Flash: Sigma EF-500/530 or Canon 580/430

Discussion in 'Photography Equipment & Products' started by Shibby!, Oct 10, 2007.

  1. Shibby!

    Shibby! TPF Noob!

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    This being my first post I thought I'd introduce myself. I'm fairly new into photography but have always been interested. What I shoot is mainly action sports, landscapes, and macro. I'd like to touch on portraits and animal/nature shots as well. Keep in mind my photo's are often taken in dirty or damp conditions (DH mountain biking, snowboarding, dirt biking, hiking, etc)

    I currently own a Rebel XTi and eventually want to get into a remote flash system with two flashes. My lenses consist of the 70-200 F2.8L lens, 35-50 USM IS F3.5-5.6 kit lens, and 50 F1.8.

    I've searched the forums and found varying information. One post highly recommended the Sigma over or against the Canon flashes stating equal build quality, similar options, and much lower price.

    Everything looks good (for what I know) with the Sigma, however one thing that sets off alarms is the fact in manual mode it only allows for full power or 1/16th power. Canon's allow for 1/3 increments. Will this affect my options as far as remote lighting goes? From what I have read it would!

    What other positive and negative points can people suggest with these products? I've noticed recharge time seems to be a bit higher on the Sigma. Price is an obvious standout. Anything else?

    Some questions:

    1) Are the Sigma's able to remote trigger? (Master/slave)
    2) What's the diff between the 500 and the 530 Sigma?
    3) Any other flashes I should consider for my uses?
    4) Being infrared light that triggers the Canon flashes, much like a t.v remote, does this become a big problem in outdoor environments? Is radio a better option (ie, e-bay triggers). With sports you often have one chance. If these often fail I'd be annoyed/upset!

    This is used as a hobby, not a profession. Just looking to have fun and have decent outcome. More importantly to learn and enjoy.

    Thanks!

    Quinn
     
  2. Big Mike

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

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    Welcome to the forum.

    This is a fairly common comparison but I'm not sure how much info there is on this site, I'm sorry to say. A Google search should bring up some direct comparisons.

    I do know that the wireless IR systems are not highly recommended for outdoor situations. Most people that I know, who use remote flash, go with a set of Pocket Wizards. The E-bay radio triggers do work but they are not as robust or reliable as the PWs.

    If off camera flash is your goal, you could save a lot of money by going with something like a Sunpak 233 . You would have to use manual flash settings with radio triggers anyway, so why pay hundreds more for a flash that can talk to the camera?

    On the other hand, you may find that you often want to use the flash on the camera, in which case, having a dedicated model with E-TTL metering would be a benefit.

    I have found that my E-bay radio triggers don't work well with my Canon 430 flash...even though it's a 2nd generation unit that is supposed to work well with Canon. For my off camera stuff, I've been using an old Braun flash that I've had for years.

    I forgot to mention the ultimate site for off camera flash..... http://strobist.blogspot.com/
     
  3. Shibby!

    Shibby! TPF Noob!

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    Hey Big Mike,

    I have read quite a few of your posts and found every one of them informative. Thanks for posting.

    I guess you answer my question dealing with the IR system outdoors. This would eliminate me having to use a 430EX slave if I did indeed go with the 580 master. The thing I liked about the Canon is that they do indeed transfer information with the camera. I've also read the the 580 adds a feature to the Xti. Forget what it is. I guess if I don't know or understand it doesn't matter all that much hey? Haha. Well there is always room for more knowledge.

    Would you happen to know how the e-bay triggers work with the 580 or if it differs from the 430?. Reason being is I would like a nice camera dedicated flash, and then I'd pick up another cheaper flash for a slave or double remote triggered flash for other work. I guess the Sigma can do both of these as well if I'd want to. I'm just wondering at this point if the 580 would even fire with the cheap trigger.

    I'd go with a quality remote trigger, but find it would likely be more then I need or would like to spend considering it may be left in the dirt somewhere, or abused.

    I think I might give the Sigma a try. It's cheap (130-150$) and the only thing that doesn't work well is the manual flash power settings that I can see. I guess this can be improved in the future with a fully automated secondary flash in the future.
     
  4. Shibby!

    Shibby! TPF Noob!

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  5. Big Mike

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

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    I haven't tried all the different E-bay triggers on different flashes...so I can't say for sure...but I think the 430 and the 580 would be very similar in how they act with these things. It is a well known problem that Canon flash units don't play well with cheaper slave triggers...radio or optical.

    I think you will probably be able to get what you want, with a dedicated Sigma model. Even if it can't be adjusted in small steps, your flash exposure can be controlled with the camera's aperture and the distance from the flash to the subject.
     
  6. Shibby!

    Shibby! TPF Noob!

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    Ok...

    Yet after reading even more I found the the equivalent Sigma would be around 250-275$.

    After further reading I found that it sounds like the sigma may actually be more adjustable in manual mode. I think it was stated at full power with 1/16 increments. Not just the two settings. Canon's is rated at 1/3 I beleive.

    So what did I end up doing? Well, a local person was selling a 580EX lightly used for about half price so I bought that. I figured a decent flash will last forever and I wouldn't have to worry about Canon's attempts to stop Sigma.

    The downfall? I'm left with a flash that might not work well with e-bay triggers. I'll do some more research and see what my options are at this point. I'm just glad I have a decent flash to learn from and try to harness it's options and abilities.

    My secondary flash will without a doubt be a cheap flash for remote use.

    Thanks for the help Big Mike! Over the next little while you may see a few posts regarding some questions I have if the search function comes up with little or no answers.

    Quinn.
     
  7. Big Mike

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

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    Congrats, the 580 is a great unit. Good luck with it.
     
  8. FidelCastrovich

    FidelCastrovich TPF Noob!

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    I recently purchased those Ebay trigger. Second generation and all. And i gotta say, it's pretty disappointing. They don't work so well - misfire 20% of the time.
    I mean for what you pay for them they're fine, and i don't intend to use them other than for portrait work, where i can afford to re-shoot.

    But if i needed them for something else?Pocket Wizards would be my choice.
    Good choice on the 580 - great unit.
     

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