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Gear Talk => Lighting => Topic started by: RobT on November 12, 2012, 04:51:52 PM

Title: Entering the world of needing a flash at darker weddings
Post by: RobT on November 12, 2012, 04:51:52 PM
I won't try and talk up any knowledge of external lighting I may have.

I have none.

But what I do know is that I have a couple weddings on the books with receptions in dimly lit restaurants and the 50D has laughable ISO qualities when it gets that dark, so I'd better start learning and move away from my comfortable world of natural light.

My budget for a single flash unit and any necessary accessories is about $400, but I can go higher if need be. Currently I'm considering a 430EXII and some sort of wireless/off camera trigger and on-flash softbox.

However, anyone in this section of the forums knows more than me, so I am very open to suggestions.
Title: Re: Entering the world of needing a flash at darker weddings
Post by: wickidwombat on November 12, 2012, 05:23:19 PM
Second hand 580ex should run about 300 bucks get a cheap ettl cord off eBay and a cheap manual only radio trigger off ebay and a stofen omni bounce off ebay then you can use it on or off camera the 430 will be a bit limited for weddings with its lower rotation ability of the head compared to the 580
Title: Re: Entering the world of needing a flash at darker weddings
Post by: RobT on November 12, 2012, 05:37:53 PM
I had been wondering about the limited rotating ability of the 430EX. I'll see what I can find on ebay.

Will the stofen bounce be enough of a diffuser? I'd like the light to be as soft as possible, but I've no experience in wondering if a small softbox diffuser would be overkill.
Title: Re: Entering the world of needing a flash at darker weddings
Post by: RobT on November 12, 2012, 08:09:24 PM
Scratch that last question, here's a better one.

If I buy a 430EXII and a cord or radio trigger, will that be capable enough to warrant not needing the extra swivel?
Title: Re: Entering the world of needing a flash at darker weddings
Post by: AudioGlenn on November 12, 2012, 08:13:51 PM
I have Stofens for my 430 and my 600.  I don't really like using them.  The colors/contrast I get from a bounced flash are much more pleasing.  The stofen might be a little more useful on the 430 as it does not have a catch light panel but I still find it much more useful to just use the flash directly. 

If you're looking for more interesting shadows, I'd use it off camera anyway...and I still don't use the stofen. 

I'd recommend the 580 or 600 for the higher output and easier controls.  (yes, it makes a difference in the real world).  For example, when bouncing flash straight up to an extremely high ceiling, like the ones found in reception rooms, the extra power is nice.  Also, when manually adjusting the output, the dials on the 580 and 600 are much easier to adjust quickly rather than having to hold down the center button for a few seconds and then pressing the +/- buttons, which are a bit tricky to press...minor gripe but it does slow me down a bit.  I mainly use my 430 to light backgrounds or if I need the extra power for bounce flash...usually off camera.
Title: Re: Entering the world of needing a flash at darker weddings
Post by: gilmorephoto on November 12, 2012, 09:40:20 PM
The 430EX II is a great flash and it swivels both ways, just not all the way on one-side only.  I've never found that to be a problem.  I started out with the Stofen but found it to give less pleasing results with better glass (not sure why that is) and only useful for straight up "bare bulb"-type shots. It has been collecting dust since I got the radio triggers,  an umbrella, and a small soft box.

I used the flash mainly with my T1i (same sensor as your 50D) and the flash really made it come alive.  I liked that it was smaller than 580EX and didn't feel like I was missing power.  I gave me great shots but I realized how much more flexibility I now have with the 600EX.  Now I'm selling the 430EX II, plus Stofen, plus Phottix Strato to go toward another 600EX. (PM me if interested.)

In short, 430EX is really good. 600 is better.  Never used the 580 but it has the same output as the 600 for what it's worth.
Title: Re: Entering the world of needing a flash at darker weddings
Post by: keithfullermusic on November 12, 2012, 10:13:34 PM
i've got a 5d3 and 430EXii with cowboy studio triggers.  I've never had any problems with any of them - they work amazingly well.

If you're going to be in really dark areas with high ceilings a lot, then just buy a cheap manual flash because ETTL will probably have the sucker on full blast the entire time anyway.
Title: Re: Entering the world of needing a flash at darker weddings
Post by: scotthillphoto on November 12, 2012, 11:14:38 PM
I have used just about everything that you can thinking and currently for my "portable cheap" set up for weddings are the yn 560's they run about $50 and then a knock off cp-e4 for $40 and you have a flash that can go a whole wedding... Then I use the pixel king triggers $100 that can give me wireless TTL with my canon brand flashes and HSS with my studio strobes.

