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Sigma Electronic Flash EF 500 DG Super

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Reviews Views Date of last review
45 96690 Jan 19, 2011
Recommended By Average Price
73% of reviewers $207.52
Build Quality Rating Price Rating Overall Rating
6.37
9.02
7.7
EF_500_DG_Super_Flash

Specifications:
Electronic Flash EF-500 DG SUPER is designed to work with both AF 35mm SLR and Digital SLR cameras of popular manufacturers, for advanced flash photography. It has a maximum guide number of 165 in feet or 50 in meter at 105mm focal length (ISO 100). The projection angle of the flashlight is set automatically to match the lens' focal length ranging from 28mm wide-angle to 105mm medium-telephoto. It also incorporates a built-in diffuser that expands the angle of illumination down to that of 17mm lens.
It enables full automatic flash photography by TTL automatic flash exposure control. It now includes S-TTL flash photography for Sigma, 3-D multi-sensor balanced fill flash function and i-TTL flash photography for Nikon, E-TTL II flash photography for Canon, ADI flash photography and P-TTL flash photography for Minolta.

For bounce flash it can be tilted 90 upwards and 7 downward for close-ups. Also it can be swiveled 180 to the left and 90 to the right. It incorporates "modeling flash" mode to provide proper light distribution to check the shadow of the subject. The multi pulse flash features enable reduced power setting from 1/4 to 1/128 in 6 steps and the pulse frequency of the flash can be set from 1Hz to 199Hz. EF-500 DG SUPER incorporates wireless TTL flash photography, slave flash photography, and FP flash photography (synchronized with high shutter speeds). In addition, manual flash also can be set at 8 output power levels. The covering focal length of the flashlight can be seen on the LCD panel, and a flash ready signal can be seen in the viewfinder. The EF-500 DG SUPER also incorporates auto power off system.

Vendor website: http://www.sigmaphoto.com/html/flashes.htm


 


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andyfrazer
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Registered: Dec 28, 2004
Location: United States
Posts: 1
Review Date: Oct 20, 2006 Recommend? no | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 3 

Pros: Good specs, low-cost
Cons:
Very cheap build quality, not reliable, very difficult to adjust slider controls.

I originally bought this because a few people on a similar forum recommended it because it had similar specs as the Canon 550EX, but at half the price.

I guess it does have similar specs. But it's built so cheaply, I found it unusable. I'm not lying when I say that I felt it was built like a toy.

When I started testing it, I immediately noticed that the controls (sliders) are so small that I had to use my thumbnail to move them. That irritated me, but I tried to learn to like it. I kept testing it for a bit longer. Within two hours the automatic zoom head stopped working. Checked the batteries, reset the flash and the camera, and even gave it a little elbow juice. Never worked again.

I returned it, and bought the Canon 430EX instead (and I love it). There's no comparison. I strongly urge anyone who's interested in this flash, to buy the Canon 430EX as well (or the 550EX, although I returned that beast, too, because it was too big) and compare them .


Oct 20, 2006
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William Austin
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Registered: Sep 30, 2006
Location: United Kingdom
Posts: 0
Review Date: Oct 15, 2006 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 5 

Pros: Ok for a cheap flash gun
Cons:
it broke with in a week

Had this flash for 1 week before it failed to zoom past 85mm on my Canon 5D, I powered it off and removed the batteries and also tried to maunually zoom off camera - still failed to zoom past 85mm

have upgraded to a 580EX


Oct 15, 2006
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Avannet
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Registered: Jun 30, 2006
Location: United Kingdom
Posts: 226
Review Date: Aug 21, 2006 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 9 

Pros: Price, easy to use and powerfull
Cons:
FP cancels.........really hacks me off!

A great flash with great features, can't wait to try it wireless.

Aug 21, 2006
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Higany
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Registered: Dec 19, 2005
Location: Hungary
Posts: 0
Review Date: Aug 10, 2006 Recommend? no | Price paid: $320.00 | Rating: 2 

Pros: Cheap, powerful
Cons:
Sigma's poor QC

My DG Super exposes under cca. 2EV in TTL mode. So I need to use it with at least +2.0EV FEC, or in Manual mode.
You can get a Canon 430 EX or a used 550EX for about a same price... Sad
I use it with a 350D, so the ugly plastic body is no problem...


Aug 10, 2006
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gaalpoel
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Registered: Aug 25, 2005
Location: Netherlands
Posts: 0
Review Date: Aug 4, 2006 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 9 

Pros: Easy to use.
Cons:
Flash-head "falls" back to normal position, doesn't lock in tilted position.

I'm using this flash for about half a year now, and I am very pleased with it. It gives me total freedom when I need to use a external flash. Great control on flash exposure, very useful.

Using the flash with my Canon digital rebel (300D), and never had any problems. Upgraded from a EF 500 DG ST, wich was as great as this one, although it lacked some necessary features.

