HELP: external flash/softbox/ trasceivers


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Jun 27, 2013
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Hey guys, I'm hoping someone will be able to help me with a few questions.
I currently shoot with a canon 60d and a canon 50mm 1.8 for portraits, couples, families, and have done a wedding with one coming up. I don't use any flash what so ever but I am wanting to venture out and purchase one. I really know NOTHING about external flashes so hopefully someone can help.
So my first question:
1. I am looking at the yongnuo 565ex for my canon 60d. It's more in my price range and I've read that it's just as good as the canon 580. Now, I know that I can't use it as a master but a slave. How would I got about getting the yongnuo to work with my camera? Do I need to buy some transceivers? I read somewhere that I would have to use it manually, what does that mean?
2. If I bought the yongnuo 565ex could I use that in a soft box? Is there a specific speedring I would need? I was looking at the creative light soft box.
Or would it be better to buy a soft box kit and if so could anyone recommend one that would be under 300.
3. As I said before I use a canon 50 mm 1.8, but it has lost its quality quickly as suspected and I need another lens. I only have about 350 to spend on a lens and was considering going with the 50 mm 1.4. The only thing that I don't like about the 50 mm is that it's hard for me to get everyone in a picture sometimes and sometimes people are too far away. So I was considering purchasing the sigma 17-70 2.8 but when I read reviews many people said that it lost quality in the picture. I just need a lens that I can shoot portraits, weddings, etc with. It will be the primary lens I use. So which would be better? The sigma 17-70 or canon 50mm?

sorry if this seems long I just need to start buying stuff today and couldn't find online any answers to my quesitons
How did your 50mm "LOSE" quality? Lenses typically don't change... it is how it is used that is the variable...

You are shooting weddings with a single Prime 50mm? And a 60d? Amazing! Most of us use multiple lenses.. and multiple bodies, in case something goes wrong with the primary.

There are softboxes made especially for external Flash use (check Lastolite)... the majority of speedring type modifiers are for monolight / pack and head systems. I have seen some speedrings that have a flash mount though..

Sigma lenses are a crap shoot... you may get a good one, you may not. The main attraction there is price.... you would be much better off with canon L glass if you are shooting weddings and such.

Yongnuo makes decent flashes, and their transceivers work well also. Although most pro's use professional gear like Pocket Wizards. Build quality on the Yongnuos is nowhere close to OEM quality
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M-m-my m-mama says multiple lenses are da DEVIL!
Welcome to the forum.

Firstly, check out this blog for some good info about setting up and using off-camera flash. Strobist: Lighting 101
Off camera flash is certainly one of the best ways to create great lighting for your photos...but it's not something that most people just pick takes a good understanding of exposure, flash, light etc....and plenty of practice (lots and lots of practice).

Most people start with on-camera flash...and as long as you have a flash that can tilt & swivel, you will likely be able to bounce the light (off of walls & ceiling etc)...and that can be a dramatic improvement over not using flash or using the built-in flash.

You don't necessarily need a softbox for using off-camera flash...but in certain situations it does make for great light. I use something like this...24" Portable Professional Softbox FOR Flash Speedlite | eBay

As for lenses, you will probably want something in the 18-50mm range...but for weddings, it's a good idea to have something with a large maximum aperture. The Sigma you mention does open up to F2.8, but only at the wide end. I think it's only F4 when zoomed out. I've heard that it's an OK lens, but certainly not the 'best' option.

I'd suggest looking at the Canon EF-S 17-55mm F2.8 IS. If that is too expensive, then check out the Tamron 17-50mm F2.8.

And it has to be mentioned...but I hope you're not shooting weddings with only one camera. Being a professional wedding photographer means being prepared for adversity...things like a camera that breaks or just stops working. This is someone's can't just say 'Sorry, I don't have any photos because my camera stopped working'. On that note, I wouldn't shoot a wedding with only one flash, or at least a couple lenses that could be used in most situations.
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