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Yeah, I like the 550ex's too. I have 580II, four 550's, four Lumopro LP-160's, PCB Einstein studio strobe, and several Nikon SB-24/26/28. For my use, which is manual off-camera stuff, I've found that [for the speedlites] the Nikons are by far the best value, followed by the 550ex. The SB-28 is nice because it's newer and ~$80, but I'm not sure how power and recycling time compare to the 550 ex (anyone?). If you get a set of cheap radio triggers (that can connect via hotshoe), then you won't have to worry about synch chords, synch ports, master units etc., which makes things pretty simple for getting going. The cheaper radio triggers still function extremely well in terms of actuall triggering, the only issue (in my experience) is you have to take extra care to make sure they are firmly locked to your camera/strobe. Most complaints on forums boil down to bad connections, from what I've seen. Have fun.