shoot digital cameras are producing better and better images, and where every guest at the wedding has one, controlling light to this extent will always set your work apart from Uncle Charlie's...

Once again, not knocking what works for you, just something to ponder...

24Peter
05-06-2005, 02:49 PM
None of his shots look like a flash was even involved.

Well, I think that's the key to great flash photography right there. Using the flash without it being evident a flash was used. If you look at Hollywood movies, this is was makes for great cinematography. They light the @#$% out of those scenes - and yet it almost always looks natural.