580ex + 430 ex + Wireless Transmitter = good outdoor portrait kit?

Discussion in 'Photography Equipment & Products' started by DeepSpring, Jun 5, 2007.

  1. DeepSpring

    DeepSpring TPF Noob!

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    I currently have a 430ex and I was thinking of buying the 580ex and possibly the wireless transmitter if I can get enough money.

    Would this set up be good for outdoor portraits? I don't have the space in my house to set up a studio so alienbees would be out of the question since I'm going to need them to be battery operated.

    Is there something else you would recommend instead of adding the 580 to my collection? Also if I just got the off camera shoe cord do you think having my flash 3 feet from the lens would be far enough to the side for most situations when using it as a key?
     
  2. Big Mike

    Big Mike I am Big, I am Mike Staff Member Supporting Member

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    It's hard to say...when shooting portraits outdoors, you may need a lot of power and the 430 may not cut it and the 580 may be pushing it...but again, it depends.

    I've heard that the Canon IR wireless system isn't all that reliable when used outdoors. It needs line of site and may be less effective in bright light. Most photographers that I've seen or heard of, that use off camera strobes...rely on Pocket Wizards to trigger the flashes. This, of course, mean that they have to be set manually and you don't have E-TTL.

    Have you seen 'The Strobist' web site? The Lighting 101 section is great http://strobist.blogspot.com/2006/03/lighting-101.html

    I recently ordered an 'E-bay' radio trigger...it's a new model that is supposed to work well with Canon units. I haven't received it yet, but I'll let you know how it goes.

    Here is the site of a Photographer in my town...he does a lot of work with off camera flashes. 580EX and pocket wizards http://www.nightanddayphoto.ca/nd/
     
  3. c_mac

    c_mac TPF Noob!

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    i can definitely tell you they are a hassle out doors. 100% non-obstructed line-of-sight is necessary when using them outdoors. they do, however, work ok at night but still are not very reliable. and forget about putting them behind someone for fill...

    indoors on the other hand, you can almost bury them and they still work. no line-of-sight needed. the signal bounces off most anything, except brick(probably because its so porous).

    if you really want have a go at them, but i would save the money and buy some good radio slaves(at least if staying with canon flashes). if you think you might get some high power third party flashes, like the sunpak 383, then it might be worth it to try the 'e-bay' radio slaves. i have heard tons of good reviews. the strobist website is a great reference for this stuff!
     
  4. DeepSpring

    DeepSpring TPF Noob!

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    Ok thanks I'll look into those links. If I forget about the transmitter and trigger my 430 with a 580 it would still work outdoors correct?
     
  5. DeepSpring

    DeepSpring TPF Noob!

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    I'm looking some more and I think it might be more beneficial to get a set of alienbees (digibee kit looks good) and one of their power supplies. has anyone herd anything about it? The description is a little confusing to me but from what I gathered you just charge it at home in your wall plug. An alienbee set would probally give me a lot more power and versatility for those times when I do shoot indoors I can just plug em in.

    http://alienbees.com/vagabond.html?item=V150

    According to my calculations (correct me if im wrong) with 2 B400 flashes I would be able to take about 800 pictures. 1600 pictures with just 1 light. and then an extra battery is just $40 more which would double those numbers
     
  6. amandakifer

    amandakifer TPF Noob!

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    Just be careful of your application of the alienbees.... or what ever you decide to use. I tend to stick with the 550ex and 580ex for outdoor portraits at the moment. I am a wedding photographer and second shot with a guy who was using his great new lights that sensed just any other flash and had a HUGE problem with guests wanting to take a quick snap shot because it would set off his lights... which would have to charge and the photographer had to explain why the guests had to wait to take any kind of flash photography. Not fun.

    Guests can't set off my flashes and there is a lot less stress. I'm sure there are work arounds or that your application it wouldn't matter but I thought I'd mention it.
     
  7. DeepSpring

    DeepSpring TPF Noob!

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    I wouldn't be shooting any events where there will be other flashes going off but if it does occur I can buy the wireless transmitters that go to the alienbees.

    Ok I have another question. would a 580 and 430 with pc sync cords be a better option?
     
  8. c_mac

    c_mac TPF Noob!

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    that may be a better option. i don't know from experience, but i see no reason why it wouldn't!

    as far as the wedding stuff goes...i would never imagine that using optical slaves would be the way to go. everyone shooting around you could cause you a headache...i would go radio slave with no question at a wedding.
     
  9. DeepSpring

    DeepSpring TPF Noob!

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    I'm also thinking maybe for the meantime just getting a hotshoe extension cord, one of those coily 3 foot ones you use on brackets, and putting it on a stand within 3 feet. In an already bright sunny day this should put the light just enough to the side to add a little more depth
     
  10. Big Mike

    Big Mike I am Big, I am Mike Staff Member Supporting Member

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    I believe you can get off-shoe cords that are longer than 3 feet...and I'm pretty sure I've seen instructions on how to make an extension for it, if you are so inclined. I've heard that the length of the cord is limited...but you should be able to go to 10 feet with no problems.
     
  11. Mad_Gnome

    Mad_Gnome TPF Noob!

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    I use an Alien Bees B800 and an eBay strobe with a Vagabond 150 for power. I also picked up a LightGearUSA wireless transmitter and two receivers, and VOILA! No way for an errant guest's flash to set them off. Also, for whatever reason, the Vagabond seems to be capable of about the same number of flashes whether I have one or both of the strobes plugged into it.
     

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