October 21, 2014, 02:56:33 PM

Author Topic: 600ex as main lights  (Read 6815 times)

gjones5252

  • Rebel T5i
  • ****
  • Posts: 119
    • View Profile
600ex as main lights
« on: August 15, 2013, 09:44:58 AM »
I have one 600ex and i am seriously considering getting another plus the st-e3. This would be used mainly for event photography and some portraits. Wedding parties etc. Are these bright enough to be used for the formal portraits and adding ambient light at a wedding? I feel like they are pretty powerful but every review i see they are using three on each light stand. I dont have 2500 to use on new speedlights.
I looking at getting stands and maybe using the gary fong for both since they are simple diffuser that works well. I know it wont be the same as having studio strobes but i also dont want to haul those around and have to set them up each time...
Any one have this type of setup?   

canon rumors FORUM

600ex as main lights
« on: August 15, 2013, 09:44:58 AM »

Jim Saunders

  • 1D Mark IV
  • ******
  • Posts: 894
    • View Profile
Re: 600ex as main lights
« Reply #1 on: August 15, 2013, 10:14:11 AM »
Three together gets you faster recycle times, but external battery packs will do that too.

Jim
See what I see: 6500K, 160 cd/m^2, ICC 2, gamma 2.2.

InterMurph

  • PowerShot G1 X II
  • ***
  • Posts: 51
    • View Profile
Re: 600ex as main lights
« Reply #2 on: August 15, 2013, 11:12:31 AM »
I have four 600EX-RTs and an ST-E3.

They make for a very versatile lighting set, and I love the flexibility that the wireless system gives me.

But there are some things that they simply cannot do.  For example, they simply aren't bright enough to overpower the ambient light on a sunny day. 

But for events and weddings, you will be able to do just about everything you need to with two 600EX-RTs.

I recommend buying refurbished from the Canon web site.  I got my last two for $373 each; just set up an alert on CanonPriceWatch.com and be patient.

JerryKnight

  • EOS M2
  • ****
  • Posts: 186
    • View Profile
Re: 600ex as main lights
« Reply #3 on: August 15, 2013, 11:41:58 AM »
My opinion is that Canon speedlites are overpriced. For the cost of one 600EX-RT, you can get an entire lighting setup - 3-4 flashes and radio triggers.

I did a quick Amazon check.. Three YongNuo YN-565EX's, one YN-622C transmitter/receiver set, two more YN-622 receivers. The total is $550, the exact price of one new 600EX-RT.

I've used YongNuo flashes for a while, as have many other photogs, and they seem to be quite reliable.

EDIT: Of course, the 600EX-RT you already have could be your on-camera flash, but you'd still need the YN-622C transmitter on your camera as well. In my own setup, I keep a flash on-camera so that I can provide a low-power fill light no matter where my slave flashes are pointing. (My flash setup is almost exclusively for wedding receptions.)

EDIT #2: Also, this assumes you want to stay with all E-TTL flashes. If you were to go with manual slave flashes and radio triggers, you could probably get 3-4 flashes, radio triggers, and lightstands for about that price (depending on how nice of lightstands you want).
« Last Edit: August 15, 2013, 12:00:57 PM by JerryKnight »

cayenne

  • 1D X
  • *******
  • Posts: 1212
    • View Profile
Re: 600ex as main lights
« Reply #4 on: August 15, 2013, 01:33:50 PM »
My opinion is that Canon speedlites are overpriced. For the cost of one 600EX-RT, you can get an entire lighting setup - 3-4 flashes and radio triggers.

I did a quick Amazon check.. Three YongNuo YN-565EX's, one YN-622C transmitter/receiver set, two more YN-622 receivers. The total is $550, the exact price of one new 600EX-RT.

I've used YongNuo flashes for a while, as have many other photogs, and they seem to be quite reliable.

EDIT: Of course, the 600EX-RT you already have could be your on-camera flash, but you'd still need the YN-622C transmitter on your camera as well. In my own setup, I keep a flash on-camera so that I can provide a low-power fill light no matter where my slave flashes are pointing. (My flash setup is almost exclusively for wedding receptions.)

EDIT #2: Also, this assumes you want to stay with all E-TTL flashes. If you were to go with manual slave flashes and radio triggers, you could probably get 3-4 flashes, radio triggers, and lightstands for about that price (depending on how nice of lightstands you want).

