Help with flash equipment

Discussion in 'Photography Equipment & Products' started by photo_passion, May 12, 2010.

  1. photo_passion

    photo_passion TPF Noob!

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    Hello:

    I have a Canon 7D, and I am not much experienced in photography (yet).

    What I do mostly is portraits and I would like to buy a flash for indoor portraits... that I can carry wherever I go in a backpack along with the other stuff.

    I never used one, except for the built in that comes with the camera...

    What things should be considered when buying one? What technical details should I observe?

    My budget is not too high, but I dont want to buy something so cheap that would be useless anyway...

    I know my question is vague... Im looking for some guidance... Any advice?
     
  2. Big Mike

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

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    If you are going to be shooting portraits, then I'd suggest looking into off-camera flash. If you can set up your flash on a stand, maybe with an umbrella, you will get much better results than if you are just shooting with the flash sitting on the camera.

    There are many, many threads about O.C .F., so look around and do some reading on that. Also, check THIS out.

    My recommendation to you, is the Canon 430EX. It's not too expensive (compared to the 580EX) but it's a decently powerful unit. It tilts & swivels, which is big advantage over the built in flash.

    Also, your 7D is currently the only Canon DSLR that can use it's built-in flash to control a 'slave' flash. So if you have a 430EX or a 580EX, you could control them remotely (off-camera) with just your camera. All other Canon cameras would need a 'master' unit to control the slave.
     
  3. bigtwinky

    bigtwinky No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    I second what Mike said. I have the 430EX II as I was on a budget. I picked it up new when it was on special for $250. The 580EX runs about $400-$450. Its more powerful, more options and so on, but its more expensive.

    I started with just that (and still only have just that). I also have a 7D and I'm able to get the flash off the camera using the 7D controls, which is really neat. Lightstand + bracket for the flash + flash and you are good to start.

    Next step is to look into things to diffuse the light such as umbrellas, softboxes, spheres or what not. You can also look into a reflector to bounce the flash to the other side of the model.

    And read. Read alot. Look up information on strobist. Strobist is a great start. On the right hand side, you should see a link to Lighting 101. Read that. Then read it again.

    :)
     
  4. photo_passion

    photo_passion TPF Noob!

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    Thanks.

    Well, I cant really take umbrellas... I travel a lot due to my job in a multinational company (I dont even have a fix residence), and I have to carry everything in a 20Kgs suitcase in airports plus a backpack...

    So whatever I buy should fit in a backpack along with camera and lenses...

    My problem is this, if I use the bult in flash I get illuminated zones, and darker zones of the room, because the light is not enough to fill the room...

    Do you think one of this flashes would be enough to make pictures having all space around the model with light, and no artificial shadows?

    If not do you think its possible to use two 430EX one from each side of the model for example? Maybe just a stupid idea... but I really have no experience at all...


     
  5. photo_passion

    photo_passion TPF Noob!

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    Thanks, please read my reply, maybe you can help too...

    Also, do you have photos taken with flash that I can see? Thanks
     
  6. Big Mike

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

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    That's the link I gave him above ;) :lol:

    This has more to do with your technique than the flash.
    For example, when you are shooting a person in a big room, your flash/camera will probably meter and set the flash power to give you good exposure for the person. If it gave you enough flash power for the room, the person would be blown out.
    Most times, the room will be lit with ambient light (the natural or artificial lights that are already in the room). The room looks dark in the photos because the exposure settings you are using, are only good for the flash exposure, not the ambient.
    However, you can take control of the camera and aim for a better balance between the two exposures, flash & ambient. The trick is to put the camera into manual mode (M) (or maybe Av) and use a shutter speed that is long enough to give you more ambient exposure. You can also turn up the ISO to get more ambient exposure.
    I can't tell you what to set it at, it will depend on the situation, but with practice, you should be able to get a better balance between flash & ambient.
    The key is to avoid the auto modes, which limit the shutter speed to above 1/60.
     
  7. bigtwinky

    bigtwinky No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Well pffft to you and your fancy looking links :mrgreen:
     

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