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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Posts
    31

    Question about flashes for Rebel XTi

    I'm nothing more than a proud Momma who likes to have nice pictures of her kids...without having to hire someone else to take them. The birth of my daughter is actually what motivated me to buy the camera I have now....which is a Canon Rebel XTi. I absolutely love this camera and it's ability to rapidly shoot as quick as I can press the button. No more pics with a child running out of the frame. Over the past two years, I have caught tons of really nice pictures of my daughter...and now my 6 week old son also...that any mother would cherish. (I've also been able to catch some great shots of my horses!) However...to get these pictures, we have to be outside. Anything I try inside results in the built-in flash popping up...and a hideous, washed-out, flat-looking picture! I would really like to do some "portrait" style pictures....you know those traditional baby photos you get done at fancy studios,lol....but not have to drag everything out to the front porch in order to have half-way decent lighting. And let's don't forget the shadows! I'm wondering though..if it's even possible without going all out on equipment. Is it possible for me to buy a flash for my camera and get some better results...or do I have to have lamps and reflectors and so on?? (I am soooo not professional..can ya'll tell?LOL)

    I've looked on-line at some different flashes...and from reading the descriptions, it sounds like I could really benefit from one of these. (I LOVE the idea of using the bounce flash!) However, reading these descriptions can also be a bit overwhelming! I'm glad to have found a forum where it looks like I can get some help in making this decision.

    First one that I found that sounded interesting was the Canon Speedlite 270EX. However, one of the reviews said something about the AF-Assist not working with the Rebel XTi. For what I'm wanting to do...would that be a problem? (I'm not even sure what the heck AF-Assist is!) I like how small and light it looks...and sounds like a flash that doesn't have a lot of limitations.

    Next is the Canon Speedlite 420 EX (sounded heavy!..and I don't really want to be "tied down" to a tripod all the time) and the 430EX II...the latter being a bit more than I'd like to pay though.

    Then I came across another... the Precision Design DSLR300...for only $50. Naturally..I like that price! However...I worry that "you get what you pay for" may come into play here. From the reviews that I've read...it sounds like a nice flash for an amatuer...and not many complaints. One thing that worries me about this flash though is the longer recharge time... 1-6 seconds. With kids, you can miss A LOT in 6 seconds! Does anyone have any experience with this flash?

    Okay...by now ya'll can tell that I have no clue what I *really* need. (If ya'll are like me..you're probably thinking a college course in photography might help!) If anyone can give me advice on what I should go with...or if you have experience with any of these...please share. My top priorities are #1-affordability and #2-Ease of use!!
    Thanks a bunch!
    Jess

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Posts
    31
    An example of something I'm aiming for in addition to the indoor photos.... With this picture of my daughter, would a flash help lighten up her eyes? The picture is cute and the family just oohed and ahhed over it (you can't help it with a kid that cute, right?lol)...but I can't help but wonder if there's anything I can do to brighten it up just a bit....to keep those dark brown eyes from looking like two big black spots on her face! (But would a flash not give a good result in this case because of the metal gate?)

    Last edited by littletwofeet; 07-20-2009 at 08:48 PM. Reason: trying to get pic to show up

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2004
    Location
    Formerly South Wales. Now South Carolina.
    Posts
    7,147
    Unfortunately, you get what you pay for with flashes. I, personally, have the 420EX, 430EX and 580EX2 with the ST-E2. The 420EX is reasonable but makes too many decisions for you. The 430EX is better. The best is of course the 580EX2 - which you can get at substantial discounts from B&H. In terms of weight and size, the 580 is bigger than the 430 but it's tough. I dropped mine 6 feet onto concrete yesterday and it works as though nothing had ever happened.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    Location
    Flossmoor, IL
    Posts
    195
    Jess,

    I bought my camera (40D) last fall to do the same thing you are doing. Getting shots of my kids (ages 4 and 7 months). I have since picked up the 430 ex II speed light from Canon. I looked at some of the cheaper alternatives as I thought the Canon was pricey at $270 or so, (but currently on sale at B&H for $240 due to the rebate) but after doing some reading decided you get what you pay for especially as it relates to flashes and really wanted one that was specifically designed for use with my camera.

    I would suggest spending the extra cash to get one of the canon 430 ex II. It's really not that heavy and you won't need a tri-pod to keep it steady. My other suggestion would be to pick up a diffuser to put on the end of it which will help soften the light emitted from the flash which gives you more of a studio feel to your lighting.

    The picture below was shot in a room that had no other lighting other than what was coming in the windows on a very cloudy day and then using my 430 ex II bounced off the ceiling through a diffuser. I have also used it outside as a fill flash to brighten up faces.



    Hope this helps. Scott
    Scott
    Canon 40D - Canon EF 17-40mm f/4 L - Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8 L- Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 II - Canon EF 70-200mm f/4 L - Canon 430 EX II Speedlight

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Location
    Brookfield, MA
    Posts
    1,140
    Below is an outcrop of a larger image. This was done in open shade using flash as a fill light. The pinpoints of light in the eyes are called catchlights and aid in giving the eyes some sparkle and life. The flash I used was a 580EX, but a 420EX or 430EXII would work just as well.
    The same catchlight effect can be done indoors as well when bouncing the flash off a wall or ceiling by pulling out what's called a catchlight panel on the 430EXII or a similiar Canon flash. The catchlight panel redirects some light directly forward to the subject that reflects off the eyes and helps in lightening up shadows. Lacking the built-in panel, a white card attached to the flash head will work similiarly.

    For your outdoor shot a reflector to direct some light back to your daughters face may have helped fill in the shadows and brought out her eyes more. A large piece of white foamboard that can be bought at Walmart or craft store will work or foldable reflectors with silver and gold facings can be purchased from a photography supplier. The drawback of the reflector is holding it in postion while the shot is taken, either by someone assisting or by using a stand of sorts.
    Attached Images Attached Images  

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Location
    Dubai, UAE
    Posts
    2,889
    430EX II gets my vote....works like a charm when it come to running behind my niece and snapping pictures...
    Film
    Nikon EM, Series E lenses 50mm f1.8|28mm f1.8|100mm f2.8, Sigma 80-200mm f4.5-5.6
    Minolta Riva 100AF, Sinpo PQ-3, Olympus mju-III wide 100, Yashica 635
    Digital
    Sony cybershot W90, cybershot T90
    Canon A720i|400D|7D|5DMKII|85mm f1.8|24-105mm f4|135mm f2|40mm f2.8|430EX II*2|BG-E3|BG-E7
    Sigma 24mm f1.8|50mm f2.8|105mm f2.8 Samyang 8mm fisheye
    Portfolio

  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Location
    New Jersey
    Posts
    1,651
    1 more vote for the 430exII

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Posts
    31
    Thanks so much ya'll. Sorry for taking so long to get back, btw!
    It looks like the 430ex II takes all! While more than I was hoping to get away with spending....I don't want to buy something that I'll later regret...then having to go spend more by buying what I should've bought the first time!lol So, I'll just save a little longer (patience, patience!) and get the one I now know will do the job!

    Ya'll were such a big help! Expect to see me back with more questions about how to use my flash once I get it.lol Btw, loved looking at the pictures. The first one of the baby girl is EXACTLY what I'm hoping to be able to do....in addition to brightening up my outdoor shots. )
    Jess

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