The prices on the 600's is dropping. Like another poster, I got mine as Canon refurbs for $373.....and it appears there may be a cheaper Canon , similar to the 480's...but with radio to work with 600's is to come out soon.

The nice thing about the 600's and buying into the Canon system, is the control you can have over multiple units and put them into multiple groups...running various levels in manual, ettl or even mixing manual settings in different groups at the same time as ettl....

And the nice thing is, you can instantly control them all from the back of your camera which really is handy.

So, while it is $$, the price is coming down, and you DO get some nice control features you can't do readily from your camera with the 3rd party units.

JerryKnight

  • EOS M2
  • ****
  • Posts: 186
    • View Profile
Re: 600ex as main lights
« Reply #5 on: August 15, 2013, 01:46:26 PM »
The nice thing about the 600's and buying into the Canon system, is the control you can have over multiple units and put them into multiple groups...running various levels in manual, ettl or even mixing manual settings in different groups at the same time as ettl....

And the nice thing is, you can instantly control them all from the back of your camera which really is handy.

These are features of the E-TTL system, and from what I understand, you can do all these things with the YN-622C E-TTL radio trigger.

Of course there are benefits to staying with a Canon system (warranty work is probably easier) but I say it's grossly out of proportion with the cost. Yes, Canon speedlite prices are coming down, but they have a long way to go to compete in "bang-for-your-buck" with 3rd party systems.

Wildfire

  • EOS M2
  • ****
  • Posts: 170
    • View Profile
Re: 600ex as main lights
« Reply #6 on: August 15, 2013, 02:20:50 PM »
These are features of the E-TTL system, and from what I understand, you can do all these things with the YN-622C E-TTL radio trigger.

Of course there are benefits to staying with a Canon system (warranty work is probably easier) but I say it's grossly out of proportion with the cost. Yes, Canon speedlite prices are coming down, but they have a long way to go to compete in "bang-for-your-buck" with 3rd party systems.

The Canon RT system is expensive, yes, but it's not grossly out of proportion. Here's the cost of a few 3-flash setups with radio TTL capabilities:

  • 4x Yongnuo YN-622 ($170) and 3x Yongnuo YN568EX ($540): $710
  • 1x Phottix Odin transmitter and 3x Phottix Odin Recievers ($535) and 3x Canon 430EX ($900): $1435
  • 3x Canon 600EX-RT ($1500) and 1x ST-E3-RT ($287): $1787
  • 1x Pocketwizard TT1 and 3x Pocketwizard Flex TT5 ($886) and 3x Canon 430EX ($900): $1796

So the Yongnuo setup is no doubt the cheapest, but you may suffer from reliability issues, and good luck getting the product repaired in a timely manner if you do. A great setup for a budget amateur, but don't count on it when you need to use it hard every day.

The Phottix setup is a much better choice for a working professional (ie. wedding shooter, like the OP) but the price is now approaching the Canon RT setup... AND you still have to manage an extra set of batteries for each radio device in addition to each flash's batteries.

So yeah, the Canon RT setup is very expensive. But it also happens to be the most reliable of the 4 due to Canon build quality and the radio being built-in to the flash. The 600EX is also the most powerful flash in any of these setups.

And then there's the "gold standard", Pocketwizard. That price doesn't include the zone controller or batteries yet and it's already more expensive than the Canon RT system.

I shoot weddings exclusively with 3 Canon 600EX-RTs and I am very happy with the performance. I would eventually like an AlienBee or Einstein for on-location portraits in bright daylight, but 600EXs perform so well that I've found I don't really need to buy anything else. Canon RT -- expensive? Yes. Ridiculously so? Not really.

canon rumors FORUM

Re: 600ex as main lights
« Reply #6 on: August 15, 2013, 02:20:50 PM »

JerryKnight

  • EOS M2
  • ****
  • Posts: 186
    • View Profile
Re: 600ex as main lights
« Reply #7 on: August 15, 2013, 03:09:08 PM »
So the Yongnuo setup is no doubt the cheapest, but you may suffer from reliability issues, and good luck getting the product repaired in a timely manner if you do. A great setup for a budget amateur, but don't count on it when you need to use it hard every day.

I respectfully disagree. Plenty of professionals rely on many other brands than Canon and Pocketwizard. Equipment fails, and there's no evidence that Canon or Pocketwizard equipment fails less often. Sure, the warranty work is probably easier and quicker with brands that have direct US presence, but honestly, if I have a ~$100 flash fail, I'll buy a new one while the other one is being repaired. It's cheap enough to be able to do that. Canon needs good warranty service on their flashes because their stuff is so doggone expensive, even though it's probably manufactured in the same factories!

