second flash? strobist question

cbryan

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I've decided to delve into the whole "strobist" thing. I'm considerin the Vivitar 285HV to compliment my Canon 430 II. I'm looking at buying the BH Impact umbrella/stand kit and was wondering if the Viv would be the most affordable flash as a second for doing portraits? I'm trying to be budget conscience as this will be my first foray into this. Would a cheaper flash serve the purpose as I am new to it?
 

Sw1tchFX

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You might want to look into the ST-E2 first. I use the Nikon equivalent and I think it's truly phenomenal, and if it was radio instead of optical, perfect. Your mileage may vary. I've heard the Canon system is not as easy, integrated, or anywhere near as consistent (with TTL).

But since you own a 430, I think it's worth a look.
 
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cbryan

cbryan

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switch,

thanks for the reply. Your avatar is the type of shot I'm hoping to accomplish. I hoping to do some dramitic lighting effects. I appreciate the input!
 

Big Mike

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Actually, the ST-E2 is a master control unit...not a flash at all. So while you could put it on-camera to control a remote 430EX, you will still only have one flash.

You could get a 580EX, which is a flash and can also be a wireless master to the 430EX...but the master has to be on-camera, or at least connected.

If you just want to add another flash and use it in the Strobist style...then I would suggest something like the Vivitar or Strobist 1 light Kits, which includes the flash and the rest of the gear.
 

Sw1tchFX

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i should probably clarify what I said above. I said I use the nikon equivalent, that would mean I use an SU-800, i don't.

I use the pop up flash on my camera, it does the same thing.
 

Big Mike

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The lesson here: Never Listen to a Nikon shooter. ;)

:lol:
 

Sw1tchFX

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BTilson

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One thing I would like to recommend would be the Quantaray MS-1 remote optical slave flashes. They're rather limited in what they do, mainly since they only have one power setting. To adjust it you either reposition it, or change the aperture you're shooting at.

BUT, they're small, compact, and come with their own little stand with a tripod thread. The real kicker, they're $20 a piece brand new. I have two of them and LOVE them. I made a couple of diffusers out of milk jugs (talk about low budget DIY!) and the results are (imho) VERY impressive. Here are a couple of shots I did with this setup. On camera flash triggering the two MS-1's through milk jugs.

3067758283_73f0fc33d1_o.jpg


3027845073_5f50689bfe_o.jpg
 

Sw1tchFX

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^^

I guess if you're ok shooting at high ISO's in the studio if you need any DOF..

It's one thing to be thrifty, it's another to be cheap.. And for something like that, you've got to draw the line somewhere.

You could have bought older TTL flashes used that have more power and more control over your light then the MS-1's and spent very little more then what you did.

The problem is that you just spent $40 more then what you need to. You're going to get tired of them, they suck hard, and you're going to replace them then throw them away, you're going to throw away $40. If you had just got the right tools the first time, you would have saved $40. and 40 bucks is 40 bucks.

I did that with a couple lenses, and realized that if I want a 24-70 f/2.8, buy the god damn 24-70 f/2.8! Not the 28-80 f/3.3-5.6!
 

BTilson

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Can't argue with that at all, Switch. You make very good points. I think my main draw to the MS-1's as an entry level strobist "setup" was the fact that you need no other equipment. No radio triggers, no TTL cords, nothing, since they're optical slaves. If your camera has a pop up flash, you can use them.

Again though, what you say is completely true. Thanks for the input.
 

JerryPH

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It is true... while there is being thrifty, buying something so cheap that it hinders you is simply a waste of money. I say it all the time (I suppose the tiny quantarays are ok if you use nothing more than an F/4 aperture and nothing bigger than a baby or very small area)... in lighting and lenses, buy the best you can afford, even if it means going without for a longer time... your photography will thank you!

That said, last year I bought a Vivitar 285 just to test it out. Turns out it is now a permanent part of my travel kit. It may be an under $100 flash but when it comes to the strobist arena, this is one of the best values out there. This sucker packs as much power as a Nikon SB-800 but since it is not as feature rich, it has an incredible price.

If you want off camera TTL flash metering, one has to invest a LOT more and that means normally sticking to the same brand of company that your camera is. In the case of the Canon, you have no in-camera controller and that is where the ST-E2 comes in, but as mentioned (lol), its not a flash, it is an on camera controller.

TTL flash metering is ok under most circumstances, but becuase of the fact that you work harder with manual setups, you learn more and hence become better with an all manual setup. There is also a lot more control in an all manual setup.

The "strobist" way is to go all manual, so the extra costs of going this way is not really needed.

I would suggest that you go all manual, save a little money and at the same time learn how to nail your exposures. For wireless triggers for the budget people, I say you just cannot beat a set of modded Cactus V2s units. Do a search here for it, the mod is mentioned often.
 
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