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Archive 2012 · Flash for home use
  
 
csebasti
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p.1 #1 · p.1 #1 · Flash for home use


I'm looking into buying a flash for personal home use. My wife and I have our first kid on the way, and this will mainly be used for pictures of the new baby indoors. I'm trying to decide between the 430EX II and the 580EX II (or possibly third party). Mainly the only added benefit I personally would get out of the 580 would be higher power. I would not use the other features.

I'm shooting with a 5DII, and have these lenses: 17-40L, 24-105L, 70-200 f/4L, 50 f/1.8, 100 macro. I'm thinking about getting a 35 f/2 or 85 f/1.8 as well.

I figure I'll be bouncing the flash off the ceiling, and am curious if people find the 430 to be underpowered at all for this? My ceilings are only 8 feet high, so I wouldn't think it would be a problem, but I have no experience with a flash. Would the 430 be underpowered if bounced off higher ceilings?

Also, would flash accessories are good to have?

I appreciate any advise you guys have as I'm a complete flash newbie. Thanks.

Chris



Jan 02, 2012 at 08:53 PM
TrojanHorse
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p.1 #2 · p.1 #2 · Flash for home use


You would be better off getting your flash off camera, especially indoors.

This blog has tons of helpful advice for that sort of thing, as well as a rather extensive list of accessories.

http://www.strobist.blogspot.com/

FM member Chuck Gardner also has some fantastic info on his website - http://super.nova.org/toc/index.html



Jan 02, 2012 at 09:13 PM
tandlh
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p.1 #3 · p.1 #3 · Flash for home use


I have the 430 EX and it's plenty powerful for home use. Now for the advice part: Learn to use manual mode on your camera, set the exposure for the background of the house (modify ISO, aperture, and shutter speed to taste), use the flash on ETTL, shoot, and then use FEC to bring up or down the flash as you see fit.

If you try to use AV as your camera mode with flash you may be frustrated, plenty of threads here and on the lighting forum for that.



Jan 02, 2012 at 09:16 PM
Psychic1
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p.1 #4 · p.1 #4 · Flash for home use


The 270exII is always on my 1DsIII and 24-105L IS for fill, and I oun the 430ex and 580exII which are both overkill IMO.

ETTL and AV work as designed, very well.

Enjoy the baby



Jan 02, 2012 at 09:21 PM
csebasti
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p.1 #5 · p.1 #5 · Flash for home use


TrojanHorse wrote:
You would be better off getting your flash off camera, especially indoors.

This blog has tons of helpful advice for that sort of thing, as well as a rather extensive list of accessories.

http://www.strobist.blogspot.com/

FM member Chuck Gardner also has some fantastic info on his website - http://super.nova.org/toc/index.html


Thanks for the links. I'll take a look. I agree getting the flash off camera would be good. I'd probably go wired to start with. I can't find info on what connector I need to mate up with either a 430EXII or a 580EXII. Can someone tell me what I need?



tandlh wrote:
I have the 430 EX and it's plenty powerful for home use. Now for the advice part: Learn to use manual mode on your camera, set the exposure for the background of the house (modify ISO, aperture, and shutter speed to taste), use the flash on ETTL, shoot, and then use FEC to bring up or down the flash as you see fit.

If you try to use AV as your camera mode with flash you may be frustrated, plenty of threads here and on the lighting forum for that.


Thanks for the pointers. I'll give it a try when I get the flash.


Psychic1 wrote:
The 270exII is always on my 1DsIII and 24-105L IS for fill, and I oun the 430ex and 580exII which are both overkill IMO.

ETTL and AV work as designed, very well.

Enjoy the baby


I thought about the 270, but I want the tilt and swivel options.

Chris



Jan 02, 2012 at 09:53 PM
JimboCin
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p.1 #6 · p.1 #6 · Flash for home use


Chris:

GREAT post! I rarely see posts as well written as yours is, where you clearly state what you are looking for, with sufficient background to actually allow people to be of help to you.

I started out with a 420EX, which I believe has similar power to the 430 (except the 420 does not have manual control). I never felt the 420 was underpowered in situations like yours. I later upgraded to a 580EX because I wanted manual control, and at the time the 430 had not been released. From my perspective the 430 will meet your needs just fine. I am sure people will tell you if you have the money get the 580 - and I would agree - but it's all a matter of priorities (your's, not ours).

The web has some good comparisons of the 580 and 430 - for example see this and this.
Sounds like you have already seen some of them.

As to flash accessories - wow. You will get SO many options and opinions.

I suggest you start out by purchasing a few books that I think are excellent on the topic of flash photography:

- "Speedliter's Handbook - Learning to Craft Light with Canon Speedlites" by Syl Arena.

- "On-Camera Flash - Techniques for Digital Wedding and portrait Photography" by Neil van Niekerk

These books discuss a lot more about flash photography than anyone could ever convey through a short posting. In addition, they discuss a number of flash accessories.

I will note some of my favorite flash accessories. Note that all of us have our favorite widgets.

For a flash diffuser I prefer Joe Demb's Flit-it. Small, light, compact, easily customizable - and it just works.

