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Thread: Need help deciding on flash to buy

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    Member Tinkabell's Avatar
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    Need help deciding on flash to buy

    Hi,

    Im fairly new to photography and i'm wanting to buy a new flash for my Canon 400D and was looking at either the 430EX or 580EX and noticed there is a big difference in price between the two and wondering what the main differences are and is the 580EX worth the extra money?

    Thanks in advance.

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    Hi Tinkabell
    The difference is basically the power of the flash, and thus the distance you can be from the subject that you are photographing, and still get sufficient light for a good photograph.
    The 580 has a guide number (the power of the flash) of 58 and guess what? the 430 has a guide number of 43.
    You do not really need to know how the guide number works (although it is helpful to study these things - search for Guide Number) just that the more expensive 580 EX II is almost 40% more powerful.
    There are always some good second-hand 420, 430, 550, and 580 EX flashes being sold on the Internet. Do not buy an EZ flash as they do not work fully with any digital camera.
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    I bought the 430EX foy my 450D,

    but the only reason why it cost more the guy said @ the camera shop is that i cant use it as an external flash only works on board the camera, but im still new to this so i dont need the 580EX just yet.

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    I mentioned 420, 430, 550, and 580 EX. They are all old models and all will work fine with any digital Canon SLR - either mounted on the camera or with an off-camera cord. There are also other older (and weaker) models that I believe would be OK - eg 220, 380
    The new (and current models) are 430 EX II, and 580 EX II, and the main improvements are battery recharging speed, locking mechanism (to stop the flash falling of the camera), and wireles communications between flash units.
    I also mentioned Guide Numbers, but forgot to mention that the inbuilt pop-up flash on Canon cameras has a guide number of around 13 - so the 430 (GN 43) is over 3 times more powerful.

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    In Training MarkChap's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by oiisxc View Post
    I bought the 430EX foy my 450D,

    but the only reason why it cost more the guy said @ the camera shop is that i cant use it as an external flash only works on board the camera, but im still new to this so i dont need the 580EX just yet.
    See now this sort of miss information really gets up my goat.

    The 430 EX CAN be used off camera with either and Off camera cord - OC-3 (I think) or by way of the STE-2 wireless flash controller.
    Not 100 % sure but I don't think you can use a 430 EX as a master to control any other off camera flashes but the 430 can be used as a slave when used in conjunction with a 580EX as a master unit thus doing away with the STE-2 controller.

    There is another thread on here about some very poor information given to someone about lens compatability it is high time these idiots got their act together
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    Did you read the flash equipment tutorial?

    Differences between the 580EX and the 430EX are:
    - guidenumber (about 0.9 stops, thus put that difference in perspective!)
    - 580EX is more rugged (probably you don't need that)
    - 580EX can be used as master in a multi-flash environment, 430EX slave only (but what good is master functionality if you don't have a slave?)
    - 580EX can be powered from external battery
    - 580EX has a dial control

    I always suggest the 430EX really is a good enough flash if you don't use it professionally (in the rain for example).
    Ciao, Joost

    All feedback is highly appreciated!

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    Thank you all so much for your replies. I will have to read the flash equipment tutorial and check out guide numbers too!!! So much to learn

    I mostly shoot with natural light, for now anyway, and just need a good fill flash so maybe the 430 would be the better option for now do you think?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tinkabell View Post
    maybe the 430 would be the better option for now do you think?
    Yes, the 430EX would be an excellent choice.

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    It depends on the user, for my personal use these are the advantages of the 580EXII for me:

    - The 580EXII can rotate both left and right by 180 degrees. The 430EXII cannot
    - The 580EXII can accept a CP-E4 Battery Pack. The 430EXII cannot
    - The 580EXII has Flash Exposure Bracketing. The 430EXII does not
    - The 580EXII has Stroboscopic functions. The 430EXII does not
    - The 580EXII is weather sealed. The 430EXII is not. (But I don't recommend getting it wet anyway)
    - The 580EXII can control other off camera Speedlites. The 430EXII cannot
    - The 580EXII is more powerful than the 430EXII.
    - For the same output, the 580EXII recycles faster than the 430EXII especially with a CP-E4 attached.

    If you ask anyone who has used the 580EXII and the 430EXII, I doubt you'll find the 430EXII often recommended. This is because the 430EXII is an awesome flash...until you use a 580EXII. It is a huge difference, way bigger than the specifications suggest. There is nothing wrong with the 430EXII, but I just wouldn't recommend it personally after using a 580EXII

    You shouldn't pay more than $600 for a 580EXII brand new, otherwise you are getting ripped off.

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    Hi Tinker

    For your current needs you probably won't go wrong with the 430EXII. If you ever grow out of it, then upgrade to the 580 (or whatever its equivalent becomes). That's my strategy and i have to say I am very pleased with my 430EXII.

    If you look at some equipment lists, eg Riverlander's, they have both.

    Also, I think some retailers still have stocks of the 430EX. I think it's better to pay the small difference and get the EXII.

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    Just to put things a little in perspective...

