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Thread: Off Camera Flash

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    Off Camera Flash

    I'm wanting to add a Speedlite & associated accessories to my kit (Canon 7D). I'd like to use it both on & off camera - with a view to the longer term adding additional flash units, stands & umbrellas for basic studio work.

    Based on what I've read up on so far, it seems like the 580EX II is the way to go, but I'd love people's opinions on that & also, more importantly, what else I need to buy to get the most out of this. On my "think I need the following" list is the unit, a diffuser and an off camera shoe cord. What am I missing? Any tips? Your advice would be appreciated!
    Sarah
    www.sarahwhytephotography.com


    Canon EOS 7D | Canon EOS 350D | Canon EFS 17-55mm f/2.8 IS USM | Canon EFS 10-22mm f/3.5-4.5 IS USM | Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 | Canon EFS 18-200mm f/3.5-5.6 IS

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    Ausphotography Veteran rwg717's Avatar
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    Have a look in the advertisers index on AP for an Australian retailer of Yongnuo wireless gear, I have bought a couple of remote kits for my 580EX and 420EX and bought a translucent umbrella and mounting grip for a tripod and this really works a treat and has good range too. The wireless remote also can accept a little cable which converts the flash trigger into a remote camera release too, fraction of the cost of the genuine ones
    Richard
    I've been wrong before!! Happy to have constructive criticism though.Gear used Canon 50D, 7D & 5DMkII plus expensive things hanging off their fronts and of course a "nifty fifty".

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    Ausphotography Veteran rwg717's Avatar
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    Of camera flash

    This is a link to the people I was talking about:-
    Richard

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    A 580 has a bit more power, but it can also act as a master which is why it's dearer. You don't need it to get started... but it's nice to have.

    For now you don't need a cable and/or triggers either. The 7D has the infra red flash trigger built in. It will be the master and fire the 430 off camera itself. So you really only need a 430 & a stand with a diffuser to get started. The infra red does get a bit limited if the reciever (430 or any of them) sensor is in direct sunlight, or out of line of sight. But for most situations it's fine.

    Edit: there are many good aftermarket flashes out the too, but realistically, having one canon flash for good ettl talking to the camera (both on and off) is a good idea. After that grab some aftermarket flashes for extra slaves, they're pretty cheap & will open up more possibilities.
    Last edited by Art Vandelay; 04-04-2011 at 10:23pm.

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    Ausphotography Site Sponsor/Advertiser DAdeGroot's Avatar
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    I agree with Art, your 7D is the only Canon body available with built in wireless flash triggering (lots of Nikons do this, but Canon has been slow to catch on). IR triggering is easy to set up and allows you to remotely control the off-camera flash right from your camera (for power settings anyway).

    A light stand and shoot through brolly will round out the beginner kit nicely and can be used in a wide range of scenerios. If you can afford it, I'd opt for the 580 over the 430 as it gives you more power, faster recycle times and most importantly, a PC sync port in case you ever go the path of radio triggers.
    Dave

    http://www.degrootphotography.com.au/
    Canon EOS 1D MkIV | Canon EOS 5D MkII | Canon EOS 30D | Canon EF 400mm f/5.6L USM | Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS USM | Canon EF 17-40mm f/4L USM | Canon EF 85mm f/1.2L II USM | Canon EF 35mm f/1.4L USM | Canon TS-E 17mm f/4L & some non-L lenses.

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    I have used my 3 speedliye with the 7D off camera flash system. It is relatively easy and works extremely well PROVIDING all 2 flashes are in front of the camera.
    No extra hardware necessary to get it to work, just light diffusers, stans etc.
    Graham

    Canon- EOS 7D with BG-E7 grip, 10-22 f/3.5-4.5, 24-105L f/4; Speedlites 580EX II, 550EX, 430EX.
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    Moderately Underexposed I @ M's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DAdeGroot View Post
    I agree with Art, your 7D is the only Canon body available with built in wireless flash triggering (lots of Nikons do this, but Canon has been slow to catch on).
    It looks like the remote flash control feature is being phased into the Canon range as new models come through, I just read the Dpreview review of the 600D and apparently it has the same capabilities as the 7D to work with remote flashes.
    Andrew
    Nikon, Fuji, Nikkor, Sigma, Tamron, Tokina and too many other bits and pieces to list.



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    In Training MarkChap's Avatar
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    OK lets clear a couple of things up here first.
    The Canon system is NOT Infra Red (IR), it uses pulses of normal light from the flash head to send commands to the remote flashes.
    Canon have incorporated the on camera system in all of their new bodies since the 7D, so the 7D, 60D and as Andrew mentioned the newest of the group the 600D, the 1100D missed out as one would expect from their bottom offering.

    The built in Canon system works very well indoors and outside when not in direct sunlight, and ok when with in about 5 metres in the sun.
    It is line of sight when outside, so the front (red panel) of the remote must be able to see the on board flash, inside where light bounces around off ceilings, walls etc, you can get away with a little more, or a little less direct sight if you will.

    If at all possible I would always recommend the 580EXII as your first/primary speedlite, you can always dial the power down, if you have the 430, which is a very capable unit, you can't dial the power up if you do find you need that little bit extra.

