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Old     (rowdy)      Join Date: Mar 2006       04-07-2008, 11:28 PM Reply   
Hello all,
I am looking to get into strobing and was wondering what setups you guys have. Should I go with Vivitar 285s or the like, or go ahead and get speedlite 580 ex II TTL type flashes? Any other ideas or recommendations?

Old     (scott_a)      Join Date: Dec 2002       04-08-2008, 12:54 AM Reply   
If you own a Canon and you plan on using your flash on your camera, then I'd recommend a 430ex or 580ex since those communicate well with the camera. If you're planning on only using the flash off camera (using remotes) then those Vivitars will work great.

But if you're only going to buy one flash for your gear bag then I'd recommend a Canon-made flash if you're shooting Canon or a Nikon flash if you're shooting Nikon.
Old     (rowdy)      Join Date: Mar 2006       04-08-2008, 8:22 AM Reply   
Thanks Scott.
I have a Canon 20 D and soon to be purchasing a 5D. I do need an on camera flash, but was looking at picking up 2 more additional flashes for strobing, to be fired remotely. This is where I am wondering if the TTL features would be handy since I would like to be able to set up quick and shoot, as well as have full manual control, or if I'm wasting my money with with buying Canon second and third flashes.
Old     (joshturner)      Join Date: Jun 2007       04-08-2008, 9:02 AM Reply   
if you were shooting nikon i would say buy other nikon flashes just beacuse they are so good and have wireless capabilities built into them. with canon well thats not really the case so for your remotes just get some 285's. honestly your best best would be to save the money from not buying your remote flashes as canons and putting that money into some pocket wizards. that will be way more worth the money.
Old     (scott_a)      Join Date: Dec 2002       04-08-2008, 9:08 AM Reply   
Well, the E-TTL triggering that is integrated into the Canon units IS nice, but it's more suited to studio work and other stuff that happens inside. But if you're going to be working with the flashes outside, then I'd suggest looking into RF transmitters. This type of remote will work MUCH better outside, but you typically lose all TTL capabilities with them. So if you're going to be shooting indoors and you wanna keep the automatic controls then for sure look into picking up a few Canon units. But if you're going to be shooting outdoors in the sun then get yourself a nice set of RF transmitters and just learn how to do things manually.
Old     (scott_a)      Join Date: Dec 2002       04-08-2008, 9:12 AM Reply   
The Canon units have wireless capabilities built into them, too.
Old     (rowdy)      Join Date: Mar 2006       04-08-2008, 12:36 PM Reply   
Hmmm...Inside vs out...that's where I've been doing some thinking since I am planning on setting up a little studio in my house. I was thinking of using strobe kits to start off in the studio, and down the road purchase Alien Bee's.
I don't have any experience with E-TTL. Is it worth while using in a studio setting, or will I better off using manual. I plan to learn manual strobing, and thought of using E-TTL as a nice to have feature. But it sounds like maybe once I get the knack of manual I may never turn back.

The talk of the Radio Poppers has caught my eye too. www.radiopoppers.com

It seems to me they are selling these as having the ability to have wireless control over your slaves. If that is the case then I may be interested in this setup with some 580 EX II's.

Thanks for you input!
Old     (scott_a)      Join Date: Dec 2002       04-08-2008, 4:34 PM Reply   
Yeah, the RP's do sound a bit interesting, but keep in mind that the company making them has yet to release a single product to the market. And then on top of that, it sounds like the $25 Popper Jr trigger will only be made if their unfinished triggers are profitable. So they have to make the product and then convince people to ditch their tested and proven Pocket Wizards for their triggers and then make enough profit off of those to justify releasing a product to the market "just for the love."

I guess you could say I'm a bit skeptical about the whole thing.
Old     (rowdy)      Join Date: Mar 2006       04-08-2008, 4:39 PM Reply   
I don't want to base my whole setup on a product that hasn't even been released yet.

I guess I should be asking more about the use of E-TTL and figuring out whether or not it will make a difference. Like I said before, I want to learn the in's and out's of manual flashes, but am still curious if E-TTL is worth the extra money.
Old     (joshturner)      Join Date: Jun 2007       04-08-2008, 5:40 PM Reply   
interesting. i thought the canon flashes did not have the off camera capabilities. hmm. joshua is humbled once again. radiopoppers do sound rather amazing and honestly i do think PW's are grotestly overpriced. there is room in the market for a dependable radio transmitter. there is a bunch of stuff on strobist about the RP and my hobby certainly did say they worked remarkably well. i think that is a credible source.
Old     (scott_a)      Join Date: Dec 2002       04-08-2008, 7:06 PM Reply   
Pocket Wizard vs Radio Popper P1
price: $180ish vs $180ish
channels: 4 vs 1
range: 1600ft vs 100-300ft
battery life: long freakin time vs 10hrs
extras: PW can remotely trigger a camera, automatically switches between receiver and transmitter to relay signals over multiple channels...vs...Radio Popper P1 gives you full auto controls.

Now remember that in order for that "el cheapo" unit to become a reality, RP needs to sell enough P1 and P8 units to justify producing a non-profitable product. I honestly don't know if enough people will put down their trusty (albeit overpriced) PW's and take three steps backwards in usability simply for ETTL capability.
Old     (rowdy)      Join Date: Mar 2006       04-08-2008, 7:37 PM Reply   
Nice comparison.

I think I will get a 580 EX II for on camera, which should be nice when I get the 5 D.

Then for the other flashes either the Vivitar 285 or the Sunpak 383. Does anyone have any experience with these?

I am also looking into buying stands, brackets, umbrellas, etc. separately versus buying the kits from

I appreciate all the input!
Old     (joshturner)      Join Date: Jun 2007       04-11-2008, 10:54 AM Reply   
the 285 is a great workhorse. reliable and consistant.


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