I need a "master" flash to complete a dual flash setup (I have a 430EX) and am trying to decide between the 580EX or 580EX II. The latter has been reported faulty by design
though I'm not sure if these are widespread problems or just exaggerations.
Would I be making a mistake in getting the less featured 580EX instead? I know the EX II can be controlled from the camera menu and has a better foot design, but the old model (580 EX) allows for easier switching between master and slave. I think there were some other advantages as well which has slipped my mind...
When having gotten the hang of a Canon wireless (IR) master/slave setup I expect to expand by getting a manual radio trigger (such as the Phottix Strato II) and possibly one or two additional speedlights (might as well be cheaper, non-Canon branded as this'll be manual triggering).
So, the 580EX or 580EX II? The former will most definitely be second/hand refurbished at a low price while the latter can probably be bought new for a little while longer (I suspect the 600 EX RT will fully take over once the old stocks have run out).