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Author Topic: should I get a second 600 flash or get the St-e3?  (Read 4206 times)

tome223

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should I get a second 600 flash or get the St-e3?
« on: May 25, 2013, 02:40:16 PM »
Hello,

I have had the 5d3 for about 6 months and love it.  I just recently upgraded to the 600 flash, mainly to have more flash coverage when using my 17-40l lens (because the 600 flash goes down to 20mm, the 430 ex ii only went down to 24mm.)

When I had my 60d I loved the wireless flash transmitter that was built in.  I used it all the time with my 430 ex ii mounted with an umbrella diffuser.

So now I would like to wirelessly mount my 600 off camera and use it with my 5d3.  I am torn between getting an extra 600 flash to act as the master and have the second 600 off camera or if I should just get the st-e3 and use that to trigger my existing  600. 

I hear that the st-e3 does not have af assist and that may be a factor in low light situations.  I would mainly be using these for baby and toddler pictures in door so it won't be dark - but it also won't have lots of daylight either --- thus the need for flash!

Any suggestions?  Sorry if this issue has been explored before...
5d3 --- 60d --- 50mm-f1.8 --- 18-135mm --- 60mm macro --- 70-300is --- 100-400l --- 24-105l --- 17-40l --- 430ex ii

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should I get a second 600 flash or get the St-e3?
« on: May 25, 2013, 02:40:16 PM »

John

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Re: should I get a second 600 flash or get the St-e3?
« Reply #1 on: May 25, 2013, 04:01:13 PM »
i own 2 600 flash heads so i don't have the same issues as you do, but i use the ST-E3-RT speedlight transmitter and i love it. i use my flash off camera and trigger it by way of the ST-E3. it works quite well as a master and the flash as a slave, The ST-E3 allows me to control the slave 600 flash in every way. it works flawlessly and it is very cool. i highly recommend that you buy it if it meets your needs. by the way, i use just one 600 flash over 90% of the time. i hardly ever have a need for 2 600 flashes. in fact, i could get away with just one of them and be fine.

neuroanatomist

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Re: should I get a second 600 flash or get the St-e3?
« Reply #2 on: May 25, 2013, 04:50:23 PM »
Can you swing both?  Unlike the previous poster, I often use two (and sometimes three) 600EX-RT's off-camera flashes.  I frequently light from one side with fill from the other.  Here's an example of a 2-light shot (pair of 600's with the ST-E3 on-camera, flashes were in Lastolite 24" Ezyboxes):


EOS 1D X, EF 24-70mm f/2.8L II USM @ 47mm, 1/250 s, f/6.3, ISO 400

The fill can be done with a reflector, too, but in this case I'd have missed the shot.  He was turning his head from side to side as I was taking pictures, and there wouldn't have been time to keep switching the relative positions of flash and reflector.  With the ST-E3, it took a couple of seconds to switch the relative flash power each time he moved.

Another situation where two off-camera flashes with radio triggering is nice is family gatherings.  I put flashes in two corners of the room (on light stands, or a Justin clamp to a bookcase, etc., depending on furnishings), pointed at the ceiling. That way, no matter where I am in the room, the scene is lit with bounced (diffused) lighting.

If you must pick one, I'd get the 600 for the flexibility of having two flashes.  You can set the on-camera 600 so it triggers slave(s) but doesn't fire itself.  OTOH, the ST-E3 is smaller and lighter on the camera during use.
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bholliman

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Re: should I get a second 600 flash or get the St-e3?
« Reply #3 on: May 25, 2013, 06:40:13 PM »
An inexpensive option is to use a 90EX as an on-camera master to control an off camera slave.  I do this with my  430EXII, but it would work well with a 600EX also.  When I'm using a single flash set-up, I just use the 90EX on-camera disabled, so it triggers the slave, but doesn't contribute any light.  Other times I use the 90EX as a master enabled.  The 430EXII slave provides the primary light and the 90EX provides fill either on-camera or or off-camera using a 3' ETTL cable.

I got the idea from an article at the Canon Learning Center (link below -see page 2) and it has worked pretty well for me.  At some point I'll move beyond the capabilities of this limited set-up, but I'm still learning flash, so it a decent option for now.

http://www.learn.usa.canon.com/resources/articles/2012/eos6d_builtin_flash_alternative.shtml
« Last Edit: May 25, 2013, 06:46:38 PM by bholliman »
Bodies:  6D, EOS-M
EF Lenses: 35mm f/2.0 IS, 100mm f/2.8L IS Macro, 135mm f/2.0L, 16-35mm f/4L IS, 24-70mm f/2.8L II, 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II; EF-M Lenses: 22 f/2, 18-55
Speedlites: ST-E3-RT, 600EX-RT (x3)

russ

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Re: should I get a second 600 flash or get the St-e3?
« Reply #4 on: May 25, 2013, 07:29:26 PM »
The ST-E3 is a lot smaller and lighter (and cheaper) so if your primary focus is using it as a remote master I'd certainly go that route. Ever since I got remote Speedlites (Pocket Wizard TT1/TT5 first, now 600ex-rt) I don't like the light quality or extra weight of that camera mounted strobe. As a camera mounted master, the 600 would work but you'd only have direct camera mounted flash as your other light source so not sure how much of a benefit it would be (though you would always have a backup flash if the other failed).

