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Author Topic: Flash life of speedlites?  (Read 4341 times)

simonbratt99

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Flash life of speedlites?
« on: March 19, 2013, 07:50:14 AM »
Hi

How many flashes recycles can a speedlite life have?
Are the bulbs replacable?
And how long to batteries last (i did search for battery life before asking)

Thanks
Simon
« Last Edit: March 19, 2013, 07:57:33 AM by simonbratt99 »
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Flash life of speedlites?
« on: March 19, 2013, 07:50:14 AM »

sturdiva

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Re: Flash life of speedlites?
« Reply #1 on: March 19, 2013, 08:18:34 AM »
Here is a great article on the lifespan of speedlights: http://strobist.blogspot.com/2013/02/will-your-flash-last-forever.html
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simonbratt99

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Re: Flash life of speedlites?
« Reply #2 on: March 19, 2013, 08:29:18 AM »
Here is a great article on the lifespan of speedlights: http://strobist.blogspot.com/2013/02/will-your-flash-last-forever.html

Interesting, but im more reluctant to buy one second hand now  ???
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Studio1930

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Re: Flash life of speedlites?
« Reply #3 on: March 19, 2013, 09:48:45 AM »
I abuse the heck out of my flashes and something on them usually fails before the tube will.  Normally it is the power socket since I use external, high voltage power packs to recycle a full pop in 0.7 seconds.  After years of abuse and thousands of shots, none of my 580 EX II flashes have had a tube fail.  Feet and power sockets are what go belly up for me.
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simonbratt99

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Re: Flash life of speedlites?
« Reply #4 on: March 19, 2013, 10:16:04 AM »
well thats reassuring then, will last the average person a long time
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East Wind Photography

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Re: Flash life of speedlites?
« Reply #5 on: March 19, 2013, 10:36:25 AM »
Canon can replace the bulbs but it may not be worth it unless you have a 600 RT.  By the time you get to that point there may be other issues like the foot, charge capacitor, etc. which could fail soon.  So pretty much if you use the heck out of the flash and it fails out of warranty you might be better off just buying a new one.  If it's seldom used it might be worth getting repaired.  It will be all about whether you can get it done at a reasonable cost.

Hi

How many flashes recycles can a speedlite life have?
Are the bulbs replacable?
And how long to batteries last (i did search for battery life before asking)

Thanks
Simon

Olatunde55

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Re: Flash life of speedlites?
« Reply #6 on: March 19, 2013, 01:02:51 PM »
Interesting I just had my 430EX II fail on my just as I was prepping it for a wedding shoot. It communicates with the camera fine all right, but the head would not just fire. The irony was that I had just acquired the 600EX-RT the previous week before the impromptu failure. Wonder what I would have done without that timely backup. I have decided not to replace it as the financial layout might not just be worth it. Guess it will go the way of my T2i - veritable workhorse that one was.

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Re: Flash life of speedlites?
« Reply #6 on: March 19, 2013, 01:02:51 PM »

Mt Spokane Photography

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Re: Flash life of speedlites?
« Reply #7 on: March 19, 2013, 01:07:27 PM »
Mine have lasted a long time, and I have some electronic flashes that are 40 years old.  The really old ones develop bad capacitors, or the batteries get left in them and corrode.
 
Heat is what destroys electronics, so frequent overheat of a flash is going to cause the life to shorten by a huge amount.  That's why there is no accurate number for the life expectancy.  It can be many years and a large number of flashes, or 1 year and 5000 flashes if abused.

RS2021

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Re: Flash life of speedlites?
« Reply #8 on: March 19, 2013, 01:52:22 PM »
i read that article when he posted it.. and honestly think the number is too low.
he gave no creditable source for his information.

I agree... I will take these numbers with a grain of salt. Also depends on the actual use of a unit itself. If you rely heavily on HSS (rare for most people) or other tricks, one can speculate it stresses the system if overused and pushed to the limit too often ... but one of my 580Ex is old...have had it since almost its release... heavily used...still going strong.

I do notice however the exposure settings vary between some 580Ex copies I have and 580exII... So it is possible power drops over time in some units.  I automatically exposure compensate for it and haven't had the patience to explore systematically.
« Last Edit: March 19, 2013, 02:09:51 PM by RS2021 »
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Lawliet

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Re: Flash life of speedlites?
« Reply #9 on: March 19, 2013, 03:24:44 PM »
i read that article when he posted it.. and honestly think the number is too low.
he gave no creditable source for his information.

