Equipment recommendations

jjd228

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I'd like to buy a stand alone flash (Canon speedlight?) and a camera mounted remote trigger for the flash. Can someone point me in the right direction? Oh and please don't make me spend a million dollars :D If it matters I will mostly be shooting human models at pretty close range.

ps - The flash should be able to be mounted on a tripod... or do they all have that capability?

EDIT: A friend recommended this trigger:

http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/produ...izard_801_130_Plus_III_Transceiver_Radio.html

Does anyone have a reason NOT to use this? If not I'll probably get it, unless someone recommends a "better" one at the same price?
 
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jjd228

jjd228

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I can't see the example just now, but IMO, there is the Pocket Wizard and everything else. If you have limited funds for this, look into Yongnuo:

YONGNUO, photographic equipment, camera accessories, flash light, camera remote control, speedlite, photo equipment, LED photo light, flash trigger, camera wireless remote control, TTL cord

Also, get a cheap light stand and bracket. That should enable you to mount nearly anything on it.

Thanks I'll go with the Pocket Wizard in my link :)
Now I just need a speed light... any recommendations that won't break the bank? Should I go with a Canon or are other makers just as good?
 

TCampbell

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Pocket Wizards are sort of the gold standard for remote radio triggers. Well built and very reliable. These Plus IIIs in your link are for manual (no ETTL support -- although they do have models which support ETTL they are quite a bit more expensive.)

The triggers are both transmitters and receivers. You need a minimum of two... one on the camera, and a second with the flash. As you add additional flashes you would just need one for each new flash.

You will also want to make the light appear to originate from a broad origin/source... not a pinpoint source. A white "shoot through" umbrella is extremely inexpensive (usually $10) and you can go up from there (reflective umbrellas (not shoot through -- instead they have as shiny silver lining inside), soft boxes, etc.) Getting good results is all about how well you control the light.

A single reflector is also a good idea. In natural light (say... taking a shot near a window) you can hold the reflector to bounce some light back onto the shadow side of someone's face and this creates a much gentler shadow. You can also use the reflector in a one-light studio setup to bounce some light back at your subject. Collapsible reflectors are also pretty inexpensive. Avoid the "gold" colored reflectors... go for the silver. A "gold" reflector works well for swimsuit models on a beach because they enhance the look of a suntan. But in most other situations you want non-tinted light.
 
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jjd228

jjd228

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Pocket Wizards are sort of the gold standard for remote radio triggers. Well built and very reliable. These Plus IIIs in your link are for manual (no ETTL support -- although they do have models which support ETTL they are quite a bit more expensive.)

The triggers are both transmitters and receivers. You need a minimum of two... one on the camera, and a second with the flash. As you add additional flashes you would just need one for each new flash.

You will also want to make the light appear to originate from a broad origin/source... not a pinpoint source. A white "shoot through" umbrella is extremely inexpensive (usually $10) and you can go up from there (reflective umbrellas (not shoot through -- instead they have as shiny silver lining inside), soft boxes, etc.) Getting good results is all about how well you control the light.

A single reflector is also a good idea. In natural light (say... taking a shot near a window) you can hold the reflector to bounce some light back onto the shadow side of someone's face and this creates a much gentler shadow. You can also use the reflector in a one-light studio setup to bounce some light back at your subject. Collapsible reflectors are also pretty inexpensive. Avoid the "gold" colored reflectors... go for the silver. A "gold" reflector works well for swimsuit models on a beach because they enhance the look of a suntan. But in most other situations you want non-tinted light.

Pretend you were talking to someone that didn't know what ETTL was. How would you explain it? ;-)
 
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curtyoungblood

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Pretend you were talking to someone that didn't know what ETTL was. How would you explain it? ;-)

It is an automatic flash setting. The flash determine how much light it needs to emit to properly expose the scene. It isn't going to work particularly well once you get the flash off the camera, and will hold you back from learning how lighting really works, anyway.