I'd get the ST-E3 and be prepared to get that extra 600 because as neuroanatomist said, two lights are nice. If you use an umbrella you can even double up the 600s to provide more power and/or faster recycle times for outside shots :) Maybe we'll all get lucky and Canon will come out with a 400 series RT light that is less expensive.

For what it's worth I have 4 600ex-rt for my punk/metal shoots and the ST-E3 control is pretty easy to use. Not as nice as the AC3 on my PocketWizard TT1 for power level adjustments (I mainly shoot in manual) but the system overall performs much better.

Anyway, hope that helps.

Random Orbits

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Re: should I get a second 600 flash or get the St-e3?
« Reply #5 on: May 25, 2013, 08:34:39 PM »
As Neuro suggested, it'd be nice if you could get the ST-E3 and another 600 at the same time, but if you have to choose one to get first, get the 600 first.  You could use the 600 mounted on camera for fill or use it as a wireless commander only (either radio to your 600 or optical so you can use your 430 as well).

paolotaverna

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Re: should I get a second 600 flash or get the St-e3?
« Reply #6 on: May 25, 2013, 10:24:26 PM »
I work with 3 X 600 EX and just love it.  Initialy I had 2 600EX + ST-E3 but hated the fact that the E3 did not have the focus assist!

I agree the 600 is extra weight but I love having the focus assist ...but it all depends how / where you use it.


regards

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Re: should I get a second 600 flash or get the St-e3?
« Reply #6 on: May 25, 2013, 10:24:26 PM »

PhotographAdventure

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Re: should I get a second 600 flash or get the St-e3?
« Reply #7 on: May 26, 2013, 01:17:35 AM »
The ST-E3 is useful for me.  I use it because it lighter than another on-camera 600.  Rarely do I need focus assist.  5d3 is good for focusing so far in low light.

On location sessions are usually done with the heavier 70-200, so adding another flash isn't my ideal setup.  I paid extra for less hassle essentially.

silvestography

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Re: should I get a second 600 flash or get the St-e3?
« Reply #8 on: May 26, 2013, 04:58:21 AM »
I'm actually in the same situation as you right now. What I'm probably going to end up doing, and what might make sense for you as well, is to go with another 600ex-rt. As mentioned by a bunch of people, you can use it simply as a wireless commander (and an AF assisting wireless commander!) or an optical commander for the 600 and your 430. I'm on a 600d and depending on if the 70d, upon release, meets my criteria (including having built in flash for wireless triggering) will probably upgrade, so I would have the flexibility of throwing the other 600 off camera, but you would have basically the same functionality with the 600 as an optical master. Just my 2¢.

Keep an eye out on canon's refurbished site, as you can snag a 600 for not too much more than an st-e3 (when it's in stock, which is not often).
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tome223

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Re: should I get a second 600 flash or get the St-e3?
« Reply #9 on: May 26, 2013, 08:59:21 AM »
Thanks everyone.  all great tips and suggestios.  I may be able to swing both an extra 600 flash and st-e3.  we shall see.  maybe I will put my 70-300 non l on ebay to help fund this. 

So am I correct in interpreting that the lack of AF assist on the st-e3 isn't that big of a problem? Nobody mentioned it and I have no plans for cave photography...

Great pic neuro.  What did you use to get the background that smooth and jet black?  My wife has tons of similar blanket props off Etsy.  I am shooting my 2 week old goddaughter next week.

I didn't know the 90ex could act as a master and trigger 430 ex ii's....wish I would have known that before I put my 430 ex ii on ebay! 
5d3 --- 60d --- 50mm-f1.8 --- 18-135mm --- 60mm macro --- 70-300is --- 100-400l --- 24-105l --- 17-40l --- 430ex ii

neuroanatomist

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Re: should I get a second 600 flash or get the St-e3?
« Reply #10 on: May 26, 2013, 09:07:58 AM »
Great pic neuro.  What did you use to get the background that smooth and jet black?  My wife has tons of similar blanket props off Etsy.  I am shooting my 2 week old goddaughter next week.

Thanks!

The shot was on black muslin - the smooth jet black is courtesy of CS6.   ;)
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RC

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Re: should I get a second 600 flash or get the St-e3?
« Reply #11 on: May 26, 2013, 09:59:09 AM »
You will want both, a second 600, and the ST-E3-RT.  So your original question is which one do I get first?

