FLASH - High-Powered SIGMA EF610 DG Super


Dream Merchant

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Fresh from the Sigma marquee is a high-powered flash that’s also very capable!

SIGMA EF610 DG Super



Highlights:
- Powerful light output with a Guide number of 61.
- Equipped with advanced features such as modeling flash and wireless TTL.
- Autozoom function for changing the illumination angle in accordance with the lens’ angle of view .
- Compatible with most popular cameras.
- A carrying case and flash stand (FS-11) are included with the flash.

The newest addition to the Sigma line of flashes is the most powerful one yet, now offering a Guide number of 61 which translates into 61/m (200/ft) and designed to work with the latest TTL auto exposure systems of all the most popular digital and film SLR cameras.

Advanced features and high performance allows photographers to express their intentions accurately.

The EF-610 DG SUPER's auto zoom function automatically sets the optimum illumination angle in accordance with the lens' focal length in a range from 24mm to 105mm. When the built-in Wide Panel is used, the flash can cover an angle of 17mm.

For bounce flash the flashgun head can be tilted up by 90 degrees, to the left by 180 degrees, or to the right by 90 degrees. It can also be tilted down by 7 degrees allowing ease of use for close-up photography.

Among the advanced features of this flash is a:

- modeling flash function,
- multi-pulse flash,
- TTL wireless flash,
- FP (high speed) flash,
- rear-curtain Synchro flash and
- manual flash mode, which allows the photographer to set the flash power level by up to eight stops (1/1, ½, ¼, 1/8, 1/16, 1/32, 1/64 and 1/128).

The Auto Power-Off function automatically shuts off the LCD panel to help save battery power. When the flash gun is fully charged, a confirmation "ready' light will be emitted.


SPECIFICATIONS:
Guide Number:61/m (200/fit) ISO100/m (with the zoom head at 105mm)

G.N.(m)
34-24mm
35-28mm
36-35mm
46-50mm
52-70mm
56-85mm
61-105mm

G.N.(ft)
112-24mm
115-28mm
118-35mm
151-50mm
171-70mm
184-85mm
200-105mm

Power source: Four AA Alkaline or AA NiCd or Ni-MH (Nickel Metal Hybride) batteries

Charging time: Approx 7 seconds (when using alkaline batteries) Approx. 5 seconds (when using NiCd, Ni-MH batteries)

Number of flashes: Approx.120 flashes (when using alkaline batteries) Approx. 160 flashes (when using Nicd, Ni-MH batteries)

Illumination angle: Automatically set in accordance with the focal length of the lens, in a range from 24mm to 105mm. Also covers the angle of a 17mm lens when used with the built-in Wide Panel.

Bounce angle (Up): 0, 60, 75, 90 degrees
Bounce angle (Right): 0, 60, 75, 90 degrees Bounce angle
(Left)" 0, 60, 75, 90, 120, 150, 180 degrees
Tilt angle (Down): 0, 7 degrees

Dimensions:
(W X H X D) 77mm×139mm×117mm / 3.0in. X 5.5in. X 4.6 in.

Weight: 330g (11.6oz.) (without batteries)

Compatible cameras SIGMA AF, NIKON AF, CANON AF, SONY AF, PENTAX AF





Summary review and photos to follow. :)
 

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Dream Merchant

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My initial impressions (which may be altered or changed as I get used to this unit) ... Also, all comments are SUBJECTIVE. Many people have different ideas of size and what catches etc should do or feel like etc etc etc ...


LIKES

1) It's LIGHT! Even thought it's not the most compact unit around, it's weight makes it easier to either carry a spare or spare batteries.

2) It has a nice, slightly rubberised surface. Frankly, we all know about the old Sigma lens barrel rubberised coating, so I was a little surprised to see this on a flash ... BUT here's the thing: I have been placing and taking out this flash without it's case repeatedly in my camera bag, and so far, there doesn't appear to be any rubbing or peeling.

It's also easy to wipe oil or surface smudges with a slightly damp and soft cloth. I have NOT tried any potentially abrasive cloths, and yes, there ARE many 'lens' cleaning and equipment cleaning cloths that might scratch!

3) The LCD panel appears to be adequate. By that, I mean it conveys what it's supposed to, and has a very nice backlight which made working in dim light a breeze!

4) From my recollection of earlier Sigma units, the build/tactile quality on the EF 610 DG Super seems to be slightly less 'plasticiky'. This could also be due to the rubberised surface.

