TPF Noob!
May 8, 2006
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i just got the canon 30d and i was considering buying a flash. i like to shoot pretty much everything. i was wondering what makes a flash better or not as good. i was considering the 580 by canon but then i realized, whats the point in gettin sumthing like that if i dont even know why its so much more expen$ive than the others.

thanx in advance
Maybe look at the Canon 430 EX. The 558 EX is the flagship, professional model with lots of power. The 430 EX has less power but would suit your 30D very well.

The Canon EX flashes will 'talk' with your camera to determine the exposure (and help with autofocus). You could get an auto flash for much cheaper, that would work on its own (without talking to the camera)...and you would have to match the settings on both camera and flash.

Sigma makes a flash, 500 Super (or something like that) that will talk to the camera (TTL metering) and is cheaper than the 580. I've heard mixed reviews about it.
I forgot to mention the Master/Slave features. The 580 EX can act as a Master or a slave to another 550 (old model) or 580 unit. The 430 can only act as a slave.

The master flash is the one you mount onto the camera (or off camera with a TTL cord)...the slave flash (or multiple flashes) get fired remotely by the master. This way, you can locate several flash units and fire them all.
i have a 580 ex i use for weddings and i love it
If the 580ex is a bit too much budget wise, look to a used 550ex. Similar in features but probably more readily available in the used market. 550ex can be used as a master just like the 580ex... even lower in price is the 420ex which is the older version of the 430ex.

There are other third party flashes out there that supposedly support the Canon E-ttl communications required to be used with your camera. I've heard mixed reviews..... The issue is that Canon doesn't release or license out the specs to other companies. It leaves them to rely on reverse engineering which takes a bit to get right.
I recently bought a 550ex on Ebay. So far the shots have turned out pretty good considering I don't know what I'm doing with it and the guy still hasn't seen the manual! I even asked before bidding if it came with it. :( I read alot of reviews saying that for a nonpro a 580ex would be a waste of money.
ok. thanx guys. also i was wondering if there was a way to shoot using the flash off the camera. like a cord or sumthin. or even wirlessly. and then if u can, do they make tripods u can use for your flash?
Yes... canon makes an off camera cord and shoe for their flashes. It works well if you decide to use a stroboframe or somethng similar.

Yes.. The flashes are shipped with a small stand that has standard screw hole for tripods.

To trip a canon slave flash wirelessly, you would need a master (550ex or 580ex) or the ST-E2 hotshoe module.
ok. so ive decided im gonna get either the 550 or the 430. which would u prefer? and if i were to go with the 430, how much would i end up spending on the hot shoe. thank u guys so much.
The 550EX has a higher guide number and can be a master.
The 430 can cover a 14mm view and is probably physically a bit smaller.

I'd go wit the 550ex...
I have a 430EX and it works great. I believe it's a newer flash than the 550EX, and might have some features that the other might not have. For example, if I'm not mistaken, the 550 uses the older e-ttl metering system rather than the newer e-ttl2 of the 430EX. Although I have no idea exactly what a difference that makes. I also know that the 430EX can transmit color balance to digital cameras to help the white balance to be more accurate. I don't know if the 550EX has that feature or not.

I think I would go with the 430EX

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