Sanyo envelop low self-discharge NiMH batteries. They will recycle your flash a lot faster than will any alkaline battery, and will save you a lot of money over the long run. If you have Costco's in your area and are a member - this is a great place to buy eneloop's.

Flash extension cord so you can take your flash off the hot shoe when desired. (Neil's book "Off-Camera Flash - Techniques for Digital Photographer's" and Syl's book are excellent here).

Gels - but the books mentioned above will go into a lot of details on them.

Enough for now.

Jim




Jan 02, 2012 at 09:58 PM
Ernie Aubert
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p.1 #7 · p.1 #7 · Flash for home use


Here's the only Canon product (that I can discover, anyway) to connect a Canon Speedlite to a Canon EOS camera by wire:

There are non-Canon versions; I tried one once, and there was some functionality missing - it was a couple years ago, and I don't remember ("I don't recollect that, Senator") exactly what. Canon also makes a wireless infrared controller, but since it necessarily requires a direct line-of-sight path for the IR waves, it's not as rock-solid a connection as wires provide.

Oops; Firefox didn't include the entire copied address in the link above; bear with me while I make amends!

Okay, here's a link to the Canon page for that. You can find it for less at other sources.
http://shop.usa.canon.com/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/product_10051_10051_169384_-1



Jan 02, 2012 at 10:14 PM
Chiefdog72
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p.1 #8 · p.1 #8 · Flash for home use


If you want to spend some extra money….you could get the Canon 580EX II Multi-Flash Kit; it has two 580’s and a ST-E2; I think it sells for about $1070.00

This would give you lots of options and lots of light in a regular room.



Jan 02, 2012 at 10:26 PM
Psychic1
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p.1 #9 · p.1 #9 · Flash for home use


Chris:
When I started to shoot with the 21mp body I realized I never need too shoot vertical, and that is when the 580ex started staying home.



Jan 02, 2012 at 10:34 PM
Dave_EP
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p.1 #10 · p.1 #10 · Flash for home use


The 430 EX II is fine for home use and more. We have no problems with our third camera using the 430 EX II even at weddings. Sure, it's not going to light a large ballroom, but for just about anything you can think of for 'normal' people it's plenty.

Then, if you decide you want to get the flash off-camera look in to one of the ST-E2 compatibles on E-Bay such as the Yongnuo. It takes AA batteries instead of the silly one used by the Canon ST-E2 and it's also much cheaper (and does the same job).

If you then decide you want even more off camera flash - that is the point to make decisions about whether you want a 580 EX II or not because you'll have a much better idea of what you're trying to do.

In terms of accessories, the bounce card (which the 580 does have and the 430 doesn't) can be useful for catch lights, but you can make one your self and attach it with an elastic band

Don't spend more than you need to until you know you are actually going to use it! There are no magic bullets in terms of accessories, nothing it going to take you from dreadful to awesome like they promise, you still have to learn a little about how to use flash.

We almost always use flash with the camera in manual mode and the flash in ETTL. Anything else and I think you give the engineers at Canon too much to think about to get reliable results (though they do sometimes surprise me ).



Jan 02, 2012 at 10:57 PM
 

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Binh Ly
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p.1 #11 · p.1 #11 · Flash for home use


The 430EX or EX II is enough for your needs. You should be able to get one used for around ~$175 (430EX) or ~$225 (430EX II).

I would not go with that 270EX/EX II. The 270 does some tilt which is OK, but the really annoying part of that flash is the crazy multiple flashes for AF assist - that alone is enough to annoy the heck out of family members and probably your baby when it becomes darker in your home.



Jan 02, 2012 at 11:08 PM
csebasti
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p.1 #12 · p.1 #12 · Flash for home use


Jim - Thanks for the recommendations on books and accessories. I'll give those a look.

Chiefdog - Thanks for the suggestion, but I'm looking to start out with a single flash and keep it simple for now.

Psychic1 - I see. That makes sense, you can always crop...

Chris



Jan 02, 2012 at 11:10 PM
csebasti
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p.1 #13 · p.1 #13 · Flash for home use


Ernie Aubert wrote:
Here's the only Canon product (that I can discover, anyway) to connect a Canon Speedlite to a Canon EOS camera by wire:

There are non-Canon versions; I tried one once, and there was some functionality missing - it was a couple years ago, and I don't remember ("I don't recollect that, Senator") exactly what. Canon also makes a wireless infrared controller, but since it necessarily requires a direct line-of-sight path for the IR waves, it's not as rock-solid a connection as wires provide.

Oops; Firefox didn't include the entire copied address in the link above; bear with me while I make
...Show more

So if you connect the flash to the camera using a PC cord, you have to use manual settings on the flash, correct? Since the PC cord is only firing the flash, not feeding any settings to the camera?

Chris



Jan 02, 2012 at 11:11 PM
csebasti
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p.1 #14 · p.1 #14 · Flash for home use


Dave_EP wrote:
The 430 EX II is fine for home use and more. We have no problems with our third camera using the 430 EX II even at weddings. Sure, it's not going to light a large ballroom, but for just about anything you can think of for 'normal' people it's plenty.

