Flash on a Budget...

Discussion in 'Beyond the Basics' started by magicmonkey, Jun 15, 2006.

  1. magicmonkey

    magicmonkey TPF Noob!

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    Yes, I was trying to make a poor play on words. Sorry :blushing:

    Anyway, as some of you probably know I'm forever trying to do things on the cheap as I'm not exactly a rich guy, there's no way I can afford a speedlight for my 350D, let alone the slaves and pocket wizzards to go with it. I can just about afford this set up though, could anyone offer opinions on wether it's worth it or should I spend the next year saving instead?

    Master

    Slave

    Lead


    opinions much appreciated but please bear in mind that I really can't afford any posh stuff!
     
  2. mysteryscribe

    mysteryscribe TPF Noob!

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    Wish I could help but all my knowledge is for film cameras but I did have a friend who burned the circuit board on a canon with a flash that was not dedicated. I would be very careful before I bought a strobe for a canon.

    With that said how exactly do you plan to use your two lights. Are you planning one for the camera and one as a backlight or exactly what configuration. Im more curious than able to help you any.

    My one further piece of advice is: don't lose a year in which you could be learning just to buy the best. If you learn how it works, when you can afford it, you will be a year ahead of the game.
     
  3. magicmonkey

    magicmonkey TPF Noob!

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    Well, I wanted the master to be able to move off camera with a lead so that I could use a snoot and point it at the slave to have just the slave lighting the shot or use the master to set off both slaves (I intend on getting 2) in just about any lighting array I like, there's endless possiblities really. What I really need to know is if these cheapo units are going to be able to light a scene well enough and with light that isn't too cold and nasty like most cheapo flash units. Advice on other options readily recieved!

    I don't really use my flash much at the moment apart from fill from the 350D on camera flash so I don't know how much I'd use a real flash set up, what with that and being pretty skint anyway I can't really justify buying an expensive set up...

    The master flash is the Canon one, they had a Nikon option as well so that put my mind at rest a bit about that, still a worry though having heard some of the horror stories!
     
  4. mysteryscribe

    mysteryscribe TPF Noob!

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    actually the problem was pretty technical. It had to do with trigger voltage.

    The best way to fire it (if you trust your master) is to put a hot shoe adapter on the camera. This will give you a pc adapter that will in return allow you to use all kinds of cheap flashes. Some as low as ten bucks. Your master can be fired directly at the subject from an L bracket just off the camera. It can be fired from the side while sitting on some kind of light stand. It can be bounced off all kinds of things in most any direction yoiu want.

    The most often thing a slave is used for is a back light. To kill the shadows cast by the main light and to also give seperation between the subject and the background. That light is actually aimed at the background. Usually the main light hitting the background is enough to fire the slave which fires when it senses strobe light.

    You can use the bounce from that light to fire a second front light aimed back at the subject possibly from the side. Now this is all portrait lighting stuff.

    You can move those slaves around to light things about anyway you want. You need to be able to adjust your aperture to take full advantage of strobe light. There are lots of other things you can do but digital gives you the chance to experiment a lot with light. If your strobes are too bright you can put a piece of white cloth over them and usually cut them by one stop. That will allow you to balance them out.

    Lots to learn but the best thing is to decide you want to do and start with just one slave. Your main on camera light will fire it. use it as a back or side fill light for a while and then add to it a light at a time. I personally dont like on camera flashes but I would buy a slave first just because it will give you experience with a two light set so you can decide how strong a master you need. Just play around with it.
     
  5. benhasajeep

    benhasajeep TPF Noob!

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    I have a Sunpak flash that I have used on my Nikons. Never had a problem with it. Not sure about the store branded one. Maybe they might hint who makes it for them?
     
  6. magicmonkey

    magicmonkey TPF Noob!

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    Apparently that tends to be the problem, I think Nikon and Canon are pretty much incompatable for flashes. I wish there was an idustry standard for things like lenses and flashes, it'd open up a whole lot of competition in the market and make life a lot better for us mere mortals behind the lens, probably not that good for the manufacturers though.

    Well I was thinking of getting the 2 slaves as they only cost £10.99 and I've got a few ideas that I'd like to play around with using 2 off camera points of light, most of the time I'd probably only be using the main flash or the main flash and one slave though, at the moment my studio no existant so I don;t see that I'd have the chance to use the whole lot very often.

    I really want the main flash to be connected to the camera by a cord so that I can play around with bouncing light and other weird off camera stuff.

    All I need now are some models!!
     
  7. magicmonkey

    magicmonkey TPF Noob!

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    nah, no hints on the site and I've googled it and come up blank, finding out would probably mean rummaging around in those weird techie parts of the web that get far too geeky! :D
     
  8. mysteryscribe

    mysteryscribe TPF Noob!

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    The down and dirty about what ones i know of is that the vivitar 283 was made in different places the japanese ones supposedly were always safe... ones made in korea early on had a higher trigger voltage and would eat up a cannon's electrical system. They later fixed it. The problem is, when you buy one on ebay you have no idea which you are getting. I think if I owned a canon or other expensive camera I would check with the camera store before i bought anything for compatebility. If they say it is and it screws up let them fix your camera. But if the the 283 direct from a camera store is under a hundred these days, it is a good deal. guide is 120 with 100 film and it give you an auto range of about 30 feet even with iso 100 film. it is not going to be ttl though. it is just a pure auto flash. up side is that darn thing is adaptable all over the place. You can remove the sensor get a cord and put it on the camera which in effect gives you the auto shut off feature at the camera's eye not the flash. You can also get an ac cord for it. I have about half a dozen of them and I recommend them highly.

    But do not risk buying one on ebay.

    The slaves are safe to use anywhere since they have no camera trigger but are light triggered.
     
  9. magicmonkey

    magicmonkey TPF Noob!

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    I'll be buying one new from Jessops, they're pretty much the high street photo shop over here and as they say it's designed for Canon and mention my camera in the compatability list it shouldn't be a problem, if ti is then they'll have hell to pay!
     
  10. mysteryscribe

    mysteryscribe TPF Noob!

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    excellent plan
     
  11. THORHAMMER

    THORHAMMER TPF Noob!

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    I would just get one GOOD flash that is very versatile.... It can get you outdoor/public event /wedding/outdoor portrait work.... do a wedding and a few portrait sittings and you can buy yourself a monolight setup for about 1500 complete with softbox and barn doors.... then you can do most everything you want and even some commercial stuff....

    trust me its not worth it to skimp and have 2 mediocore products , buy a
    550EX or a 580EX for the canon and get your portrait/wedding work....

    use it as a stepping stone. once you get the monolights and your good with your craft (im sure you are) you can charge 300$or more for a family sitting or make quick 150$ for 45min shoot all the time....
     
  12. Flash Harry

    Flash Harry TPF Noob!

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    Yeah go with the jessops, canon dedicated, I still have one of the old centon brand type from my pre-pro days, its still going strong after 15 years without fault, so I guess this will do your camera no harm. When I bought it I used a minolta, when I bought the nikon I merely changed the dedicated module for the nike one.
     

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