Quote
I shoot weddings exclusively with 3 Canon 600EX-RTs and I am very happy with the performance. I would eventually like an AlienBee or Einstein for on-location portraits in bright daylight, but 600EXs perform so well that I've found I don't really need to buy anything else. Canon RT -- expensive? Yes. Ridiculously so? Not really.

That's great, and I would never criticize anyone for their gear decisions, but many, many photogs use "other" cheaper gear and get the results they're after. It's a cost-benefit analysis that everyone has to do for themselves. You chose one way, I chose another. Don't look down on me for that or accuse me of being too amateur. (I know you probably didn't mean it that way.)

I'm not a total cheapskate. I buy Canon L glass and full-frame bodies. I'll spend a bunch of money on new things when they offer a significant benefit, but when I see something that Canon charges several times more for a negligible gain in quality, I call it ridiculous and go the other direction.

Look, I guess my main point is that shot-for-shot, these set-ups are mostly equivalent. Of course equipment can break. Firing a flash tube is an electrically violent process, and flashes can and do fail, regardless of brand. The warranty is great, but it doesn't protect you in the field. The only way to really prepare for failures is to carry spares. With my YongNuo's I can afford multiple spares, but it's painful to buy spare Canon speedlites.

To each their own - just trying to point out viable alternatives. Canon is great! All hail Canon! :-)

gjones5252

  • Rebel T5i
  • ****
  • Posts: 119
    • View Profile
Re: 600ex as main lights
« Reply #8 on: August 15, 2013, 04:24:24 PM »
thank you everyone for all the awesome replies. I think those are valid points about using a off brand flashes. But i also have usedcanon for almost all my stuff. Very rarely do i order offbrand stuff(that sigma 35mm got me close). I think tha canon still sounds like the best decision for me. Glad to know i will be happy with the power. Any other instances where i may run into not enough power?
Would you think its good for wiresless portraits adding fill flash while being farther away?

Marsu42

  • Canon EF 400mm f/2.8L IS II
  • *******
  • Posts: 4812
  • ML-66d / 100L / 70-300L / 17-40L / 600rts
    • View Profile
    • 6D positive spec list
Re: 600ex as main lights
« Reply #9 on: August 15, 2013, 06:22:22 PM »
The Canon RT system is expensive, yes, but it's not grossly out of proportion.

For once, +1 for the Canon pricing - with the recent cashback I've got my 2nd 600rt for €400 which is the same price as Nikon's top flash, but that hasn't got radio control.

Edit: The real problem here is that Canon hasn't updated the "small" flash to rt tech, and seems to have no intention whatsoever to release rt triggers for older speedlites or other lighting gear.

These are features of the E-TTL system, and from what I understand, you can do all these things with the YN-622C E-TTL radio trigger.

With yn you get 2nd curtain remote flash (somewhat), but with Canon and a newer camera body you get group mode which is very handy for 3+ flashes, while other 3rd party systems still emulate the old a:b ratio scheme.
« Last Edit: August 15, 2013, 07:24:00 PM by Marsu42 »

Wildfire

  • EOS M2
  • ****
  • Posts: 170
    • View Profile
Re: 600ex as main lights
« Reply #10 on: August 15, 2013, 07:01:34 PM »
I would never criticize anyone for their gear decisions, but many, many photogs use "other" cheaper gear and get the results they're after. It's a cost-benefit analysis that everyone has to do for themselves. You chose one way, I chose another. Don't look down on me for that or accuse me of being too amateur. (I know you probably didn't mean it that way.)

Hey, I totally respect you and you might be surprised to find that I actually agree with you too! I own and use a pair of Yongnuo YN560 manual flashes. They do everything I want them to do, reliably and at a ridiculously low price when I don't need TTL. I am definitely not knocking the Yongnuo gear as I use their products frequently myself!

I'm not criticizing amateur photographers at all. As a matter of fact, being an amateur is awesome and FUN! You have the freedom to shoot what you want, when you want. Cheap 3rd party brands are PERFECT for that, and I'd actually argue that it would be stupid to spend more money on extra features that you don't need and won't get you different results than pro gear would.

