For Canon, you have two options:
DO NOT BUY THE 270. It’s a crap flash that doesn’t have manual power settings. Waste of money.
The basic differences, other than price, is the 600 is more powerful, has a strobe/mutlitflash mode, and can be used as a commander(will fire other off camera Canon flashes using wireless)
If you are thinking about getting into doing portraits or wedding, I’d spend the extra $$ and get the 600. If you have a 7D or 60D/70D/80d, your pop-up flash can be a commander…otherwise you’ll need to buy a 600 to act as the commander and then another flash. Better to buy a different wireless system in that case (see below)
You may still be able to snag a 580…just make sure it’s new.
For Nikons, you now have a few more options…but not really…
The SB-5000 is more powerful, has more modes, and again can be used as a commander. Now, with the Nikon’s, if you have a COMMANDER built into your pop-up flash(which you would if you had a D70/D80/D90, D300s/D700, etc) you could get by with the SB-700. The SB-5000 and the SB-910 also has a built in OPTICAL slave that can be triggered by any flash. The SB-5000 or SB-910 is probably the best flash you will ever own!
AVOID THE SB-900!!! It has overheating issues!!!
The Nikon SB-600 might still be available, but since it doesn’t show you the range of the flash on the back LCD, it’s useless. DO NOT BUY THE SB-500, SB-400 or SB-300. They do not have MANUAL power control and are small crappy flash. Unless you can get the SB-600 for under $200, forget it.
Never buy a used flash as you have no idea how many times it’s been fired.
Non Name Brand Flashes
There are quite a few other companies who makes flashes for the various camera brands. While they are cheaper, they definitely aren’t up to the same quality stands as the Nikon or Canon flashes and usually don’t have the same features. They also may not really work properly with the camera or various accessories like transmitters.
But you can’t argue with price…you can get a fully manual flash that should work on most cameras for $100.
Yongnuo YN560 Only Manual, Optical Slave, works on all cameras
If you want to do more with your flash, here are some things you’d like to have:
OFF CAMERA FLASH CORD
This will allow you to take your flash off camera and get better lighting or more interesting lighting(top lighting, monster lighting…)
Nikon SC-28 $70
Canon OC-E3 Cord: $124
Unfortunately, the Canon flash cord is only 2 feet long, pretty much useless…
A better option would be to grab one from www.flashzebra.com which has 3 foot and higher ones.
It’s a great accessory to have so you can get shots like this:
Another option for doing off camera flash is getting a wireless system. As mentioned above, if you have the higher end flash, you
THE BEST (AND MOST EXPENSIVE!)
Pros: These things work on radio signals, so they work through walls, outdoors, up to 1600 feet away!!!
Cons: You need one for the camera, and one for each flash. Unless you’d like to try this hack/mod/whatchamacallit I came up with. They can be a bit expensive…
There are also the PLUS IIIs which are $200 each, and you need to have at least two (one to trigger, one to receive)
There are other brands, but Pocketwizard is the standard for sure. There are also lots of cheap ones off E-Bay, with varying degrees of quality, and they don’t have as much range, but they’ll work great for portraits/studio work.
Cowboy Studio triggers work pretty good, and this set has one transmitter and two recievers.
FLASH UMBRELLA STAND
If you can do wireless flash, via the camera or with the pocket wizard, and want to do nice portraits, get this:
Lastolite Umbrella Kit $200Comes with big umbrella, heavy duty stand, and a case!
Or the cheaper version, the Wescott $80
If you like using filters(and have gotten that free pack of lee filters from me in class!!) you would like a filter holder.
Lumiquest FXtra $24.99
Pretty cool, it has a holder for the filters too!
Here’s the full list of buying guides
MORE TIPS BELOW!
I hope you find these tips useful!
If so, it would be awesome if you would check out my LearnPhoto365 Photography Assignment Generator Apps on the app store and the Google Play store, a unique photography app that’s meant to inspire you to take great photos!
Perfect for anyone taking part in a Photo 365 challenge, there are over a hundred individual assignments and hundreds of thousands of potential random ones. Versions available for iPhone/iPod and iPad, including free versions so you can try them out! Full details, including reviews and tour videos of the apps can be found at www.learnphoto.ca/apps Even if you only download the free version that would help get it up the app store lists!
WHERE TO BUY
I am a big fan of buying local when possible, for a few reasons.
1) You are supporting a local business
2) If you have any problems, the local people are usually easier to deal with. Buying from an out of province/country dealer, if there is a problem, you will most likely have to pay to ship it back to them. There could also be warranty issues if buying from another country
If you are in Saint John, Best Buy is your best bet as they have brought in more equipment since Applebys closed down…in Fredericton, head to Harvey Studios. (Tell them Noel sent you!) or Ivan’s in Moncton.
If you want to buy online, Henrys in Toronto(also Halifax) is a great store that I’ve dealt with personally and for the Telegraph and had no issues with. Also Vistek.
Avoid buying from ebay, unless it is from a reputable dealer. I’ve seen lots of “great deals” where you seem like you are getting a whole lot of extras…but in reality, it’s a bunch of extra crap. bad lenses, crappy tripods, no name brand memory cards…not worth it.
If buying something off Kijiji or craiglist, make sure you try it out. If the seller won’t let you try it out, that’s a good warning sign…
Once you’ve bought a new camera or accessory , check out some of my photography courses so you can use it to it’s fullest potential! Check them out under the COURSE menu above, onr contact Noel at firstname.lastname@example.org
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