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Old Mar 21, 2004, 12:27 PM   #41
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Yes, the 550EX does pre-flash, even when you turn the master off. I guess that is something unavoidable.

NHL pointed me to this: The Promax System. I highly recommend it. http://www.lumiquest.com/lq931.htm It is a simple attachment to your flash head to create more indirect and softer light. It gives great results, even with just one flash. It comes with three inserts, white, silver and gold to change the nature of the light. It also comes with a diffuse screen that you can use together with the inserts. I like it! Sells for about $40.

[edit]

Here's a picture I took using three flashes, all three with the Promax System with white inserts and the diffuse screen. If you're interested in a bigger version, go here: http://www.pbase.com/image/27149273


Barthold

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Old Mar 22, 2004, 6:28 AM   #42
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Pretty cool... You mastered the art of no shadow! :lol: :lol: :lol:


Barthold/ursa

Here's my 2c anyway:
1. If you do turn the 550EX Master OFF, are you better off with the Sigma 500DG Super or the ST-E2 then since they are only 1/2 the cost but are functionally similar? ie you're not using its higher output...
2. When you are using ratio let's say 2:1 with the remotes: the max output of the system is limited by the highest unit, ie GN42 for the 420EX, since your Master (GN55) is "stuck" on the camera... Unless you use the front flash then your aperture range is reduced at least by ~20%! A Sigma 500DG Super will start with GN50 instead at the group A, and the B remote will get the same increment accordingly... You just did not explore the limit of the system yet...
3. I agree that the 550EX manual description of the Canon "wireless system" is impeccable. The Sigma's only went through the difference in fuctionality and do not explain how the "system work", after all it's designed to function with the Nikon and the Minolta's wireless as well... It assumes the user "know how" and potentially be sued if they documented their features verbatim... to all the manufacturers. ops:
4. There might be more play in the Sigma unit but they do offer more bang for the buck than the similarly priced 420EX especially when you start bouncing the lights... or using ratio in larger room. It's larger GN also helps in the aperture control department and recycling time (that is if you can forgive its looseness!).

IMO one 550EX and 2 or more 500DG is a better compromise since this combination offer "better" Watt/s (in studio strobe parlance) than comparable 420EX... When you do FEC on group C you'll find again that minus adjustment is preferable to positive adjustment since again you'll be limit by what available on the 420EX, a 500DG (or 550EX as slaves) boost your overall system lighting especially if you try to do fill-in outdoor... :P
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Old Mar 22, 2004, 4:03 PM   #43
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Hi NHL,

Yes, agreed the Sigma has more light output. If I had to start from scratch I would consider a 550EX plus two Sigma's. I already had a 420EX, and didn't want a system with three different flashes! Thus now I have a 550 and two 420s. If that turns out to not be good enough, I can always upgrade later. For the time being I think it'll be plenty for me. I'm going to mostly use it for indoor people shots.

One thing I don't understand. You say that 'unless you use the front flash your aperture range is reduced by 20%'. That I didn't get yet :-)

Thanks!
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Old Mar 23, 2004, 1:57 PM   #44
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Quote:
Originally Posted by barthold
One thing I don't understand. You say that 'unless you use the front flash your aperture range is reduced by 20%'. That I didn't get yet :-)
I based this strictly on Guide Numbers. Plus don't forget in wireless mode the flashes are automatically set to 24mm for wider coverage (and control robustness): what this does is immediately decreases the GN(m) from 55 to 28 on the 550EX... much less on the 420EX as well, and then you start bouncing on top of it with no input from the main flash (ie with the 550EX is used as controller only)

I imagine indoor and smaller rooms you can play with the zoom on the 420EX to re-gain some light (at the sacrifice of coverage) which you don't have to with the 500DG Super... I'm just thinking about sharper portrait with higher f-stop and getting into the sweet spot!
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Old Jul 26, 2004, 4:57 PM   #45
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:|I have a Canon Digital Rebel with the 420 EX and it works great. Low red-eye a great E-ttl controls. I tried the 550 EX and did not notice a big difference.

What I have noticed is my friend has a diffuser on his 550EX this reduces some of the flashes output power but softens the harsh shadows. With this in mind more power might be better.

I am going to deal with this by buying a Quatum external power pack which they have modified to work with the Canon 420EX flash. This will allow me to fire hard everythime and still recycle fast for my next flash. The 550EX has a built-in exteranl power connector. Batteries SUCK big time if you shoot a lot of flash they will kill you.

I believe the Canon 420 EX is better at working with existing light and not washing it out by flashing too hard. It does have great distance when your have fresh batteries.
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