Flash! Aaaa-aaah! You've saved every one of us...

Discussion in 'Photography' started by smartascarrots, Jan 29, 2012.

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  1. Yeah, crap intro I know.

    I'm looking for some advice on a decent entry-level flash for a DSLR. I've got a Canon 500D which can take some great shots in low light but sometimes I think I would have benefited from something with a bit more oomph than the built-in one.

    Strangely, it doesn't seem to be a subject that's been covered before, at least not that I can find.
     
  2. Buy the best Canon flash you can afford.

    If money is tighter then the dedicated ones by Metz are a very good second choice.
     
  3. What willyou be shooting, mainly?
     
  4. In simpler times, there was no other choice.
     
  5. I reckon it'll be mainly indoors stuff but I'd like something that can work outdoors and produce decent results up to about 20m max. Some night shots but nothing fancy.
     
  6. I've been using my LED lights that I use for TV for close up stuff with my 550- they're dimmable but are obviously a constant source.

    For portraits I use a constant soft box by Lowell.

    The nearest stills version to the LED that I can find is this:
    Manfrotto Mini 24-LED Light Panel ML240 - Jessops - Flashguns

    I'm not sure how far it will throw though.
     
  7. We use a Metz 58 AF2 for the Canon camera in our photo booth. It's also been used for general photography in a few buildings and it's a brilliant flash. Many years ago when I used to do a bit of wedding photography, I had a Metz hammerhead. I don't know about in this day and age because my son is more into it now, digital and all that, but 20 years ago, Metz was the way to go.
     
  8. Agree about Metz, although they ain't cheap. Get something with a tilt and swivel head so you can bounce the light off the walls/ceiling, or off a reflector outdoors- you won't believe how much better your pictures look once you start using indirect flash. If you want to keep it simple, either buy a Canon flash which is dedicated to your camera (ie, will hook up with your camera's metering to give more accurate exposures), or make sure if you buy a proprietory one it is similarly compatible.
     
  9. I'd also agree about the Metz but it's worth trying a few own brands too such as Jessops range. Take your camera in and have a play.

    If you're after a soft light source then an indirect flash is necessary. However 'diffusing' works well too and is easier to control than bouncing light of walls and ceilings. I have F2 Spun close at hand when I'm shooting stills or 'movies'. A couple of sheets of Khazi roll (unused) will work well at a pinch. You can hold a bit over the flash on small 'powershot' type auto cameras and suddenly the contrast ratio shifts and you can see the background as well as the subject!

    A diffused source or Bounce - unless it's a very handy white wall at the right angle - will still result in a flat image - the best way to model your shot is to move your flash a few degrees either side of the lens -the more degrees the more modelling.-However you're now talking remote triggered battery flash units and soft boxes which is another ball game.

    I've picked up my lighting whilst training in film and TV - so I generally work with constant light sources and for portraits this means at least a 3 point light set up:Key light, fill light and back light; A Maglite torch on a clamp has served in all three roles on occasion!
     
  10. ViroBono

    ViroBono LE Moderator

    I recently bought a Sunpak Canon-dedicated flash unit. It is small, very portable (the hot shoe folds into the body), inexpensive (less than £100), and works with both my G12 and EOS600D. It has a swivel head for bounce and a built-in diffuser.
     
  11. Gremlin

    Gremlin LE Good Egg (charities)

    Don't swear you bloody pleb!! :razz:

    Seriously, the Jessops ones aren't very robust and have quite a few design flaws - one of which is being utterly crap for off camera flash with triggers!

    The brand that I've found to be both the best in capability and value is Nissin.

    The Di622MkII (£100) is equivalent to the 430EXII, and the Di866MkII (£200) equates to the 580EXII.

    In each case they're approx £100 cheaper than the Canon variant and have 98% of the capability. The only principal difference
    is that you programme the flash via it's control panel rather than via the camera menu (which most people do anyway).

    Modern versions of the Metz, Sigma and Sunpak all have their virtues, but Nissin consistently comes out on top in testing
    even against the Canons.

    If you really want to go down the cheap and cheerful route then Yongnuo (eBay) do some for about £50.
     
  12. Yep, agree

    I'm not sure about the 866 (or the 622MkII), but the original 622 DOES NOT do radio triggers, nor does it do infra-red other than from another flash. They also have a reputation for being NOISY when you change focal length, as the heads are automatic. Try flea-bay one of the Canons.
     
  13. Wouldn't touch the Jessops ones they are seriously crap build, I have a Metz TTL flash and it is excellent and I have a Metz TTL ring flash again excellent flash.
     
  14. I use two 550 ex flash units with an eos 7d. These work very well for me as I can set them up individually for wireless triggering.
    If you can then I would suggest seeing what you can get from ebay or Amazon in the second hand market for canon flash units.
     
  15. Canon 430EXII/580EXII, but I am a Canon bitch. £100 odd will get you the ST-E2 remote IR flash trigger which will be add a new dimension with off-camera flash activation.

    Plan on taking 6/12 months off to learn how to use the damn things though.