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Old     (bigdad)      Join Date: Apr 2002       10-08-2006, 8:11 PM Reply   
Been stashing some money away so the wife can't complain and I'll entering into the world of DSLR. Looking at the new Canon XTi and getting the 50mm f/1.8 lens and the 70-200mm f/4.0.

Question is to I purchase an external flash and how much of a difference will I see it from the onboard flash. I really would like to avoid using any external light if possible as they tend to flatten the face. Or do the expensive external flashes fix that?

So the question is, is it worth it to spend the money and get a Canon 430 EX / 580 EX or would the lower Canon's suffice or maybe another brand?

Anyone here have experiences with flashes?
Old     (Walt)      Join Date: Jan 2003       10-09-2006, 7:06 AM Reply   
I have the 580 and love it. It kicks ass on the stock speed light.
Old     (richd)      Join Date: Oct 2003       10-09-2006, 8:15 AM Reply   
This is the most comprehensive tutorial on Canon flashes I've seen - notice the first frequently asked question!
Old     (scott_a)      Join Date: Dec 2002       10-09-2006, 11:46 AM Reply   
I have a 430ex and 580ex, and both of them are great flashes and are very easy to use. There isnt all that much difference between the two units, so you can definitely get by with a 430ex. I wouldnt get the unit that's cheaper than that, though, because you can only use it in automatic mode.

If you're going to be doing ANY low light photography, I would strongly suggest picking up a Canon flash.
Old     (swami)      Join Date: Apr 2006       10-10-2006, 2:55 PM Reply   
It really depends on what you are doing. If you're planning on getting any decent shots of a rider in low light that is behind the boat, you'll need strobes to get a decent shot.

For Christmas time sitting around the tree, the onboard flash works fine.

For wedding photography, you'll need an external.

For Glamour, you'll need an external, and an off shoe camera cord ($50 at

It really boils down to what you want to use it for. Personally I could not imagine not having my external flash. I use it very frequently even in the middle of the day.

Using the External Flash with the offshoe cord:

This is a shot with no flash fired.

So even in the middle of the day, I find myself using it. You couldn't do this with the onboard flash because the lens I used is too big and it creates a shadow on part of the shot.

Also: can anyone tell me how to post images on this forum? HTML code didn't do the trick.

(Message edited by Swami on October 10, 2006)
Old     (richd)      Join Date: Oct 2003       10-10-2006, 3:02 PM Reply   
Compress your shots down to a jpeg file: size no larger then 1000 pixels (in the largest direction) and no larger then 150KB and just use the upload attachment feature below.
Old     (swami)      Join Date: Apr 2006       10-10-2006, 3:14 PM Reply   
ok let's give this a whirl:
With external speedlite on offshoe cord:


Without external flash

Thanks for the tip Rich!

(Message edited by Swami on October 10, 2006)
Old     (richd)      Join Date: Oct 2003       10-10-2006, 3:39 PM Reply   

Fill flash really improved not only the shadow areas but made everything a lot vibrant.
Old     (swami)      Join Date: Apr 2006       10-11-2006, 11:00 AM Reply   
Yeah, I actually had it on the offshoe cord with a plastic diffuser on the flash head. Held it in my right hand, shot the pictures with my left hand. My battery was actually pretty low on the flash, so I was shooting some on accident without the flash going off.. hence the one with the shadow.

External flashes are fun!
Old     (bigdad)      Join Date: Apr 2002       10-12-2006, 7:19 PM Reply   
Sold. Buying a flash. Thats impressive.

Actually that is exactly what I'm looking for. A fill flash and I never thought of buying an off shoe cord but that is definitely one thing to think of.
Old     (swami)      Join Date: Apr 2006       10-20-2006, 8:07 PM Reply   
Here is another type of External flash.. the Strobe:

Old     (clubmyke)      Join Date: Aug 2004       10-21-2006, 9:40 AM Reply   
cool pic !!!!
Old     (jjared)      Join Date: Oct 2002       10-21-2006, 10:01 AM Reply   
Here are a couple from early in the year with my 580ex and 70-300mm on my 20D.

(Message edited by jjared on October 21, 2006)
Old     (swami)      Join Date: Apr 2006       10-22-2006, 10:51 AM Reply   
looks like that 580EX cranks out a lot of power. Were you shooting ETTL or Manual on the flash?
Old     (bakes5)      Join Date: Aug 2006       10-28-2006, 12:16 PM Reply   
+1 on the external speedlight. Been said by many that you get more bang for the buck with quality lighting than you do with the camera or the lenses.

I would try and stick with canon flashes on canon camera, nikon on nikon, etc. Some of them have cool things that may only work with a certain camera.

You may find the 70-200 lens a little limiting for close shots. I know you are getting a 50mm prime but who wants to be swapping lenses all the time and even the 50mm is a little narrow...especially on dSLR's. Most dSLR's (except for a few canons) sensor is smaller than the image laid on it by the lens. That is why some people will say that a 200mm lens is a 300mm lens on a dSLR. It's not that they magically have a 300mm, it's just that the 200mm image has been cropped to the smaller field of view you would have with a 300mm. I find my 55-200 a bit too limiting and wish I had an 18-200.

Also, since you have not purchased yet take a good look at the Nikons as well. You can get D200 with a 18-200 vibration reducing lens for about $2400. Their newer speedlights can be triggered wirelessly without purchasing anything else.

Good luck



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