OT: Flash for 300D (Rebel)

WE
Posted By
Wendy_E_Williams
Jul 30, 2004
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656
Replies
39
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Closed
I am thinking about getting a flash unit for the 300D … and wondered if anyone had any thoughts about which one I should get.

Wendy

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RR
Raymond Robillard
Jul 30, 2004
Canon Speedlite 420 EX. Best value for the $ (at least, around here).

It offers a swiveling head, zooming head, it has infrared capabilities (if you ever get an ST-E2 transmitter or a more expansive 550 EX). It also has a screw socket (like a tripod mount), I’ve used a few times, especially when I shoot with my soft box.

Works on four AA batteries, and it doesn’t eat them (I mean, they won’t last forever, but you’ll get a fairly good number of shots).

Comes with a leather carrying bag… (true!!)

Ray
WE
Wendy_E_Williams
Jul 30, 2004
I also have been looking at the 420 but wondered if I should get the 550ex instead …….

Wendy
RR
Raymond Robillard
Jul 30, 2004
Logically, I’d say go for the 550EX, as it will serve to control a 420 (or 2 or 3) later, if you decide to construct a small home studio (which is my dream!). It has a greater guide number (more strength, in other words).

However, one thing I know, it’s much heavier and bigger. Make sure to try it before you buy it. You might get surprised (the wrong kind of surprise)

Depending on the kind of photography you like doing, you might not need the extra power the 550 offers. And, you could save money buying a 420, money to later spend on a ring flash to do macro photography (just a thought…)

Ray
GD
Grant_Dixon
Jul 30, 2004
Ray

My logic works the other way round if I wasn’t sure I would opt for the 420 and save the buck up front. Then if I found I really got into it and had to have a second unit that is when I would get the 550EX because only then would I need the extra features.

Now that being said I am a cheap bugger and know how to handle a flash manually so I would buy 4 second hand thyrister units for the same price as a 420 ๐Ÿ˜‰

Grant
WE
Wendy_E_Williams
Jul 30, 2004
Thanks for that Ray … I hadn’t thought about the weight. I will go and try both of them.

Wendy
J
jhjl1
Jul 30, 2004
According to the Canon site it is not that the 420 is so much more powerful but it does offer more features. One thing to keep in mind is your Rebel has no FEC and the 420 does not offer FEC as the 550 does. I have a program to adjust FEC which will suffice for now. Link for FEC set: http://revolution.cx/rcx/fecset.htm
My plan is to buy the 420 now and buy a 550 next time I buy a new body and then I will have the 420 as a slave. Many people on the DP Rebel forum have bought the Sigma DG 500 Super which equals the 550 in features and the 420 in price. It can’t hold a candle to the build quality of the Canon’s though.


Have A Nice Day, ๐Ÿ™‚
James Hutchinson
http://www.pbase.com/myeyesview
http://www.myeyesviewstudio.com/
wrote in message
I also have been looking at the 420 but wondered if I should get the
550ex instead …….
Wendy
RR
Raymond Robillard
Jul 31, 2004
I think Wendy is on Mac… (not sure, though..)

Ray
J
jhjl1
Jul 31, 2004
I think your right Ray. FEC set will not work on Mac.


Have A Nice Day, ๐Ÿ™‚
James Hutchinson
http://www.pbase.com/myeyesview
http://www.myeyesviewstudio.com/
"Ray" wrote in message
I think Wendy is on Mac… (not sure, though..)

Ray
SS
Susan_S.
Jul 31, 2004
Remembering UK prices for flash guns the 550EX is a pretty expensive unit – you would want to be doing a lot of flash photography to justify its use, but it would be better for the 300D as the camera doesn’t have flash exposure compensation, and neither does the 480EX. I have a 380EX on my G3 (bought second hand, slightly gnawed, dirt cheap) and I use the on camera flash exposure compensation all the time. If I hadn’t found this second hand unit I would have bought a 420EX myself; I do miss the ability to swivel as well as bounce as I can’t do portrait format shots with light bounced off the ceiling. As Grant says it is possible to use a manual (or non-dedicated auto with a sensor on the flash unit) flash but you need to be very careful with older flash units as they can fry the circuitry of modern digicams – my old auto flash works really well in conjunction with my G3, but I can’t put it on the hotshoe (trigger voltage 66V, Canon’s max. 6V!)- I have to mount it on a bracket and fire it with a slave triggered by the on camera flash.
LK
Leen_Koper
Jul 31, 2004
Although I use a Nikon camera (Fuji S2 Pro) I didnot go for a Nikon flas, but a dedicated Metz flash.
Metz has always been at the forefront in manufacturing flashguns for the professionals and many European pro photographers use this make instead of Canon or Nikon.
They also produce quality gear for amateur use; it might be useful to have a look at their line up. The price you want to pay will have to depend on what you want to use it for and how often.