First of all the ST-E3-RT is absolutely wonderfully small and convenient.  With my BR strap on, I can drop my camera with ST down to my side and set up my next shot without a bulky mounted 600 in my way.  The ability to control your slaves from the ST, especially when they're stuck in a softbox, and receive feedback confirmation beeps, are really handy just to mention a couple.  Well I guess you can do this on a 600 master too.

So if you add a second 600 first, you get AF assist beam but probably the only flash benefit you will use is a powered down fill flash since it will be on camera.  If you add the ST-E3 first, you lose AF assist beam and fill flash ability but gain the convenience of the tiny light weight ST-E3 in your hot shoe.   

It's a personal call.  If AF assist beam isn't a pressing issue, I'd go for the ST-E3-RT first.  Either way, get both and I would not add any non RT flashes to the mix, you will likely just sell them later.

The route I went was:  1st 600, ST-E3, 2nd 600 and now I want a 3rd RT flash but I'm kind of waiting to see if Canon is ever going to release a RT replacement for the 430EX.  I'll probably get a 3rd 600 when the next rebate comes around if there is no word on a RT replacement for the 430.
« Last Edit: May 26, 2013, 01:25:23 PM by RC »

privatebydesign

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Re: should I get a second 600 flash or get the St-e3?
« Reply #12 on: May 26, 2013, 10:23:49 AM »
I must be honest, I am starting to fall out of love with my ST-E3-RT, I am surprised at how much I work with my camera on a tripod at a height or angle I just can't view the screen on, add in the fact about the AF assist beam, or rather lack of it (which personally I don't generally find an issue), and the fact that I seem to be getting much nicer results with ETTL and bouncing with the 600EX-RT on camera than with earlier flashes all means I am beginning to use the ST-E3-RT less and less.

If anybody knows of a pass through 90º hotshoe adapter, so I can angle the ST-E3-RT screen to be perpendicular to the camera back (Nikon accessories often have this feature built in as a variable angle slider) I would be much happier.

In a choice between a second 600 or the E3, I'd say 100% get the second 600, same choice with the third 600 too, after that it becomes less clear. I intend to end up with nine 600's and one ST-E3-RT.


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Re: should I get a second 600 flash or get the St-e3?
« Reply #12 on: May 26, 2013, 10:23:49 AM »

thelonelyphotographer

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Re: should I get a second 600 flash or get the St-e3?
« Reply #13 on: May 26, 2013, 12:59:48 PM »
The 600 ex-rts   and the ST-3 are cool light setups, there are probably cheaper more versatile setups around and alternatives though. I have 3 600 's and the ST-E3.
I had 2 failures with one of the units,  sticky control dial syndrome and total Fail to flash . Both of these were fixed by Canon under warranty  CSC Irvine.
If you expect to shoot the cameras  using linked mode. using the overexpensive SR-N3 cable,  forget it.  It works. but they won't release the shutter if AF is engaged. makes it pretty useless if you have to schlep back and forth focusing a remote camera. makes remote shooting pointless. The ST-E3 does not pick up a AF signal from the master camera and send it to the remote and activate the AF.  I have a couple of cheap Phottix Strato flash tiggers  that CAN autofocus a remote camera. Canon  really screwed up with the lack of autofocus assist on the ST-E3 and this micky mouse shutter release . That SR-N3 cable costs 50 bucks, discounted.  My phottix came with a few cables including the N3 connector. The only advantage the ST-E3 has is the ability to control the settings on the remote speedlites. It could have been a great system , but the linked shutter release is a joke

privatebydesign

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Re: should I get a second 600 flash or get the St-e3?
« Reply #14 on: May 26, 2013, 01:35:20 PM »
The 600 ex-rts   and the ST-3 are cool light setups, there are probably cheaper more versatile setups around and alternatives though. I have 3 600 's and the ST-E3.
I had 2 failures with one of the units,  sticky control dial syndrome and total Fail to flash . Both of these were fixed by Canon under warranty  CSC Irvine.
If you expect to shoot the cameras  using linked mode. using the overexpensive SR-N3 cable,  forget it.  It works. but they won't release the shutter if AF is engaged. makes it pretty useless if you have to schlep back and forth focusing a remote camera. makes remote shooting pointless. The ST-E3 does not pick up a AF signal from the master camera and send it to the remote and activate the AF.  I have a couple of cheap Phottix Strato flash tiggers  that CAN autofocus a remote camera. Canon  really screwed up with the lack of autofocus assist on the ST-E3 and this micky mouse shutter release . That SR-N3 cable costs 50 bucks, discounted.  My phottix came with a few cables including the N3 connector. The only advantage the ST-E3 has is the ability to control the settings on the remote speedlites. It could have been a great system , but the linked shutter release is a joke

The AF absolutely works via the SR-N3 cable in both remote and linked shooting on my 1Ds MkIII's. What it will not do is release the shutter if AF is not achieved, hence the recommendation to pre focus.

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Re: should I get a second 600 flash or get the St-e3?
« Reply #14 on: May 26, 2013, 01:35:20 PM »