Looking at the actual data sheets of various flash tubes: something in the 1-10k pops range is quite common, if those discharges are at 30% of their explosive energy. Drop the energy to 10% and we're at about 50k flashes. Given the size auf the average flashguns tube and the energy in the caps the latter number seems to be closer to reality, w. reduced output on the flashgun following the progression I'd expect other parts to give first...cavet emptor, rough estimate.
Bad thermal management or shock are a bad idea otoh.

awinphoto

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Re: Flash life of speedlites?
« Reply #10 on: March 19, 2013, 03:34:07 PM »
Here is a great article on the lifespan of speedlights: http://strobist.blogspot.com/2013/02/will-your-flash-last-forever.html

he was talking about nikon flashes so it makes perfect sense now lol
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awinphoto

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Re: Flash life of speedlites?
« Reply #11 on: March 19, 2013, 03:48:50 PM »
For what it's worth, while I have graduated past the speedlight era and moved into studio strobes and on location lighting, the flash tube, much like any other flashtube whether or not its strobe or speedlight, has a rating of 250,000+ flashes...  Granted, at the 250K mark I can replace my flashtubes myself where the canon speedlights, you cannot, but it is what it is...  The 5,000 flash rating the strobist link mentioned, assuming you take his word on the odometer thing, has many variables attached including as he said how often you fire 1:1, recycle time inbetween fires, physical heat and humidity, etc... also keep in mind that if there is any leak or any debris, even dust get into the housing and get stuck to the tube, that could shorten it's lifespan much like if you were to touch the flash tube with your dirty oily hands.  Also if you are shooting the hell out of it in the middle of summer with 100% humidity and not letting it cool down, you can expect it to fail more often than not.  Lastly, if your being kind with your flashes... (bumping up the ISO to compensate for lower flash power, giving it time to cool down, alternating between flashes if needed, etc), then you can expect them to last quite a bit longer.  Plus, Canon replaces their flash units every few years, so by the time you likely would kill your flash, there would likely be a new and better "toy" to play with rather than paying for a new flashtube. 
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RGF

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Re: Flash life of speedlites?
« Reply #12 on: March 19, 2013, 05:05:38 PM »
Justed checked LR, and I have nearly 50,000 images with flash.  This number is not total meaningful, since

1.  I have had owned at least 4 flashes since I started digital photography (more in my film days)
2.  I have deleted xx,000 images thus far.


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Re: Flash life of speedlites?
« Reply #12 on: March 19, 2013, 05:05:38 PM »

pwp

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Re: Flash life of speedlites?
« Reply #13 on: March 19, 2013, 06:29:10 PM »
In a very long career using speedlights and portable studio monolights and studio floorpacks on a daily basis, the only flash tubes in my heavily used gear that I have had to have replaced are one in an old Elincrom 500 that curiously never shipped with a fan. I was working it much too hard, a capacitor exploded and took out the tube with it. A couple of other replacements have been because of a careless, expensive drop. I have exploded speedlights on a couple of occasions purely because I was working them MUCH too hard on full power connected to a Quantum Turbo battery. On 580EXII I have broken the foot on three occasions due to straight abuse. Canon tells me they have a designed "break point". This is a cheaper repair than a distorted hotshoe/prism. On one occasion Canon repaired this for free while I waited. It tool less than five minutes. I blew a board once in a Nikon speedlight. I suspect it was a bit wet at the time.

Bottom line is that speedlights are extraordinarily robust. I do know that rarely used flash gear can be slightly less reliable long term that heavily used gear. It's the capacitors. Like a car battery they thrive and require constant use.

-PW

wickidwombat

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Re: Flash life of speedlites?
« Reply #14 on: March 19, 2013, 06:48:20 PM »
Here is a great article on the lifespan of speedlights: http://strobist.blogspot.com/2013/02/will-your-flash-last-forever.html

i read that article when he posted it.. and honestly think the number is too low.
he gave no creditable source for his information.

i talked with some wedding photographer and 5000 pops seem to be nothing.
i guess it´s not an average number of pops.. maybe a worst case.
like under 10% will last for only 5000 pops?

yeah I cant see it being right I'm pretty sure my flashes are doing that every week!
but i do prefer to ganglight them so i keep lots of power on tap and have lots of headroom with a
faster recycle time, but still I do alot of on camera flash shooting too where i dont have this luxuary
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Re: Flash life of speedlites?
« Reply #14 on: March 19, 2013, 06:48:20 PM »