Flashes - Do you get what you pay for?

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by Juan Moore Beer, Nov 1, 2007.

  1. I have recently purchased a Canon 400d, and have started thinking that I
    will need an external flash for some situations.

    Checking online, I have foud many similar looking flashed with wildly
    varying prices.

    Vivitar - about $50.00
    Sunpak - about $200.00
    Canon - about 500.00

    What gives?

    Any suggestions? The flash would be used rarely but for photos that would
    be relatively important (Special occaisions, work erlated functions)

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    Juan Moore Beer, Nov 1, 2007
    #1
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  2. There are great differences in flashes and nothing new about that.

    Features, quality and quantity are all a part of the differences.

    Most cameras today come with some sort of flash and that is all most
    people are going to need. For the rest the choice should start with "What
    is it that the built in flash is not doing well that I need a different
    flash for. Then add in your photo skill and interest level and financial
    situation. The recommendations for a professional wedding or sports
    photographer will be far different than for a studio photographer and they
    will be different than those for a father taking photos of his kids.
     
    Joseph Meehan, Nov 1, 2007
    #2
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  3. Juan Moore Beer

    Sosumi Guest


    Not to familiar with Canon. I have a Nikon D40x and was thinking the same.
    Finally I decided to go for the best: SB800. At first reading about it, of
    course. It seemed a little "overkill" at first, spending almost as much on a
    flash as on the camera, but after I had it now for about 2 months, I don´t
    feel sorry. I use the flash much more then I ever thought I would be. Still
    finding new things to do with it and trying out experiments, I am very
    satisfied.
    I don´t believe a Sunpack or other third party can come close to the
    original. A lens maybe, but a flash is too specific for a brand, at least
    IMO.
    I just did a portrait shoot of my girlfriend yesterday and the results
    astonished the both of us. I can honestly say, hard to tell the difference
    from professional pictures I have seen ;-))
     
    Sosumi, Nov 1, 2007
    #3
  4. Juan Moore Beer

    van dark Guest

    I have a problem with a flash together with digital SLR. I have bought a
    special adapter SCA 3102 M3 for my Canon 20D, but without success, of
    course. The speedlight Metz 40 MZ-3i and this adapter didn´t bring good
    results, unfortunately. By my opition if you have a digital SLR camera,
    you have to use brand new type speedlight originaly builded for digital
    using.
    it´s all from my experience. Van
    http://www.photo-vandark.eu
     
    van dark, Nov 1, 2007
    #4
  5. Juan Moore Beer

    van dark Guest

    I have a problem with a flash together with digital SLR. I have bought a
    special adapter SCA 3102 M3 for my Canon 20D, but without success, of
    course. The speedlight Metz 40 MZ-3i and this adapter didn´t bring good
    results, unfortunately. By my opition if you have a digital SLR camera,
    you have to use brand new type speedlight originaly builded for digital
    using.
    it´s all from my experience. Van
    http://www.photo-vandark.eu

    Sosumi napsal(a):
     
    van dark, Nov 1, 2007
    #5
  6. Juan Moore Beer

    Pat Guest

    Yes, you get what you pay for. All of the brands make various levels
    of flash, so you can't compare a $50 Vivitar with a $500 Canon. So do
    two things. First, get the best possible flash you can afford. Drop
    $500 on one and it'll last you a lifetime with not regrets.
    Otherwise, same up for it. Then, get a bracket for it to get it off
    you camera. It look much better that way.

    Here's an example of what it provides you with. This weekend I was
    shooting a nice, simple picture -- a wedding cake on a table. How
    hard is that? Well I'm shooting down at an angle so I can see the top
    of the cake. I need to bounce my flash off the ceiling that 15' over
    my head (that takes some light to do that). So in order to bounce the
    light, I needed to turn the flash-head around backwards and then point
    it up at the ceiling while putting out enough light to make the bounce
    work. That's not a $50 flash.
     
    Pat, Nov 1, 2007
    #6
  7. Juan Moore Beer

    Sean P. Guest

    One thing to be aware of is that Canon has it's own proprietary flash
    metering system (Called E-TTL). Many flashes out there don't support
    E-TTL and you'll need to manually set your exposures if you use one.
    If you buy a flash for your 400D, look for E-TTL compatibility
    in the specifications.

