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Thread: I Love Off-Camera Flash! [C&C Welcome]

  1. #1
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    I Love Off-Camera Flash! [C&C Welcome]



    Over the last little while, I have come to one conclusion: The most important flash you buy is your second one!



    Just a little bit of background information that may be helpful:



    Upon upgrading my 430EX flash to the 580EX II, I was impressed with the new flash's features, especially its increased power. Recently, however, I had the opportunity to put the system's infrared triggering system to use after purchasing a second 580 EX II. Now I understand what all of the "off-camera flash hype" is about! []



    It is truly awesome to be able to have complete control over the light in my photos. This exploration of off-camera flash has opened up all sorts of new photographic doors. I can almost believe that more doors were opened upon investing in wireless flash then in any of my previous investments.



    Being a former single-flash user (and also somewhat skeptical of using Speedlites in a wireless setup, particularily using Infrared triggering), I was pleasantly suprised to see impressive performance in many areas:
    • Flash power: Being able to actually "kill" (greatly underexpose) the ambient light in a scene was very surprising for me. I was skeptical of Canon's (and other manufacturers') small flash systems beceause of their relatively lower power outputs. I had been eyeing out battery-powered systems by Elinchrom and Profoto for this reason specifically, particularily Elinchrom's Quadra flash system.
    • IR reliability: This was a big one for me - I had heard all sorts of things about Canon's implementation of IR technology in their Speedlite system. Some people live by it, many have found it unreliable under certain shooting conditions. The choice to invest a considerable amount of money into Canon's IR system seemed like a risky one, however, having used the system in a wide range of conditions, I have found this system very reliable. I have been able to trigger my 580 EX II (using a master camera-mounted 580 EX II) from distances of up to 30-35 feet (I feel as if I could have gone farther). The IR's effective range in my experience is considerably greater at night, during which I use the Speedlite system the most.
    • Ease of use: Wireless flash certainly isn't very easy to master, but Canon's system has made it very easy to learn. Having only used a wireless flash system briefly on two occassions, the system's functions were easy to modify, even on my first use.
    • ETT-L: Perhaps this should have been first on my list! This is the main reason I considered Canon's wireless Speedlite system over other manufacturers' offerings. The implementation of wireless control of ETT-L has made shooting with wireless flash many-fold easier (although I have not used manual, sync-only systems before) than I would imagine it being with manual flash power control. In my experience, this has resulted in much less light stand-lowering and less trips to the flash to adjust power settings. All of the flash's functions are at my fingertips!



    Wow. That was a lot! I feel like I needed to share my experience, though. I hope some prospective strobists may find the above information helpful in making effective purchase decisions.





    Now, on to the images. Note that all of the images below were shot with one wirelessly-controlled 580 EX II.





    1. Canon 5D Mark II, EF 70-200mm 2.8L IS. Canon 580 EX II shot through a Westcott umbrella mounted high and right of the subject (my brother). 1/200 sec, f/5.6, ISO 100 @ 200mm.



    Notice my bag and stand in the bottom right corner of the frame - Oops! Perhaps it adds context. []





    2. 5D Mark II, EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS. 1/160 sec., f/3.5, ISO 250 @ 150mm. I had been wanting to do one of these "ad-like" types of shots of our ATV for a long time, but on many of my previous attempts I found the ambient light either too flat or too harsh. I think the 580EX II/Umbrella combination "settles" the light down nicely.





    3. And just for fun, the setup shot, that has found its way to being my desktop background. []





    And while I'm at it, here's my first-ever star trail attempt. This was made possible with a bit of DIY work, including a Quick-Grip clamp (Try not to imagine what I did with that clamp to keep the 5D II's shutter release engaged for the two 1-hour exposures - It will make you unsettled!). Unfortunately Canon's timer remote will have to wait:


    Canon 5D Mark II, EF 24-70 f/2.8L USM. Approx. 2 hours (two 1-hour exposures combined in Photoshop), f/11, ISO 200 @ 27mm. Shot towards the North night sky in Muskoka, Ontario on October 15th, 2010. The first exposure was taken starting at 10:33 PM, the second one followed an hour later.






