Flashes - 430EX, 580EX or EF-500

Discussion in 'Photography Forums' started by salubrious_k, May 2, 2007.

  1. salubrious_k

    salubrious_k
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    My (lovely) wife has said that she'll buy me a 430EX for my birthday which I had put onto my wishlist.

    However I could, for the same price, get a Sigma EF-500, or even help contribute to the cost and go for the 580EX.

    So I have a few questions before making my decision...

    Firstly I am interested in where people think the best deals for these flashes are. At the moment I'm checking camerapricebuster.co.uk and have had a look at some of the Hong Kong sellers, but they seem to be almost the same amount once you've accounted for delivery.

    Secondly I am interested in advice as to which flash to go for:-

    I have used the 580EX before (having hired it for use at weddings) and I do like the flash. I am also aware that the 580EX II is about to be released, should I wait for this? Then again, maybe the 430EX is okay for my needs, I don't really require a high guide number as I'll be taking mainly close-up portraits, although I do want a decent recycle rate for a project I'll be working on soon (is the 430EX's recycle rate actually better than the 580EX? That's what the Canon website seems to suggest). I also like the little white piece of plastic that you can pull out of the 580EX and use as a mini reflector, I understand this is missing on the 430EX, am I just being stupid wanting that though?

    The Sigma is a bit of an unknown to me - is the ETTL-II on the Canon's actually all that much better than the ETTL on the Sigma? Also what are the risks of this flash not working if and when I upgrade to the 5D's successor (a desire of mine a few year's in the future).

    Any input would be much appreciated! :)
     
  2. salubrious_k

    salubrious_k
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    Oh, and another question...

    Do people think that the imminent release of the 580EX II will mean that the old 580EX will drop in price? Is it therefore worth me waiting a month until this happens?
     
  3. geofftelforduk

    geofftelforduk
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    Hi there

    I have the 580EX!! Very powerful!! Cant comment on the other ones but if its any help I got mine from Kerso on eBay for £250 including Special Delivery!!
     
  4. Brammers

    Brammers
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    I'm afraid that I can't say anything about the Canon flashes at all.

    I do, however, own 2 Sigma Super 500s for Minolta mount. I find them excellent, especially for the money - £120each. They're pretty solidly constructed and have a great range of options. They produce a lot of light and go down to 17mm coverage, as well as functioning well wirelessly.

    www.onestop-digital.com is reccomended, as are bristol cameras for a UK address.

    Be aware that there are 2 versions of the Sigma 500 - the ST and the Super. The price difference is small, but the Super is a lot more fully featured.
     
  5. salubrious_k

    salubrious_k
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    Thank you both!

    Hmmm... Kerso is good value, at £255 incl postage for the 580EX.

    Onestop-Digital is even cheaper! At £225... They're in Hong Kong right? They seem to have a page where you can claim for VAT back? Is this okay, has anyone made a successful claim through them before? Also what about duty?
     
  6. h4rri

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    Good seller too, I would personally wait for the EXII version even if it's to see if the price drops on the original. The 580 is more powerful than the 480 [higher guide] and also has the wireless control capabilities.
     
  7. richard plumb

    richard plumb
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    get the 430 for now. Then later on if you find yourself wanting a second flash, you can get a 580EX (presumably by then dropped in price due to people upgrading to EX IIs) and use the 580EX to control the 430
     
  8. geofftelforduk

    geofftelforduk
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    I bought from OneStop Digital about a month ago and I was very impressed with the service!! I ordered on the Monday and got it on Saturday morning!! Well packaged and duty to pay!! Saved about £70 on Jessops prices!!! WINNER!!
     
  9. Brammers

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    Quick shout for wireless flash.

    Whatever you do, if you're going to use flash, get one that can do wireless.

    I think with Canon you have to buy an adapter that sits on the hotshoe or similar, but I promise you that when you learn to use wireless flash you'll never be satisfied with on-board. The lighting is so soft and subtle, it's almost like you've not used flash at all. It's also flexible, with enough of them you can create a studio anywhere within 5 minutes.

    http://china.nsrtfc.com/albums/beltane/PICT5140.jpg


    [​IMG]
     
  10. salubrious_k

    salubrious_k
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    Some quite disturbing pictures there Brammers! LOL

    Are all three of the flashes I've mentioned equally wireless? Are you saying the EF-500 Super works wirelessly without a hotshoe, straight out of the box (with my 350d)?

    Also, geofftelforduk, I'm a bit confused by your exclamation mark, did you mean "no duty to pay"?
     