I've used radio popers, pocket wizards, paulcblufs triggers, and even the st-e2 and the pixel kings are the easiest to use with TTL functions. But for you it would just be a "trigger"

And these are my amazon links to what I have actually bought:
YN-560 $45
http://www.amazon.com/Yongnuo-YN-560-Speedlight-Flash-Canon/dp/B004GZLFHM/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1352779878&sr=8-1&keywords=yn+560 (http://www.amazon.com/Yongnuo-YN-560-Speedlight-Flash-Canon/dp/B004GZLFHM/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1352779878&sr=8-1&keywords=yn+560)

Pixel King $112 (they went up a little bit)
http://www.amazon.com/PIXEL-E-TTL-Wireless-Flash-Trigger/dp/B005LUPV1W/ref=sr_1_1?s=electronics&ie=UTF8&qid=1352779945&sr=1-1&keywords=pixel+king+canon (http://www.amazon.com/PIXEL-E-TTL-Wireless-Flash-Trigger/dp/B005LUPV1W/ref=sr_1_1?s=electronics&ie=UTF8&qid=1352779945&sr=1-1&keywords=pixel+king+canon)
 
CP-E4 knock off $40
http://www.amazon.com/YongNuo-External-Battery-SF-18-Batteries/dp/B003JEU83I/ref=sr_1_4?s=electronics&ie=UTF8&qid=1352779987&sr=1-4&keywords=cp-e4 (http://www.amazon.com/YongNuo-External-Battery-SF-18-Batteries/dp/B003JEU83I/ref=sr_1_4?s=electronics&ie=UTF8&qid=1352779987&sr=1-4&keywords=cp-e4)

And then I bought these as well so I wouldn't have to mount my flashes to the hot shoe of the triggers $14
http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00009R8G8/ref=oh_details_o06_s00_i00 (http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00009R8G8/ref=oh_details_o06_s00_i00)
Title: Re: Entering the world of needing a flash at darker weddings
Post by: CharlieB on November 13, 2012, 12:10:02 AM
A lot of what and why you choose lighting hardware depends on the style your after.

There are definitely styles.  I'm the "extreme soft" sort, so I carry a 12x18 or 18x24 Chimera bank with a show mounted flash in it.  Works great.  Not heavy, but awkward.  Gotta keep your wits about you.

My friend is a bare bulb shooter - using a Qflash (I think) and bare bulb - no reflector, just a bulb shining 360 degrees.  He gets a very very nice old time effect... shoots formals in color, all the rest in monochrome.  Just outstanding.  Not my cup of tea.. but outstandingly artistic lighting.
Title: Re: Entering the world of needing a flash at darker weddings
Post by: gmrza on November 13, 2012, 12:38:05 AM
I have Stofens for my 430 and my 600.  I don't really like using them.  The colors/contrast I get from a bounced flash are much more pleasing.  The stofen might be a little more useful on the 430 as it does not have a catch light panel but I still find it much more useful to just use the flash directly. 

If you're looking for more interesting shadows, I'd use it off camera anyway...and I still don't use the stofen. 

I'd recommend the 580 or 600 for the higher output and easier controls.  (yes, it makes a difference in the real world).  For example, when bouncing flash straight up to an extremely high ceiling, like the ones found in reception rooms, the extra power is nice.  Also, when manually adjusting the output, the dials on the 580 and 600 are much easier to adjust quickly rather than having to hold down the center button for a few seconds and then pressing the +/- buttons, which are a bit tricky to press...minor gripe but it does slow me down a bit.  I mainly use my 430 to light backgrounds or if I need the extra power for bounce flash...usually off camera.

The controls on the 600 are far more intuitive - they are a big improvement in terms of reliability.

For wireless control, while it is probably the most expensive solution, the 600-EX-RT plus ST-E3-RT is probably the most bomb-proof solution.  If you are going to set up an off-camera flash, this combination has the added advantage of not having to attach a separate trigger, which gives for a faster and less error-prone setup to get your off-camer flash working.
Another added bonus is that the 600 comes with colour-correction gels for tungsten lighting.
Title: Re: Entering the world of needing a flash at darker weddings
Post by: RobT on November 13, 2012, 08:30:16 AM
Quote from: scotthillphoto link=topic=10871.themselves msg195044 date=1352780078
I have used just about everything that you can thinking and currently for my "portable cheap" set up for weddings are the yn 560's they run about $50 and then a knock off cp-e4 for $40 and you have a flash that can go a whole wedding... Then I use the pixel king triggers $100 that can give me wireless TTL with my canon brand flashes and HSS with my studio strobes.

