Which route would you go?

Discussion in 'Photography Equipment & Products' started by thebeatles, Dec 16, 2009.

  1. thebeatles

    thebeatles TPF Noob!

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    Canon Speedlite 580EX II for $395.00.

    or

    Canon 50mm f/1.4 USM and a Tamrac 3370 Aero 70 backpack/camera bag for $419.90.

    I already have a Sigma 18-200 OS and a Canon 85mm f/1.8 USM waiting to be used with my soon to arrive T1i. I also have a SDHC card, tripod, and grip ready to go as well.

    I take all sorts of photos ranging from landscape to macro and everything in between. I am not sure which route I want to take and I have about $400 left to drop on my setup.

    If anyone has any suggestions other than my two considerations, let me know! I am new to DSLR photography and I am trying to make every penny count as I will not be able to upgrade/add to my setup for a while after this.

    Thanks in advance. :D :thumbup:
     
  2. IgsEMT

    IgsEMT No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Flash
    you have ok lens - Sigma. Its probably to soft by default (if similar to Tamron) therefore boost she sharpness a drop. You have a good portrait 85mm lens. All the other stuff and camera are nice. BUT it don't mean squat if you ain't got the light.
    Of course, a lot will depend on what you'll be shooting but w/o light, there's no photography.
     
  3. Derrel

    Derrel Mr. Rain Cloud

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    Well, the 580 EX-II is a pretty good flash in my experience. It works well, the controls are simple and direct,and it works seamlessly with Canon bodies. It is "the" Canon flash. But, for some people, it might be overkill. Let's put it this way--not too long ago, Popular Photography had a little editor's tip article, and the tip was--you don't really "need" a dedicated flash with today's s-slrs. Why? The LCD on the back, and the histogram, and the simplicity of modern Auto-Flash systems means that making a correctly exposed flash shot is not that difficult these days. I'm sure the big retail stores and camera makers would cringe at reading an article like that in a gear mag like Pop Photo, but it's true.

    TTL and e-TTL and D-TTL and i-TTL, fully buzzword-compliant top-line flash units from Canon and Nikon have gone through the roof in price over the last decade.

    Some of the the old-school flash units like Vivitar 285HV and Sunpak 383 and Sunpak 444D with their Auto-Thyristor technology can deliver pretty good flash exposures for 1/4 to 1/3 the cost of the camera maker flash units. So, you know, you might not really "need" to drop four bills on a flash. If you want to get into the off-camera "Strobist" thing with two flashes and two umbrellas on light stands, I think it would b smarter to buy two Vivitar 285's and some eBay triggers and light stands and umbrellas than one,single 580-EX-II flash. What about the Sigma 530 DG Super? That sort of splits the middle between old-school and modern, top-shelf Canon flashes.

    Without knowing what you want to accomplish with flash, it's hard to give a really good answer for your situation. What exactly do you hope a flash will do for you? How much learning are you willing to do vs. how much automation do you want?
     
  4. thebeatles

    thebeatles TPF Noob!

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    Thanks for the reply igsEMT. I randomly purchased "hot shoe dairies" at barnes and noble the other day and that sort of gave me the bug. I am not sure if the sigma lens is gonna suck yet so I might wait until I get my camera this christmas just in case as I don't want to be limited to 85mm. I suppose I could always sell or trade the sigma for a different lens and get a flash. I am skeptical of the sigmas performance even though I have not used it yet (i've seen a lot of bad pictures and reviews.) I just traded my Canon G9 for that lens recently and I am hoping it was an ok trade. Anyone have any experience with sigma zoom lenses?
     
    Last edited: Dec 16, 2009
  5. thebeatles

    thebeatles TPF Noob!

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    Thank you for the info :thumbup: I was hoping to use the flash for portraits and macro. The reason I was looking at the 580 is that I wanted to get an off camera flash in the future in addition to the 580 so I could experiment with different lighting. I suppose the main reason I was looking at the 580 is because it could trigger other flash units, whereas buying the canon transmitter and two lower priced slaves seemed expensive and I could at least use the 580 on camera until I could afford another flash. After reading your post I now realize there are other options and I will check those out for sure. It is easy for an amateur like myself to get caught up in all the marketing hype :lol:
     
  6. thebeatles

    thebeatles TPF Noob!