    C&C is welcome, although take into account my relative inexperience with the above-mentioned photographic techniques! []



    Thanks.



  2. #2
    Administrator Sean Setters's Avatar
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    Re: I Love Off-Camera Flash! [C&C Welcome]



    Welcome to the club. :-)

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    Senior Member bob williams's Avatar
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    Re: I Love Off-Camera Flash! [C&C Welcome]



    Alex---What Sean Says.


    I had my off camera flash revelation this summer while trying to shoot humming birds. Now, instead of budgeting for my next lens, I am budgeting for lenses, flashes, umbrellas, softboxes, stands and of course, more pocket wizards.
    Bob

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    Senior Member btaylor's Avatar
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    Re: I Love Off-Camera Flash! [C&C Welcome]



    Quote Originally Posted by alexniedra


    Recently, however, I had the opportunity to put the system's infrared triggering system to use after purchasing a second 580 EX II. Now I understand what all of the "off-camera flash hype" is about! [img]/emoticons/emotion-1.gif[/img]


    Correct me if I am wrong, but you should have been able to use your 430 EX as a slave with the 580 EXII as a master optically triggering it.


    Getting the flash off camera is fantastic and brings a whole new level of creativity to photography. I love it.



    http://www.flickr.com/photos/ben_taylor_au/ www.methodicallymuddled.wordpress.com
    Canon 5D Mark III | Canon 5D Mark II | Samyang 14mm f/2.8 | Canon 35mm f/1.4L USM | Sigma 85mm f/1.4 EX DG HSM |Canon 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II |Canon 2 x Teleconverter III | Canon 580 EX II Speedlite | Really Right Stuff TVC 34L | Really Right Stuff BH55 LR | Gorillapod Focus | Really Right Stuff BH 30

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    Senior Member doggiedoc's Avatar
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    Re: I Love Off-Camera Flash! [C&C Welcome]



    Quote Originally Posted by btaylor
    use your 430 EX as a slave with the 580 EXII as a master




    Also, if the 5D mkII is like the 7D, will it serve as master and control both your 430EX and 580EX?





    Paul


    (EDIT)


    - I see from Bryan's review of the 5D mkII that it does not have built in flash, so never-mind. [:P]

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    Re: I Love Off-Camera Flash! [C&C Welcome]



    Wait until you graduate to PocketWizards or something similar. The ability to trigger flashes behind walls, in bright sunlight, etc. will blow you away.
    We're a Canon/Profoto family: five cameras, sixteen lenses, fifteen Profoto lights, too many modifiers.

  7. #7
    Senior Member doggiedoc's Avatar
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    Re: I Love Off-Camera Flash! [C&C Welcome]



    Pocket Wizards are definitely on my wish list!!

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    Re: I Love Off-Camera Flash! [C&C Welcome]



    I really like the first picture. It does not look like flash light to me, more like light coming from a shop window or something. I guess the tricky thing with flash is to get shots that look like no flash was used [I]. I will definately have to reconsider my wishing list too.


    Lars

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    Re: I Love Off-Camera Flash! [C&C Welcome]



    Right - I forgot to mention that I had actually sold my 430 EX to fund my first 580 EX II.

  10. #10
    Senior Member btaylor's Avatar
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    Re: I Love Off-Camera Flash! [C&C Welcome]



    Ahhhh... that makes sense then! Only just saw your shots from home (work computer doesn
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/ben_taylor_au/ www.methodicallymuddled.wordpress.com
    Canon 5D Mark III | Canon 5D Mark II | Samyang 14mm f/2.8 | Canon 35mm f/1.4L USM | Sigma 85mm f/1.4 EX DG HSM |Canon 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II |Canon 2 x Teleconverter III | Canon 580 EX II Speedlite | Really Right Stuff TVC 34L | Really Right Stuff BH55 LR | Gorillapod Focus | Really Right Stuff BH 30

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