View Full Version : Calling Canon Users

May 24th, 2008, 05:37 PM
I have the canon xti and loving it!
lens: 18-55, 70-300, and 50mm
Now,.....I want an external flash:D, and Bill says yes:D
I've been reading and it is between the speedlite 580ex and the 430ex.
I value your input.

May 24th, 2008, 06:48 PM
I just bought the 580 a couple of weeks ago and i have to admit that I bought the 430 first. I used it for the weekend then took it back and exchanged it for the 580. The 580 was what I wanted in the first place, I love having the flash compensation dial, I will eventually get a slave flash, and the added power is the main reason.
Hope this helps.

May 24th, 2008, 08:41 PM
If you can afford it, get the 580EX II. It's a powerful flash with some great features. If not, buy the 430EX, which is a very good flash for the price. You can always buy a 580EX later and either sell the 430EX or use it as a slave.

No matter which one you choose, you'll end up with a very nice flash.

Randy T

May 24th, 2008, 08:57 PM
Thank you for this advice. This is the direction I was heading. Can someone explain, about the slave.

May 24th, 2008, 09:11 PM

Randy likely knows better than I.

This is my understanding. A slave is set up to fire as a second flash.. usually to the side or maybe even to lighten the background. most often used in portait/studio situations, but not exclusive to that..

Funny thing I thought the 430 could not be used as a slave and that was one of the major differences between that and the 580.
I am likely mistaken on that issue and am probably mixing it up with another model or even another spec.

May 25th, 2008, 08:21 AM
580EX, more power, more flexible.

May 25th, 2008, 01:50 PM
I have the 430EX which I really like but wish I had the 580 for more flexibility and also to be able to use a second flash.

May 26th, 2008, 08:24 AM
If you can afford it, I'd go with the 580EX right off the bat. You can never have too much power. You can always power down but you would have to buy a new flash to get more output.
The slave feature allows you to fire multiple flashes wirelessly with TTL capabilities.

May 27th, 2008, 07:03 PM
If you can afford it, I'd go with the 580EX right off the bat. You can never have too much power. You can always power down but you would have to buy a new flash to get more output.
The slave feature allows you to fire multiple flashes wirelessly with TTL capabilities.
I'm with you on the power:p even if I don't understand it all now... I want it for when I do (hope that makes sense).
Many thanks, I appreciate y'all answering me and helping me through this dilema... as you know, I am not real techy. I get it ...eventually.
I am thinking (cross fingers) for the 580. Now, I need to get it soon...as I am photographing another wedding June 14.

Ric Cisson
May 27th, 2008, 09:11 PM
Michelle, spring for the 580 EXII if you can afford it, otherwise the 430EX will be a great second choice. Since you mentioned the XTi, my advise would be try a fitting on your camera before purchase. Reason, not to throw a wrench into everyone's strong endorsement for the 580, but it is a heavy flash, and on such a light camera chassis, it may feel a bit much added weight, comes in at just around 13.5 oz. The 430 might be a better fit, weighs in at just over 11 oz., but if you don't mind the additional weight "sitting on top" or "hanging at the side" on your small chassis, by all means go for it. You might consider adding the BGE-3 Gripto give you a little more "meat" on the camera to balance the handling, particularly for vertical shots. Just a suggestion.

I have both the 430 and the 580 EX II and use the 580 on my EOS 1Ds MkIII, to the point I never separate the two, so the 430 seems to have found a "home" teamed up with my 20D. Both are great flash units and I back them up with a Sunpak PZ-40X, which weigh's in at just over 7 oz., which is super, in relief, and is also E-TTL compatible with the EOS system.

Only, problem with the 580 that I had early on was that the zoom froze up back in February while I was at PMA, and I sent it in for repair under the warranty, and Canon returned in less than two weeks, which is was unbelievable for a turn around. Have fun deciding, and which ever flash you finally decide on, they will be great tools for you, no matter. I love mine.:)

May 27th, 2008, 09:35 PM
I have a question on the 580/430 flash units. I am wanting to eventually get the XSi camera. I watched a Nikon video online with a guy showing bounce lighting off the ceiling. I know you can do this when shooting a landscape photo with the 580 or 430 flash. Can you bounce the light off the ceiling if you are taking a portrait photo? The Nikon I noticed will do this.

May 27th, 2008, 09:38 PM
I have the XTi with the 580 and I did as Ric suggested- I bought the battery grip and it does make a difference in the way it feels in your hand. I have to admit that I was very surprised at how it balanced it all out. All this being said I also bought myself a new neck strap. I now have one that is curved and padded.

Ric Cisson
May 27th, 2008, 11:03 PM
Charles, in ref to your question the answer is yes for both units. Would recommend Lumiquest for additional bounce flash accessories and Sto-fen as well. Gary Fong has some interesting accessories as well, I have had his whale-tail accessory and his lightsphere accessory, for awhile, now, and I really like them as well, though on the pricey side.

May 27th, 2008, 11:31 PM

Thank you for your quick reply! I have heard of Gary Fong, but never have heard of Lumiquest. I just now took a quick peek at them. There are so many to choose from. I would have no idea which one to get, or if I would really need one from Lumiquest or Gary Fong for that matter.
To order an accessory like that, do you need to specify which flash you have to be sure it fits?