5) Click detents in all directions seem slightly 'soft', quite positive.



DISLIKES

1) The Manual. It's kinda small/small print, and IT'S COMPLICATED.

2) The menu(s) could be more intuitive.

3) This flash, like some others, have TWO locks. This slows operation down quite a bit when you need to work very quickly ... and the tendency is to look at the locks because they are of differing sized and shapes. I'm sure many could get used to it, but I prefer a SINGLE lock for bounce and swivel.

4) The control buttons are a little small.

The TOP most control buttons are DEEP RED, and not easy to see, even in bright light. On the plus side, it's only four buttons, and if Sigmas are the only flash you use, you probably could get used to it quite easily.

5) The Manual. Oh, I mentioned that already.



On the whole, I am starting to like this flash ... and I'll tell (or show) you why later on.



BEST PART IS, SIGMA Flashes are usually
MUCH MORE AFFORDABLE that 1st party units of
similar power/capabilities!​
 

Dream Merchant

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#4
PC sync and in a PC sync port? Not that I could see.

Not a worry since many adapters could be used, besides it's own in-built slave function / multiple wireless flash function.
 

Dream Merchant

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#5
DO NOTE

Before I upload some shots, do know that the EOS flash system has it's QUIRKS, and operates quite DIFFERENTLY than most conventional flash systems, and within a single camera, it can operate differently depending on what is set (AV, TV, P or M) as well as some Cfns for bodies offering such Cfns. Some of these changes may affect the overall exposure, and effect(s) of the WB set.

Also, do note that different flash units have slightly different white balances.

IF this becomes an issue on your Canon DSLR, simply go to Custom set WB and dial in 5600k. In very mixed lighting, I also do a 4400k - 4800k WB. Other times where the shooting environment presents fairly extreme degrees of either very low or high kelvins, I've gone all the way up to 10,000 or down to 3,000. Anyway, it's very quick to adjust WB. :)

If you would like to find out more about a document which describes the EOS flash system quite thoroughly, it's here (commonly called 'the 'EOD flash bible') :

http://photonotes.org/articles/eos-flash/

Aside - There's also a reason (well, many tens or hundreds of thousands of photographers I guess who demanded it) why the 580 EXII features the good old auto-thyristor external sensor and auto system instead of offering just ETTL II. Go figure.
 

Dream Merchant

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#6
There might be a few questions along the way, but do note that this is the first time I'm using a Sigma flash on ETTL and am getting used to it.

In other words, I'm really not the expert on Sigma flashes!

But I'll try to share my own inexperienced real-life user-experience with the Sigma 610 (for short)! LOLZ! :bsmilie:

Note that I tried most of the usual things to do with flash like straight-on, diffused, feathering, bounce, bounce and swivel. EV was whatever I felt the scene needed based on different criteria, i.e., usually a slight '+' or '-'.


OK LAH ... DA PHOTOS!



First thing that struck me was the way this unit tries to balance ambient FG with the BG. That is to say,
I think the Sigma 610 has retained the 'essence' of Canon's EOS flash system.






Since it's Christmas just right around the corner, it's only natural to take loads of photos of lights and trees and people!

What I wanted to know was how well the Sigma 610 balances exposure and color balance, and I'm quite glad to say that is does that very nicely!

In some of these photos, it may even seem like there was NO flash used at all!






Again, with strong backlight. Three very sweet girls pose for the camera.






Even though this is DIRECT FLASH, what I like is the way the Sigma 610 renders medium close-up portraits. A diffuser might work better here. Or even going off-shoe.

 

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Dream Merchant

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#7
Mixed lighting with demanding backgrounds (very dark, or later you will see very bright).











 

Dream Merchant

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#9
In and outside the ION Christmas tree.







 

2100

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Price? I am looking for a cheap but very powerful flash as I don't want to use SB-900s for some of my lower paying jobs already. Was looking at the Metz 58.
 

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jeff7id

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Oct 15, 2008
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#11
What is the flash duration for this SIGMA EF610 DG Super ?
 

Dream Merchant

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#12
If you're referring to the recycycle times, it's in the specs above, and re-quoted below for your convenience, but if you're referring to the actual flash duration of the burst, or FP modes, I have no way to measure that. I don't think the specifications specify the actual flash durations but I may be wrong.

