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DPChallenge Forums >> Hardware and Software >> Need Flash Advice for 300D
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06/03/2005 12:28:28 AM · #1
So, I'm tired of the terrible built-in flash on my Rebel. I do everything I can NOT to use it. I want to get a new flash but have never used one before. I've looked around and the 580ex seems to get good reviews, but I'm wondering if a 420ex would do me fine? or how about the 550ex? Are they pretty easy to learn how to use? Are the price differences between them worth it? Basically, I don't want to get something that may have a difficult learning curve but I also don't want to get something that will have me wishing I'd got more... Make sense? Any and all advice or reviews you have would be most helpful. :-)

Thanks,
Jen
06/03/2005 12:52:07 AM · #2
The 420 has a preflash right? Anyways... I use a promaster 7500DX and i like it.
06/03/2005 01:03:25 AM · #3
Originally posted by kyebosh:

The 420 has a preflash right? Anyways... I use a promaster 7500DX and i like it.


Thanks Keybosh. I'll check that one out too. When it comes to flashes I'm a total newbie so the more info. I have the better. Doesn't look to be too terribly expensive either. Is it pretty easy to use? Sorry if that's a stupid question but like I said, I've never used one before. :-)
06/03/2005 01:08:04 AM · #4
What don't you like about the built in flash? Is it that it under/overexposes? If so a FEC hack will do.
If that isn't the problem and you want more reach from the flash, then increasing the ISO from 100-400 will double the reach of the flash.
If you want a new seperate flash then 420EX may be a good one to start. I have it and there isn't much to adjust, no FEC or focal length. I bought it b/c I didn't understand them, I do now, but I use the FEC hack on the camera but can't adjust the focal lenght of the flash. I bought it also over the 220EX b/c it can swivel and tilt to bounce your flash. I also use a Sto fen diffuser and really recommend this. There is almost nothing to learn about the 420EX, you can almost just put the batteries in, put it on the camera, and start shooting. If you are looking for a simple fill in flash you can bounce, this may do nicely.

Looking at things now, I'd would have prefered the Sigma DG 500 flash, it's about the same price as the 420EX but you can also adjust the focal lenght of the flash. If money was no object, I'd probably buy the 580EX, but I don't use the flash enough to justify the price.
Hope that helps. Take your time, do some research and if you can afford it, buy something that you can grow and expand with.

Message edited by author 2005-06-03 01:14:30.
06/03/2005 01:08:41 AM · #5
yeah it has E-TTL so you can use it in auto mode. You also have an optional small bulb on the front for fill flash with a bounced main. It find i don't really use it much but sometimes it's nice.
06/03/2005 01:25:29 AM · #6
What I don't like about it, and this may be due to user error :-), is that it overexposes, terrible shadows and redeye. And when outdoors, it's not strong enough sometimes.

I think I many go with the 420 for it's simplicity and I'd just like something that I can bounce and not have such direct light sometimes. I've read some nice things about the catch light factor that the 580 can do and since I would eventually (some day waaaay down the road) like to break into portrait (mainly children) photography it would seem most useful. Or is it more of gimmicky thing? See, clueless... That's me. :-)
06/03/2005 01:31:10 AM · #7
I got the Sigma DG 500 flash through BHPhoto....it cost about the price of the 420 but you have the 550 capabilities. I haven't used it very much...but what I have used I've liked!

06/03/2005 01:36:01 AM · #8
Funny, most complain that the pop up flash underexposes and use the FEC hack to correct it. Your experience seems to be the other way. I'm also surprised that you get red eyes as well. The terrible shadows might be from the inability to bounce the flash, as basically you are shining a light directly at your subject. You can correct for red eye by using photoshop or using the redeye reduction feature on the flash (although I don't recomend it due to funny looks from the subject as they see a strobe light effect-ruins nice smiles and get that deer in the headlight look). If you need more reach, then either increasing the ISO or getting a more powerful flash will definately cure that. It'll also reduce the red eye if you can bounce the flash or if the flash is farther away from the lens.
As for catchlight, I'm not sure how 580EX would give a better catchlight than another flash. I'd still recommend you look at the Sigma DG 500 super, it's more powerful than the 420EX, so it'll have better reach. I think if you intend to use the flash quite a bit down the road, the Sigma or the 580EX maybe a better choice. Just research the flashes you are interested in a bit before buying it.
06/03/2005 01:49:35 AM · #9
Just throwing out more options for you.