Then, if you decide you want to get the flash off-camera look in to one of the ST-E2 compatibles on E-Bay such as the Yongnuo. It takes AA batteries instead of the silly one used by the Canon ST-E2 and it's also much cheaper (and does the same job).

If you then
...Show more


All good advice. Using the ST-E2 (or compatible) still gives you ETTL metering, correct? I guess I'll have to play around with the flash and see if I prefer that or manual settings, then decide how I want to go about using the flash off camera.

Chris



Jan 02, 2012 at 11:14 PM
csebasti
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p.1 #15 · p.1 #15 · Flash for home use


Binh Ly wrote:
The 430EX or EX II is enough for your needs. You should be able to get one used for around ~$175 (430EX) or ~$225 (430EX II).

I would not go with that 270EX/EX II. The 270 does some tilt which is OK, but the really annoying part of that flash is the crazy multiple flashes for AF assist - that alone is enough to annoy the heck out of family members and probably your baby when it becomes darker in your home.



I was looking at used 430EX II, but then realized that its only $254 at B&H (till the end of the week) and decided at that price buying used doesn't make much sense.

Chris



Jan 02, 2012 at 11:16 PM
dmcharg
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p.1 #16 · p.1 #16 · Flash for home use


Read "On-Camera Flash - Techniques for Digital Wedding and portrait Photography" by Neil van Niekerk. Put the camera in manual, flash on ETTL and learn how to use flash exposure compensation to balance ambient light and flash light and you will get very nice results. Bounce the flash and you will be surprised with the results. Don't worry about flash diffusers, soft boxes etc etc to start with, keep it simple and focus on the basics first. I would get the 430EXII & ST-E2 because it allows you to get the flash off the camera and still use ETTL. For home use this is an excellent setup and it gives you lots of options whilst retaining ETTL. You can place the flash in the corner of the room and bounce from the ceiling and use it just to boost the light so that you have more control over your shutter speed and depth of field. Particularly with kids having the flash off camera is the way to go.



Jan 02, 2012 at 11:21 PM
abqnmusa
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p.1 #17 · p.1 #17 · Flash for home use


I am using the 320EX flash with a 5D II
results have been good

430EX would have a bit more light for bounce

check out http://www.flashzebra.com/ttlcords/index.shtml
for off camera flash cables



Jan 02, 2012 at 11:34 PM
Ernie Aubert
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p.1 #18 · p.1 #18 · Flash for home use


I'm not sure of this, but I think "PC cord" is a different connection protocol from the OC-E3. A flash connected by OC-E3 is controlled exactly the same as if it were mounted directly in the hot-shoe.


Jan 02, 2012 at 11:50 PM
BrianO
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p.1 #19 · p.1 #19 · Flash for home use


csebasti wrote:
So if you connect the flash to the camera using a PC cord, you have to use manual settings on the flash, correct? Since the PC cord is only firing the flash, not feeding any settings to the camera?


Ernie Aubert wrote:
I'm not sure of this, but I think "PC cord" is a different connection protocol from the OC-E3. A flash connected by OC-E3 is controlled exactly the same as if it were mounted directly in the hot-shoe.


Both of you are correct.

A PC cord (Prontor-Compur) is a simple two-wire cord that only sends the sync signal. The Canon OC-E3 (and other similar cords) is a full ETTL-capable cable that carries all the bidirectional information to and from the camera and the flash for full control, just as if the flash were on the camera's hot shoe.

csebasti wrote:
...I'm trying to decide between the 430EX II and the 580EX II (or possibly third party). Mainly the only added benefit I personally would get out of the 580 would be higher power. I would not use the other features. ...Would the 430 be underpowered if bounced off higher ceilings? ...Also, would flash accessories are good to have?


The 430EX II should be fine as your first flash. It has enough power for what you want to do.

Although you say you wouldn't use the added features of the 580EX, that may change, and the Master capability could come in handy when (not if) you decide to try your hand at multi-light lighting. The 580EX would make a good additional purchase at that time, but it can wait.

In addition to the 430EX II, I would get a Sto-Fen Omni-Bounce cap for it. In typical rooms that will send some of the Speedlite's light directly to your subject, but redirect most of it to bounce off the walls and ceiling to add soft, diffuse light to your scene; perfect for "environmental portraits" at home.

I second (third?) the suggestions for the books Speedliter's Handbook and On-camera Flash. I wouldn't buy any more gear other than Speedlite and the Sto-Fen (and maybe the OC-E3 Off-camera ETTL cord) until you've read both. That will guide you to buying what will be useful, and steer you away from some of the over-hyped junk that's out there.



Jan 03, 2012 at 02:05 AM
mco_970
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p.1 #20 · p.1 #20 · Flash for home use


I have a 430 EX II and some cheap Yongnuo 560 flashes. I tend to use the YN flashes in manual mode most often, with a cheap set of Cowboy Studios triggers. It's a FUN cheap setup, and with three YN flashes, I can bounce light all over the house for any occasion.

Consider going that route and using the left over $$ to buy a justin clamp, a light stand or two, a bunch of eeneloops, reflector, and maybe a shoot through umbrella for a nice basic setup that can do almost anything.



Jan 03, 2012 at 03:02 AM
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