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    BTW Derrel, you seem to be knowledgeable with camera equipment (I have seen your other posts,) what do you think about the two lens I currently have? I read a post recently where you said the 85mm can be hard to work with in conventional situations. Also, should I get a wide angle prime and scrap the 18-200? I don't really take pictures of birds and sports, yet I don't want to constantly change lens to get the right shot.
     
    Last edited: Dec 16, 2009
  7. thebeatles

    thebeatles TPF Noob!

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    Sorry for all the posts. :blushing:
    I saw this review on amazon, do you think this is accurate?

     
  8. iolair

    iolair No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    You mention landscape and macro, and I'm not sure either purchase is best for improving your capabilities in one of those areas.

    Landscapes - how about a Sigma 10-20mm?

    Macro - a ringflash? dedicated macro lens? (not sure how much either of those cost).


    Incidentally, I got two flashes for next to nothing (you can find basic units on eBay for less than £10 delivered) and wireless controller for two flashes for about £25, also from eBay. The flash setup from those is working really well for me (everything on manual, but for that money, who's complaining?).
     
  9. Overread

    Overread has a hat around here somewhere Staff Member Supporting Member

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    A 580EX2 can work very well with macro and for a first flash that type of unit is what I would recomend to people. Ringflashes might be the "popular" macro addon, but they are limited in power and scope and thus outside of macro and portrait work they have far more limited use. Further the lighting they give can be rather flat - in that it will remove most shadows from a shot, good for getting detail in but can leave things feeling unnaturally flat in the final image.
    A 430EX2 or similr 3rd party flashguns will also work well - however if you are thinking on expanding into more than one flash and want to take advantage of the ETTL features you might find it far easier to pay the high cost now and get the 580 and then get support flashes that are cheaper like the 430EX2

    I use a 580EX2 and a lumiquest softbox and the combo has worked well for the majority of my macro work - an offcamera flashcord also really opens up the options for what you can achive. Infact the only downside is that its a darn heavy flash which can take its toll the longer you work with it off the camera hotshoe (in the hotshoe itself its not much of a bother I find.)


    Your other problem is a lack of a proper macro lens - however with your current setup you should be able to pickup a set of extension tubes (Kenko AF tubes are the best you can get for your money - avoid the ultra cheap tubes as they don't have electrical contacts and thus you can't control your lenses aperture) and use them with your 85mm for decent results. Another option is macro diopters and Raynox make a good range of them - the DCR250 is a very popular choice. On your 85mm you should be able to get some decent closup shots; if the tubes are used on a shorter lens (a 50mm f1.8 for example) you should get much closer (since magnification gained with tubes is dependant on teh focal length of the lens - the longer the lens the more tube length you need. Typically for true macro (1:1) you need the same length of tubes as you have in focal length of lens - this is the rough math at least).

    edit: ps that battery draining whilst in the flash as mentioned above is most likley the user using rechargable batteries, which will drain down when not used and left sitting in a flash unit. The best way around this is the newer kinds of rechargables that keep their charge - such as Sanyo Enloops. It really does make a big difference when you can reach for your flash and have it usable rather than have it dead because you didn't charge it up the night before (not every shot can be predicted/planned). Further do get a good recharging unit as well - the cheap ones might charge really fast, but with the rapid recharge and drain cycles that flash batteries go through they will result in significantly lessening the life of the batteries. The better and more expensive charges might sound like a lot to spend, but when you don't have to drop £/$5+ on a set of 4AA each time your flash batteries fail you the savings quickly addup
     
  10. inTempus

    inTempus TPF Noob!

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    Your needs will obviously vary from my own, but honestly, one of the best tools I purchased was a flash. It totally changes your photography. I use it in daylight, low light, everywhere. I prefer flash light to natural light, but that's a personal preference.

    The key is to force yourself to experiment and to learn everything you can about using your flash. Once you get it figured out, it's a total game changer.
     
  11. thebeatles

    thebeatles TPF Noob!

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    Thanks for the additional info folks! I am finding this forum to be a very helpful community. I am going to rethink my options and try to take my time researching things so I can come to a logical conclusion. I will let everyone know what I end up doing and hopefully post shots using my equipment in the near future. Thanks again. :thumbup:
     
  12. thebeatles

    thebeatles TPF Noob!

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    What flash units are you speaking of if you don't mind me asking?
     

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