I have a Sunpak PZ5000. It doesn't have E-TTL, but once you get the hang of it, it has a lot of adjustable settings and it's very powerful. It's cheaper than the Canons and the Sigma. Also, another flash that Sunpak has is the PZ40 which does have E-TTL. Not as powerful, but probably good enough for your needs.
06/03/2005 02:06:59 AM · #10
I have 2 580ex. One I use on my 20D and one on my Rebel. I also use it with the ST-E2 transmitter for when I want to use one or both off the camera. I would recommend either the 550ex or the 580ex.

I would not recommend any flash you can not adjust. I'm still learning, and can not say I'm an expert, but without the manual controls I think it would be very frustrating.

The 580ex is a bit more advanced. It recycles faster than the 550ex and is more powerful, but with the rebel not having ETTL-II it may be a waste. It works great on my Rebel but might be overkill.

I think you may want to consider the 550ex because of the price vs performance on the Rebel. 550ex would seem to be the way to go. You certainly will not regret getting one. A flash really opens doorways not possible without it.
06/03/2005 02:17:42 AM · #11
you're really paying through the nose on all those flashes with all that ttl junk. course it's good to have, but if you're photos are not shot in a hurry it would benefit you to get something cheaper and more powerful like a vivitar 285 or a handle mount flash like the sunpak 544.
If you wanna learn about flashes those manual ones are a good way to go. You can learn your exposures the old fashioned way using guide numbers distance and f stops to calculate your exposures. It lets you get a lot more creative too. I bought 2 285's with metz optical slaves, lets you have off camera flashes and really increases lighting options, lot more fun too.
06/03/2005 05:55:55 AM · #12
People will hate me for it but you really can't beat whacking a 550EX on the 20D and sticking it all on green square mode. I've got excellent results every time - especially if you try to bounce wherever possible/relevant.
06/03/2005 06:57:19 AM · #13
Recently I bought second hand 550EX for my 300D.
I´m very happy with it and I found instantly how it increased my photographic possibilities.
It has the option of controling focal length and output manually wich gives you to possibility of experimenting in many ways. Also the head can be directed in many direction so that the light can be bounched. It can be used as master or slave with transmitter or some other flashes.
And it´s quite simple to learn and use.
Highly recomend this flash. Guess the 580EX is very good to and have similar options (just more and more power) and also the Sigma 500 flash (just a litle less powerful).
06/03/2005 07:13:49 AM · #14
Get the 580 EX, nothing to learn, it does all the thinking and if you want to override some features you can. It is the latest technology and the baddest Canon flash, recycles very fast - I can get 3 flashes right after each other when I shoot at high speed with my 1D II. You can get 550Ex's for quite cheap on eBay too if you don't want or need the faster recycle time of the 580EX.

The red eye and harsh shadows will not be completely solved by an off camera flash, for this you need to bounce or use diffusers...I like the Lumiquest Pro-max system...gorgeous light with that diffuser.

Bottom line: 580EX with a diffuser or a 550Ex with a diffuser.

Message edited by author 2005-06-03 07:14:09.
06/03/2005 07:24:08 AM · #15
Hi , I like mine 550ex
When I come to BHstore I asked sale person witch flash is right for my camera (300d)
And they told me if you need to adjust your settings 550ex is the best,.. not 580ex just waste of money because your camera not fully utilize settings with 580ex( Like white balance and Digic2 size).
SO I like my flash and the are no more flat images.

06/03/2005 09:13:04 AM · #16
Thanks so much guys!! This is all very helpful and useful information, now I know what to research more and feel a little better informed on what would work best for my camera, skill level and needs.
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