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Old Nov 21, 2003, 6:27 PM   #1
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Default Difference in 420EX & 550EX Flash - 10D

Let me start with "I'm a total NOVICE". Just got a 10D for shots of kids and family in various settings - indoors, outdoors, sports etc.... Also got the 420EX flash but now I'm thinking that the 550EX would be more compatible.

What are the differences? Easiest to use with the 10D? Laymen terms please.

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Old Nov 21, 2003, 7:44 PM   #2
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Easiest to use is probably the 420EX since there's no control whatsoever to fiddle with (except for the FP switch); however:

1. The 420EX is less powerful than the 550EX (Guide Number of 42 vs 55 in meter).
2. The 420EX is an automatic mode only flash whereas the 550EX can be manually overiden.
3. In the wireless mode the 420EX can only act as slave units whereas the 550EX can also be programmed as master (ie main controller from the camera).
4. There's no high-frequency flash control on the 420EX, hence no stroboscopic action (also serve as modeling lamp function) or built-in wide panel for wider angle/catch light as on the 550EX.

Not all is lost though you can still get a Sigma 500DG Super which is a virtual clone of the 550EX for less than the 420EX (and use the 420EX as a wireless TTL slave)!
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Old Jan 1, 2004, 11:35 PM   #3
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I knew nothing about SLRs or external flash units prior to buying the D60 and 550ex. I know have 2 420s along with my 550. From a learning standpoint, the 550 acts as a great teaching tool. The manual features allow you to control so much more than the 420 has to offer. Of course, you could leave it on full auto, or do some (or all) manually.

The added benefit of using the 550 as a master and the 420 as a slave will bring so much more to your photography.

I would say get the 550 and keep the 420 as a slave. You won't be sorry.
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Old Jan 3, 2004, 7:27 PM   #4
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I can't comment on the Sigma flash. It might be the cheaper way to go.

I can say that I take advantage of the manual settings on the 550EX. I (personally) would not be happy with the 420EX. So if you find yourself wanting to make changes to the flash power (using high-speed sync... or something else the 550 does), or wishing you had more power... then maybe the 550EX is better for you.

I didn't know it would be right for me, but now that I have it, I'm happy I went with the 550EX.

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