Power source: Four AA Alkaline or AA NiCd or Ni-MH (Nickel Metal Hybride) batteries

Charging time: Approx 7 seconds (when using alkaline batteries) Approx. 5 seconds (when using NiCd, Ni-MH batteries)

Number of flashes: Approx.120 flashes (when using alkaline batteries) Approx. 160 flashes (when using Nicd, Ni-MH batteries)

Illumination angle: Automatically set in accordance with the focal length of the lens, in a range from 24mm to 105mm. Also covers the angle of a 17mm lens when used with the built-in Wide Panel.

Bounce angle (Up): 0, 60, 75, 90 degrees
Bounce angle (Right): 0, 60, 75, 90 degrees Bounce angle
(Left)" 0, 60, 75, 90, 120, 150, 180 degrees
Tilt angle (Down): 0, 7 degrees

Dimensions:
(W X H X D) 77mm×139mm×117mm / 3.0in. X 5.5in. X 4.6 in.

Weight: 330g (11.6oz.) (without batteries)

Compatible cameras SIGMA AF, NIKON AF, CANON AF, SONY AF, PENTAX AF
What is the flash duration for this SIGMA EF610 DG Super ?
 

Dream Merchant

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Jan 11, 2007
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#13
Price? I am looking for a cheap but very powerful flash as I don't want to use SB-900s for some of my lower paying jobs already. Was looking at the Metz 58.
I'm afraid that the MSRP or street prices have yet to be revealed to me. My apologies.
 

MinisQQ

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Nov 23, 2010
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#14
Will be a tempting option if price between SB600 and SB900.
 

Dream Merchant

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#15
I'll let you know as soon as I know about pricing. :)


Hokay ... going over to the other side of the street, I'm sure the decorations as TANGS Plaza might present a problem with exposure AND WB.

Exposure needs just a little +EV (think around +1/3 - +1 depending on how one shoots. I tend to adjust the flash to feather so I need slightly more power). WB looks really GREAT! But if your body presents a problem, just set it to between 4400 - 4800 k and you should be fine.


Overall shot. What I like is that the Sigma610 tries to retain the ambient lighting, and to this end, the Sigma610 does a pretty good job.
If you look back at the ION shots, it does the same.






There are/will be times where there's a large expanse of black or very dark areas in the composition plus very bright areas,
and that's where you might need to dial up or down a little more. (ref: EOS Flash Bible).



Some examples:

Straight Shot. The lights on the pillar closest to camera threw the exposure off (rest of the photo looks dark) and that IS expected.
No flash or exposure system in the world can decide, for you, what ratios of light you need and exactly WHERE.






So what I tried was this. +1/3 EV and feather the flash so that the closest to cam pillar doesn't get over-exposed:

 

Dream Merchant

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#16
Then I remembered ... because I am positioning the flash AWAY from the subject, I needed a little more power. Once you start getting used to the little buttons on the back, it's simply a little press (on my test unit, I simply keep the '+/- EV' 'permanently' activated since I know I'm going to use it often).

The pillar closest to cam got slight over because I did not flag it.
On the whole, it's a better balance if you want the shot 'more properly' exposed.





Shots like these can present a HEADACHE to many photographers,
but with the Sigma610, I just did a +1/3 EV and feathered.
I decided I wanted to keep the ambient lighting prominent instead of 'blasting with flash'.





This was a simple straight-on shot. I was fooling around a little with bounce and swivel, but decided 'head-on' works best.





Another very challenging shot. I count at least 3-4 different light sources, could be more.

The Sigma610 renders this BEAUTIFULLY!

As you might have found out, this is why I'm Lovin' this flash more and more!

 

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Yoh

Senior Member
Dec 11, 2004
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#17
Looks kinda good. It's retailing at USD255, wonder how much is it gonna cost locally. :think:
 

Dream Merchant

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#18
Let's try something ...

I wanted to achieve a look where it almost looks like there was NO FLASH whatsoever, and it's quite easy to do with the Sigma610.


In this shot, I needed the flash to create slightly more specular highlights - without over-exposing.









Here I wanted the flash to 'lift' the subjects out from totally dark shadows (against the surrounding dark shadows!).
It's one of those decisions that I make on the fly. Not that I have ANYTHING against post,
but why post-process when I could do it in cam right away?



 

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Dream Merchant

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#20
Here, I'm trying to retain the ambient light, aka, NOT make it look like the shots were 'blasted' with flash!

Note that I'm allowing the (predominantly tungsten/halogens) lamps to take precedence.
I could have made the shots look like they WERE blasted with flash,
but I thought a 'more natural' look added to the scene.










 

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