    Also.. The newer Canon flashes have better communication with the
    body. They can tell if the camera has a full frame sensor or an APS
    sized sensor and then fine tune the flash pattern to match the
    crop factor.

    And of course, the more expensive flashes have additional features
    such as built in transmitters to trigger remote flashes and receivers
    that allow them to be used as remotes.
     
    Sean P., Nov 1, 2007
    #7
  8. While I generally agree with the rest of your message, and even partly
    agree with this part, but remember that next year your new camera, even the
    same brand may not even talk with that $500 flash or more likely you will
    not be able to use the flash with some of the new advanced features.
     
    Joseph Meehan, Nov 1, 2007
    #8
  9. Juan Moore Beer

    Pat Guest

    True, but the chances of Canon making the ex550 or ex580 obsolete in
    the near future is pretty remove. Nor will Nikon, with their
    equivalent flash. By then, you might want to upgrade to new
    technology anyway. After all, you wouldn't be worried about that
    unless you were upgrading your camera, too. So if the new cameras go
    to ETTL-15, they'll probably still allow the older flash to work in
    some manner. But if you're hankering for a new camera with ETTL-15,
    you'll want the ETTL-15 flash, too. By then, it'll probably make
    coffee for you.
     
    Pat, Nov 1, 2007
    #9
  10. Juan Moore Beer

    Marty Fremen Guest

    No, but a $50 flash firing into a reflector held above your head might have
    achieved the same result (or better) ...
     
    Marty Fremen, Nov 2, 2007
    #10
  11. Thanks to all for your advice. I ended up choosing a Canon 430EX. A few
    generations old but I hope it will work ell for me.

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    Juan Moore Beer, Nov 2, 2007
    #11
  12. As it happens, I just bought one of those myself. But it's not "a few
    generations old": it's the current model (I think).

    It's seriously cool: with the 5D + Tamron 28-75/2.8, it figures out where
    you've zoomed to and zooms the flash angle accordingly.

    Both Evaluative and Averaging modes seem to simply work, even if there's
    something white or black under the AF point.

    Oh, well. Time to go out to Friday bowling league. After that, I'll figure
    out how to make bounce flash work.

    David J. Littleboy
    Tokyo, Japan
     
    David J. Littleboy, Nov 2, 2007
    #12
  13. A $50 flash plus a $500 flash meter (or a lot of time taking test shots).

    But it's not $500: I just picked up a used 430EX for US$225 and it simply
    works (the new price here is about $290). The only way I've succeeded in
    persuading it to get the exposure wrong enough to be a problem* is to shoot
    at less than 1/2 the minimum distance it's advertised to deal with.

    The 430EX covers 24 to 100mm lenses with its automatic zoom function (that
    works with third party lenses!), and has a fold-out lens to cover 14mm. It
    has an AF assist light, and the metering works in bounce mode. Lots of bells
    and whistles _that are actually useful_.

    Life may be different in the Nikon universe, but with Canon the midrange
    model has all the features of the larger one.

    My take on all this is that Canon and Nikon have been bashing each other
    over the head on automatic flash performance for the last 20 years. Nikon
    got it right first by using the distance the lens is focused at to set the
    exposure (this one's a real "Doh! What took you so long?") and was ahead
    until Canon added that in. Now the flash systems are simply amazing.

    *: Exposure variation seems to be about +/- half a stop depending on the
    subject; I hung a black jacket and a white shirt on the bookcase, and the
    damn thing came up with reasonable exposures for both. Time after time. And
    those subjects should have confused it something fierce. My $50 flash I use
    with my 645 camera would mess up completely.

    David J. Littleboy
    Tokyo, Japan
     
    David J. Littleboy, Nov 3, 2007
    #13
  14. Juan Moore Beer

    JosephKK Guest

    Pat posted to rec.photo.digital:
    Mostly true. the 50$ Vivitar is not all that versatile, but i doubt
    that the 500$ Canon will do as much as the 200$ Sunpack. let alone
    with so many different cameras.
     
    JosephKK, Nov 5, 2007
    #14
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