Best flash for your bucks!


Aug 4, 2006
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Aesop
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Registered: Aug 22, 2004
Location: Norway
Posts: 10
Review Date: Jun 27, 2006 Recommend? no | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 3 

Pros: Cheap. Same functionality as the Canon-flashes for half the price.
Cons:
Poor construction. Not robust.

I've had two of these flashes. Both broke after less than a year. I'll stick to Canon from now on, even if it's almost twice the price.

Jun 27, 2006
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greenplanet
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Registered: Jun 24, 2006
Location: Vietnam
Posts: 0
Review Date: Jun 24, 2006 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $200.00 | Rating: 6 

Pros: Cheap. Light.
Cons:
Not working full compatible with 30D

I use this flash with 30D, but it is not working full compatible with 30D. Even, have or no have flash I get nearly the same pictures - the same dark. Who'is can explain me?

Jun 24, 2006
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amarko5
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Registered: Oct 3, 2005
Location: United Kingdom
Posts: 0
Review Date: Jan 11, 2006 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 9 

Pros: it's all been said really the cost being the biggest factor
Cons:
battery door is odd but works fine (and i have not broken it yet)

What can I say that has not already been said

the flash works great well exposed in lots of situations, seems to configure itself correctly when bouncing.

on many occasions i have used the built in diffuser to good effect at greater than 17mm zoom levels. this can add a nice glow effect as opposed to a sharp light, works really well with those that wear spectacles causes less refractions.

all in all another good buy from sigma. why won't canon see the light (no pun intended) and lower their prices a bit, that way they will have many more customers using their products instead of looking for alternatives.

the alternatives by an large give equally as good results.

I got mine for 145 UKP including vat and P&P from http://www.bristolcameras.co.uk/

a really good deal if u ask me :-)


Jan 11, 2006
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forkball
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Registered: Aug 6, 2005
Location: United States
Posts: 24
Review Date: Jan 4, 2006 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 9 

Pros: Less expensive than the Canon Speedlites and just as functional. Optical slave mode. Consistant and predictable exposure levels.
Cons:
No external power capabilities so bring lots of batteries. I also wish the FP wouldn't cancel out if you drop below the max sync... but this is minor.

Despite what some have said, this flash has been very consistant in how it exposes pictures in both ETTL mode and manual modes. I did a test of this after reading some people's remarks and found that when shooting identical shots I had to check the file name in the review window to be sure I wasn't looking at the same image since the histogram was pretty much identical. I used this at a wedding and another shoot earlier in the day with Santa and kids and I only used this flash for my lighting and it performed astonishingly well. I took almost 400 pictures all with flash and changed my batteries twice(using rechargable NiMH) not because I had to, but I wanted to keep my recycle times as short as possible. I would and will buy another of these units for multi-flash setups. In fact, I'm thinking of adding another of these flashes and getting the impact stand and umbrella setup from B&H for a quick and cheap portrait lighting setup.

Jan 4, 2006
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cunparis2
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Registered: Aug 30, 2005
Location: France
Posts: 17
Review Date: Dec 16, 2005 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $185.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Price and can be used as an optical slave.
Cons:
build quality, feels a bit cheap and plasticky

I wanted a speedlite that I could use on camera and off camera in the studio. I was ready to buy a Canon until I discovered, to my horror, that they could not be used as optical slaves! So much for using them in my studio with my strobes. This is by design as Canon wants to sell you the STE2 for $200 more. This is when I discovered the Sigma.

At first I had no idea how to use it and was disappointed. But after some searching I found out it needs a FEC +2/3 and I need to use my camera's manual mode. I usually use my Canon 50 1.4 with this flash, and I set my camera to ISO 100 1/200 f7 and the results are absolutely incredible. I very rarely use direct flash, preferring to use bounce whenever possible. Our apartment has 5m (15 feet) high ceiling and I thought I couldn't use bounce. I was wrong. I set FEC +3 and bounce it straight up. The photo is under exposed by 1 stop but that's not a problem when shooting RAW. Using ISO 200 would probably solve this problem.

It's ironic because I bought my 50 1.4 in order to shoot with natural light, but now that I have my Sigma flash, I shoot with the flash 99% of the time when indoors. The quality at f7 is just so much better.

It comes with an adapter to mount it on a stand or tripod. I didn't know that so I bought one with the flash. That's a nice touch. It works great as an optical slave in manual mode. I use it to light my background and never need full power, which means it recycles fast.

I haven't used it in a multi-flash setup mixed with Canon flashes, I've heard rumors of some problems. But that doesn't concern me as I do not plan to buy any Canon flashes in the future. I'm perfectly satisfied with the Sigma.

Overall, unless you're a professional with unlimited budget OR unless you already own some Canon flashes, I would definitely recommend this flash. It's perfect for someone who wants to buy their first flash. And as I mentioned, if you use strobes in a studio then this flash can serve double duty. I paid $185 using coupons, and the Vivitar/Sunpaks with a Wein Peanut optical slave adapter are around $100 so for me there is no comparison.



