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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Location
    San Francisco
    Posts
    2,251

    Newbie all over again - 430EX

    So I bought a flash!!--the Canon 430EX. Now I face the learning curve. The manual sucks, but I found a .pdf online of the 420EX manual and it is much better. Still, I've got a lot to learn, and so far I'm feeling confused and dim. I got it because I was getting frustrated with my macros and semi-macros and flower shots. Not enough light, so to expose properly I needed wider apertures and slower shutter speeds. That meant mighty lean DOF and camera shake. So--any advice as to technique with the 430EX is greatly appreciated.

    I made a couple of DIY accessories because I don't have any more money left to buy them. I made a mini softbox from a 32oz plastic yogurt container (cut a rectangle in the bottom for the flash, line the inside with foil tape, glue a piece of transluscent white plastic over the opening), and a "lightsphere" from a 16oz rubbing alcohol bottle (cut off the top, line the edges with some cloth tape for a snug fit.)

    I ran some tests. All shot at the same focal length, in manual with the same shutter speed, aperture, and ISO. What do you think?

    1. Ambient light. Early evening window light only.
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    2. Built in XTi/400D flash, unmodified
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    3. 430EX, straight, unmodified
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    4. 430EX, ceiling bounce, unmodified (8 ft, white)
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    5. 430EX, ceiling bounce, alcohol bottle (8 ft, white)
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    6. 430EX, straight, yogurt container softbox
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    Adam
    -------------
    Canon 60D & lenses & flashes & stuff
    A bunch of cheap vintage film cameras


    My Etsy store

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Posts
    3,565
    Congrats on the purchase! I think a external flash is an essential tool.... now all I have to do, like you, is learn how to use the darn thing. It seems a little mysterious to me still, probably because I don't use it enough.

    Good luck!
    5D MK III, 50D, ELAN 7E, 17-40mm 4, Sigma 10mm 2.8 fisheye, 18-55mm 3.5-5.6 IS, 30mm 1.4, 85mm 1.8, 580 EX, 430 EX speedlight, Pocket wizard flex and mini.
    Canon G10

    Pentax P30, 50mm 2.0

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    Location
    Near St. Louis
    Posts
    3,528

    And so another strobist was born. . .

    Nikon D90 | Sigma 10-20 HSM | DX 18-105 f3.5-5.6 VR | DX 55-200 VR | 35 f/2.0 D | 50 f/1.4 D | 85mm F/1.8 D | SB-800 x 3 | SU-800
    - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
    Flickr | Twitter

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Posts
    376
    "Strobist"? Sounds dirty.

    Something I found funny in the pictures were that the plain ceiling-bounced one didn't show shadows behind the figure whereas the ceiling-bounced one with the
    alcohol bottle did...I guess some of the light refracted straight through the bottle to the figure. Interesting results though.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Location
    San Francisco
    Posts
    2,251
    Nick--it is indeed mysterious, but then that's ow I felt when I started photography, and now I've a small amount of confidence that I know what I'm doing.

    Andy--yeah, I've been surfing strobist for about a month now. I have to wade through all the off camera/studio stuff. What I need is a "Dummy's" guide type thing. The manual should take care of that, but it's not really very well written, to say the least.

    Dawoofo--that's the idea behind the alcohol bottle. It's a poor man's Gary Fong Lightsphere.

    I took some pictures in the produce department with the yogurt container softbox. I need to process them & post them, but I was pleased with the lighting. The only problem is that the yogurt container takes up too much room in my bag. I need something that folds up.
    Adam
    -------------
    Canon 60D & lenses & flashes & stuff
    A bunch of cheap vintage film cameras


    My Etsy store

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    Illinois, USA
    Posts
    1,129
    This is the most practical site I've ever encountered dealing with flash:

    http://www.planetneil.com/faq/flash-techniques.html

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Location
    India
    Posts
    61

    @Canon site

    I am sure you would have read at the Canon's site itself. See the link Speedlite Flash Online Tutorial. I found this very good, though not sure how helpful it will be for you.
    Canon EOS 1000D with 18-55 EF-S IS
    Canon PowerShot A95

    My Flickr Photos

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Location
    San Francisco
    Posts
    2,251
    Thanks for the tips, everyone.
    Adam
    -------------
    Canon 60D & lenses & flashes & stuff
    A bunch of cheap vintage film cameras


    My Etsy store

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Location
    Des Plaines, IL
    Posts
    9,560

    Off Camera Hot Shoe

    I also increased my flexibility with both a single and multiple flash system by use of an OFF CAMERA HOT SHOE. This direct wired-device allows you to get out of the "flash in-line with the lens" problems you encounter with a fixed shoe shot (shadows, red-eye, direct flash reflection, etc.).

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    Yes, without a flash bracket you will have to hold the flash off to one side or the other, but it can offer immediate relief to flash issues.
    Don Schap - BFA, Digital Photography
    A Photographer Is Forever
    Look, I did not create the optical laws of the Universe ... I simply learned to deal with them.
    Remember: It is usually the GLASS, not the camera (except for moving to Full Frame), that gives you the most improvement in your photography.

    flickr & Sdi

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Location
    San Francisco
    Posts
    2,251
    Next person who suggests that I buy more photo equipment is gonna get an ass kickin' from my wife!
    Adam
    -------------
    Canon 60D & lenses & flashes & stuff
    A bunch of cheap vintage film cameras


    My Etsy store

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