Leen
ML
Mark_Levesque
Jul 31, 2004
Ok, in my business, FEC means Forward Error Correction (a means of embedding extra information so that some number of bit errors can be corrected at the receiver). I understand that FEC in camera-speak means Flash Exposure Compensation; but what does that mean, precisely? I’m looking at the Rebel. It sounds like FEC would be important to have (yes, I know I can download the Wasia firmware hack). What is it and how does it work?
KL
Kenneth_Liffmann
Jul 31, 2004
In connection to using an older flash, i.e. non-dedicated, for a digital camera, I wonder if anyone has had experience with the digiadapt unit:
< http://www.adorama.com/catalog.tpl?page=searchresults&se archinfo=digiadapt> This is a fairly new product and has slave circuitry and bracket in an inexpensive unit. Ken
KL
Kenneth_Liffmann
Jul 31, 2004
Addendum
type in "digiadapt" in the box at Adorama to get to the right product. Ken
WE
Wendy_E_Williams
Jul 31, 2004
Mark,

I was just wondering that too ๐Ÿ™‚

Wendy
LK
Leen_Koper
Jul 31, 2004
Mark, although I’m not a Canon user, I suppose FEC means you can set the flash to 1/2 or 1/4 of its normal output.
This is particularly handy when using fill flash. This way the shaded parts stay the shaded parts, but are much brighter than they would be without flash. The standard fill flash usually brightens everything too much and you will loose the correct balance in your lighting the subject. IMHO fill flash shouldnot be too obvious.

Leen
WE
Wendy_E_Williams
Jul 31, 2004
I found this … part way down the page it gives some info on FEC

< http://www.usa.canon.com/html/cameras_speedlite/550exspec.ht ml>

Wendy
WE
Wendy_E_Williams
Jul 31, 2004
Ray,

I have just found the specification for the 420 and the 550 … the difference in weight between the two only seems to be about 4oz.

Which one did you get and is it OK?

Wendy
RR
Raymond Robillard
Jul 31, 2004
I have a 420EX myself, Wendy, and I just adore it!!

Ray
WE
Wendy_E_Williams
Jul 31, 2004
Ray,

I’m getting very tempted by the 520ex …..

At the moment I’m doing a short college course and the tutor is very good … excellent tips.

He was showing us how to use reflectors last week … I was so impressed that I ordered a Lastolight White/Silver 20" one. Now all I have to do is try to work out how to fold it up!!

Wendy
RR
Raymond Robillard
Aug 1, 2004
The 550 EX is a sure bet, you can’t go wrong with it. If you can afford it, then go ahead!

Ray
SS
Susan_S.
Aug 1, 2004
Flash exposure cmpensation works for E-TTL auto flash exposure just like exposure compensation does for ordinary non-flash exposures. And as well as for fill flash, (although the Canon fill flash algorithms which cut in once the available light gets above a certain level are pretty good at cutting back the flash output on their own) it helps in circumstances where the subject is likely to indicate an exposure reading that will fool the auto exposure (lighter or darker subjects than average)
<http://photonotes.org/articles/eos-flash/>
has more info than you probably want to know about taking flash photos with Canon equipment – as the Canon flash is poorly documented otherwise I found this immensely helpful (although there are some subtle but important differences in the way that e-ttl and the Canon’s EX flash units work with the G series cameras which make life interesting for me!)
Edit to add: the 380 EX and 480EX are auto only units. There are times when you want to get manual flash output as the metering simply won’t work in all situations – I think that the 300D doen’t allow you to set the flash output manually from the camera (I can do this with the G3 and it useful from time to time) the 550EX as well as having FEC on the flash also I think allows manual output. It’s undoubtedly a far bettter unit than the 400EX but is very expensive.
LK
Leen_Koper
Aug 1, 2004
Wendy,

You have en extremely good tutor! Only very few people consider using reflectors although they do a wonderful job. I "couldnot live" without them since I learned how to use them. (in the UK, Stourhead Gardens 1993)

The key to folding reflectors is in the grip. Hold it in two hands, each on one side. One hand turned opposite to the other, twist it by bringing your hands in the same position et voilรก! My wife had to read the Lastolite manual to tell me. ๐Ÿ˜‰

Lastolite produces the best ones. In my opinion the most useful one is the one with white/sunlite sides. On overcast days you use the "sunlite" side to bring light into the eyes and on sunny days the white side to avoid too much, unnatural, light in the shaded parts. "Sunlite", a combination of "Gold" and "Silver" is a little warmer than silver.

