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Old May 13, 2009, 2:22 PM   #1
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Default Advice on Canon XTi flash

Looking to step up into a hot-shoe flash. I am currently shooting a Rebel XTi. I have been looking at the Canon Speedlite 430EX II. But looking around the web and in magazines I see a huge number of options, from Sigma, Sunpak, etc, etc.

I am looking for some recommendations, and things to look for in a new flash. Any help is greatly appreciated.

Thanks,

JW
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Old May 13, 2009, 5:45 PM   #2
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JW-

Sunpak has the PZ-140X ($132) and the RD-2000 (about $70.00) flashes.Both are available a t www.amazon.com. Metz should not be overlooked, about $225.00. Metz produces some very high quality speedlights.

Sarah Joyce

Last edited by mtclimber; May 13, 2009 at 6:55 PM.
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Old May 14, 2009, 5:48 AM   #3
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What sort of usage are you looking for from the flash as that will ensure that you get the flash features needed?

I use both the 430EX and 580EX units (mark I) and find them very good. Yes they are more expensive than the other units but for me they have performed faultlessly in the field which is essential for me.

I would instantly discount the RD2000 as it is low power and the head is only articulated vertically, being able to move in 2 axis is very helpful when shooting portrait.
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Old May 14, 2009, 6:51 AM   #4
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Many of the inexpensive flash units on the market do not support FP mode (a.k.a., High Speed Sync). Because of the limitations of the focal plane shutter designed used in a dSLR, you'll find a published x-sync speed representing the fastest shutter speed you can use with a flash.

For your XTi, it's 1/200 second.

For indoor photos, that's usually fine. But, for outdoor photos when you may want to use a flash for fill, the shutter speed limitations can present a problem. For example, you may want to use a wider aperture setting to help subjects stand out from a distracting background, where faster shutter speeds will be needed to prevent overexposure.

The 430EX and 580EX models support high speed sync, which allows the flash to pulse the light as the shutter curtains open and close to get around x-sync speed limitations that you'll have with most inexpensive flash units. So, if you want to use a flash for fill outdoors, I'd consider going with one of the better flash units with high speed sync support (otherwise, you'll be limited to 1/200 second or slower shutter speeds).

Also look at how powerful a flash is, as shown by it's GN (Guide Number). A model like the 430EX II has a GN of 141 feet at it's maximum zoom head position using ISO 100. The maximum flash range for a direct (not bounced or diffused) flash is going to be equal to the GN divided by your Aperture Setting. Then, each time you double the ISO speed, flash range increases by 1.4x.

For example, if you're using an aperture of f/8 (as you may want to for better depth of field shooting group photos), your maximum flash range at ISO 100 for a direct flash with the 430EX II would be approximately 17.6 feet (GN of 141 feet divided by your aperture of f/8 ). That's using it's maximum zoom head position of 105mm. If you're shooting at wider focal lengths, flash range will decrease because the flash beam is wider versus more focused. Again, that's just for a direct flash, not a bounced flash.

When you bounce a flash, the light must travel to the ceiling, then down to your subject. Because it's being diffused and spread out over a wider area compared to a more focused direct flash, you can lose a lot of range. Ceiling height, type/color and more will impact how much range you lose when bouncing.

So, you may need to increase your ISO speed in order to get correct exposure. Each time you double the ISO speed, flash range increases by 1.4x.

So, I would lean towards a better flash if budget permits, looking for things like high speed sync support, it's power (look at the GN) the ability of the flash to tilt and swivel so that you can bounce it in portrait position, flash recycle times (usually models using 2 batteries are going to recycle slower) and compatibility. Many third party flash systems are going to have exposure issues, even when they claim to be ETTL II compatible, since they're trying to reverse engineer Canon's protocol between the camera body and the flash and they often get it wrong.
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Old May 14, 2009, 7:14 AM   #5
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Get the 430ex2 flash, it works awesome.
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Old May 14, 2009, 9:09 AM   #6
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Thanks everybody. JimC - amazing info, I have been trying to find something that information packed and concise on the internet - but this was one of the best explanations available.

Mark - I am planning to use the flash to expand my abilities in all areas I guess. I mainly shoot outdoors, and portraits.

After everything I have read and the discounts available from Canon right now I think I will be getting the 430EX.

Thanks!!

JW
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Old May 14, 2009, 10:07 AM   #7
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One other thing to consider that I didn't touch on is that you will lose power if you're shooting outdoors at shutter speeds faster than the x-sync speed (which requires you to use High Speed Sync with a flash like the 430EX that supports that feature), because of the way the flash needs to pulse the light over a longer period of time while the shutter curtains are traveling.

IOW, a more powerful flash can come in handy in some shooting conditions, depending on how you plan on using one. If I were buying a flash for an XTi for personal use, I'd probably lean towards the 430EX II (but, I'd strongly consider the larger and more powerful 580EX II, depending on how flexible I wanted my flash to be in more shooting conditions). Any choice is a compromise in one area or another (including size, weight and cost). ;-)
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Old May 18, 2009, 4:28 PM   #8
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Can anybody verify if the Canon 430ExII can be used soley on auto mode?
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Old May 18, 2009, 4:38 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pagemaster2 View Post
Can anybody verify if the Canon 430ExII can be used soley on auto mode?
It sure can, it will work in any mode, so you can have as much or as little control as possible.
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Old May 18, 2009, 4:40 PM   #10
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Excellent news.

One more question if you don't mind.

The auto mode will help it expose correctly?
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