    Quote Originally Posted by smorter View Post
    - The 580EXII can rotate both left and right by 180 degrees. The 430EXII cannot
    The 430EXII can rotate 90 degrees clockwise and 180 degrees anti-clockwise (or vice versa, I never remember that correctly ). To be honest, I have never found it necessary to rotate further than, say, 60 degrees sideways anyway (up is more important!).

    - The 580EXII has Flash Exposure Bracketing. The 430EXII does not
    FEB can be done from the camera these days, there is no need for the flashgun to support it as far as I know.

    - The 580EXII can control other off camera Speedlites. The 430EXII cannot
    True. But for that, you will need at least a second speedlite - one can always buy a master later when the need arises.

    - The 580EXII is more powerful than the 430EXII.
    The difference is just under 0.9 stops of light. With modern camera's offering more and more usable high ISO, the extra flashpower is not that important anymore.

    If you ask anyone who has used the 580EXII and the 430EXII, I doubt you'll find the 430EXII often recommended.
    It depends. As I said before, for non-professional use the 430EX II is more than enough. I would seldomly recommend a 1DIII to someone that does not have to earn money with his/her photography either. Yes, a 580EXII offers features the 430EXII doesn't have, but are they worth the extra money? I think the large majority of all photographers owning a 580EXII won't use them anyway!

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    Member Edgar's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by smorter View Post
    You shouldn't pay more than $600 for a 580EXII brand new, otherwise you are getting ripped off.
    May I ask where can one get a brand new 580EX II for $600 or less?

    I've looked all over Sydney and the best offer I have had was $620 which I thought was a bargain as the RRP is now $680 and above (after the recent price increase annoucements). Even the cheap eBay imports are costing around $640-$660 delivered for the old stocks.

    You may have bought it a year ago when the Aussie currency were at its peak and hence the RRP were lower, but as far as I am aware, if you get these brand new at the retail stores, the prices can reach as high as $700 in some areas.

    And I don't think by me paying $620 last month for a brand new unit in stock were a ripped off at all.
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    Quote Originally Posted by jev View Post
    Just to put things a little in perspective...


    The 430EXII can rotate 90 degrees clockwise and 180 degrees anti-clockwise (or vice versa, I never remember that correctly ). To be honest, I have never found it necessary to rotate further than, say, 60 degrees sideways anyway (up is more important!).
    I guess we all vary in our usage, I've found the 90 degree twist to be a major hindrance in use but I'm primarily an event photographer so I use flash in 99% of my photos so YMMV you're right it does depend on the user

    FEB can be done from the camera these days, there is no need for the flashgun to support it as far as I know.
    No FEB can't be done in camera, you need a compatible speedlite attached in order to do it. I used to use FEB quite extensively but as I've gotten used to ETTL more and more I tend to use it less, but it is still invaluable

    By FEB I mean Flash Exposure Bracketing, not Auto Exposure Bracketing (AEB)

    True. But for that, you will need at least a second speedlite - one can always buy a master later when the need arises.
    But two 580EXIIs are better than a 580EXII and a 430EX. Remember that often the slave is where you need the power. If anything its even more critical to have a 580EXII as a slave rather than a 430EXII

    The difference is just under 0.9 stops of light. With modern camera's offering more and more usable high ISO, the extra flashpower is not that important anymore.
    I disagree, this statement is akin to saying that f/1.2 or f/1.4 are not needed with modern cameras. You can never have enough speed or power (at least not anytime soon)

    Quote Originally Posted by jev View Post
    It depends. As I said before, for non-professional use the 430EX II is more than enough. I would seldomly recommend a 1DIII to someone that does not have to earn money with his/her photography either. Yes, a 580EXII offers features the 430EXII doesn't have, but are they worth the extra money? I think the large majority of all photographers owning a 580EXII won't use them anyway!
    Fair enough point but the analogy is suspect. The difference between a 430EXII and 580EXII is the difference between a 1000D and a 450D. The 1D3 is in an entirely different price bracket. I recommend a 450D over a 1000D for the same reason as a I recommend a 580EXII over a 430EXII

    ____

    Quote Originally Posted by Edgar View Post
    May I ask where can one get a brand new 580EX II for $600 or less?

    I've looked all over Sydney and the best offer I have had was $620 which I thought was a bargain as the RRP is now $680 and above (after the recent price increase annoucements). Even the cheap eBay imports are costing around $640-$660 delivered for the old stocks.

    You may have bought it a year ago when the Aussie currency were at its peak and hence the RRP were lower, but as far as I am aware, if you get these brand new at the retail stores, the prices can reach as high as $700 in some areas.

    And I don't think by me paying $620 last month for a brand new unit in stock were a ripped off at all.
    No when the AUD was better, I got mine for $400 AUD from the US including delivery. You can get it from Discount Digital Photographics for $600. I'm sorry if I indirectly offended you about being ripped off, but if it makes you feel better my 580EXII flash broke and now I have to get a new one too at a the current crazily high prices
    Last edited by smorter; 10-03-2009 at 12:35am.

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