Dec 16, 2005
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LilMikey
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Registered: Apr 28, 2005
Location: United States
Posts: 160
Review Date: Dec 15, 2005 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated

Pros: Price, Features
Cons:
Build, Motor Hang

I also had the motor hang problem a few others have noted. Since I use a diffuser 95% of the time it's not such a big deal however I would not trust the zoom motor for any once in a lifetime shots.

Dec 15, 2005
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tzalmaves
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Registered: Jul 7, 2004
Location: United States
Posts: 184
Review Date: Dec 8, 2005 Recommend? no | Price paid: $205.00 | Rating: 4 

Pros: Price
Cons:
Zoom motor hangs up when zomming in/out on camera, ETTL slave mode doesn't work on Canon DSLRs

I had the same problem as "user5412" viz the zoom motor hanging up, which disables the flash until the flash is power cycled. Lost some "money shots" that way. Got a replacement that hasn't done it yet.

I disagree with "TuanHA", you can do high speed sync, but the flash has to be put in that mode. See the manual.

The biggest issue is that multi-flash setups in ETTL on Canon cameras don't work. See:

http://www.fredmiranda.com/forum/topic/320967

For single flash it seems to work fine (except for the occasional motor "crash" detailed above.

You get what you pay for, I guess. I'm returning my two 500s and buying a pair on Canon 580s. Grr!


Dec 8, 2005
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sp9914957
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Registered: Oct 29, 2005
Location: Singapore
Posts: 0
Review Date: Dec 3, 2005 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 9 

Pros: This is a very useful flash. I am using this flash as a macro flash too with Nikon AFD 105mm. The diffuser works.
Cons:
The build is very plastic feeling. But over all I am very satisfied. Build is not a matter. Its useful



Dec 3, 2005
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justruss
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Registered: Jul 5, 2004
Location: United States
Posts: 4196
Review Date: Nov 16, 2005 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $189.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros: Powerful, wireless, good exposures, great value
Cons:
plasticky (less than the canon offerings though), recycle time

I was looking at a flash for event work-- mostly weddings-- and it was between this and the Canon 550 EX (this was before the 580 EX came out). I went for the Sigma for prices reasons, and couldn't be happier. Having used the 550 EX, this felt better built, and the exposure accuracy seemed very close.

With the money, I'd buy a 580 EX this time around, but for anyone looking for a great flash at a great value, take a look at the sigma EF 500 DG Super. I'd get this again over anything Canon offers besides the 580 EX.


Nov 16, 2005
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jonny427
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Registered: Apr 12, 2005
Location: United States
Posts: 119
Review Date: Oct 9, 2005 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $180.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros: Tons of features, LCD screen, built in diffuser, and it gives off tons of light.
Cons:
Big bulky and feels kinda flimsy. Build quality nowhere near as good as canon's speedlights. Menu is not well laid out, but easily learned.

For 180 dollars, you get about 85% of a 580EX. 85% of the features for 50% of the price was incentive enough to buy this. So far, it hasn't let me down at all. It gives off tons of light and 95% of my pictures come out with perfect exposure (the other 5% tends to be my fault). The LCD is really useful as it displays all vital information at a glance.

There are a few downsides though. First, its big and clunky. Bigger than the 420EX for sure, but i'm not sure vs. the 580. It feels kinda flimsy (especially the battery door). The head has a bit of wobble to it. However, when it clips onto my camera and feels rock solid. The motor is noisy and has locked up on me once.

But... its 180 bucks!! I am perfectly happy sacrificing a bit of build quality to pay this much. With the extra money, I got myself a 50mm Mk I lens Smile

All in all, this flash gives you a lot of bang (and light) for your buck. Highly recommended 1st hotshoe flash. You pros already use the 580EX, so this means nothing to you Smile


Oct 9, 2005
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ducati0000
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Registered: Jul 24, 2005
Location: Canada
Posts: 406
Review Date: Aug 29, 2005 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 9 

Pros: Great coverage,same level as refinements as the more expensive Canon flash,great for indoor hard to light areas.
Cons:
somewhat iffy quality control..

I tried numberous flashes at the local camera store and the Sigma was always in the top two...the Canon 550EX was slightly better on build quailty but it cost %40 more,can see the justification in that huge price difference espeically looking at some test shots.More than likely the last flash I will ever buy.Highly recommended.

Aug 29, 2005
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Sigma Electronic Flash EF 500 DG Super

Buy from B&H Photo
Reviews Views Date of last review
45 96690 Jan 19, 2011
Recommended By Average Price
73% of reviewers $207.52
Build Quality Rating Price Rating Overall Rating
6.37
9.02
7.7
EF_500_DG_Super_Flash


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