What should I buy for my first flash?


area0404

New Member
Nov 10, 2011
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#1
Hi! I've been into photography for about a few months more than a year and I think it is now about the right time to add a flash into my equipment. However, since I have zero experience with flashes, I don't know what to get. Any suggestions? My gears are as follow.

Canon 5D M2
50mm 1.4
16-35mm 2.8
100mm 2.8 macro

I am planning to get a flash that is powerful enough to allows me to take portrait with my 100mm lens (I think most if not all speedlite should satisfy that). And hopefully works well with macro (maybe a remote flash that is detachable to prevent the lens from blocking the flash?). I considered ring flash but find it limiting and rather expensive. I've seen a few ring flash adapters as well (both DIY and made ones like orbis) but they have either fatal flaws or are really expensive.

I am a little confused by all the choices I have right now. My price range is about 300 or hopefully less.

Thank you!
 

Ah Pao

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Nov 7, 2003
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#2
Judging by your budget, a good choice would be a 430EXII, but that would be at $400+++. You may want to take a look at 3rd party brands (I keep seeing Yongnuo and Nissin popping up a lot in the forum) but I can't comment much as I have no experience with it. I used to have a Sigma flash but has since been retired.

As for shooting macro without a dedicated macro flash, you might want to consider using a off-camera shoe cord so that you can have flexibility in positioning your flash.
 

Wizongod

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Nov 25, 2011
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#3
Try having a look at speedlights.net They have quite comprehensive reviews to help you with your decision.
 

weelian

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Jan 5, 2011
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#4
I recommend a flash with an eTTL cord to bring your flash offshoe. You can do a lot of things with this configuration. And it's relatively cheap and efficient than wireless options.
 

area0404

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Nov 10, 2011
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#5
Thank you all! Looking at speedlights.net now. Will go look at some usage of eTTL cord too.
 

rhino123

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Sep 1, 2006
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#6
I am using a YN565EX... and loved it alot. It is cheaper than 430EXII, more powerful and in actual fact, it is almost as powerful as a 580EXII, which is a good thing. And you get full E-TTL. One setback is that it cannot be use as a master and it didn't have high speed sync. But for portraiture work, it should be enough.
 

GetzFie

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Oct 28, 2008
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#7
Previously I used 380EX on my 500D. Powerful flash but I don't like because it cannot rotate.
Now I'm using 430EXII bought from a forumer at $300, now using on my 5DMKII and I love it!! Friend of mine using Nissin di866mkII, is also a good flash.
But again, Canon products are always the better than 3rd parties.
 

area0404

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Nov 10, 2011
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#8
I agree Canon stuff usually work better with Canon camera. But 3rd party definitely has the advantage when it comes to cost. I have already purchased a YN565EX and waiting for it to arrive. I hope I will be satisfied by it.
 

GetzFie

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Oct 28, 2008
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#9
@area0404 - YN565EX is indeed a good flash.. but soon you'll sure save up to get and try a new/used canon flash.. hehehehe...
 

rhino123

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Sep 1, 2006
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#10
@area0404 - YN565EX is indeed a good flash.. but soon you'll sure save up to get and try a new/used canon flash.. hehehehe...
Why? I have been using a YN565EX for some time now... never feel the urge to 'upgrade' to a Canon flash... I also have a 430EXII... which I seldom use anymore once I got the YN565EX, which is cheap, powerful and very consistence. sure, it didn't have high speed sync or master capability, but I don't need those at all.

It is all up to TS... and I am sure he will like his YN565EX for a long long time.
 

area0404

New Member
Nov 10, 2011
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#11
If I'm not wrong, YN565EX can be a master unit. Anyway, I won't be using more than one flash for a long time. I find having one flash to work with has already stretched my creative capacity by a lot and gave me a lot to learn. I am in no hurry to explore photography with multiple flashes.

For high speed sync, I don't think there will be a situation that I can't find some way to work around it.

However, I have heard about inconsistencies in product quality of YN565EX. Some are extremely satisfied with the product while others seem to send their unit for repair after using it for only months.
 

area0404

New Member
Nov 10, 2011
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#12
Just read up a little more, YN indeed can't be used as a master. But like I said that's not really important for me.
 

Wizongod

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Nov 25, 2011
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#13
If I'm not wrong, YN565EX can be a master unit.
It can only be used as a wireless ETTL SLAVE.
Anyway I prefer Radio Wireless rather than optical wireless, since shooting at events and stuff can screw these over, and if you're in a studio, why use ETTL at all? Set everything manually. In fact, you could get out a template and use that over and over again.

EDIT: Also, if you're upgrading to the better bodies, like the 7D, they have wireless master in the onboard flash if you really need the wireless ETTL, so I don't see much point in having one either.

area0404 said:
For high speed sync, I don't think there will be a situation that I can't find some way to work around it.
Well, the only time you'd need that is when you're taking outdoors and would like to make the surrounding look dark (despite it being terribly bright) for some effect. I've only seen this done for cosplays so far.
If you're talking about freezing water, very simple. Set the flash to low power so that the pulse will be very short, open the aperture, crank up the iso a little, move the camera and flash close to each other, and then fire in a very dark environment.
You're very right, most situations won't need high speed sync.

area0404 said:
However, I have heard about inconsistencies in product quality of YN565EX. Some are extremely satisfied with the product while others seem to send their unit for repair after using it for only months.
Wish you good luck with that! It's always great to have a 3rd party unit that's cheap and in good working order. I'm praying for my YN465 as well!
 

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