  11. geofftelforduk

    geofftelforduk
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    DOH! Sorry! Yeah I got a little excited there!!! Yeah "no duty to pay"!

    Brammers!! What on earth is that photo off??!!! Looks interesting!! :cool:
     
  12. salubrious_k

    salubrious_k
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    @geofftelforduk

    One other question about onestop-digital... did you get your delivery sent to your home address or your work address? I've heard that customs are more likely to check packages sent to work addresses, and that you should get stuff sent to your home... but then I'm not around at home the whole time, so it's rather awkward getting it sent there.
     
  13. Brammers

    Brammers
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    I'll take that as a compliment! You can find out more by checking out my threads elsewhere, there's one about 2 threads down and one here:

    http://www.avforums.com/forums/showthread.php?t=516417

    The point being the lighting on both of those is (if I say this myself) pretty spectacular and both were achieved with off-board flash - 2 for the acrobatics and 4 for the portrait.

    Does a Sigma 500 work off the hotshoe straight out of the box?

    You use Canon. I 'believe' the answer to this is no. I think you'll need a wireless transmitter, price should be about £200. As someone else said, you could stick a 580 on the camera to control the second flash, but then you'd be stuck with one flash on the camera - the whole point of a wireless system is to get the flashes off the camera!

    I use Minolta. The answer to this is yes. Minolta cameras can all control offboard flashes at distances of about 50m using their onboard flash - as the camera begins its exposure it pulses out a sequence of morse-code which is picked up by the flash. The flash then illuminates - the camera then starts metering the light that's hitting the sensor. When it detects enough light it sends another pulse of morse code to the flash(es) telling them to stop. You vary the intensity of various lights by varying the relative distance. It's absolute genius, incredibly useful and amazingly flexible. That's by the by though :p

    As you'll need to buy this transmitter, I reccomend getting a flash that's capable of receiving signals from the transmitter and reacting to them. Once you've tried off-camera lighting techniques you'll open up an entirely new avenue of photography - it makes shooting the events above (low light, fast movement) an absolute doddle. It also lets you create your own home studio - get a model and try some creative lighting effects. If you get into it you'll want more and more flashes - I have 2 myself and access to 3 more - 5 seems to be the sweet spot.

    With a flash on the camera you can acheive fast shutter speeds. By bouncing it off a wall or roof you can get fairly soft lighting. But for me, flash photography only really starts when you take the flash off the camera.
     
  14. salubrious_k

    salubrious_k
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    Thanks Brammers, that's very interesting.

    So the 580EX will act as a wireless transmitter, but requires me to keep it on the camera. It seems that a canon hotshoe wireless transmitter costs £93 from Onestop-digital.

    The 430EX will act as a slave to the 580EX, but I'm not sure if it works with the canon hotshoe, I'll have to check that out.

    Hmmm... decisions decisions....
     
  15. salubrious_k

    salubrious_k
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    Okay, I've been looking into this remote flash malarkey a bit more.

    What do people think to this combination:

    A Canon Speedlite Transmitter ST-E2 for £93
    and a 430EX for £146
    both from Onestop-digital

    So total cost about the same as buying a 580EX

    Considering the fact that I'll mainly be doing close up portrait photography, and like the idea that my macro photography (at the moment limited to bright daylight) may be improved by this setup...

    Does anyone here use this combo?
     
  16. Brammers

    Brammers
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    Good price and I highly reccomend onestop-digital.

    Jessops has it at £150 for comparison, UK warehouse style retailers seem to be £130ish.

    Anyway, I'm off now, need to drop in my camera for repair :( Guess I'll be shooting film for a month - could get expensive!!! Go for the portable home studio - you know you want to :D

    [edit]

    Mweh - you're multi-posting!

    That sounds good - but add in a reflector. This will alow you some great lighting opportunities - one great example is to position the flash high above a model's shoulder and then to place the reflector in front of him out of frame - really soft and 3D lighting that way. Pick one up at a local camera store - it shouldn't be more than £10.

    [Edit2]

    You can of course do remote flash by attaching the flash to the camera with a cable. Cheaper - a cable should be £10/20 depending on the length. I'm sure I don't need to spell out the disadvantages and the lack of freedom this entails though, along with the fact that you then need a cable for each flash. One more option :p
     
  17. salubrious_k

    salubrious_k
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    I think I'm pretty set on this ST-E2 with either a 430EX or a EF-500 DG Super.

