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Old Sep 4, 2008, 10:52 PM   #1
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Need some guidance.....

I have an Alien Bee 800 and shoot through Umbrella that are great but for more impromptu shots with Rebel XT I am looking for a Flash: Metz 48/58 af1, Canon 430/580 II or not II and Sigma 530 DG Super for Indoor small family (4 of us) portraits looking for what would work best and reliably.

I think I understand that the Metz 58 offers two light sources handy when bouncing the main light (my preference) and also offers its own more automatic flash setting then Canon's ETL/ETLII/. Has anybody used this Metz feature.

I personally do not mind settings things manually most of the time but my wife wants to point and shoot in P or AV or TV mode and have one of the flashes above do all the work. And of course sometimes there is not time for manual.

From one I have read the Canon is easier to operate, built better, and costs more. The Sigma gives you more power and features then 430 more like a 580 but can be flaky ? The Metz is not built much better then the Sigma, is a little obtuse to operate but has some great extra features and both models are less expensive then Canon.

Please advice me.
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Old Sep 5, 2008, 1:59 PM   #2
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anthlover wrote:
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The Metz is not built much better then the Sigma, is a little obtuse to operate but has some great extra features and both models are less expensive then Canon.
How can you tell when one plastic is better build than another? :-)
The last time I checked the Metz was the most expensive even over my SB-800

IMO the Metz is the better designed out of the three (four if you included Nikon):
1. It's USB upgradeable for future proof (i.e. no II series needed)
2. It has audible feedback (good/bad) over the viewfinder flashing icon which no one looks at
3. It can sync wirelessly with your Alien Bee (and so does the Sigma)
4. It can work in non-ETTL automatic mode (like the Sigma) - I believe the 580EX II can do this too but only with the MrkIII and after (This is an alternative if you find Canon's E-TTL too unpredictable)

As to the obscure operation, I much prefer (German efficiency) of a simpler 4 soft-keys layout which only show the function needed rather than arrays of complex buttons - Especially if you own both C and N like I do, the keys operates the same way regardless of which brand of cameras I use...
-> The 2nd head just put it over the top for me
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Old Sep 5, 2008, 4:42 PM   #3
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Thank you. I did not know the Sigma also offered the non ETTL Auto. Missed the obvious on their site.

Actually the Metz is a smidge cheaper then the 580 II. The two heads is realy nice feature. Is the Sigma 530 pretty reliable (exposure wise)? It is around $150 cheaper.

I can not seem to find a manual for the Sigma? I did download the metz one

The Metz 58 af1 goes for about $399
Sigma 530 DG is $239-299
Canon 580 II $415-425
Canon 430 II is $329
Canon 430 $239
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Old Sep 5, 2008, 11:00 PM   #4
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anthlover wrote:
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Thank you. I did not know the Sigma also offered the non ETTL Auto. Missed the obvious on their site.
Actually I was a little over zealous... it does not have non-ETTL auto
It only has the photoeye to sync wireless with other strobe in non-TTL mode
The functionality is the same as the 500DG Super: http://www.sigmaphoto.com/flashes/manuals/F10EO.pdf



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Is the Sigma 530 pretty reliable (exposure wise)?
I only have the 500DG Super and not the 530, in E-TTL mode the camera control the exposure and not the flash. The camera senses this by measuring the pre-flash through-the-lens and then command the flash to output the computed amount - The flash only respond to the camera commands and do not expose anything on its own (like on Auto)

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Old Sep 6, 2008, 12:11 PM   #5
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Thx again I like the Metz 58, And especially the dual head and USB updates. Just have to decide whether the latter feature is worth the extra $150

I found the manual for the Sigma on the UK site go figure why its not US site.

http://www.sigma-imaging-uk.com/pdfs...Manual_CAN.pdf
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Old Sep 9, 2008, 10:13 PM   #6
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I emailed Sigma they sent me the US manaul. Silly of them not to post it.

I ordered the Sigma 530DG from Amazon for $252 Delivered. You can find it for as liitle as $239 Delivered but since I have no local store for test drives I prefer the comfort of Amazon (not their Amazon Marketplace). They have a solid return policy and a decent price.

I really liked the Metz 58 for the Dual heads and USB updates but without a personal side by side I could decide if the real workd difference for me would be worth it.
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Old Sep 17, 2008, 11:57 PM   #7
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Sigma 530 DG Supera Canon Version

Just started playing with it. The feature set seems similar to the 580II I borrowed from Best Buy for 48 Hours before returning it.

The Sigma is definitely lighter, well built, comes with a slip case, and stand. Out of the Box in ETLII mode and doing straight shots and Bounce lighting they both seem to work quite well. I might say non-scientifically the Sigma might be a smidge more accurate. But to be fair I did not test them Side by Side and was not able to use all the Same subject matter.

The Sigma makes a little more noise when zooming. I thought the Sigma display was a little easier to read and the controls button seemed better, more straightforward. I do miss that the Canon can be adjusted both horizontally and vertically with one control button verus the Sigma's two. I imagine that two buttons control button on the Sigma is little more durable. The Canon besides whether sealing (I do not need and can not use with my Rebel XT does) come with a nice retractable little Plastic bounce card (along side the 17mm adapter). It would have been nice if Sigma could have included both, the Sigma includes a similar 17mm retractable adapter.

It is hard to argue with the price though the Sigma is around $200 dollars cheaper. I still think the Metz duel head/+USB would have been nice to have, but again it was around $150 more then the Sigma.

I do wonder in retrospect whether a Flash like the Sigma 530, Canon 580II, or Metz 58 would have been sufficent also for use with a shoot through umbrella for small groups of family portraits. I started of my lighting with an Alienbee AB800 and Shoot through umbrella. My fellow posters seemed to feel a flash would be challenged, particularly in dark environments.

No matter now I have both. I supect I might have been happy enough with just a flash.

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Old Sep 18, 2008, 6:58 AM   #8
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anthlover wrote:
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The Canon besides whether sealing (I do not need and can not use with my Rebel XT does) come with a nice retractable little Plastic bounce card (along side the 17mm adapter). It would have been nice if Sigma could have included both, the Sigma includes a similar 17mm retractable adapter.
The Metz 58AF, like the 580EX, has both as well...
It also has audible feedbacks (1-beep=OK, 2-beeps=not enough light), and a long beep when the unit is READY, which are quite useful IMO when in the middle of the shoot.

For the Auto mode it also beats the the 580EX II which kind of cripple this function in any camera less than the MrkIII and later



Quote:
I do wonder in retrospect whether a Flash like the Sigma 530, Canon 580II, or Metz 58 would have been sufficent also for use with a shoot through umbrella for small groups of family portraits. I started of my lighting with an Alienbee AB800 and Shoot through umbrella. My fellow posters seemed to feel a flash would be challenged, particularly in dark environments.
An Alienbee is much more powerful than any of theses heads although I've found this device quite useful for portable application: http://www.lumiquest.com/products/promax-system.htm
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Old Sep 19, 2008, 11:14 PM   #9
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Yes thank I forgot to mention the Metz having the bounce card too.

So far I have just been bouncing the light. I thought about a Stofen or Lumiquest.

Thx.
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Old Sep 20, 2008, 5:48 AM   #10
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IMO the Promax (although costing more) is much more flexible than the Stofen - It'll operate more like your studio set up, bounce or shoot-thru, and will adapt to any flash be it Canon, Metz or Sigma... i.e. only one thing to carry around

The whole thing also folds flat in its own wallet which makes it easier to fit in your camera back - Heck the wallet can even hold my Kodak gray card in it... :-)
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