I've used radio popers, pocket wizards, paulcblufs triggers, and even the st-e2 and the pixel kings are the easiest to use with TTL functions. But for you it would just be a "trigger"

And these are my amazon links to what I have actually bought:
YN-560 $45
http://www.amazon.com/Yongnuo-YN-560-Speedlight-Flash-Canon/dp/B004GZLFHM/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1352779878&sr=8-1&keywords=yn+560 (http://www.amazon.com/Yongnuo-YN-560-Speedlight-Flash-Canon/dp/B004GZLFHM/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1352779878&sr=8-1&keywords=yn+560)

Pixel King $112 (they went up a little bit)
http://www.amazon.com/PIXEL-E-TTL-Wireless-Flash-Trigger/dp/B005LUPV1W/ref=sr_1_1?s=electronics&ie=UTF8&qid=1352779945&sr=1-1&keywords=pixel+king+canon (http://www.amazon.com/PIXEL-E-TTL-Wireless-Flash-Trigger/dp/B005LUPV1W/ref=sr_1_1?s=electronics&ie=UTF8&qid=1352779945&sr=1-1&keywords=pixel+king+canon)
 
CP-E4 knock off $40
http://www.amazon.com/YongNuo-External-Battery-SF-18-Batteries/dp/B003JEU83I/ref=sr_1_4?s=electronics&ie=UTF8&qid=1352779987&sr=1-4&keywords=cp-e4 (http://www.amazon.com/YongNuo-External-Battery-SF-18-Batteries/dp/B003JEU83I/ref=sr_1_4?s=electronics&ie=UTF8&qid=1352779987&sr=1-4&keywords=cp-e4)

And then I bought these as well so I wouldn't have to mount my flashes to the hot shoe of the triggers $14
http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00009R8G8/ref=oh_details_o06_s00_i00 (http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00009R8G8/ref=oh_details_o06_s00_i00)

Would you say that the yn 560's have proven themselves very capable for the weddings you've done? I would love to drop the money right now on a 600rt and TTL capable wireless trigger,  but I don't have the funds for it as I'm trying to save all I can for a 5dmkiii. My wife is also my second shooter at weddings,  and for that price I could easily get flashes on both our cameras without breaking the bank and plan to upgrade to Canons speedlites later on.
Title: Re: Entering the world of needing a flash at darker weddings
Post by: wickidwombat on November 13, 2012, 03:45:44 PM
The only thing the 560s can't do is high speed sync so for what they cost they are pretty good value since you have 2 shooters you really need 2 flashes most on camera modifiers are useless they suck power and dont perform any different to a cheap stofen although I am considering buying a wing light to try. I don't have any yongnuo flashes myself but I do use external yongnuo power packs on my 580exii flashes and they work well. Because you will be moving around and the light will be changing constantly ettl is pretty important
Title: Re: Entering the world of needing a flash at darker weddings
Post by: RobT on November 13, 2012, 04:39:56 PM
And therein lies my problem.

Buy two flashes for less than either Canon speedlite and learn to use it manually from the get go, or spend more on one light and leave my wife in the dark...
Title: Re: Entering the world of needing a flash at darker weddings
Post by: RobT on November 13, 2012, 05:39:27 PM
I apologize for all the multi-posting.

Is there any strong reason not to buy two of these YN-468 II's? They are E-TTL capable and I can get two for less than $200.

http://www.amazon.com/YongNuo-YN-468-E-TTL-Speedlite-Display/dp/B00660H6KU/ref=sr_1_3?s=electronics&ie=UTF8&qid=1352845456&sr=1-3 (http://www.amazon.com/YongNuo-YN-468-E-TTL-Speedlite-Display/dp/B00660H6KU/ref=sr_1_3?s=electronics&ie=UTF8&qid=1352845456&sr=1-3)

If anything, I'd rather spend $200 now for two flashes that my wife and I can ease into using due to the E-TTL capability and sell them later on once I've saved up for any of Canon's flashes. I will be needing these in two weeks, so time and money are a large consideration. Once I have something that works for the very few situations in which I actually want a flash, I'll have more time to plan for something different.
Title: Re: Entering the world of needing a flash at darker weddings
Post by: scotthillphoto on November 13, 2012, 06:14:47 PM
The 560's are completely manual and since I bounce my flash for everything I have learned the power and settings I need to get my shots... The one your looking at the 468 is like the canon 430 EX and it does not have the option for the external battery pack.... So for me that would be a no go, I like not having to worry about batteries at all... I have a friend that has the older model and he doesn't seem to have any problems but he just bought a few of the 560s...