    I can see what you mean about the cable idea, but I think one of the benefits with my 350D and the ST-E2 is that it has an infrared AF assist (which the 350D lacks). Therefore I assume using a cable would ruin the AF assist on the 430EX.

    Sorry to hear about your camera!
     
  18. Johndm

    Johndm
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    What about a second hand 550EX.....................:smashin:

    Anywhere between £100 and £175 on Fleabay...

    :hiya:
     
  19. salubrious_k

    salubrious_k
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    Thanks Johndm, I was considering that, but having "watched" one last night I was a bit disappointed with the £170 sale price. Especially when I compare that with onestop-digital's £225 for a new 580EX.

    Anyway, this is all a moot point now...

    I have purchased a 430EX and an ST-E2 from onestop-digital (me? impatient? nah....). Thanks for all the advice everyone! I'll let you know how I get on and post up some pictures come by birthday in mid-May.
     
  20. Johndm

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    You can always bet that when you really want an item, it will go for top money......:thumbsdow

    I've bid on a couple of Tamron 28-75 XR DI lenses, the one I didn't bid on went for a steal..:mad: :mad: :mad:

    Enjoy your new kit...:smashin:
     
  21. senu

    senu
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    I notice the only post here for the Sigma is Brammers whose own is the Minolta mount
    They seem to be slightly dofferent depending on camera. my pal who owns a Dynax (Minolta) couldnt get his to work and returned it for a Metz
    He may well have been unlucky
    I have Use ( at work ) of a 430ex but have for personal use, a Sigma for use with the 350D and 30D :
    My comment would be that the 430EX doessnt need much setting up , but with the Sigma you dont :rtfm:at your own peril;)


    The Sigma ( for Canon) can be used as both as a wireless master or Slave, ( If you have 2 of them).( Ive used it as such). You can bounce the onboard one away to totally avoid onboard flash

    You most certainly do not need a transmitter. It comes with a stand for the purpose of being used as such
    What is less clear is whether or not you can use the onboard flash to "activate " it wirelessly.
    Even if it is possible that may defeat the purpose of not having an on board flash as the on boar flash cannot be bounced!.
    Ill try and see if that is possible but the manual is less forthcoming despite my rereading it .
    However 2 of them still cost less than a 580 or a 430 and a transmitter so I see them as VFM
    In a sense though multi light source photography is " a next level" ( a bit of a Luxury) unless Studio type images are your forte and portable studio light are either impractical or beyond budget
     
  22. salubrious_k

    salubrious_k
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    Hi Senu

    Thanks for that advice, although I've already ordered my equipment, I'm certainly leaning towards getting a Sigma if I feel the need for two light sources in the future.

    I think the ST-E2 basically works as a master flash but just without the visible light (it uses an infrared flash to trigger the slaves). It is only just cheaper than getting a Sigma to work in it's place - £93 as opposed to £125 for the Sigma, but then I do really like the idea of not being forced to produce visible light from on top of the camera.

    I'd found a load of really interesting shots on Flickr that pushed me towards getting the combo of a 430EX and an ST-E2 for the moment:
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/davidsangle/457510757/
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/davidsangle/418768009/
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/kevyong/309178128/
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/wardofsky/367884106/
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/davidsangle/401166148/
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/meejahor/292759651/

    Most of these shots seemed to benefit from a lack of light produced near the camera, and I'm keen to play around with this idea.

    Incidentally I found an interesting Flickr group called Strobist that seems dedicated to off-camera flash:
    http://www.flickr.com/groups/strobist/
     
  23. senu

    senu
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    Thanks:D
    Its amazing what you find on the internet!! isnt it??

    The 430 is pretty able and the "pain" of paying for the ST -E2 will soon go, Like all such kit it will still be used with other bodies and Flashes ( if you get more)

    well when your kit arrives be sure to show us what you can do with it

    I will do my ( experiment :rolleyes:) in the interest of science so that if the topic comes up again I would have a ready answer;)
     
  24. salubrious_k

    salubrious_k
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    Yes it would be an interesting experiment!

    From what I've heard and read, I think any flash can trigger a slave flash using the E-TTL system, provided that it emits a signal with the right "morse" code.

    My workmate's friend was doing portrait photography at a university ball and apparently he was getting annoyed as his flashes kept getting triggered by flashes from compact cameras as all the students were taking photos of each other posing for the "official" portrait.

    However I think the difficult thing would be getting your camera to flash the right signal to the slave flashes if it hasn't been designed to do so... As far as I know none of the Canon cameras do this...
     