I always carry several reflectors in my car, gold/silver, white/sunlite, black/white and a diffuser, each 30". The black side isn’t a reflecting of course, but I use it to take away light and create a shaded side on days with extremely dull and flat lighting.

Some years ago a colleague of mine "discovered" a wonderful way to use a reflector when he was assisting me as a student. I was shooting a bride in the shadow under some hugh trees, he was filling the shadows and brightening the eyes with a sunlite reflector in full sun from over 20 meters away and suddenly I saw the most wonderful soft light coming from behind me. I didnot have to look as I understood how he did it, as soon as I saw this light. He "feathered" the light by using the edges of the light. After I made my shots I turned around, looked at him and the only thing we both did was smiling at each other. On the way back home we couldnot stop talking about this perfect use of a reflector. I will never forget this wonderful moment.

A reflector is the most underestimated piece of equipment! Have fun with it!

Leen

Leen
WE
Wendy_E_Williams
Aug 1, 2004
Leen,

Thanks for the help … its useful to know how you use a reflector as the tutor didn’t have to much time to explain it. I was going to go back and ask him to run through it again but I won’t need to now :).

I have ordered mine from the local shop and it hasn’t arrived yet so I may call in and change my order to sunlite and white.

Wendy
WE
Wendy_E_Williams
Aug 1, 2004
Susan,

I am disgusted with the 300D Handbook (although to call a pocketsized slim book a handbook is an overestimation of it!) nowhere does it explain that in some of the manual modes, AV is one, the camera is just exposing for ambient light so the flash only acts as fill flash. I am playing around with the manual modes and this confused me total until I found a reference to it on one of the forums.

I couldn’t understand why when I replicated the aperture, shutter speed etc from the auto mode and tried it in AV it simply didn’t work. the same thread headed me in the direction of some quite good tutorials on the 300D.

Just in case anyone else needs then they are at:

<http://www.photoworkshop.com/canon/rick_sammon.html>

Wendy
SS
Susan_S.
Aug 1, 2004
Wendy – Yes understanding the way that the Canon AV and TV and manual settings differ in their handling of flash exposures is important and isn’t well documented! At least with the EOS cameras there are some hints on the net – I was completely on my own with the G3 and had to work it out for myself, as e-TTL is different in both Av and manual mode from the way that it works for the EOS cameras.
Another thing to understand to get good flash pics from Canon’s e-ttl system is that the flash exposure is not calculated when you do the half press to focus/set background exposure but only when you finally press the shutter; and exposure is heavily weighted to the focus point that the camera actually uses to make the shot with – so if you do tricks like trying to meter and focus on the subject using a single centre focus point and then recompose to bring the subject back off centre (which is something many photographers who are used to older single foucs point systems will have the habit of doing) it will foul up the flash metering well and truly.
LK
Leen_Koper
Aug 1, 2004
Wendy, if you are to change your order, please buy the 30" one instead of a 20"one. The extra size always comes in handy.

Leen
SS
Susan_S.
Aug 1, 2004
The only trouble with a reflector is that to get the light reflecting properly into the right place you really need an able (or at the very least willing!) assistant to help. I’ve tried persuading the children that this would be a fun activity but so far no success!
GD
Grant_Dixon
Aug 1, 2004
Many years ago when I did the occasional wedding my wife was both my assistant and my reflector. She always wore a ivory blouse that I would bounce a flash off of and this added a warm fill. She was very good at instinctively knowing the right position. The only problem was on our very first shoot, pretty soon it became apparent that she was wise if she work undergarments. Later when I started making money off these gigs she insisted that she be supplied with a slave on a stick.

Grant
J
JPWhite
Aug 2, 2004
You make a good point that voltages on older flash units may not be good for modern digicams.

I found the following website most useful.
<http://www.botzilla.com/photo/strobeVolts.html>

They list the voltages of many flash units so you can tell if they are safe for modern cameras or not. Typically anything with 6V or less is safe. Anything with 24V or less – it depends.

By the time you have bought a voltage regulator to make your old flash unit ‘safe’ for your camera, you could have bought a remote slave unit and not be constrained by the cable. Need to make sure red eye reduction is off with slaves to make sure they don’t fire prematurely.

