Lens or Flash or what?

Gordon @ Convergent AV

Distinguished Member
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Been very busy sinice getting the camera. No time to really start using it. End of this coming week I'm of to The Hague for a wedding. I've only got 1GB CF card.....and Ive just got the kit lens and no flash. Ultimately I want to take candid portraits as well as anything and everything.

I wonder whether it's best to get a new lens. I actually thought about the cheap 50mm prime but for weddings or general use perhaps a 70-200 ish zoom might be better.

Flash: Mal's pics showing the difference a bounce on that flash makes got me intruiged.

CF card: I am shooting RAW and wonder if 1GB will be enough? I am not sure if I'll have my laptop to decant stuff while I'm away.




a couple of points

1. Not knowing your experience, I would say it will be hit and miss if you buy a flash and expect to use it successfully at a wedding within a week.

2. Which camera make do you have ?? 5 MP will give you about 200 shots on 1G card, 8Mp about 125 shots. Prague is a beautiful city and I expect youwill want to use your camera a lot - CF cards are quite cheap nowadays.

3. RAW will give you a lot of post processing work !!


Gordon @ Convergent AV said:
Ive just got the kit lens and no flash. Ultimately I want to take candid portraits as well as anything and everything.
Candids and flash are not the best bedroom buddies mate tbh.

If it was me I'd go for the len's, if you haven't got the nifty thrifty 50 then shame on you but then again you don't mention how much cash you have spare, give folks an idea and I'm sure you'll be given an idea or two, whether they will be of any use is another matter though :D


Active Member
Hi Gordon,

I have to disagree with Zone but only a little (sorry mate ;) ).

I would go flash first but, and here is the pinch, to get candids it is much easier to do so without a flash popping away as it sort of give away you are taking shots and everyone will be looking for the flash. Now the reason for disagreeing with Zone is that the 350D will try and pop the flash most the time if you are on any of the creative modes indoors. The only way to get away without the flash would usually be to go manual, use a high ISO, a fairly large aperture and I believe you can disable the onboard flash in the custom menus. High ISO brings noise and you are limited to aperture by the specs of the lens. If you are going to have to use a flash then it will be a marked improvement to use an external flashgun. If you are going to use flash then the chance is you will only get one 'take' with a shot as you will then be spotted and the candid will not be able to be retaken without the subject(s) reacting. You don't have to use the flashgun if you don't want too. If you keep it attached but turn it off the camera will not use the onboard flash or the flashgun.

The flashgun made the biggest improvements for me at a starting level.

The nifty fifty would be a good choice but the quality difference may not be as big as you would expect considering the reviews. For £60 or so it is a no brainer but will not make quite as much difference as the flashgun.

Raw is the way to go especially if you only have one shot at each candid. Any settings that are not too far out can be tweeked.

Memory cards depends on how happy you are with the shutter release. I would tend to go for a couple of cards (1GB minimum) as you don't want to run out on the day.



RimBlock said:
Hi Gordon,

I have to disagree with Zone but only a little (sorry mate ;) ).
No problems at all mate, you gave him a more full and comprehensive answer than I did ;)

Personally I'd still go the glass route though, the onboard flash really isn't that bad as long as you use * and you're fairly close, the results will be ok, not EX bouncy ok but..then again you're going to be spending ££'s for that as it's already built in!
If you're on a budget Sigma EF 500 SUPER DG at £150ish is meant to be everything the 580 is apparently, so I've heard :cool:

richard plumb

Distinguished Member
i'd go and enjoy yourself. Flash is good bounced, but how high are the ceilings? Outdoors fill in flash the onboard will be ok. You'll get about 300 large jpeg on a 1gb.If you shoot raw, shoot raw plus jpeg, then if a shot is good you can use the jpeg. As for glass, you may need wide for group shots, so stick with the kit imo. The new 17-55 2.8is is being called the ideal wedding lens


Active Member
Agree that the 50 may not make too much of a difference compared to your standard lens. However, where it will help is with those candid shots that you don't use a flash for, as it opens to 1.8. On the other hand if you go for an IS lens like the 28-135 or 17-85, you may not get as wide an aperture, but you will be able to use longer exposures, still useful when you don't use the flash, with added advantage of the zoom.


Active Member
The 50's a great lens - everyone agrees - the only downside to consider (IMO) is that due to the 1.6x factor you can't get particularly close to your subject - so you may find people in the way a lot as they walk between you and your subject!
Although for candid shots it might be beneficial!

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