Now there is the 565ex
http://www.amazon.com/Yongnuo-YN-565EX-Speedlite-Flash-Canon/dp/B005HYMUX4/ref=pd_cp_p_3 (http://www.amazon.com/Yongnuo-YN-565EX-Speedlite-Flash-Canon/dp/B005HYMUX4/ref=pd_cp_p_3)

but its not as reliable as the 560.... But it has everything the 580EXII has minus HSS... Which I plan to buy a few of these soon and start testing them for remote flashes that I hang up for receptions... (where I can control the power from my camera)

But good luck and if you have any other questions ask away!
Title: Re: Entering the world of needing a flash at darker weddings
Post by: RobT on November 13, 2012, 06:26:07 PM
Thanks for all your help. I don't feel quite as overwhelmed as when I started  ;D

I think I'll go with the 468's for now. I plan to get two sets of eneloop batteries for each flash, and I think that should be more than enough as most of the events I will need these for have a large portion of the photography being done outdoors in good light.

And all that for close to $200 is very preferable to me right now. Once I have these in my arsenal I can take time to snag a good ebay deal on some 580EXII's when searching for a good deal isn't time sensitive.

I would appreciate a recommendation for an off-brand alternative to Canon's E-TTL cord though. I can foresee a few scenarios in which I'd want to move the flash off to the side, but probably not more than arm's length since my photographic style is rather active and journalistic/candid. Canon's cord is crazy expensive, but there are so many super cheap alternatives I'm not sure which one will actually perform.
Title: Re: Entering the world of needing a flash at darker weddings
Post by: gilmorephoto on November 13, 2012, 07:29:17 PM
Check out http://flashzebra.com/ (http://flashzebra.com/)

Short or long... much cheaper.

Good luck with your shoot.
Title: Re: Entering the world of needing a flash at darker weddings
Post by: wickidwombat on November 13, 2012, 07:39:37 PM
I would appreciate a recommendation for an off-brand alternative to Canon's E-TTL cord though. I can foresee a few scenarios in which I'd want to move the flash off to the side, but probably not more than arm's length since my photographic style is rather active and journalistic/candid. Canon's cord is crazy expensive, but there are so many super cheap alternatives I'm not sure which one will actually perform.

i have a Pixel brand one off ebay it works fine, i dont use it much these days just keep in my bag for an emergency backup

maybe costs $10 or $20 on ebay or something like that
Title: Re: Entering the world of needing a flash at darker weddings
Post by: bycostello on November 13, 2012, 07:49:15 PM
cheapest and very effective way of getting off camera is simply to but a long flash cord
Title: Re: Entering the world of needing a flash at darker weddings
Post by: cpsico on November 13, 2012, 09:32:49 PM
I won't try and talk up any knowledge of external lighting I may have.

I have none.

But what I do know is that I have a couple weddings on the books with receptions in dimly lit restaurants and the 50D has laughable ISO qualities when it gets that dark, so I'd better start learning and move away from my comfortable world of natural light.

My budget for a single flash unit and any necessary accessories is about $400, but I can go higher if need be. Currently I'm considering a 430EXII and some sort of wireless/off camera trigger and on-flash softbox.

However, anyone in this section of the forums knows more than me, so I am very open to suggestions.
a 430 wont get the job done, a 580 is much more powerful.
Title: Re: Entering the world of needing a flash at darker weddings
Post by: Freestyle222 on November 13, 2012, 10:35:18 PM
I do about 30 weddings a year for about 10 years now. My suggestion is to get 2 580's or the new 600's...Use one to trigger the other if needed....You could get one of the big flashes and add a 430 too, but the big flashes give you master/slave but the 430 doesn't give master...But having two isn't bad since if one breaks you have a backup.....You will need 1 flash on your camera for anything that is in a darker reception room or at night, especially for people..You could also use both flashes in these scenarios as well.

Natural light is only going to get you so far during a wedding day...And with all the quicky portraits and dances during a reception you will also need the focus assist that the flash will give you depending on how dark it is. If it's dark the camera may have trouble focusing depending on how dark and what lens. You can easily trigger the 2nd flash if needed for off camera stuff.

I also use the pocket wizards with ettl and they are great but not when its darker. You lose the focus assist unless you have a speedlight on the camera.