  25. stevegreen

    stevegreen
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    Blimey, flash photography is a whole new ball game, it opens up a whole new world of possibilities which I hadn't even considered :eek:

    Oh heck! :devil: :D
     
  26. Brammers

    Brammers
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    Senu, not 100% sure about this, but I'm pretty sure that wireless master and wireless slave modes only work fully manually.

    The Minolta wireless system (and most likely the Canon with the ST-E2) have fully automatic through the lens metering. The pulses of light sent out through the onboard flash or the ST-E2 transmit information including distance to the focus point, ambient light levels, ISO, aparture, shutter speed and focal length. The flash (or the camera) then uses this information to calculate how much light it should produce and for what period of time.

    Slave mode is (IIRC) merely triggered by detecting a flash. You set the flash power on the flashgun and it's fired when you fire your onboard flash (or I guess any other flash in a long exposure) I'm not sure what the wireless slave master setting does - it might be a bit more complicated. So as you say - you don't need the ST-E2 to do offboard wireless flash, but you will if you want automatic offboard wireless flash.

    The slaves are also triggered by any flash.... I'm not sure how Canon does this, but Minolta introduced something called ADI at some time since the 80s - the lens tells the camera how far away it's focusing and the camera uses that for flash metering. However, with older lenses the camera fires 2 flashes - one pre-flash which illuminates the subject so that the camera can meter it. Based upon this metered light value, the camera tells the flash how much light to transmit, and if in Program mode, sets other settings.

    The problem here is that the slaves will fire on the pre-flash, and not the exposure flash. So the camera will fire the pre-flash, read the light produced by the entire lighting rig and then perform the actual exposure. However, in the actual exposure the slaves won't have recharged so won't fire again and you'll end up without any lighting.

    The solution here is to get hold of a circuit that is programmed to ignore the first flash and fire on the 2nd... I just use wireless mode.

    This would also be impossible to use at an event where there's flashguns going off every second - the slaves would just be triggered by everyone else's flashes.

    But do your tests! I want to know if all of that is actually right :p I'm only 90% sure.
     
  27. salubrious_k

    salubrious_k
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    Uh oh! Nooooo Steve! It's a slippery slope, don't start looking into it, or you'll find yourself reaching for your wallet!

    :D
    Oh yeah, check this website out:
    http://strobist.blogspot.com/
    (It's the off-camera flash blog that that flickr group is associated with)
     
  28. stevegreen

    stevegreen
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    I think i'll stick with available light photography otherwise I will probably go insane! :suicide:

    M U S T N O T C L I C K L I N K :laugh:
     
  29. Johndm

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    Hey Steve,

    I do VERY little flash stuff, its a specialist area in itself.

    Did a relatives wedding last weekend with 500EX and Nifty Fifty, results were rubbish when compared to my specialized subject..:eek: Although I did get the best picture of the day over the paid pro covering the event..:smashin: Just the one though..:rotfl: :rotfl:

    The white tube is bolted back on now, ready for the weekend...AIRSHOW SEASON is here..:clap: :clap: :clap: :clap: 550EX back in the cuboard till Christmas......................
     
  30. senu

    senu
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    I must admit I was sceptical that the on-board flash would trigger the Sigma as a slave
    It is the case though that the Sigma will work with another Sigma , and the ST-E2
    I went to the Sigma web site where it said the on board flash wouldn't work
    and .. gave up ...almost
    Going thru my bag a bit later I opened up the manual...yet again:boring:

    It did state there that flash unit Even if unattached, the Flash could be triggered by the on board flash or another

    It involved first attaching the unit to the camera, Pressing the shutter button halfway and then removing it and selecting the right mode,
    If desired selecting the right distance to subject,( since it would now not be on the camera then putting it in its working place (it has a stand which can be placed on a flat surface, or screwed to a tripod

    I then took the image ..voila it worked, time and time again 10 flashes on : it seems it will continue until i turned it off
    I turned it off, back on again and it continued: even removing old batteries and changing the batteries for freshly charged ones
    I suspect the onboard flash was a preflash trigger , or is it a case of the onboard and the Off board working together
    I dont know:confused:

    Reading thru Brammers post I can say though that it may not be useful in room full of other flash guns.. But I imagine even using a dedicated wireless system there would similarly be hard with other folks flashes going off at random

    Im chuffed ( if only for the "scientific" merit) but I shan't be using it often:eek: !!
     

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