Also, if you're concerned with spending a lot of money on the flash, I don't think the pocket wizard is the best solution for you. You're going to end up spending at least $300 on transmitters, because they're the top of the line. You'd probably be better off spending that money on a flash and going to cheaper route on the transmitters. The most common recommendation is the Yongnuo that was suggested earlier in this thread.

I would recommend spending the bulk of your money on the flash instead of the triggers, and if you're able to spend $300 on triggers, you ought to be able to find a used 580exII in your price range. (I'm assuming that you're using a Canon body b/c you mentioned Canon in your post).
 

hirejn

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The brand of flash that matches your camera maker is best. I don't endorse knock offs, but some people like them.

Your information indicates you probably don't need a radio trigger. You can push the built-in infrared system of your camera and flash. If your camera doesn't have a built-in flash, then another external flash could act as a trigger. You don't even know what TTL is, which tells me you don't know much about flash or how it works. That's OK. But then it doesn't make sense to invest in radio triggers. Photography can be just a hobby, so there's nothing wrong with having fun with what you want. But radio triggers are designed for demanding lighting situations that not only break the limits of the built-in IR systems but demand 100% reliability. If you're not in those situations, there's absolutely no advantage to radio systems. Flash takes a bit of experience to learn and it can be very confusing to work with to get the results you want, and adding radios doesn't make any of that easier. By using the IR system, you save money and have plenty of flexibility for learning flash, even multiple lighting setups. Also note that the Plus III works only with manual flash, meaning you must meter each light and adjust the power on each flash manually. You must also understand blending ambient and flash to get the results you want.

I wouldn't recommend anything but PW. But I'd recommend seeing what you can do with the IR system before spending on triggers. If nobody is paying you for photography, it doesn't pay to invest in triggers. Most of us have probably seen Joe McNally push the crap out of the IR system and not break it. That's real stuff. I myself have used the IR system in crunch situations. It works. Be honest about whether you need a radio system. Otherwise it's little more than an expensive toy. If you can maximize its potential, then it's worth it. But if you haven't mastered flash and just want to play around with lights, IR is worth a look.

I would recommend a light stand vs. a tripod. You could use either, but light stands are so much cheaper and the industry makes standard accessories for them that work with light units, and they're a bit easier to work with for lighting.
 
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jjd228

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The brand of flash that matches your camera maker is best. I don't endorse knock offs, but some people like them.

Your information indicates you probably don't need a radio trigger. You can push the built-in infrared system of your camera and flash. If your camera doesn't have a built-in flash, then another external flash could act as a trigger. You don't even know what TTL is, which tells me you don't know much about flash or how it works. That's OK. But then it doesn't make sense to invest in radio triggers. Photography can be just a hobby, so there's nothing wrong with having fun with what you want. But radio triggers are designed for demanding lighting situations that not only break the limits of the built-in IR systems but demand 100% reliability. If you're not in those situations, there's absolutely no advantage to radio systems. Flash takes a bit of experience to learn and it can be very confusing to work with to get the results you want, and adding radios doesn't make any of that easier. By using the IR system, you save money and have plenty of flexibility for learning flash, even multiple lighting setups. Also note that the Plus III works only with manual flash, meaning you must meter each light and adjust the power on each flash manually. You must also understand blending ambient and flash to get the results you want.

I wouldn't recommend anything but PW. But I'd recommend seeing what you can do with the IR system before spending on triggers. If nobody is paying you for photography, it doesn't pay to invest in triggers. Most of us have probably seen Joe McNally push the crap out of the IR system and not break it. That's real stuff. I myself have used the IR system in crunch situations. It works. Be honest about whether you need a radio system. Otherwise it's little more than an expensive toy. If you can maximize its potential, then it's worth it. But if you haven't mastered flash and just want to play around with lights, IR is worth a look.

I would recommend a light stand vs. a tripod. You could use either, but light stands are so much cheaper and the industry makes standard accessories for them that work with light units, and they're a bit easier to work with for lighting.

Thanks! And yes I'm just learning.
 
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