Ric Cisson
May 28th, 2008, 12:58 AM
Charles, Lumiquest attaches to your Flash head via Velcro, and as for Gary Fong's, they attach via a self contained grip system and fit all flash heads that I am aware of. Anyway, I have just the basic lightsphere and I love it in tight quarters as it evenly disperses the light and virtually eliminates any and all harsh shadows in those situations, and the resultant light is very flattering. The whale-tail studio kit is the other accessory that I have from Gary Fongs e-store. While I have not used the filters, it is a pretty good bouncer/diffuser. I have played with it on my 20D with the PZ-40X that I have and working with ceramics and I have had a good experience with it thus far.:)

H2O Junkie
May 28th, 2008, 04:44 AM
I had the opportunity this weekend to work with a 580 flash on both my camera and on a Canon as well as in a slave situation. I really liked the flash overall. In ttl mode on the Canon it came off a bit hot for me but that is without really knowing the camera. A quick switch to manual mode and a tone down of the power quickly corrected it and produced fantastic photos. My only regret was that I couldn't test it with a softbox in place since it was a portrait shoot I was working on.

Used on my camera (a S100fs Fuji) the flash performed fantastically. I had to tone it way down (sometimes down to 1/64th) since the shoot was outdoors. But hitting the right level even with only the diffuser down produced a nice even light.

Slaved was where it really shined. I used a Elinchrom SkyPort radio slave to shoot a doorway. Here is the image before the Canon was slaved in low and to the right:


And here is the same photo after I slaved it mounted on a low tripod (about 18" off the ground) and pointed it in to the inner area:


If you can afford the cost of this flash, I would HIGHLY recommend it. It produces excellent light and used correctly, a nice even one as well.

May 28th, 2008, 07:56 AM
Great example of slaving flash...thanks for sharing. Photographers are such visual people and your images definitely meet the "A photograph is worth a thousand words" criteria.

May 31st, 2008, 06:43 AM
I appreciate everyone's input soooo much. Decision will be made...real soon, as I need to get one.
Is it true, that the external flashes only work well on manual setting?
But When I get nervous...I tend to go to Aperture or Shutter priority, and if real nervous...'P'.

May 31st, 2008, 02:27 PM
No - those flashes will work fine with your camera in Av or Tv modes. Or even P.... The only thing you have to be aware of is that if you are in Av, the flash may set a slow shutter speed on your camera, as it tries to balance foreground and background exposure. (You can modify this behaviour on my 20D via a custom function, I don't know about your camera.)

I know you had ringing endorsements of the 580, but I'd stand back and think carefully, especially being clear about what you actually want to use the flash for. You're virtually doubling the cost, and, as Ric said, acquiring a significantly heavier and larger unit for use on a small camera.

The fact that the 580 can act as a master is of less importance than it seems, because you can only be using that feature if you've bought a second flash. So does it make a difference if you buy a 580, then a 430 or a 430 then a 580?

Do you envisage buying yourself a multiple flash setup, bouncing flash off very high ceilings or using flash accessories (extra power helps either). If so, then the 580's features may swing the decision.

There's a big difference between your built-in camera flash and one of these units, but the difference between the two of them isn't of the same order.

My two-pennorth, anyway.

If you haven't already seen it, this review (http://www.the-digital-picture.com/Reviews/Canon-430EX-Speedlite-Flash-Review.aspx) lines the two up thoroughly.

For an extraordinarily thorough explanation of the EOS flash system, including an explanation of how the flashes behave in the different modes (AV, TV etc.) you could have a look at this 3-part article (http://photonotes.org/articles/eos-flash/) - but beware - it really is thorough!


Chuck S.
May 31st, 2008, 02:37 PM
Nick, thanks for the link. The power difference (~35%) between the units isn't trivial, but then the price difference is more than 50% (!). When I finally getting around to replacing my 420ex, I'll have to reconsider the points in this article and look at the cost/benefit ratio at that time.

May 31st, 2008, 02:47 PM
Hi Chuck - yes, it's whether those extra photons are worth the extra cash, isn't it.....


May 31st, 2008, 04:57 PM
Thank you, Thank you. I will go get the articles, and print them! probably will read with the highlighter.
I am so glad to know they work fine on the other modes. I am doing much better in manual. I do really well if the subject stays put...like a tree.
Oh...decisions, decisions.
be prepared, I may have more questions...

Ric Cisson
May 31st, 2008, 06:54 PM
Chuck, having both in my camera bag to be able to choose from, you really could not go wrong with either one. If your budget and needs lead you to the 580 EXII go for it, otherwise, the 430 is a wonderful flash as well. (And so is the little PZ-40X that I carry around in my camera backpack)

June 3rd, 2008, 09:49 AM
The most important thing is to get an external flash and bounce it or get it off the camera so you have more control over the light.
The discussion has already addressed the differences between the 430 and 580 flashes...you can always power down but, will have to buy a new flash if you need more power. Using diffusers and other flash modifying attachments will cut your power down as well. Make sure you get enough power for your needs...if the 430 has enough power, then it's a good flash.

June 3rd, 2008, 11:46 AM
I've been reading and re-reading all the tips offered my way. After work today, I am heading to the camera store, and I do hope they allow me to place each onto my camera....play a bit...and then I will make a decision.
I then plan to call B&H and get it ordered.
Then I guess I'll be buying a book as to how to use it!
Many thanks for all the advice.

June 3rd, 2008, 03:31 PM
I'm back from the local photo store, and off the phone with B & H. I purchased the 580, a diffuser while there, and the protection plan.

Thanks again everyone.

June 4th, 2008, 12:04 AM
Congratulations Michelle! I am sure it will be hard for you to wait until it arrives. :)