    As far as what
    more importantly, what else I need to buy to get the most out of this
    That is a very broad question, certainly radio triggers give you a lot more versatility than the built in Canon system, and you can now get some quite reasonably priced units that will still provide E-TTL metering. Think Pixel Knight TR-332
    A light stand, swivel bracket, I have just changed to the all metal 026 Monfrotto units, but you can have quite reasonable plastic units for a bit less, just be careful when purchasing, some of the plastic units leave a LOT to be desired.
    An umbrella, I use a 42" convertible umbrella, you can use it as a silver reflective or a white shoot through.
    I would use the built in system before I would use an OC-E3 cord, simply for the fact that I don't have a cord attached that if you forget about and go to walk away you can pull you flash tumbling down to the ground.
    Smoke Alarms Save Lives, Install One Today
    I shoot Canon
    Cheers, Mark


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    Quote Originally Posted by MarkChap View Post
    OK lets clear a couple of things up here first.
    The Canon system is NOT Infra Red (IR), it uses pulses of normal light from the flash head to send commands to the remote flashes.
    Yes, you're right. It keeps getting reffered to as IR most often around the place, but technically it's natural light. I shouldn't have kept the myth going.

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    I've got a 60D and the 580EXII flash, and I often use it off camera using the built in wireless.
    It works very well too.

    I also have a stand and a diffuser box for the 580 when I'm in the studio taking product shots and it works very well with plenty of nice, soft light.
    I often have the stand and box behind the camera when shooting, and as long as I twist the bottom section of the flash to more-or-less aim at the camera, it works well.

    I'm not sure about the 7D, but I would imagine the set-ups to be pretty close to each other.
    In the flash menu, you can set the relative flash outputs from the built-in flash and the external flash so that one can be more powerful than the other, and I often set the external flash to have 4 times the power of the internal flash so most of the light is coming out diffused from the flash on the stand with some light from the built-in flash coming from the camera to cut down shadows.
    Using the built-in wireless, you have to have the pop-up flash open for it to work, but you can tell the camera to only allow 1/8th of the power going to the pop-up.
    Once you start playing with it, you'll find it easy to adjust and balance.
    You can also adjust the 580 from the flash itself, and this can be handy for making finer adjustments.
    Of course, you can just hold the external flash in your hand, but holding this and the camera and trying to get a good shot can be difficult, so putting things on stands does make things easier.

    I'm sure the 430Ex flash is good, but if you are using it off-camera, I would strongly suggest you get the 580 EXII as the extra power can be useful, and it can also be used as a master to control other flashes.

    Off-camera flash is good fun and it's amazing the different affects you can get by just moving the flash around, even from behind the subject to get a nice glow around the person/object.

    The instructions that come with the 580 are easy to understand and they show you a number of different scenarios and how to handle them and it works so well with my 60D that I'm thinking of buying another one.
    After I get my UWA lens, that is!

    One other point, the 580 works really well when mounted on the camera too, and for indoor shots of friends and family etc., I've found it works very well when the head is aimed at the ceiling to bounce the flash.
    I think this is where the 580 does beat the 430 hand down as the extra power is good for this type of flash photography.
    Personally, when taking flash shots of people and animals, bouncing the flash off the ceiling stops the model from getting the flash straight into their eyes, and as such, they won't keep avoiding you all night!

    Hope this helps.
    All my photos are taken with recycled pixels.
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    I have two 580EXII units. I started with one, but went to two identical units so that I could accurately balance output between the two for strobist work. I can recommend this model - for Canon cameras, there's simply no more powerful flash in terms of output, and no other flash with more features (yet!). If you want the best, get the 580EXII; otherwise, get a cheap Yongnuo flash - some of them are under $100, just as powerful as the 430EXII, and even have ETTL.
    --=3 In Veritas Lux E=--
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    Thanks so much for your incredibly useful & informative advice everyone. I'm thinking that I stick with getting the 580EX & look at a stand & umbrella & skip the hot shoe. Looking forward to having a play already!

    Cheers

    Sarah

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    You'll love it Sarah.
    I think the 580 is a very wise choice f it is going to be your only flash, or even just one of many.

    If you don't want to get a stand right now, if you have an old tripod laying around somewhere, you can buy an adaptor that screws onto the tripod that has a cold shoe fitting on it.
    Perfect for holding your new 580!
    Then, you can make up your own diffuser by using tissue paper or even an old white sheet, if you need it.

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    Dave,

    any recommendations on where to purchase the stand & brolly?

    Sarah

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    I bought my stand from Digital Camera Warehouse.
    I got a collapsible stand, with air suspension and a large soft-box all for around $170.00.
    It also collapses and came with a carry bag as well.

    You can also put an umbrella on the stand instead of the soft-box, if you want to (and they are only around $30 for an umbrella), but I find for close-quarters studio shots, the soft-box suits me better.

    Works really well with my 580EX II.

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    Sarah, I just bought a 580 on Saturday on the recommendations from this forum. Am looking forward to
    having a play with it over the next couple of days.
    I may buy a couple of the Yongnuo's off eBay as slaves later down the track, as I am hoping to make a start in
    pet photography. A few of my friends have pets and the said they would loan me their pets for practice models.
    cheers Kerro



    I shoot with Canon cameras and
    Canon and Sigma lenses

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    I've just ordered my 580 - very excited. Hoping to get it in time for the Easter break ;o)

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    Thanks Benny - I'll take a look at a couple of local shops for a stand & an umbrella or softbox. thanks for your help!

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    Here's a couple of shots of what you can do with an off-camera flash.

    I used the built-in flash on 1/4 power to light up the face, and the 580EX II behind and below the flower to make it glow.

    IMG_5988-copy.jpg


    IMG_6024.jpg

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    Member katiedransfield's Avatar
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    I have the 580 and have been extremely happy with it. Now I am wanting to get it off my camera and look at different flash set ups. Thanks for the intel on Yongnuo flash. I am looking at that for a slave flash. Rather than using my 580 as the master though I was going to get a Canon ST-E2 speedlite transmitter for my Canon 5D Mark II. Is this recommended or would the Yongnuo alternative be worth a try?

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