JP
SS
Susan_S.
Aug 2, 2004
It’s not just the red eye that needs to be off- unless you have a digislave, the preflash that the digital flash metering uses to set the exposure, (while too fast for most human eyes) will set off a slave prematurely. I have to set the on-camera flash to manual (not available on all digicams) to use my old flash with a Wein peanut slave. The voltage regulator (Wein safesync) is pretty expensive here in Australia, but the digislaves aren’t that cheap either.
J
JPWhite
Aug 3, 2004
Well I must be lucky with my digicam then. Today I purchased a Vivitar 2800 flash unit with a slave and it turned in half decent results. (Fine tuning the camera settings will take some time – but I’m getting there). Decent guide no of 80.

Here is how things looked with the regular built in flash unit toy thing. <http://www.pbase.com/image/32122499>
and with a slaved Vivitar
<http://www.pbase.com/image/32122415>
both shots non photoshopped.

I probably paid more than I could have online, but I purchased the flash, slave, bracket etc from a local photo dealer because he let me ‘try before I buy’. Besides which we should all support local photo dealers because they are a dying breed and handy folks to have around.
By contrast the guys in 2 separate Wolf Camera stores were hopeless (they sell mostly dedicated units anyhow).

Only problem I’ve seen with the slave unit so far is that other cameras set it off (duh!). A cigarette lighter can set it off also.

After buying all this stuff, while registering with Vivitar I noticed they sell a non-dedicated flash for digital cameras, the DF200 which has a ‘trainable’ slave unit to match your cameras built in flash. Guide No 28 is a little small for my taste but better than built in flash units.

JP
LK
Leen_Koper
Aug 3, 2004
JP, the DF200 Guide No 28 is in meters; in ft it is 92. Both these flashes have about equal power.

I fully agree with you on buying at the local camera store. If you might pay a little more, no problem; they usually are there when you need them.

But it looks like you have your own store; I never saw anyone storing so much photographic paper and chemicals for his hobby!
๐Ÿ˜‰

Leen
KL
Kenneth_Liffmann
Aug 3, 2004
JP,
Please look at the Sunpak unit here:
<http://www.adorama.com/>
Type in digiadapt in the box, upper left.
I am unable to find a dealer locally who stocks this item. However, reading through the description, it would allow one to use a flash unit which one owns already. Did you come across this item in your research?
Ken
T
Tel
Aug 3, 2004
Maybe I was just lucky but I put my old Sunpak Auto 130 which I must have had for thirty years on the Canon 300D hotshoe and voila, it works.
I you have an old flash maybe you should try it.

Tel.
KL
Kenneth_Liffmann
Aug 3, 2004
Tel,
I have a flash that I used with my Minolta film camera. My Olympus c-750uz has a hot shoe, but I have been led to believe that the electronics in the camera might "fry" with an injudicious use of an older flash with a digital camera. Obviously, you did not have an adverse experience. Where can I get expert advice about this?
Ken
J
jhjl1
Aug 3, 2004
If you Goggle it you may find help. I had visited a site that listed all old flashes and the voltage associated with them. For the life of me I can’t remember where.


Have A Nice Day, ๐Ÿ™‚
James Hutchinson
http://www.pbase.com/myeyesview
http://www.myeyesviewstudio.com/
wrote in message
Tel,
I have a flash that I used with my Minolta film camera. My Olympus
c-750uz has a hot shoe, but I have been led to believe that the electronics in the camera might "fry" with an injudicious use of an older flash with a digital camera. Obviously, you did not have an adverse experience. Where can I get expert advice about this?
Ken
GD
Grant_Dixon
Aug 3, 2004
Check our your old flash before you get carried away but there is life in some of the old babies. Here is a site to help you out:

http://www.botzilla.com/photo/strobeVolts.html

Here is a few images with an oldie but goldie

http://www.cavesofice.org/~grant/POD/Archive/040803.jpg

http://www.cavesofice.org/~grant/POD/Archive/040801.jpg

http://www.cavesofice.org/~grant/POD/Archive/040731.jpg

Grant
LK
Leen_Koper
Aug 3, 2004
I noticed I have been extremely lucky I didnot damage anything when I was temporarely using my old (about 20 years) Vivitar 283 on my beloved digi for a few months.

I know, I should have known better.

Leen
KL
Kenneth_Liffmann
Aug 4, 2004
Thanks, Grant.
I shall persevere with vigor.
Ken

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