The only reason I bring up the argument for the Canon gear in this thread is because the OP mentioned he is a wedding shooter. Wedding photographers use their gear every weekend and work it hard. For us, it is actually worth it to spend extra money on reliability -- that peace of mind knowing that our gear is X% less likely to fail has real value to us. Why? Because so many things can go wrong during a wedding, and if you aren't prepared you will fail at the job which you are being paid to do. At best, you will embarrass yourself because you couldn't get your gear working properly in front of the client and you will look unprofessional. At worst, you will ruin the most important day of someones life and possibly lose your business, money, home, etc.

Pro-level gear isn't a requirement to taking great photographs, it just makes it easier! And when you are getting paid to do a job, you want your job to be easier, even if it means spending a little extra on your gear.

That said, keep rocking your Yongnuos, because I know they can and have been used to create photographs that are better than anything I will ever produce :)

pwp

  • 1D X
  • *******
  • Posts: 1605
    • View Profile
Re: 600ex as main lights
« Reply #11 on: August 15, 2013, 08:29:35 PM »
No one lighting setup is going to do it all for you.

Two or three 600 EX-RT flashes (or similar) with external power-packs are essential kit for a wedding shooter. But for a lot of your portrait & group work, you simply need a lot more horsepower. The go-to kit which is selling it's socks off comes from the makers of Alien Bees, the Einstein. Each head costs around the same as a 600 EX-RT and the modifiers are so sharply priced it defies belief (particularly if you have come out of Profoto or Broncolor)

Check it out here http://www.paulcbuff.com/index.php

-PW

Old Shooter

  • Canon 70D
  • ****
  • Posts: 265
  • Never met a gadget I didn't like!
    • View Profile
Re: 600ex as main lights
« Reply #12 on: August 15, 2013, 10:05:32 PM »
Not to hijack your thread, OP, but this is an area of personal interest and there appears to be a lot of wedding/portrait professionals contributing...

I am torn between a 600 EX-RT on-camera or an ST-E3...

If the ST-E3 had focus assist - it would probably win me over...

But I like the idea of a 600EX up there with focus assist AND providing a very light fill... What I am not thrilled about is its size/weight... Here's hoping Canon comes out with a smaller flash, with focus assist, that can act as an RT master...
5DIII, XSi, A2, 10s (x2), 20-35L, 24-70L II, 28-70L, 70-200L, 70-200L IS II, 85L II, 135L, 40 Pancake, 50 Macro, 100 Macro, 135 Soft-Focus, Crappy EF-S Kit Lens, 430EX II, Metz 45 CL-4, Metz 60 CT-4 (x2), White Lightnings, and lots of other junk...

canon rumors FORUM

Re: 600ex as main lights
« Reply #12 on: August 15, 2013, 10:05:32 PM »

privatebydesign

  • Canon EF 300mm f/2.8L IS II
  • *******
  • Posts: 2564
  • Ermintrude says "moo"
    • View Profile
Re: 600ex as main lights
« Reply #13 on: August 15, 2013, 10:35:30 PM »
Not to hijack your thread, OP, but this is an area of personal interest and there appears to be a lot of wedding/portrait professionals contributing...

I am torn between a 600 EX-RT on-camera or an ST-E3...

If the ST-E3 had focus assist - it would probably win me over...

But I like the idea of a 600EX up there with focus assist AND providing a very light fill... What I am not thrilled about is its size/weight... Here's hoping Canon comes out with a smaller flash, with focus assist, that can act as an RT master...

Get the 600 for on camera, it is a joy to use. Sure it is bigger than an ST-E3-RT, but very similar to a 580 or a 550.
« Last Edit: August 15, 2013, 10:52:58 PM by privatebydesign »
The best time to plant a tree is twenty-five years ago. The second best time is today.

Marsu42

  • Canon EF 400mm f/2.8L IS II
  • *******
  • Posts: 4812
  • ML-66d / 100L / 70-300L / 17-40L / 600rts
    • View Profile
    • 6D positive spec list
Re: 600ex as main lights
« Reply #14 on: August 16, 2013, 12:14:41 AM »
I am torn between a 600 EX-RT on-camera or an ST-E3...

Considering the pricing, I'd go with the 600rt (as most do) - the st-e3 is just the radio control & a lcd that consists of $10 parts you can buy at radio shack, while the flash actually has some high voltage to handle & be reliable at it so it makes more sense to me that it costs €400.

canon rumors FORUM

Re: 600ex as main lights
« Reply #14 on: August 16, 2013, 12:14:41 AM »