View Full Version : Canon or Sigma External Flash?

03-27-2005, 11:30 PM
Hi all,

I am new to the group and to dSLR. Got a question and hoping someone can help.

I bought a dRebel recently and noticed the pop-up flash is quite weak and the effect is undesirable. Tried the "ancient" Sunpak flash (15 years old, does not take advantage of E-TTL or any high tech gadgets) and I had a hard time controlling the result. Yes, it reached farther but the pictures tend to over-exposure. I thought it is mostly due to my lack of understanding of flash photography than the ancient flash itself, but hey, if that is an excuse I can use to get me a newer flash, I will take it.

I am just an amateur who shoot photos both outdoor and indoor. So my needs are quite common and requirements are rudimentary. I need a Flash that can reach far and give me more control over the quality and quantity of flashes. Features that provide extra flexibility to prof photographers may not apply to me, hence not important.

So, I am looking at Speedlite 420 EX and Sigma EF500DG Superflash. Price-wise they are similar but Speedlite is a bit cheaper. Just FYI, I am not ready to pay the price tag for the 580EX, that I know for sure.

Feature-wise, I know Speedlite 420 has most of the feature I need except for the FEC. Now, I am not sure how I am going to benefit from FEC, but as I progress along I hate to curse myself a year from now for not getting a flash that can give me FEC (or, may be I can use this excuse to get me a new dSLR :p ). I am not sure if Sigma support FEC.

I talked to the local store and the sales rep was saying that I should use the Canon flash because "3rd party flash will not be able to communicate with the camera as efficiently as the Canon Speedlite." Not very informative and I am not convinced.

So here I am, seeking advices. Can someone with the experience of Canon and Sigma external flash units tell me

- Does Sigma work as well as a Canon flash?
- Is there any compatibility issue?
- What is the quality of the Sigma flash?
- Oh, if FEC is somehting that an amateur like me should worry about?
- Other concerns.

I would like to make the purchase within the week as a event is coming on the coming weekend and I want to practice/experiment before the event. Thanks.


03-28-2005, 05:18 AM
You can't go wrong with either of those flashes. They are both powerful and designed to work with the ETTL system. The Sigma will give you full manual control in addition to fully automatic operation, the Canon only fully automatic. As far as FEC, don't buy the Sigma for that - it is extremely poorly designed in that respect (you have to set the FEC for each shot). Instead, look for the DReb Firmware hack, which enables you to set FEC on camera.

03-28-2005, 07:03 AM
Thanks Jamison55 for the reply. Does it mean you did not experienced any problem with the Sigma lense with Canon, and that the store sales person is just feeding me false information?

Is there anything that I should be aware of when using the Sigma flash?


03-28-2005, 07:26 AM
No problems with the Sigma flash, but moments of extreme frustration with the Canon ETTL system. For "important" events, I have devolved to manual camera settings and a Sunpak 383 Super. There's a little more of a learning curve, but I have found the results to be more consistent. I do put on the Sunpak, however, when using either wide angle (18-50) or telephoto shots, since the Sigma zooms to accomodate the lens focal lenght...

03-28-2005, 07:31 AM
I used to own a Sigma EF500DG Superflash and it never gave any problems.